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NFL icon passes away at age 69

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NFL icon passes away at age 69

From Comcast SportsNetNEW YORK (AP) -- With the eye of an art history major, Steve Sabol filmed the NFL as a ballet and blockbuster movie all in one.Half of the father-son team that revolutionized sports broadcasting, the NFL Films president died Tuesday of brain cancer at age 69 in Moorestown, N.J. He leaves behind a league bigger than ever, its fans enthralled by the plot twists and characters he so deftly chronicled."Steve Sabol was the creative genius behind the remarkable work of NFL Films," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement from the league confirming Sabol's death. "Steve's passion for football was matched by his incredible talent and energy. Steve's legacy will be part of the NFL forever. He was a major contributor to the success of the NFL, a man who changed the way we look at football and sports, and a great friend."Sabol was diagnosed with a tumor on the left side of his brain after being hospitalized for a seizure in March 2011.When Ed Sabol founded NFL Films, his son was there working beside him as a cinematographer right from the start in 1964. They introduced a series of innovations taken for granted today, from super slow-motion replays to blooper reels to sticking microphones on coaches and players. And they hired the "Voice of God," John Facenda, to read lyrical descriptions in solemn tones.Until he landed the rights to chronicle the 1962 NFL championship game, Ed Sabol's only experience filming sports was recording the action at Steve's high school football games in Philadelphia."We see the game as art as much as sport," Steve Sabol told The Associated Press before his father was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame last year. "That helped us nurture not only the game's traditions but to develop its mythology: America's Team, The Catch, The Frozen Tundra."The two were honored with the Lifetime Achievement Emmy from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in 2003. In his career, Steve Sabol won 35 Emmys for writing, cinematography, editing, directing and producing -- no one else had ever earned that many in as many different categories."Steve Sabol leaves a lasting impact on the National Football League that will be felt for a long time to come," NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith said. "His vision and innovation helped make him a pioneer the likes of which the NFL has never seen before and won't see again."He was the perfect fit for the job: an all-Rocky Mountain Conference running back at Colorado College majoring in art history. It was Sabol who later wrote of the Raiders, "The autumn wind is a pirate, blustering in from sea," words immortalized by Facenda.The Sabols' advances included everything from reverse angle replays to filming pregame locker room speeches to setting highlights to pop music."Today of course those techniques are so common it's hard to imagine just how radical they once were," Steve told the AP last year. "Believe me, it wasn't always easy getting people to accept them, but I think it was worth the effort."His efforts extended beyond his work as a producer, including appearances on screen and in public to promote NFL Films' mission.An accomplished collage artist, Sabol exhibited at the ArtExpo in New York, the Avant Gallery in Miami, the Govinda Gallery in Washington, the Milan Gallery in Fort Worth, Texas, and the Garth Davidson Gallery in Moorestown, N.J."Steve was a legend in this business -- a dynamic, innovative leader who made NFL Films the creative force it is today," ESPN President John Skipper said. "The work he and his dedicated and talented team create every day is one of the many reasons why so many more fans love the game of football today."Sabol is survived by his wife, Penny; his son, Casey; his parents, Audrey and Ed; and his sister, Blair. The NFL said there would be a private funeral.

49ers snap count: Hyde's hip injury does not slow him down

49ers snap count: Hyde's hip injury does not slow him down

SANTA CLARA – Running back Carlos Hyde left the game Thursday night in the first quarter with a hip injury. At the time, the 49ers announced he was questionable to return.

But there was nothing questionable about Hyde’s effort, as he was in and out of the lineup in the first half before playing almost all of the second half. Hyde played 61 of the 49ers’ 82 offensive plays (including snaps nullified by penalties) in the team’s 41-39 loss to the Los Angeles Rams at Levi’s Stadium.

“I knew that it was going to be tough coming into this game,” said Hyde, who gained 84 difficult yards and two touchdowns on 25 rushing attempts.

“I didn’t expect anything less from the Rams. They always play us tough, especially in the run game. I knew that it would take the extra effort to get 1 or 2 yards extra to move the chains.”

Afterward Hyde appeared to be fine though he got a lot of attention from the 49ers’ medical staff early in the game. He exited after his third rushing attempt, landing on his left side on back-to-back plays on which he gained 20 and 3 yards.

“I landed weird on my oblique,” Hyde said. “And it got sore on me. But as I kept playing, the better it felt. When I went to the sideline, that’s when I felt it. When I was in the game, I didn’t feel it at all.”

Hyde said the injury was a bruise and not any kind of muscle strain.

Four of Hyde’s teammates, however, did not return after sustaining injuries:

--Fullback Kyle Juszczyk sustained what the club initially described as a neck injury, as he appeared shaken up after back-to-back plays on which he blocked at the goal line for Hyde in the third quarter. He was later diagnosed with a concussion.

--Safety Jaquiski Tartt was injured late in the third quarter after combining for a tackle on Rams receiver Robert Woods 25 yards down the field. His teammate, defensive lineman Earl Mitchell, inadvertently kneed Tartt in the head as he pursued the play. Tartt was immediately taken to the locker room and diagnosed with a concussion.

--Backup linebacker and core special-teams player Brock Coyle was also diagnosed with a concussion in the second half. Coyle, Juszczyk and Tartt are now in the NFL concussion protocol. The 49ers return to action Oct. 1 at the Arizona Cardinals.

--Defensive lineman Tank Carradine had a difficult time walking on his own as he left the stadium with an orthopedic boot on his right foot. Carradine sustained an ankle sprain early in the fourth quarter and did not return to action.

Here is a look at the 49ers’ playing time on offense, defense and special teams:

OFFENSE
(82 plays)
Quarterback – Brian Hoyer 82
Running back – Carlos Hyde 61, Kyle Juszczyk 26, Matt Breida 16, Raheem Mostert 8
Wide receiver – Pierre Garçon 69, Marquise Goodwin 59, Trent Taylor 39, Aldrick Robinson 27, Victor Bolden 2
Tight end – George Kittle 39, Garrett Celek 36, Logan Paulsen 27
Offensive line – Joe Staley 82, Trent Brown 82, Daniel Kilgore 82, Brandon Fusco 82, Laken Tomlinson 82, Garry Gilliam 1

DEFENSE
(67 plays)
Defensive line – DeForest Buckner 61, Arik Armstead 55, Earl Mitchell 50, Solomon Thomas 38, Tank Carradine 29, Aaron Lynch 14, D.J. Jones 13, Elvis Dumervil 10
Linebacker – NaVorro Bowman 67, Ray-Ray Armstrong 66, Eli Harold 26, Brock Coyle 2
Cornerback – Dontae Johnson 65, Rashard Robinson 65, K’Waun Williams 42
Safety – Jimmie Ward 67, Jaquiski Tartt 48, Lorenzo Jerome 19

SPECIAL TEAMS
(34 plays)
Dekoda Watson 28, Elijah Lee 21, Celek 21, Mostert 21, Adrian Colbert 20, Asa Jackson 19, Coyle 18, Harold 18, Jerome 18, Bolden 17, Bradley Pinion 16, Paulsen 16, Johnson 14, Breida 11, Kyle Nelson 9, R.Robinson 9, Robbie Gould 7, Buckner 7, Armstead 7, Mitchell 7, Tartt 7, Ward 7, Zane Beadles 6, Staley 6, Kilgore, 6, Fusco 6, Brown 6, Carradine 6, Gilliam 6, Armstrong 3, A.Robinson 3, Bowman 2, Jones 2, Juszczyk 2, Taylor 1, Thomas 1

DID NOT PLAY
QB C.J. Beathard

INACTIVE
WR Kendrick Bourne
CB Ahkello Witherspoon
DB Eric Reid (knee)
LB Pita Taumoepenu
LB Reuben Foster (ankle)
OL Erik Magnuson
DL Xavier Cooper

The three things you need to know from 49ers' 41-39 loss vs Rams

The three things you need to know from 49ers' 41-39 loss vs Rams

SANTA CLARA -- Three things you need to know about the 49ers’ 41-39 loss to the Los Angeles Rams in Week 3 on Thursday night:

1. The offense is alive
It was a rough start for quarterback Brian Hoyer. His interception on the first pass attempt of the game was exactly how the team did not want to see him bounce back from a horrendous offensive showing against Seattle.

But Hoyer rebounded with a more-than respectable performance after his interception led to the Rams' first touchdown -- just 12 seconds into the game. Hoyer completed 23 of 37 for 332 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Still, everything is not running smoothly with the passing game. The receivers do not always seem to be running crisp routes. Hoyer is not putting his passes in great spots. And the receivers have far too many drops.

But with Carlos Hyde running hard – 84 yards and two touchdowns on 25 attempts – and the passing game showing some signs of life, the offense under coach Kyle Shanahan should get better and better.

2. Defensive letdown
The defense is the side of the ball that was supposed to carry the 49ers. And after solid showings in the first two games of the season, the defense failed to hold up its end of the bargain against a vastly improved Rams offense.

Again, the 49ers did not supply much of a pass rush. The run defense was pretty good for most of the game, but Jared Goff picked the 49ers apart because he has time to wait for his talented receiving corps of Robert Woods and Sammy Watkins to get open against the 49ers’ over-stressed secondary.

Third downs have killed the 49ers’ defense. The unit simply cannot get off the field in crucial situations. The Rams were successful on eight of their 12 plays on third downs. The defense has to find a level of consistency. And they are clearly missing rookie linebacker Reuben Foster, who has not played since the opening 11 plays of the opener due to a high ankle sprain.

3. Time to recover
The 49ers have a long week, and that comes at a good time with fullback Kyle Juszczyk, safety Jaquiski Tartt and linebacker Brock Coyle in the NFL’s concussion protocol after sustaining injuries in the second half.

Juszczyk appeared to be shaken up when he went head-to-head with Rams safety Mark Barron as a lead blocker on a third-down run play for Hyde. He was slow to get up but remained on the field for the fourth-down play. He made a block on Hyde’s 1-yard touchdown run, and again was slow to get up. He did not return to action due to a concussion.

Defensive lineman Tank Carradine sustained a right ankle sprain early in the fourth quarter and did not return. He left the locker room walking slowly while wearing an orthopedic boot after the game.

The 49ers return to action Oct. 1 at the Arizona Cardinals. The 49ers must get some of their players back in order to have any hope of avoiding an 0-4 start, including getting swept in their first round through the NFC West.