Giants still have upper hand over 49ers


Giants still have upper hand over 49ers


SAN FRANCISCO -- There was nothing else 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh could say after his team's thorough defeat on Sunday.
"The plan wasn't the best plan," Harbaugh said. "It wasn't a great day for any of us."The New York Giants, who broke the 49ers' hearts last season with an overtime victory in the NFC Championship game, out-coached and out-played the revenge-minded 49ers on Sunday at Candlestick Park.The Giants' 26-3 victory over the 49ers represented the largest margin of defeat in Harbaugh's 24 games at the helm.Quarterback Alex Smith, who entered as the NFL's leader in passer rating, had a forgettable outing one week after the best statistical game of his career.Maiocco's Instant Replay: Giants 26, 49ers 3
Smith threw three interceptions, which led to a Giants touchdown and two field goals. He completed 19 of 30 passes for 200 yards for a passer rating of 43.1. He was also sacked four times.The Giants recorded five of their six sacks -- backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick was sacked twice -- in the second half after the 49ers had fallen hopelessly behind.Smith was on the injury report in the week leading up to the game with a sprain of his right middle finger. But Smith was not limited in practice. He wore tape on his middle finger, but said it had no impact on his performance."No, it was fine," Smith said.Smith's interceptions appeared to be more a matter of questionable decision-making and good defense than poorly thrown passes.The 49ers had their opportunities early to seize control of the game. Sandwiched between a Giants three-and-out offensive possession, the 49ers strung together two long drives.After converting two third downs, offensive coordinator Greg Roman called Kaepernick off the sideline for a third-and-6 play from the Giants' 26. His read option handoff to Frank Gore was stopped for no gain. And David Akers' 43-yard field-goal attempt was wide right.The 49ers got their only points in the game with a 12-play, 61-yard drive on the next series. That drive stalled at the Giants' 24 when Smith's pass for Michael Crabtree was deflected at the line of scrimmage.
"They don't give up anything easy," Smith said of the Giants' defense. "And we forced some things. I feel like I forced some things. Uncharacteristic that we turned the ball over. Any time you turn the ball over like that, it's tough to win."The 49ers only other scoring opportunity came at the end of the first half. Kaepernick's 36-yard pass to Mario Manningham set up Akers for a 52-yard attempt, which landed wide left. Through five games, Akers has missed five of his 16 field-goal attempts. Last season, he made 44 of his 52 tries.The second half belonged entirely to the Giants.
"It's tough to get up when you're not executing," Smith said. "I think that's what comes first. I didn't feel flat at the beginning of the game. I don't think anybody did. It was more of a sense of, when things aren't going well, it's tough."You're out there grinding, you're out there trying to make things happen. When it's not working and you're not playing well, it's not easy to be up."RELATED: 49ers LT Staley leaves game with concussion
The 49ers trailed just 10-3 at halftime, but the Giants took control with a touchdown on the opening drive. Rookie David Wilson returned the second-half kickoff 66 yards. Seven plays later, Ahmad Bradshaw scored on a 1-yard touchdown run for a 17-3 lead."We gave up the big play, no question, coming out of the half and things continued to get worse from there in the beginning of the second half," Harbaugh said. "What's happening with the return yardage exactly? I don't know."The 49ers' coverage units have been a disappointment through six games. One of the strengths of the team a year ago, the 49ers entered Sunday's game ranked 30th-best in kickoff return yardage and 31st in punt returns.Two major players off the 49ers' coverage units from a year ago, Blake Costanzo and Colin Jones, are no longer on the team. The 49ers made no effort to re-sign Costanzo, and the 49ers dealt Jones to the Carolina Panthers for a future draft pick.
The future looked bright for the 49ers after decisive victories at the New York Jets and at home against the Buffalo Bills. Harbaugh remarked that the team was playing "scary good." But on Sunday, the 49ers got a not-so-gentle reminder of which team still is the class of the NFC."They came to play, man," 49ers right tackle Anthony Davis said. "Everybody is going to give the 49ers their best shot."But the Giants won the Super Bowl last season. So why weren't the 49ers able to make a better showing Sunday? After all, it was a game some players, including Smith, termed as "unfinished business.""I know we're capable of playing better," Davis said. "We played hard. We need to play better."The Giants' offense was not prolific. But quarterback Eli Manning played a sound game, and Bradshaw gained 116 yards and a touchdown on 27 attempts. The Giants did not turn the ball over.
The Giants exploited third cornerback Chris Culliver on two third-down plays in the second quarter to set up the only touchdown of the first half. Domenik Hixon turned around Culliver for a 39-yard reception. Then, Hixon caught a 16 yards pass to keep the drive going.
Those plays set up Eli Manning's 6-yard touchdown pass to Victor Cruz against the coverage of cornerback Carlos Rogers and safety Donte Whitner. Cruz celebrated with a salsa dance, and the Giants led 7-3.The 49ers made it into Giants territory only twice in the second half. Smith hit Randy Moss on a 55-yard pass to the New York 29. But Kaepernick took an 11-yard sack on the next play when he replaced Smith.Kaepernick sparked the offense in the previous two games, but the Giants appeared prepared for him on Sunday. Harbaugh was asked if there is a fear that sometimes the 49ers' offense can be disrupted with the insertion of Kaepernick into the lineup."Yes," he said.Was that the case on Sunday?"Perhaps," Harbaugh admitted. "The plan wasn't the best plan. And we'll work to make a good one this week."The 49ers return in a shortened week to face the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday night. The 49ers and Seahawks, coming off a 24-23 victory over the New England Patriots, are tied with the Arizona Cardinals (4-2) atop the NFC West standings."Tough loss for us, but we have to bounce back fast," Harbaugh said. "We have a game coming up Thursday night. No time to hang the head. Have to bounce back."

Report: Ravens signing arena league QB over Kaepernick

Report: Ravens signing arena league QB over Kaepernick

Colin Kaepernick still does not have an NFL team.

The Baltimore Ravens, who were linked to Kaepernick after praise from head coach John Harbaugh, have reportedly signed David Olson, according to nfldraftdiamonds.com

Olson, who played at Stanford and Clemson, most recently took snaps for the Kansas City Phantoms of the Champions Indoor Football League (CIF).

"He’s a great guy," Harbaugh said on Thursday about Keapernick, who remains an unrestricted free agent. "He’s a guy right now that’s being talked about. We’ll just see what happens with that. Only speculation right now. He’s a really good football player and as I said at the owners' meetings, I do believe he’ll be playing in the National Football League this year."

Starting quarterback Joe Flacco is expected to miss time due to a back injury.

49ers' head coach Kyle Shanahan takes pride in speed of offense

49ers' head coach Kyle Shanahan takes pride in speed of offense

SANTA CLARA – If there is any validity to Matt Ryan’s complaint that former Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan struggled getting play calls to his quarterback in a timely fashion, it is difficult to find much evidence.

The past two seasons, only three teams went through an entire season without the play clock expiring on offense. The Falcons under Shanahan went without a delay-of-game penalty both of the past two seasons. The Denver Broncos of last season were the only other offensive unit in the NFL that was not penalized for the play clock hitting :00.

“Any play-caller that you talk to that’s usually one of the most important things and something I pride myself on a lot, is how quick can you get a play call into a quarterback,” said Shanahan, who will remain the playcaller for the 49ers while also serving as head coach.

"And the quicker you do the more comfortable it is, not just for him but the entire offense. They’re not panicked. They’re being able to move to the line. And with me as a coordinator personally, I try almost every situation to get it in as fast as possible. And I can be honest, there’s sometimes I do better than others. There are sometimes I don’t do it as good. There’s sometimes I do it real good.”

Shanahan said he took a lot of pride in the fact that the Falcons avoided any delay-of-game penalties the past two seasons. He said Ryan deserves credit, too.

“I was really proud of those guys on offense, which is a lot of credit to Matt and the rest of the guys, that regardless when we did get it in, two years straight without a delay of game and being the only team to even do that one year I think was a pretty impressive task,” Shanahan said. “We did a good job of that as a whole.”

In a recent interview with Pete Prisco of CBS Sports, Ryan was critical of Shanahan’s timeliness in delivering the play calls in the Falcons' collapse in Super Bowl 51. (It did not appear the Falcons' offense was scrambling to get to the line of scrimmage and get the ball snapped after the built a 28-3 lead.)

“Kyle's play calls -- he would take time to get stuff in," Ryan told Prisco. "As I was getting it, you're looking at the clock and you're talking 16 seconds before it cuts out. You don't have a lot of time to say, 'There's 16 seconds, no, no, no, we're not going to do that. Hey, guys, we're going to line up and run this.' You're talking about breaking the huddle at seven seconds if you do something along the lines.”

Shanahan said on Thursday that he wants his offense to play fast. Shanahan said he sets his offense so there is no need to audible out of a play if the defense is geared to stop the primary option on a particular call.

“If it’s not the perfect play, there’s usually four other options that you’ve just got to adjust to and either get an incompletion or get a smaller gain,” Shanahan said. “But, it’s not, ‘Hey, if I don’t call the perfect play, you check and get us into the perfect play.’

"I’ve been in systems like that and it’s just what your opinion is, and there’s really no right answer, but I was pretty happy with how our system worked in Atlanta. And I’ve been confident with players playing fast and not putting so much pressure on them to fix every play that the coordinator calls. I like to put a little more on myself and I want them when I do call a bad play, we’ll give you an answer."

Shanahan will continue to call the plays from the sideline. Quarterback Brian Hoyer said he insisted on working on the radio communication during the offseason program. Hoyer played in Shanahan's offense in 2014 with the Cleveland Browns, and he said that experience should help him relay the calls more smoothly to his teammates in the huddle.

"I kind of have a method of I want to be just outside the huddle when the play is coming out," Hoyer said. "I don’t want to be in the huddle trying to give the play while he’s talking to me. I want to hear him say the play in my helmet, take a second, get in the huddle and then call the play.

"Back in Cleveland when I was just learning the system I was just trying to repeat what he was saying, get it to the team and then as I’m walking to the line of scrimmage think of the play. Whereas now, I hear the play coming in and I can paint a picture of what Kyle is trying to emphasize on that play, and then relay it to the rest of the offense and break the huddle and go. We’ve been doing that I think pretty much since day one is using that coach-to-quarterback communication.”