Trusty turnover ratio fails 49ers against Giants

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Trusty turnover ratio fails 49ers against Giants

SAN FRANCISCO -- In their renaissance season, the 49ers relied on their defense and the best turnover-ratio in the NFL -- plus-28.Against the New York Giants in the NFC title game, the defense was solid if not spectacular. But the 49ers failed to force a turnover. Not a fumble recovery. Not an interception of Eli Manning.Giants 20, 49ers 17. In overtime."I mean, it's just, we lost," said defensive tackle Justin Smith. "So, that's really all there is to say you know?Then, what about Manning?

"I mean he's a really good quarterback, and will make you pay when you lose the turnover-differential," Smith acknowledged. "I mean, it's like that every week. That's how we won a lot of games and that's how we lost."The Giants compiled 199 yards of offense in the first half, and the 49ers limited them to 153 yards in the second half and overtime.So what adjustments did the defense make?"Just a few things here and there," Smith said. "But mainly, they got a little more predictable and (started) throwing the ball quite a bit more and that makes it a little bit easier to tee off."But an apparent Ahmad Bradshaw fumble late in the fourth quarter and deep in Giants territory that was recovered by the 49ers and would have set them up for a potential game-winning field goal did not happen. Not officially, anyway.Bradshaw was ruled down."I just felt like that was one of those plays in the game where you can't put your finger on it," said inside linebacker Patrick Willis. "The rules are what they are and the referees call what they call. It is what it is."They say it was forward progress stopped, therefore it is not a fumble. That's what we have to live with."Which is tough for such an opportunistic defense. The 49ers lost a pair of fumbles on punt returns."Life goes on, it's not the end of the world," Smith said. "I mean, it's hard to swallow but, they beat us. They were better than us today. They deserve to go to the Super Bowl. That's how these games shake out. It's hard to swallow but what else are you going to do?"We got to the NFC championship gameand it gives us something to build on and come back and hopefully we can get back to it and win it and go the distance. I mean, I really don't have the words right now, guys."

Harbaugh goes Biblical, responds to Jacobs' criticisms of his coaching

Harbaugh goes Biblical, responds to Jacobs' criticisms of his coaching

Former NFL running back Brandon Jacobs spent one season with the San Francisco 49ers in 2012 under head coach Jim Harbaugh.

Jacobs only played in two games and gained seven yards on five carries. The results were nothing like his 5,087 yards and 60 touchdowns over eight years with the Giants. 

Apparently being pushed to the bench as a 31-year-old veteran running back didn't sit well with Jacobs. 

“Going somewhere where they don’t have route conversions into certain coverages was just absurd,” Jacobs said Thursday on the Tiki and Tierney Show. “They’re just running routes in the defense, getting people killed. Size and strength is what they had, and that’s why they won.

"Let’s be real. They had great assistant coaches, but Jim didn’t know what he was doing. Jim had no idea. Jim is throwing slants into Cover-2 safeties, getting people hurt. That guy knew nothing, man."

On Saturday morning, Harbaugh responded to Jacobs with a tweet to him. 

Harbaugh went 44-19-1 in four seasons as the 49ers' head coach. He also added five playoff wins and a trip to the Super Bowl in the 2012-13 season, the one that Jacobs played for him.

Shanahan: Brooks earns place on 49ers' first-team defense

Shanahan: Brooks earns place on 49ers' first-team defense

SANTA CLARA – The eldest non-kicker on the 49ers’ roster is learning a new position this offseason.

But Ahmad Brooks has plenty of experience adapting to new positions during his 12-year NFL career. He has played inside linebacker, outside linebacker in a 3-4 and defensive end in pass-rush situations.

Now, Brooks has moved to the strong side linebacker position -- the “Sam” -- in the 49ers’ new 4-3 scheme under first-year defensive coordinator Robert Saleh.

“He’s getting them (first-team repetitions) because he deserves them,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said this week. “Watching how he played last year and then going into this offseason, you never know when a guy who has been around a bunch, if they’re going to feel that they need the offseason like other people do. And Ahmad’s been here every day and he’s needed it just like everyone has anytime you’re learning a new scheme.

“But anytime you have a veteran like that, you worry that, hey, maybe they won’t think that they do need it. But Ahmad has and he’s been here. He’s worked at everything. He’s in good shape. He’s done what we’ve asked in the weight room with Ray and he’s done everything with the position coaches and coordinator on defense. So, I think he’s learning it and he should because he’s putting the work in.”

Brooks, 33, has entered the past three offseasons with his place on the 49ers seemingly in jeopardy. But the 49ers have not been able to find a younger, better player to replace him. Brooks has tied for the team-lead in sacks in each of the past four seasons with 27 sacks over that span.

Eli Harold, Dekoda Watson and undrafted rookie Jimmie Gilbert were the other players who lined up at the Sam position during the first week of 49ers organized team activities.

Brooks and Aaron Lynch, starters at outside linebacker for the 49ers in the previous systems, have the steepest learning curves in the transition to a new defense. Lynch has moved to the team’s pass-rush defensive end position, known as the “Leo.”

“I think techniques are totally different,” Shanahan said. “How you want to take on blocks, how you want to play the run. Ahmad has been around a little longer than Aaron. So he’s probably had a little bit more crossover, some similar schemes.”