Legends send off Candlestick

By: Phillip Torres

SAN FRANCISCO-On Saturday night the Legends and All Stars came together to send away Candlestick Park. Former San Francisco 49ers legends such as Joe Montana, Steve Young, Jeff Garcia, Jerry Rice, and many more showed up to play in the last ever game at “The Stick”.

Perhaps the most important person playing on the field was Eddie D. Bartolo. The man who is forever connected to the San Francisco 49ers. The heart and sole of the Franchise caught the game winning touchdown from 49ers legend Joe Montana.

The legends beat the All Stars 45-40 in the last game ever at Candlestick Park. The Stick concluded with a great send off to over 40 plus years of games.

49ers provide the big finish in the final game at Candlestick

By Morris Phillips

Like many of the truly great football games played at Candlestick Park over the years, this one was contentious and very much in doubt late in the fourth quarter.

And like all those great games of the past, someone in a red jersey and gold helmet made a game-winning play just as NaVorro Bowman did on Monday night.

The 49ers saved their best for last in the final regular season game at Candlestick, beating the Falcons, 34-24, in large part due to Bowman’s interception and 89-yard return for a touchdown with Atlanta driving for the winning score with less than two minutes remaining.

“(Bowman and Falcon Harry Douglas) were both going to the spot and the ball bounced up and that was a play that changed the game,” Falcons Coach Mike Smith recounted.

“The Catch is ‘The Catch.’  There will never be another catch, but this was a great moment,” Coach Jim Harbaugh said.

On a night that was preordained to be 49ers, start to finish, the Falcons obviously were presented a different script.  The NFC finalists from a year ago came in limping with a 4-10 record but they switched to a strut for much of the first half, and more significantly, late in the fourth quarter.

The Falcons led at the half, 10-3.   Then after the 49ers responded with 17 straight points, capped by Colin Kaepernick’s 4-yard touchdown run, the Falcons came up with two fourth quarter scores and an improbable recovery of Matt Bryant’s onside kick.  That set up the big finish with Atlanta driving deep in 49ers’ territory, trailing 27-24.

Falcons’ quarterback Matt Ryan attempted to squeeze in a pass to Douglas on a slant but the Atlanta tight end was immediately engaged with 49ers’ nickel back Tramaine Brock who fought Douglas for the ball until it popped up and free and into the hands of Bowman, who was closing in to make a tackle.

Bowman then turned on the jets, accompanied by Patrick Willis and Eric Reid, on a race down the sideline that ended with the All-Pro linebacker airborne into the end zone with the likely final touchdown at the 54-year old stadium.

“I was excited, it was an amazing play by T. Brock and Bowman,” Kaepernick said.  “For him to finish it out that way, it was great.”

While Bowman finished off the Falcons, Kaepernick started the process with one of his best running and passing performances of the season.  Kap finished 13 for 21 and 197 yards through the air, but his six carries for 51 yards sparked the 49ers’ second half rally.   The third-year quarterback also energized Michael Crabtree, who had his best outing since returning from the Achilles injury with five catches for 102 yards.

Crabtree’s 47-yard catch and run highlighted the 49ers’ opening drive of the second half that ended with Kaepernick connecting with Anquan Boldin on a 10-yard pass and score.

The 49ers (11-4) clinched a wild card berth with the win, but with the Seahawks losing to Arizona over the weekend, the 49ers remain alive for the NFC West title and the NFC’s No. 1 seed.  The unlikely path to the division crown would require that Seattle loses its home finale to the Rams, while the 49ers beat the Cardinals in Glendale, Arizona.

The 49ers will have to be wary of a loud and boisterous crowd in Arizona with the Cardinals still clinging to slim playoff hopes themselves.   Arizona would need to beat the 49ers while seeing the Saints lose their home finale to the Buccaneers.  The NFL has manufactured additional drama by scheduling the Saints game in the afternoon window at the same time as the 49ers-Cardinals game.

The all–to–sudden final football game at Candlestick Park came with plenty of ceremony courtesy of appearances by Steve Young, Jerry Rice, Terrell Owens, Bubba Paris, Dwight Clark and Giants’ legends Wille McCovey and Willie Mays as well.  ESPN’s Chris Berman hosted a 15-minute post-game celebration that ended with a singing appearance by Philadelphia singing group Boyz II Men.Image

49ers report: Team gets ready to bid fond adieu to 55 yr old Candlestick Park

by David Zizmor

SANTA CLARA–The last game ever at Candlestick Park this coming Monday night will feature a lot of pomp and circumstance as the 49ers close out the old park with the Atlanta Falcons. You will see a lot of superstars coming to bid the old park goodbye which includes Jerry Rice, Joe Montana, Dwight Clark, Eddie DeBartolo Jr, Steve Young, just about everybody you could think of whose still alive and kicking. There’s a rumor that some former baseball Giants might come out and say goodbye to the old place too.

So anyone that had anything positive to do with the park over the years will be at Candlestick to celebrate the final game of this old and crumbling stadium before the 49ers move down to Levis Stadium down in Santa Clara. It’s been a long run for Candlestick it’s not the greatest stadium and anyone whose been there knows it’s past it’s prime. Even in it’s prime I wouldn’t call it a great stadium it was always a hulking mass.

It’s way too cold and way too hard to get to it’s one of those places that you like it because but it’s not a Soldier Field in Chicago or a Lambeau Field in Green Bay. Fans are going to miss it but they also look forward to going to their new stadium in Santa Clara they’re kind of crossing their fingers that it will have the same impact that it did like AT&T Park had in the city for the Giants when they moved at the end of the 1999 season.

When the Giants moved to AT&T Park pretty much everybody agreed that AT&T is one of the top stadiums in baseball and hopefully the 49ers new stadium will have an equal impact and it will be like as much as AT&T Park that’s kind of the gold standard. It will be sad to see it go.

Fans have a lot of memories there I first met Lee Leonard at that stadium so it’s even historical for Sportstalk radio we had our moments there. Good times, good memories but it’s time to move from Candelstick before it crumbles to the ground and the next time we talk about it is when they blow it up which everybody would like to go and see that because it’s going to be really cool.

49ers and Falcons preview: The Falcons have a lousy record but they might be better than what their record reflects. The Niners look really good, they got the running game going and Tampa had a good running defense last Sunday so that’s a good sign for San Francisco.

49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been in more control than he has in the last several weeks even in the win against Seattle this game was the best that Kaepernick has had in throwing against Tampa in five or six weeks. You also saw the defense playing well as it always has. This game coming up against Atlanta should be an interesting one.

First of all the Niners are playing the Falcons the team they beat to get into the NFC Championship game last season
but the fortunes have switched the Niners are still a very good team. The Falcons have an awful record this year they’ve been just sent reeling this year the bottom line is Atlanta has suffered a series really bad injuries and as a result they’re 4-10 so there’s no chance the Falcons are going to the playoffs. The Niners should have this game handled on Monday Night hands down.

David Zizmor covers the NFL for Sportstalk Radio

San Francisco and Seattle rivalry continues

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - DECEMBER 08: Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers scrambling with the ball gets grabbed by his jersey from Bobby Wagner #54 of the Seattle Seahawks during the first quarter at Candlestick Park on December 8, 2013 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – DECEMBER 08: Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers scrambling with the ball gets grabbed by his jersey from Bobby Wagner #54 of the Seattle Seahawks during the first quarter at Candlestick Park on December 8, 2013 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

By: Phillip Torres and Kahlil Najar

SAN FRANCISCO- The San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks have developed a huge rivalry over the years, but it has never been as fierce as it is right now. These two power house teams met for the first time on September 26, 1976 that resulted in a 37-21 victory for San Francisco in Seattle.

Before the 49ers 19-17 victory on Sunday at Candlestick Park, Seattle lead the series record 15-14. With the triumph on Sunday San Francisco evened the series at 15-15 through their first 30 meetings. As expected, each team has a better overall record against their rival at their home field. San Francisco improves to 8-6 at The Stick while Seattle has a 9-7 record at the very loud CenturyLink Field.

The 49ers victory improved their second best home divisional record to 14-0-1, only behind the 14-0 home divisional record of the New England Patriots. San Francisco has not lost to Seattle at home in over five years. Both teams acknowledge the rivalry that is forming between these two NFC West foes, and they know that it will not be leaving anytime soon.

“I wouldn’t say I enjoy it, but you have to be tough. This game is only for the tough.” Jim Harbaugh said of the rivalry with the Seahawks.

Linebacker NaVarro Bowman stated, “I love it, I love it. I love the rivalry. Both teams are very physical and that’s what football is all about.”

Seahawks tight end Zach Miller said when asked about the rivalry, “Anytime it seems like when we play it is always a tough hard-nosed football game, real physical.”

The win for the 49ers over the Seahawks could not have came at a better time. San Francisco played Seattle with Michael Crabtree in the lineup for the first time this season, and it made a difference in the passing game. Crabtree’s presence paved the way for Aquan Boldin who had six receptions for 93 yards. Crabtree also added four catches for 40 yards on the day. Boldin needed only 13 receiving yards on the day to become just the 30th player in NFL history to record 11,000 career receiving yards.

Even with the 49ers playoff type win over the Seahawks, it is still almost certain that the road to the Superbowl will have to go through Seattle. This victory will definitely be a boost of confidence for San Francisco as there will be a chance that these two teams will meet again at some point in the playoffs.

49ers report: In the grand scheme of things Niners glad not to be playing in Seattle Sunday

by Ken Gimblin

SANTA CLARA–The 49ers had a lot of trouble whenever they had to play the Seahawks in Century Link and they lost their last two contests when they had to play there including the second game of this season where they just got demolished. It was a little closer than it appeared because the Niners were only trailing 12-3 heading into the fourth quarter.

The Niners weren’t really in that game running back Vernon Davis got injured, Ian Williams got knocked out and the team just could not move the ball at all on offense. A large part of that was obviously the Seahawks fantastic defense and it was the insane crowd in Seattle that is just so loud that the offensive players can’t hear anything.

The Niners couldn’t hear the snap count, they couldn’t hear their teammates, it made it really hard to get off the ball in a timely manner. It gave a huge advantage to the Seahawks who take advantage of that communication along the lines and getting an extra push out of it. There’s a reason that the Seahawks haven’t lost at home in a couple of seasons is because of that crowd gives them a huge homefield advantage.

The Seahawks are not the same team on the road as they get ready to come to Candlestick this Sunday against the 49ers that advantage they have at home completely vanishes and they become a slightly more beatable team. This year they only lost once and that was to the Colts in Indianopoilis. The Colts are one of the few teams to have beat the Niners and the Seahawks.

Just because the Hawks lost the one game on the road doesn’t mean their not going to lose any games on the road they still have the best record in the NFL and the 49ers certainly will have their hands full when they play them this weekend. The home field is the biggest thing and the Niners and the Seahawks match up very well we’ve seen the last couple times they played at Candlestick which is a good home field for the 49ers but it doesn’t offer any distinct advantage.

It’s not a dome stadium, it’s not artificial turfed that makes it a little faster for the Niners, there’s no advantagous noise factor going in there. When the Niners play anybody there yeah they have the homefield advantage but it’s not the same as a stadium like Seattle. I wouldn’t call Candlestick a neutral ground but it’s a much more balanced location for anybody to play.

For the Niners and the Seahawks, yes the 49ers won the last few games at the Stick against Seattle all of those games have been close  tough defensive battles, their not high scoring affairs it’s where you see how evenly matched these teams really are and that’s what the Niners have to look forward to.

David Zizmor covers the NFL for Sportstalk Radio

Where did the fans go?

By Jerry Feitelberg

Ever since 1968 when the A’s arrived I Oakland, they have always been the “second team.” The Giants landed in San Francisco ten years earlier and have “owned” the Bay Area ever since. Never mind the fact that the A’s won six American League pennants and four World Series. There was no question that the fans preferred the Giants over the A’s even when the Giants played at Candlestick Park. There is no question that attendance has been terrific at the Giants new facility, AT&T Park, at Third and King in the city. The Giants, of course, have had great success on the field since the park opened. The Giants had Barry Bonds and Jeff Kent and they won the NL crown in 2002 but lost the World Series to the Anaheim Angels that year. They sold out the park and while attendance slowed up a bit prior to the 2010 season, they have done very well. The Giants, as everyone knows, won the World Series in 2010 and 2012.

The A’s, on the other hand, had some bad season afters they made the playoffs and their attendance was pretty pathetic. Their owners, Lew Wolff and John Fisher, have wanted to move the team to San Jose but the Giants,who have “territorial rights” to San Jose have indicated that they have no intention of relinquishing those rights.

So, the A’s play in an outdated facility but they have an outstanding team that is trying to win the AL West and make it to the playoffs for the second straight year. One would think that the Coliseum would be packed. Not so. The A’s played the Texas Rangers the last three days here in Oakland. How was attendance ? Pretty bad. The A’s drew 24,000 on Labor day and 16,000 plus Tuesday and Wednesday and the Attendance for Thursday’s night game with the Houston Astros appears to be the smallest crowd of the year with less than 10,000 fans. If you were a player, would you not wonder what the hell is going on. The Giants who are in a battle for last place in the NL West and playing at home against Arizona will pack the joint and the A’s will be playing in front of a sparse crowd. Hard to believe but if the fans want the A’s to stay in Oakland it would be wise for them to show up and support their team rather than moaning and groaning about the possible departure of the club to San Jose.

Preseason preview week 4, 49ers at Chargers

By Gabe Schapiro

In the final tune up for the regular season opener, the preseason schedule comes to a close this Thursday at 7pm when the San Francisco 49ers (2-1) face off against the San Diego Chargers (1-2) at Qualcomm Stadium. The Chargers finished a disappointing 7-9 last season, a distant second place to the AFC West Champion Denver Broncos. As a result, they enter 2013 with a new general manager, Tom Telesco, and a new first time head coach, Mike McCoy. Their roster is headlined by many of the same key players, namely QB Phillip Rivers, TE Antonio Gates, and RB Ryan Mathews. There have been some changes, headlined by the acquisition of DE/OLB Dwight Freeney and their first two draft picks, OT D.J. Fluker and the controversial ILB Manti Te’o, but with Rivers and Gates declining, there chances of contending appear slim.

Last week San Francisco came away with a decisive 34-14 win over the Minnesota Vikings. Colin Kaepernick, who played through he first quarter, his longest action of the preseason, started off slow completing just one of his first six passes before settling in. He led an 11 play, 84-yard touchdown drive, culminating in a five yard touchdown pass to rookie Quinton Patton, who was making his 49ers debut. The game was also highlighted by an 105-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Lavelle Hawkins and a pair of rushing touchdowns in the fourth quarter from Jewel Hampton and Anthony Dixon. The 49ers defense was stout once again, but did surrender their first two touchdowns of the preseason schedule.

With the regular season opener just a week and a half away, position battles are becoming clearer and the final roster is starting to take shape.

Prior to last weeks game veteran QB Seneca Wallace was signed to a one-year contract, adding to the competition for the backup job behind Kaepernick. In addition, yesterday it was announced that they had released Scott Tolzien, leaving Colt McCoy, B.J. Daniels, and now Wallace to fight it out. McCoy was unspectacular last week, completing 73% of his passes but also throwing an interception. Daniels and Wallace saw limited action late in the game, completing two-of-three and two-of-two passes respectively.

At wide receiver, Patton finally got onto the field, starting the game as the third receiver behind Anquan Boldin and Marlon Moore, and didn’t disappoint, hauling in a team high four receptions for 35 yards and a touchdown. Jon Baldwin made his debut following the trade last week that sent AJ Jenkins packing, finishing with two receptions for 23 yards. Best guess has Boldin, Moore, Kyle Williams, Patton, and Baldwin making the final roster, with a possible sixth wideout spot still being up for grabs.

On the defensive side of the ball, the picture looks pretty clear. During a press conference from defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, it was announced that rookie FS Eric Reid and DT Ian Williams would both be getting the nods to start the opener. They have both been the odds on favorites to start over Craig Dahl and Glenn Dorsey respectively, but this was the first official word. He also indicated that CB Nnamdi Asomugha has the edge for the third corner back spot, but is a little banged up which has prevented him from officially locking it up.

Following the upcoming game against the Chargers, it will finally be time for some regular season action. For San Francisco the journey starts on Sunday, September 8 at 1:25pm up against the tough Green Bay Packers, at Candlestick Park.