Giants look to keep their playoff hopes alive against the Dodgers

By:Phillip Torres

San Francisco- Coming into Monday night, the defending World Series Champion San Francisco Giants faced a six game deficit in the National League West Standings with just seven games left in the regular season. A single loss to the rival Los Angeles Dodgers in this four game series would result in San Francisco being eliminated from playoff contention.

Although the Giants have lost four straight to the division leading Dodgers, San Francisco has won all six meetings at China Basin this season. Los Angeles was out scored 22-6 in those meetings and were shutout in their last 36 innings at AT&T Park until the third inning on Monday night. The score was a lot closer in game one of this four game series.

Jake Peavy was on the mound for the Giants and was magnificent as he tossed seven innings of one run ball while allowing just three hits in the night. His counterpart, Zack Greinke, who is in the midst of a potential Cy Young Award winning season, was also stellar. Greinke allowed just two runs in seven innings pitched in an effort to try and help the Dodgers clinch the NL West title third consecutive season.

The Giants had other plans playing in front of their home crowd and 400th consecutive home sell out, which is the longest active streak in Major League Baseball. Rookie catcher Trevor Brown knocked in the Giants first two runs of the game in the second inning with a two out double giving Peavy an early lead to work with, but after a blown save in the ninth, the Dodgers forced extra innings.

The game went 12 innings before the Giants finally walked off victorious after a sacraficenfly by Alejandro De Aza.

The Giants 3-2 victory keeps their slim playoff hopes alive as they are now down five games with six to play. The hard fought victory on Monday night will be short lived for San Francisco as they will immediately turn their attention to tomorrow nights game against the reigning National League MVP and Cy Yound award winner Clayton Kershaw.

Kershaw (15-7) has a 2.25 ERA this season with 281 strikeouts and is also in the Cy Young talk for this season.

The Giants will match with NLCS and World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner. Bumgarner is looking for his career best 19th win of the season.

Game two of this series will be at 7:15 on Tuesday. The game can be viewed on CSN Bay Area.

49ers to host Cardinals in season finale

By: Phillip Torres

SANTA CLARA-The San Francisco 49ers (7-8) will host the Arizona Cardinals (11-4) on Sunday afternoon in the regular season finale. San Francisco is looking to avoid their first losing season since the 2010 campaign where they finished 6-10.  Arizona, on the other hand is looking to lock up the number one seed in the NFC Playoffs with a victory.

The 49ers are once again looking to play the role of spoiler by costing Arizona a first round bye in the playoffs. The Cardinals have already secured a playoff berth and are looking to get an extra week of rest and head straight to the divisional round of the playoffs. San Francisco could not get the job done last week as they blew a 28-7 lead to the playoff hopeful San Diego Chargers on Saturday night. The victory keeps the Chargers playoff hopes alive as they look to sneak into the AFC Playoffs via a Wild Card spot.

The 49ers loss on Saturday means that they will finish no better then 8-8 on the season.  San Francisco last finished with a .500 record in 2009 under head coach Mike Singletary. That was Singletary’s last full season as the head coach for the 49ers as he did not finish the 2010 season with the team.  Head coach Jim Harbaugh did not speak too much about the loss to San Diego, but backed up his players 100 percent.

“The young guys were out there battling. It was a tough loss. Give a lot of credit to San Diego,” said Harbaugh.

The feeling in the locker room was like no other for San Francisco. After playing such a great game offensively, the team seemed as if they were hit in the gut. The 49ers offense ran for over 350 yards in the 38-35 overtime loss to the Chargers.  Runningback Frank Gore finished with 158 yards on the ground, including a 55-yard touchdown run to open up the scoring. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick tallied up 151 rushing yards and ran himself into the records books with a 90-yard touchdown run to cap the scoring for San Francisco. The 90-yard scramble was the second longest touchdown run by quarterback in NFL history.  The team finished with a team record 355 yards on the ground, 335 of which came in regulation.

Despite the three interceptions, including one pick six by San Francisco, the 49ers defense still allowed 454 yards of total offense. Including 356 yards through the air by Philip Rivers and four touchdown passes. The defense could not hang onto a 28-7 second quarter lead, and looked completely over matched in the overtime frame.

Arizona will be playing for the division title and a shot to become the number one seed in the NFC. They would need a Seattle Seahawks loss to the St. Louis Rams. The Seahawks will be hosting the Rams at CenturyLink field. Kickoff for the 49ers v.s. Cardinals game will be at 1:25 PM.

49ers look to finish season strong

By: Phillip Torres

SANTA CLARA- The San Francisco 49ers (7-7) will host the San Diego Chargers (8-6) on Saturday night at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. The 49ers will look to play spoiler for the first time since head coach Jim Harbaugh joined the team in 2011. Last week San Francisco was officially eliminated from playoff contention with the loss to Seattle. The 49ers will now just look to finish the season with two consecutive wins to finish the disappointing season at 9-7.

San Diego is looking to make their second consecutive playoff appearance as they are tied for second place in the AFC West. They would need a lot of help to get into the tournament, but they still have postseason hopes. The Chargers are coming off of a 22-10 loss at the hands of the Denver Broncos, and are in the midst of a two game losing streak. Their last victory came on November 30 as they beat the Baltimore Ravens 34-33.

The 49ers are not playing any better currently, as they are skidding and in the middle of a three game losing streak. San Francisco’s last victory came on November 23 against the Washington Redskins. San Francisco finds themselves in an unfamiliar place this week. They will being playing in a game that essentially does not mean anything for them. With the loss to the Seahawks on Sunday, the 49ers were eliminated from playoff contention. The last time the 49ers did not make the playoffs was in 2010.

With what has been a roller coaster season so far, the saga for the 49ers continued on Wednesday. Defensive end Ray McDonald was released after a sexual assault issue was brought up on Wednesday. With the release of McDonald, Tank Carradine is expected to start the remaining tow games. Carradine is excited for the opportunity that is presented as he looks to win a starting job for 2015.

Other drama that is surfacing the 49ers is the fact that the University Michigan has reportedly offered Jim Harbaugh a six year $49 million contract. Michigan is Harbaugh’s alma mater and they have shown significant interest in the 49ers head coach throughout the season. Harbaugh has said all season that his focus is on the season with San Francisco and nothing else. But, with just two games remaining in the 2014 regular season and Harbaugh’s future with the Red and Gold in doubt, the offer from Michigan makes sense.

San Francisco will finish off the season at home. The next two games will be against San Diego on Saturday, and the Arizona Cardinals next Sunday. Arizona has already clinched a playoff spot but will be looking to secure the number one seed. The Cardinals will face Seattle this week. A victory for the 49ers on Saturday will put them back over the .500 mark. at 7-7, this will be the first season that San Francisco will not finish with at least 11 wins under Harbaugh. Kickoff On Saturday will be at 5:30.

49ers and Raiders clash in the Battle of the Bay

By: Phillip Torres

SANTA CLARA-The San Francisco 49ers (7-5) will face Bay Area their Bay Area rival, Oakland Raiders (1-11) on Sunday in Oakland, CA. This is one of San Francisco’s last road games of the regular season, and the first of back to back road games. After the Raiders game, the team will get set to face the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink field on December 14th.

Sunday will mark the heated Bay Area rivalry between two teams that hate each other. The Bay Area rivlas face each other only once every four years. It used to be that they played every year during the preseason, but there were too many fights that occurred during the games, that they no longer see each other during the exhibition season. Coliseum has promised extra security for the game. There was a lot of speculation when the schedule first came out that the NFL would make this game the Raiders home game in London. That way there would not be that sense of urgency and tense friction between Raider and 49er fans in the same vicinity. Nevertheless, the game will be played in Oakland, where fans of both Bay Area teams will clash on Sunday before they see one another again in 2018.

This game from a fans point of few is all about the bragging rights. The Battle of the Bay is like the Superbowl for Bay Area sport’s fans. The two teams only face each other once every four years, so it is a big deal, no matter what the records are for both teams. The 49ers are looking to make a fourth consecutive trip to the playoffs, and the Raiders just trying to avoid the title, of the worst team in the NFL.

For San Francisco, it is a must win game. In fact every game from here on out is a must win for the 49ers, as they look to keep pace in the tough NFC Conference. There many teams with the same 7-5 record, and many with an even better 8-4 record. One more loss would figure to eliminate the team that has been to the NFC Championship game for the past three seasons.

Meanwhile, for Oakland, they are trying to play the role of spoiler. Coming off of an embarrassing 52-0 loss at the hands of the St. Louis Rams, the Raiders are just trying to avoid a 1-15 finish to the season, with just four games left to play. Rookie quarterback Derek Carr has been one of the few bright spots to the Raiders season as he is looking more and more like the quarterback of the future for the silver and black. Fellow rookie outside linebacker Khalil Mack is also looking like he can be a good pass rusher for years to come.

The good news for Oakland coming into Sunday is that they will be getting runningback Latavius Murray back. The power runningback was cleared on Wednesday for Sunday’s game after sitting out last Sunday’s game with a concussion. Murray was the main reason why Oakland beat the Kansas City Chiefs in week 12. Murray ran for 112 yards and two touchdowns on just four carries.

The red and gold have been carried by their stout defense, which ranks second overall in the league. The 49ers offense is what has been preventing them from being the dominant team that they have been for the past three seasons. San Francisco’s offensive coordinator Greg Roman has been criticized for his play calling and the lack of performance from the offense. It has even got to a point where the daughter of general manager Trent Baalke, tweeted “Greg Roman can take a hike..the 49ers don’t want you no more.”

The 49ers are tied for 25th at 19.3 points per game. That is 6.1 fewer and 14 spots lower than last season. They have been held to under 100 rushing yards in five of the last seven games. Fullback Bruce Miller had this to say about the struggling offense, “It’s a very prideful group here, as a team, as an offense we want to perform better, whatever that takes.”

A key reason as to why the 49ers offense is sputtering is because of the disappearance of All-Pro tightend Vernon Davis. Davis, who is coming off of a season in which he totaled 52 receptions for 850 yards and 13 touchdowns. He is the only tightend in NFL history to record two season with double digit touchdowns. The future Hall of Famer has just 23 receptions for 210 yards and two touchdowns in 2014.

Kickoff for the Battle of the Bay will be at 1:25 p.m.

49ers and Seahawks meet for Thanksgiving date

By: Phillip Torres

SANTA CLARA-The San Francisco 49ers (7-4) are set to host the Seattle Seahawks (7-4) on Thanksgiving Night. The date between the two division rivals is the first of the season. The playoff hopefuls will then see each other again just 17 days later in Seattle. The meeting on Thursday Night is huge for both teams.

Both teams come into the game at 7-4 and just two games back of the first place Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals will be hosted by the Atlanta Falcons (4-7) on Sunday. On paper Arizona is the clear favorite to win the ballgame, but Matt Ryan has great numbers when playing at his home field. So, the winner between San Francisco and Seattle could possibly be just one game back in the division after Sunday.

The 49ers are coming off of a game where it was a must win against the Washington Redskins (3-8) on Sunday. The defense of the Red and Gold came up big once again with another sensational performance. Robert Griffin III was sacked five times, twice by Aldon Smith. The two sacks by Smith now give him career 44 sacks in 44 career games. Justin Smith recorded the fifth and final sack of Griffin inside the last minute of the game forcing a fumble that fell into the arms of Ahmad Brooks. Chris Borland also led the team with eight tackles, two of which went for a loss.

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick has thrown touchdown pass in 18 consecutive games, tying Hall of Famer Steve Young for the longest streak in that category in 49ers franchise history. The dual threat quarterback will look to continue his fine season with a huge win against Seattle and add to his total of 15 touchdown tosses this season. His go to target this season is yet again, Anquan Blodin. Boldin needs to record 175 yards to earn his second 1,000 yard receiving season with San Francisco in as many years.

The Red and Gold will play three of their remaining five games at home this season. One of those two away games will also be played in Oakland, CA, just down the freeway. That means San Francisco will only have to travel one more time during the regular season, and that is in two weeks when they make the short trip to Seattle to face the Seahawks at CenturyLink Field. The 49ers are 3-2 at Levi’s Stadium this season.

Kickoff between the 49ers and the Seahawks this Thursday will be at 5:30 pm.

San Francisco seeks third straight win against Washington

By: Phillip Torres

SANTA CLARA- The San Francisco 49ers (6-4) will host the Washington Redskins (3-7) on Sunday at Levi’s Stadium. The 49ers are seeking their third consecutive victory as they are coming off of two great defenses performances. Last week against the New York Giants, the 49ers defense forced five turnovers, all via the way of interception. San Francisco’s defense held the Giants to just 10 points on the afternoon.

The 49ers have forced eight turnovers in the past two games and despite all of the defensive shuffling that has occurred this season, San Francisco has the second ranked defense in the league. With Aldon Smith’s return last week, and rookie linebacker Chris Borland’s emergence, the 49ers defense has not skipped a beat. Although he did not record a sack in his Week 10 return, Smith made his presence felt on the field at MetLife Stadium against Eli Manning and the Giants. The pressure he put on the quarterback was known and he cleared the way for the rookie pass rusher Aaron Lynch to get to Manning.

Borland was named the NFC’s defensive player of the week after another sensation performance against New York. Borland recorded 13 tackles and became just the second 49ers linebacker in 40 years with two interceptions in one game. The rookie has 47 tackles in the month of November; 11 more than anyone else in the league.

Despite All-Pro linebacker Patrick Willis being lost for the season, it looks like the 49ers defense will be getting healthier very soon. Nose tackle Glenn Dorsey was activated earlier this week after a torn biceps on August first. Also, fellow All-Pro linebacker NaVorro Bowman returned to practice nearly 10 months after suffering a devastating injury knee injury and broken leg in the NFC Championship game against the Seattle Seahawks in January.

This is a big game for Jim Harbaugh and San Francisco as they look to improve to 7-4 before they host Seattle on Thanksgiving night. After Sunday the Giants will face rival Seattle twice within in a span of 18 days. San Francisco and Seattle know how big the match ups are between them because with the 9-1 Arizona Cardinals sitting atop the NFC West, there might not be room for the two division foes in the 2014 playoffs. There are also four teams in the NFC East and North sitting at 7-3 coming into week 11.

Robert Griffin III and the Redskins are coming off of a 27-7 loss at the hands of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Washington has averaged just 13 points per game when RG3 has been under center. The Redskins have put up nearly 11 more points in the games where Griffin has either not started or finished.

49ers face Giants after big win in New Orleans

By: Phillip Torres

SANTA CLARA- The San Francisco 49ers (5-4) will be hosted by the New York Giants (3-6) on Sunday at MetLife Stadium. The 49ers are coming off a huge 27-24 victory over the New Orleans Saints last week. The Giants are coming off of a big 38-17 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, a game in which the led for a while, but Seattle came roaring back to win it by a wide margin. The 49ers victory put them a game over .500 and perhaps saved their season.

San Francisco was on the verge of going 4-5 with a loss to the Saints. Statistics show that teams that start the season 4-5 only make the playoffs 13% of the time. While 5-4 teams have an extremely higher percentage of getting into the tournament. The win helps the 49ers keep pace in the tough NFC West Division with the Arizona Cardinals and the Seahawks. Both teams won on Sunday, and Arizona improved its NFL best record to 8-1.

The Red and Gold received both good and bad news this week that will impact their game plan for the rest of the season. The bad news is that All Pro linebacker Patrick was put on the season ending injured reserve list because of his toe. Willis is set to have surgery on the toe sometime next week. The good news is that San Francisco will be getting one of their All Pro linebackers back. Aldon Smith was officially reinstated by the NFL on Tuesday after a nine game suspension for substance abuse.

Some other notable game notes for this upcoming Sunday is that cornerback Tramaine Brock will miss yet another game this season. He has offically been ruled out for the Giants game. Brock has been in limited action this season because of multiple injuries. The 49ers leader in interceptions a year ago was named the number one corner coming into the season, that role has since been claimed by the man who took over for Brock after his week one injury in Dallas, Perrish Cox. Cox leads the team with four interceptions thus far this season.

Rookie linebacker Chris Borland will remain the starting middle linebacker in place of Willis for the rest of the season. Borland has made a huge impact in his first two career starts recording 35 tackles between the two contests. He’s the first 49ers rookie linebacker to record back to back 10 tackle games since Patrick Willis back in 2007. Borland provides the San Francisco defense with a spark and his hustle will only rub off in a positive way for Vic Fangio and his defense.

Every game right now feels like a must win game for Jim Harbaugh and his 49ers. Being in the division that they are in, they cannot afford to lose any games that they are supposed to win. With San Francisco facing the Giants on Sunday, the Cardinals (8-1) will host the Detroit Lions (7-2) and the Seahawks (6-3) will be hosted by the Kansas City Chiefs (6-3).

Kickoff from MetLife Stadium will be at 10:00 A.M Pacific Standard Time.

San Francisco visit New Orleans in important match up

By: Phillip Torres

SANTA CLARA- The San Francisco 49ers (4-4) will visit the New Orleans Saints (4-4) on Sunday afternoon. The game is between two teams that feel as if they should both be better than 4-4 on the season. San Francisco and New Orleans both had high expectations coming into the season and a .500 record is not what both respective teams expected.

The 49ers are coming off of a very disappointing 13-10 loss to the St. Louis Rams on Sunday. Coming out of a Bye Week and playing a sub par team in the Rams, the 49ers were expected to blow the Rams right out of Santa Clara. The offense struggled to move the ball throughout the game and the offensive line had its worst game in years. The O-Line allowed eight sacks of Colin Kaepernick in the game and they could not get the running game going.

Kaepernick was being hit all day long, and this brings the question Why was a quarterback sneak the call to try and win the game in the fourth quarter? With 19 seconds remaining in the game and the ball at the one yard line and a third and one play, Colin Kaepernick fumbles the ball at the goal line, only to be recovered by the Rams in the endzone for a touchback. The safer option would have been to give it to the bell cow in runningback Frank Gore, and then call a timeout if the veteran could not punch it in.

If Gore would have been stopped, the 49ers could have still gone for the field goal attempt, to send the game into Overtime. Although, replays show that Kaepernick broke the plane with the ball, the play was not overruled, and the Rams took a final kneel down to secure their third win of the season.

After the loss, head coach Jim Harbaugh said, “We’re going to take action to improve and to move on to the next ballgame.”

The Saints however are coming off of a 28-0 shutout over the Carolina Panthers on Thursday Night Football. The 49ers are catching the Saints at the wrong time as they coming off of two big wins against two tough opponents. The victory over Carolina and a 44-23 triumph over the Green Bay Packers just two weeks ago. The Saints will also be rested as they will go into Sunday with not having played a game in 10 days.

New Orleans is always a tough feat at home. Three of the Saints four victories this season have been at home. But, the match up seems to be fair on paper as the 49ers third ranked pass defense will be going up against the Saints third ranked passing offense. Only the game will tell how these statistics will fare on Sunday.

One thing that we do know is certain is that All Pro linebacker Aldon Smith will not be back a week early from his suspension. Smith could have been a huge asset to try and pressure quarterback Drew Brees as the 49ers pass rush has not showed up thus far, halfway into the season. Fellow linebacker Patrick Willis will be a game time decision as he tries to return from a toe injury that was sustained in week six at St. Louis. Cornerback Tramaine Brock will also be a game time decision for San Francisco. Brock was limited in practice on Wednesday.

Kickoff will be at 10:00 A.M. Pacific Time at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

San Francisco looks to come out of Bye week strong

By: Phillip Torres

SANTA CLARA- The San Francisco 49ers (4-3) will host the St. Louis Rams (2-5) on Sunday in Santa Clara at Levi’s Stadium. The 49ers are coming off of a well needed Bye week as they look to rebound from the embarrassing 42-17 loss to the Denver Broncos in week seven.

The Bye Week for the 49ers came at a perfect time as they were in need of a break so that they can get healthy again. Patrick Wills sat out of the game in Denver with an injury to his toe, and starting center Daniel Kilgore was lost for the season to a broken leg. This opens up an opportunity for rookie Marcus Martin to get his first starting experience in the NFL.

Quarterback Collin Kaepernick will look to have another great outing against the Rams. In week six the dual threat quarterback torched St. Louis for 343 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Kaepernick would have had three if it were not for a miss communication between tight ends Vernon Davis and Vance McDonald. The 49ers need a strong dominating performance for a confidence boost.

Sitting at 4-3 in second place in the NFC West is not where the 49ers thought they would be this time of the year. The Arizona Cardinals sit atop the division at 6-1 and the 49ers have a lot of work to do to catch them. The Seattle Seahawks are coming off of an ugly win over the Carolina Panthers to improve to 4-3 as well as they are tied with the 49ers for second in the division. These two teams will meet for the first time this season on Thanksgiving.

The 49ers need to play consistent football if they plan on overcoming Arizona and winning the division. Aid is on the way as linebacker Aldon Smith could be back as early as next week. If his suspension is reduced from nine games, then he would be back next week against the Saints in New Orleans. Linebacker NaVarro Bowmen is also expected back a little sooner rather than later. Bowmen is on the fast track to recovering from the broken leg that he suffered in the NFC Championship Game is Seattle in January.

Bye Week could not come sooner for 49ers

By: Phillip Torres

SANTA CLARA- The San Francisco 49ers (4-3) are entering their bye week at the perfect time. After a 42-17 loss to the Denver Broncos (5-1) on Sunday Night Football, San Francisco needs a short break to get healthy. The 49ers were beat up going into their week seven matchup and it showed in the defeat.

All Pro linebacker Patrick Willis was the newest 49er unable to suit up for a game this season. The seven time pro bowler was inactive due to a toe injury suffered in the 31-17 victory in St. Louis over the Rams. With Willis inactive, the lone starting linebacker from the original four was Ahmad Brooks. Chris Borland got his first NFL start in Denver and played fairly well.

The bye week will allow Willis to regroup and be ready to play when the Niners will host the Rams at Levis Stadium in week nine. It also provides ti me for the other injured 49ers can rest up and heal. Despite playing in his first game since week one, starting cornerback Tramaine Brock made his return to the field against Peyton Manning and his high powered offense.

Brock was picked on all night long and gave up a few big catches, one for a touchdown. Peyton Manning set a new record for most passing touchdowns on the night as well as he threw for four scores and ended the night with a career total of 510 touchdown passes. He passed future Hall of Famer Brett Favre, who threw for 508 in his great career.

In the game, the 49ers also suffered another huge loss. Starting center Daniel Kilgore suffered a broken leg and will miss the remainder of the season. Coach Jim Harbaugh stated the rookie Marcus Martin will get practice with the first team for the next few weeks and will get his first NFL start in week nine against the Rams.

Reassurance is also on the way on the defensive side. Sources say that All Pro linebacker Aldon Smith might have his suspension reduced due to good behavior. Smith was originally suspended for nine games by the NFL, but might be able to return as soon as week nine. Although Harbaugh has not yet confirmed, the rumor is floating around all over social media.