Smith, 49ers WRs misfire against New York


Smith, 49ers WRs misfire against New York

SAN FRANCISCO -- Alex Smith threw 26 passes in the NFC Championship.Nine of them went to wideouts. One was completed. To Michael Crabtree. For three yards."You don't get that many opportunities, it's hard to talk, you know?" Crabtree ruminated in the 49ers locker room after their heartbreaking 20-17 overtime loss to the New York Giants on Sunday at Candlestick Park."(New York's) defense played great, man. Great defense, bro. Like, you can't say nothing about that. It's great. Great, man, just like, sometimes you just got to move the ball, man, you got to make plays. You've got to give people a chance to make plays."Crabtree was targeted five times by Smith, who also threw four balls Kyle Williams' way.

The lack of an outside threat obviously limited the 49ers' chances, despite tight end Vernon Davis catching three passes for 112 yards, including touchdowns from 73 and 28 yards, and running back Frank Gore catching a team-high six passes for 45 yards."They were good," Smith said of the Giants' defense. "They mixed it up a lot today, coverage-wise, mixed it up a lot. There wasn't one thing that jumps out at me. I got up, they pressed us. They played coverage. They played Cover-2. Mixed it up all throughout the game."We just weren't able to get into a rhythm, get any guys going outside, so it limited us."While the rain itself may not have been a factor, the fear of a wet ball slipping on throws outside might have weighed heavily on Smith's mind, right?"The wind was a little more of a factor," said Smith, who completed 12 of 26 passes for 196 yards with the two TDs and a 97.6 passer rating.And this from Crabtree: "Nah, it wasn't no weather. The other side of the ball was catching the ball. They could throw."Indeed, Eli Manning threw 58 passes, completing 32, for 316 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. And Victor Cruz was targeted 17 times, catching 10 passes for 142 yards and giving 49ers cornerback Carlos Rogers the business all night.Be sure, though, Crabtree was not indignant. He seemed matter-of-fact about the whole thing, saying he was often double-teamed by the Giants."I mean, half the time you're not going to be open," he said. "That's why they call you a playmakerwhether or not they're rolling the safety, we've got to hit it."His lone reception came with less then six minutes left in regulation, getting the 49ers to the Giants' 7-yard line before David Akers' 25-yard field goal tied the game at 17-17 with 5:43 to play.So was Crabtree open more often than not?"I'm a receiver, man, I'm always going to feel like I'm open, even if there's somebody on me," he said. "Like I said, just give me a chance."

Kirk Cousins watches Kyle Shanahan's offense carve up Packers

Kirk Cousins watches Kyle Shanahan's offense carve up Packers

Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent. His uncertain status has led to speculation presumptive 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan will be interested in acquiring him in the offseason.

On Sunday, Cousins got a first-hand look at his former coach’s offense.

Cousins posted a photo on Instagram from the stands at the Georgia Dome, where the Atlanta Falcons and their high-octane offense blasted the Green Bay Packers, 44-21, in the NFC Championship game.

Cousins wrote the caption, “Watching two of the best in the world do what they do & taking notes to make it to this game next year -score a lot of points!”

Washington finished third in the NFC East and out of the playoffs with an 8-7-1 record.

Shanahan, the Falcons’ offensive coordinator, coached Cousins for the first two seasons of his NFL career with Washington on the staff of his father, Mike Shanahan. Cousins appeared in just eight games with four starts in 2012 and ’13.

Cousins' career has taken off in the past two seasons while starting all 32 regular-season games. He completed 67 percent of his passes this season with 25 touchdowns and 12 interceptions and a passer rating of 97.2.

Washington placed the franchise tag on Cousins this season at nearly $20 million. He franchise tag is expected to be approximately $24 million in 2017.

If Washington places the non-exclusive franchise tag on Cousins, a team could sign him to an offer sheet at the cost of two first-round draft picks or negotiate a trade with Washington for a lesser amount.

Conflicting reports over Tomsula to Washington

Conflicting reports over Tomsula to Washington

Former 49ers head coach Jim Tomsula reportedly might be back in the NFL after a one-year hiatus.

Tomsula, who spent his first eight NFL seasons as a defensive line coach, could be returning to that job with Washington, Carol Maloney of NBC4 reported on Sunday. But according to the Washington Post, a deal is not done between the two sides.

If the deal were to happen Tomsula would be rejoining Washington defensive coordinator Greg Manusky and general manager Scot McCloughan, both of whom he worked with while members of the 49ers organization.

Tomsula was promoted to the head-coaching job over finalist Adam Gase two years ago after the 49ers' “mututal parting” with coach Jim Harbaugh. Tomsula was fired after the 49ers went 5-11 in 2015. Chip Kelly was hired to replace Tomsula. Kelly was fired after the 49ers went 2-14, including a franchise-worst 13-game losing streak.