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."

Injury report: 49ers DL Dial sits out practice with elbow

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USATSI

Injury report: 49ers DL Dial sits out practice with elbow

SANTA CLARA – Defensive lineman Quinton Dial was held out of practice Wednesday due to an elbow that places his availability in question for the 49ers’ game Sunday against the New York Jets.

Dial returned to action on Sunday against the Chicago Bears after missing the previous game with neck and knee issues. Newly acquired defensive lineman Chris Jones started the past two games in place of Dial.

Outside linebacker Aaron Lynch continues to be hobbled with a high-ankle sprain. He has missed the past five games with the injury. Lynch took part in limited practice on Wednesday

49ERS PARTICIPATION REPORT
Did not practice
DT Quinton Dial (elbow)
Limited
DT Glenn Dorsey (knee)
RB Shaun Draughn (ribs)
LB Eli Harold (toe)
LB Aaron Lynch (ankle)
Full participation
DT Ronald Blair (hamstring)
C Daniel Kilgore (hamstring)

JETS PARTICIPATION REPORT
Did not practice
S Antonio Allen (concussion)
T Breno Giacomini (back, calf, shoulder)
C Nick Mangold (ankle)
WR Jalin Marshall (concussion)
LB Lorenzo Mauldin (ankle)
DT Steve McLendon (hamstring)
LB Julian Stanford (ankle)
DE Muhammad Wilkerson (ankle)
DE Leonard Williams (illness)
Limited
RB Matt Forte (knee, foot)
S Calvin Pryor (concussion)
Full participation
WR Brandon Marshall (knee, foot)
CB Nick Marshall (ankle)
CB Marcus Williams (ankle)

Marshall: Fuzzy memory of first meeting with Ward due to painkillers

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AP

Marshall: Fuzzy memory of first meeting with Ward due to painkillers

SANTA CLARA – Wide receiver Brandon Marshall supplied 49ers defensive back Jimmie Ward with the first learning experience of his NFL career early in his rookie season.

Ward has a vivid memory of the game – just his second in the NFL – and the three touchdowns passes Marshall caught on him to lead the Chicago Bears to a 28-20 victory over the 49ers in the first regular-season game played at Levi’s Stadium.

But Marshall, now a member of the New York Jets, admitted Wednesday to having a fuzzy recollection of that game due to painkillers he was prescribed in order to play in the game. Marshall, an 11-year NFL veteran, was in his third and final season with the Bears.

“Well, I don’t really remember much about that game because, uh, I worked really hard to get back from a high-ankle (sprain) . . . I don’t want to go there,” Marshall said, beginning to laugh on a conference call with Bay Area reporters.

“I’ll say it: I took a couple pain pills, so . . . I took a couple of pain pills to mask the pain. I really wasn’t supposed to play. I came back from a high ankle, you know, within 10 days. I was supposed to be out four-to-six weeks. So I don’t remember much from that game. I just remember catching those balls. That was pretty much it.”

Marshall was listed as questionable for the game. On the day of the game, ESPN reported, citing a source, that there was a "75 percent" chance neither Marshall nor Alshon Jeffery (hamstring) would play. Both receivers played in the game.

Marshall had five receptions for 48 yards with touchdown catches of 17, 5 and 3 yards while being matched in the slot against Ward, the 49ers’ first-round pick in that year’s draft. That game served as a study guide for Ward.

“Yeah, I watched it a lot,” Ward said. “It was my welcome-to-the-NFL game. Just looking forward to going against Brandon Marshall for the second time in my career.”

Ward will undoubtedly see plenty of Marshall on Sunday when the 49ers face the Jets on Sunday at Levi’s Stadium. Marshall may not remember much from facing Ward two seasons ago, but he said he has been impressed with what he sees on film.

“I think he’s really tough,” Marshall said. “He’s tough and he’s crafty and savvy. This is a guy that seems to really study the game and understands his opponent. If you go out there and give him the same release two or three times in a row, nine times out of 10, he’s going to get the best of you. We have to do a better job than him this week of studying film and trying to outwork him mentally.”

Marshall’s revelation that his memory of the 2014 game against the 49ers is clouded due to the use of painkillers comes at a time when Warriors coach Steve Kerr last week said on the Warriors Insider Podcast that he tried marijuana in hopes it would provide relief during the back issues that forced him to take a leave of absence of nearly four months.

“I’m not a pot person; it doesn’t agree with me,” Kerr told CSN Bay Area’s Monte Poole. “I’ve tried it a few times, and it did not agree with me at all. So I’m not the expert on this stuff. But I do know this: If you’re an NFL player, in particular, and you’ve got a lot of pain, I don’t think there is any question that pot is better for your body than Vicodin. And yet athletes everywhere are prescribed Vicodin like it’s Vitamin C, like it’s no big deal.”

When asked for his stance on whether the NFL should reconsider its position to include marijuana as a banned substance, Marshall received some direction from a Jets public-relations employee who could be heard in the background of the call saying that Marshall “knows better than that.”

But Marshall answered the question, saying that he wants to learn more about the subject.

“I do not have a stance on that," Marshall said. "That is something that I actually want to research more this offseason when I have time. I’m not a guy that knows about the benefits of what it can do for pain and other things. But I’d like to hear others’ opinions and really research the effects it can have on us -- positives and negatives.”