Garoppolo Outduels Brees in Instant Classic 48-46

Photo credit: cbssports.com

By: Joe Lami

The Niners walked off the field with the win and control of the number one seed as Robbie Gould’s 30-yard buzzer-beating field goal flew through the uprights with zeros on the clock in the Superdome on Sunday. The 48-46 shootout was an instant classic and the game of the year that included seven different lead changes.

“That’s as cool of a game as I’ve ever been part of,” said Kyle Shanahan.

Jimmy Garoppolo was elite in his best game as an NFL quarterback. Throwing for 349 yards, four touchdowns, for a 131.7 passer rating, Garoppolo led the Niners past the Saints in the Superdome despite his defense giving up 46 points. His day was nearly perfect minus a third-quarter interception that bounced in the air off of Emmanuel Sanders’ hands.

“You gotta give Jimmy Garoppolo credit. That was a shootout, and he got the last shot, said Richard Sherman.”

In the last month, Garoppolo’s averaged a 125.8 passer rating with three of those contests coming against division leaders Green Bay, Baltimore, and New Orleans. He also now sits with 25 touchdowns on the season, three shy of Lamar Jackson for the league lead.

Garoppolo’s final shot came after the Saints scored a go-ahead touchdown to go up by one. Due to a missed two-point conversion for the Saints earlier in the first quarter, New Orleans was forced to go for two again and were stuffed. Jimmy was given 53 seconds and three timeouts to march into field goal range for the win.

After a short pass and two incompletions, the Niners faced fourth and two when Garoppolo found Kittle, who made what’s become a typical “George Kittle type” play. Carrying two defenders and getting faced masked along the way, Kittle picked up 39 yards and an extra 14 for the penalty setting up the game-winning kick.

The 49ers’ defense is lucky for how well Garoppolo and the offense played. They were gashed all day by the Saints’ offense. Drew Brees had Garoppolo-type stats, throwing for 349, five touchdowns, and one rushing. He had one more passing TD than Jimmy, but Emmanuel Sanders stole that one when he threw to Raheem Mostert on a trick play in the second quarter.

Receivers on both sides of the ball were benefactors to the quarterback play. Michael Thomas led New Orleans, catching 11 balls for 134 yards and a touchdown. Jarred Cook was Brees’ early option, catching the first two New Orleans’ touchdowns before leaving the game with a concussion. Tre’Quan Smith and Josh Hill caught the other touchdowns.

Emmanuel Sanders led the Niners with seven catches for 157 yards and a touchdown. He also threw the 35-yard dart to Mostert in his best game as a Niner. Kittle finished with 76 yards, after man-handling the Saints for 39 on the last drive. Kendrick Bourne caught two touchdowns on three receptions for 18 yards.

Deebo Samuel continues to break out and appear like a future pro-bowler for the red and gold. The second-round rookie caught five balls for 76 yards. He also rushed for 33 yards on two carries.

The Niners also rushed the ball exceptional again. Mostert rushed for 69 yards on ten carries and scored on the ground as well. Matt Brieda, coming off his ankle injury, was limited but looked good in spurts, rushing for 54 yards on six carries.

There were plenty of holes and things of concern for San Francisco, but it was all over-shadowed by Garoppolo’s play. The special teams allowed 192 yards to Denote Harris on kick and punt returns. The undrafted rookie had 14 go for touchdowns while at Assumption College.

Most concerning, center, Weston Richburg went down with what appeared to be a serious knee and ankle injury in the third quarter. After being carted off the field, Ben Garland filled-in his shoes and was decent. But losing Richburg for the remainder of the season could be critical for the playoff-stretch.

The Niners finished their toughest stretch of the season, going 2-1 against the divisional leaders and now control their destiny for home-field advantage. They’ll wrap up a playoff position tonight if the Rams lose to the Seahawks.

Headline Sports podcast with London Marq: Roethlisberger heartbroken over season-ending injury; Brees seeks second opinion on torn thumb; plus more

Photo credit: cbssports.com

On Headline Sports podcast with London:

#1 Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger injured his right elbow and will need surgery and said after last Sunday’s game that it was heartbreaking to be out on an injury. The injury knocked Roethlisberger out for the rest of the season and Roethlisberger said he looks forward to coming back next season.

#2 New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees torn thumb will need surgery. Brees sought a second opinion in Houston, and after being looked at in Los Angeles, Brees will miss six to eight weeks of the football season, which would put him at Week 10 at the latest that he can return.

#3 The Oakland A’s continue to believe in miracles. They got a huge win past the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday night. The A’s, who lost the first game of the series Monday night to the Royals 6-5, who came back on them, came back on the Royals on Tuesday night after being down 1-0 scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning for the 2-1 win. The A’s lead second place Tampa Bay by two games.

#4 What happen to the Raiders after having a 10-0 lead on Sunday? The visiting Kansas City Chiefs took over in the second quarter scoring four touchdowns and won it 28-10 and the Raiders couldn’t score in the second half.

#5 The San Jose Earthquakes, who have lost three of their last five games battled against one of the MLS’ best NYC FC, on Saturday losing 2-1. The Quakes’ Chris Wondolowski continues to find the back of the net with the Quakes’ only goal — his 14th of the season.

Join London for Headline Sports each Wednesday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Sports Headlines Podcast with Tony Renteria: Nelson signs with Raiders Crabtree out; Peterson still not signed with a team; Brees picks up two-year extension

Photo credit: @JSM8ith former Green Bay Packer Jordy Nelson joins the Oakland Raiders as both sides came to an agreement Thursday afternoon

On the Sports Headlines Podcast with Tony:

#1 Former Green Bay Packers receiver Jordy Nelson, who was let go by the team on Tuesday, is looking at getting picked up by the Raiders. Former Oakland Raider wide receiver Michael Crabtree was released by the Raiders

#2 Former Arizona Cardinals Adrian Peterson, aged 33, was let go on Tuesday. Peterson went 12,276 yards rushing as of Wednesday night, but has not been picked up by a team.

#3 New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees signed for a two-year, $50 million extension with $27 million guaranteed in his first season of the deal.

#4  The New York Mets’ Tim Tebow was reassigned to the Mets’ minor league farm system. Tebow went 0-4 striking out four times at the plate. Tebow, aged 30, has a left ankle strain.

#5 NFL Network announced that tight end Derek Carrier will come back to the Raiders. He last played with the team in 2012. He has 36 career catches for 327 yards.

Tony Renteria does the Sports Headlines Podcast each Thursday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Raiders’ Instant Report Card: Carr delivers for Oakland in stunning win over Saints

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
Sports Radio Service Writer

AP photo: New Orleans Saints kicker Will Lutz (3) gets sympathy from holder Thomas Morestead after missing a 61 yard field goal attempt which would have won it for the Saints as the Oakland Raiders defensive tackle Darius Latham (75) and strong safety TJ Carrie (38) celebrate a one point victory on Sunday at the Superdome in New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS, La — The Raiders, who many have picked to be one of the more dominate teams heading into the 2016 season, proved that the hype around the team is real by pulling out a thrilling, 35-34 road win against the Saints in both team’s season opener.

New Orleans’ rookie kicker Will Lutz missed a 61-yard field goal wide left as time expired.

Checkout each unit’s grade from Oakland’s (1-0) big win in New Orleans Sunday below:

Quarterback (A) – Raiders’ quarterback Derek Carr continues to grow as an NFL quarterback, leading Oakland back from a two-touchdown deficit in the second half. Carr completed 24-of-38 passes for 319 yards and one touchdown, a 10-yard dart to slot receiver Seth Roberts with 47 seconds left in the game that pulled Oakland within an point of New Orleans, 34-33.

You’d expect the Raiders to kick the extra point and force overtime, right?

Nope.

Carr looked to the sideline and both he and head coach Jack Del Rio agreed to roll the dice and go for two, which Carr found wide receiver Michael Crabtree for the go-ahead conversion.

At one point, Oakland’s offense stalled going scoreless on six offensive drives.

Running Back (B+) – Latavius Murray scored Oakland’s first touchdown of the season, a 6-yard run that gave Oakland a 10-3 lead in the first quarter. Murray finished the game with 14 carries for 59 yards and one touchdown, but Jalen Richard was the story for me.

Richard, the rookie from Southern Miss. and Louisiana native, only had three carries, but it was the 75-yard run up the middle of the soft Saints’ defense while eluding would-be tacklers in the fourth quarter with Oakland trailing 27-19 was what ignited the Raider comeback.

It was Richard’s first-career touchdown run.

Richard finished with 84 yards and a touchdown, while fellow rookie DeAndre Washington carried the ball five times for 14 yards.

Offensive line (B) – The key for Oakland’s offensive line was to protect their signal-caller and establish the run and stay healthy.

They were 50/50.

Even though Carr wasn’t sacked and Oakland’s ground game racked up 167 yards, the Raiders lost two offensive linemen when Menelik Watson (groin) and Matt McCants (knee) left the game.

Oakland’s offensive line is regarded as one of the best as a group coming into this season because of its depth, was tested Sunday.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends (A-) Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree combined for 225 receiving yards and 13 receptions (on 20 targets).

Cooper (6 catches, 137 yards, 11 targets), had no trouble getting open hauling passes of 34, 43, and 45 yards through a suspect Saints’ secondary.

Crabtree overcame a slow start (1 catch for 8 yards in the first half), to finish with seven catches for 87 yards on eight targets.

Clive Wafford caught three passes for 25 yards on five targets to lead the tight ends.

Defensive line/front seven (C+) – Bruce Irvin’s strip-sack (fumble recovered by rookie defensive tackle Jihad Ward)  on Saints’ quarterback Drew Brees on New Orleans’ first drive of the game was one of the lone bright spots for a unit that hadn’t done a much in the game.

Khalil Mack was relatively unheard of for the game, as he fought through countless chip blocks and double teams.

Linebackers Ben Heeney and Malcolm Smith combined for seven tackles (six assisted).

Secondary (D) – Brees and the Saints passing attack carved up Oakland’s revamped secondary for 423 yards passing and four touchdowns on 28-of-42 passing. Brees tied Peyton Manning for the most 400-yard passing games in NFL with 14.

Oakland’s high-priced cornerback tandem of Sean Smith and David Amerson were abused by New Orleans wide receivers Willie Snead (9 catches, 172 yards, 1 TD, 9 targets), and Brandin Cooks (6 catches, 143 yards, 1 TD, 9 targets).

With Oakland trailing 17-10 midway through the third quarter, Cooks ran right by Smith, who was playing man-to-man, and free safety Reggie Nelson, for a 98-yard touchdown catch that gave New Orleans a 24-10 lead. The scoring play established a new franchise record for the longest score for the Saints, and it was also the longest play in Brees’ career.

After that play, Smith was benched for the remainder of the game and was replaced by former first rounder, D.J. Hayden.

Overall, the defense gave up 507 totals yards to the Saints.

Special Teams (B+) – Kicker Sebastian Janikowski converted both of his field goals (31 and 47-yarders), while punter Marquette King booted four punts (42.0 yard average).

Up next: Oakland returns home to prepare for their own opener when the visiting Atlanta Falcons travel to the Bay Area next Sunday.

 

 

 

 

 

Raiders kickoff the season in the Big Easy

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
Sports Radio Service Writer

AP file photo: You might see a lot of this more often Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) and wide receiver Amari Cooper (89) jumping for joy in this Aug 27th photo against the Tennessee Titans as they open up in New Orleans on Sunday

OAKLAND, Calif — With the preseason in the rear view window, the 2016 regular season begins for real for the Oakland Raiders as they open up on the road in New Orleans against the Saints in Week 1 action.

Kickoff is at 10:00 a.m. PT at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome where the Raiders are a 3-point favorite to notch their first win of what people are predicting will be a great year for the Silver & Black. The game can be seen locally on KTVU/FOX Channel 2, making breakfast and football a perfect match.

Sunday’s game will mark the first time Oakland has opened up against an NFC opponent on the road since 1999, where Oakland traveled to Green Bay to start that season.

This will also mark the first time that Oakland and New Orleans face each other in the regular season opener.

With the Raiders hosting the Atlanta Falcons next week in Oakland’s home opener, it will also mark the first time since 1999 that Oakland (who played the Packers and Vikings), will begin the season facing two NFC opponents in back-to-back weeks.

Quarterback Derek Carr leads a promising Raiders’ offense headlined by wide receivers Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper. In four preseason games, Crabtree and Cooper combined for 10 catches for 162 yards and a touchdown.

Crabtree and Cooper are primed to have huge seasons for Oakland, which is looking to end the team’s playoff drought, dating back to 2002, the team’s last playoff appearance.

Oakland is hoping with the additions of rookie running backs DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard added to the backfield with starter Latavius Murray can make the offense more diverse. Oakland was a pass-first, run-second team last season, even though Murray was one of only seven running backs in 2015 to rush for 1,000 yards (1,066 rushing yards to be exact).

Defensively, Oakland had trouble stopping the run in the preseason.The Raiders were getting gashed by beefy running backs like Green Bay’s Eddie Lacy, and Tennessee’s duo of DeMarco Murray and rookie Derrick Henry.

Oakland will be without defensive tackle Mario Edwards Jr. for at least the first eight weeks of the season due to a hip injury. Edwards Jr., along with defensive tackles Dan Williams and Justin “Jelly” Ellis are so critical to the Raiders’ run defense.

New Orleans features former Heisman trophy winner Mark Ingram, Tim Hightower, and C.J. Spiller in the back field and each can run the ball well between the tackles, a weakness for Oakland.

The Raiders’ rebuilt secondary could be in for a long day when it faces one of the premier quarterbacks in the NFL in Drew Brees.

Brees, who enters his 16th year in the NFL, is coming off a season where he threw for a league-leading 4,870 yards in 2015. It was the seventh time in Brees’ career that he threw for over 4,500 yards in a season.

The future Hall of Fame quarterback continues to get better with time and still plays at a high level at age 38, as evident of the new deal he signed on Wednesday.

Details of Brees’ new deal, provided by Spotrac, Brees will pocket roughly $44 million in guaranteed money over the next two seasons, with $20 million coming in 2016 and only $17.25 million going towards the salary cap.

The deal will almost certain guarantee that Brees finishes his career in New Orleans, the franchise he led to a Super Bowl title in 2009.

Wide receiver Brandin Cooks leads a dangerous Saints’ passing attack. The third-year wide receiver from Oregon State, recorded his first career 1,000-yard receiving season finishing with 84 catches, 1,138 yards, and nine touchdowns, which Cooks led the team in all categories in 2015.

One Saints player to really keep an eye on is second-year wide receiver Willie Snead, who burst on to the scene last season for New Orleans recording 69 catches for 984 yards and three touchdowns.

Former Raiders head coach Dennis Allen enters his first full season as the Saints’ defensive coordinator. Allen, who has seven total seasons on New Orleans’ defensive staff, looks to improve a defense that ranked 31st last season in rushing yards per game allowed (129.8), passing yards per game allowed (284.0) and total yards per game allowed (413.8).

With the additions of veterans in defensive tackle Nick Fairley, linebacker James Laurinaitis, and defensive end Paul Kruger, to go along with mainstay in defensive end Cameron Jordan, the Saints are hoping to provide more pressure to the quarterback this season.

With both teams having suspect defenses heading into the match up, this game could be an offensive barrage by both teams and could come down to which team has the better, more confident quarterback in the fourth quarter.

Will it be Brees, who is one of the most accurate quarterbacks in NFL history and holds a 8-2 career record (19 touchdowns and four interceptions) against Oakland?

Or will it be Carr, who is 4-12 on the road in his young career, but has thrown 24 touchdowns and nine interceptions in those games?

Sunday is almost here.

49ers looking to rebound against Redskins

By Gabe Schapiro

This Sunday at 5:40pm the San Francisco 49ers (6-4) face off against the Washington Redskins (3-7), at FedExField. The 49ers are tied with the Arizona Cardinals for second in the NFC West, three games back of the first place Seattle Seahawks. The Redskins are in last place in the NFC East, one game back of the third place New York Giants.

Last weekend San Francisco lost to the tough New Orleans Saints, 23-20. It was a close game throughout, and saw five lead changes. The 49ers were up 20-14 with eight minutes left to play. Saints kicker Garrett Hartley rattled off three consecutive field goals, the last coming with no time left on the clock, to complete the come-from-behind win for New Orleans.

Despite leading for stretches of the game, San Francisco was largely outplayed. Colin Kaepernick struggled again, completing just over 50% of his passes, 17-of-31 attempts. He threw for 127 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. Anquan Boldin and Vernon Davis had touchdown catches. Due in part to focusing more on the pass, Frank Gore never really got much going. He rushed for 48 yards, half of which came on a single run, on 13 carries. As a team they totaled just 196 yards. It was their defense that kept them in the game, forcing three turnovers (two forced fumbles, one interception).

After winning five straight, they have now lost two in a row. The task gets a little easier this week against Washington, however, as they look to get back to their winning ways. The Redskins came into the year full of optimism and promise, but haven’t lived up to that billing. Their offense has some electric weapons but they have been prone to turnovers. Their defense has been one of the worst in the league.

They are led by sophomore star Robert Griffin III. After undergoing major knee surgery in the offseason and not playing in the preseason, it looks as if he is still getting back into the swing of things. Despite struggling at times, he still has a strong arm and the ability to be a playmaker with his legs as well. His favorite weapons are wideout Pierre Garcon and tight end Jordan Reed. They also feature another star sophomore, running back Alfred Morris, who is having another fine season. They have the best rushing attack in football, averaging over 155 yards on the ground per game. As a whole, they rank 13th in points scored.

Their defense is far and away their biggest Achilles heel. They are ranked 30th in the league, giving up over 30 points per game. They are slightly better against the run, but couldn’t be considered good either.

After falling to two tough opponents, San Francisco could be set up nicely for a bounce back this week. Washington’s offense is worth being a little concerned about, but the 49ers defense should be able to get good pressure on RGIII, and force some mistakes. They kept Drew Brees from dominating last week, they should certainly be able to do the same against a lesser opponent.

On the offensive side, San Francisco should have a much easier time moving the ball downfield, both on the ground and through the air. Look for them to get back to their roots and lean much more heavily on Frank Gore. Kaepernick throwing the ball 31 times isn’t a winning formula. With that said, he should also have an easier time this week. As long as he stays away from turnovers, they should be fine.

Mario Manningham, now entering his third week back in action, has had a limited impact so far. He has recorded just four receptions for 38 yards. Michael Crabtree should have a much larger impact once he returns, and that appears to be imminent. There has been no official word yet, but he has been participating and practices, and should make his 2013 debut either this week or next.

49ers report: A Crabtree return can really spark this offense

by David Zizmor
SANTA CLARA–The 49ers had tough back to back games and they had that terrible loss when they played the Saints in New Orleans and as we all know the Superdome is not an easy place to play. Sometimes the lights go out sometimes you have to face a good team and you really never know what your going to face. The 49ers really faced a really good New Orleans team that’s one of the best in the NFC if not the entire NFL.
The Niners lost by a field goal and it’s really rough, there were a couple of key plays in this game the most obvious one of them all Amad Brooks with the sack and the forced fumble of the New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees late in the fourth quarter that could have clinched the game. The referees called a roughing the passer personal foul for a 15 yard penalty that wiped out a sack and fumble that the 49ers recovered.
It was a questionable call taking a look at the replay Brooks really walloped Brees it looked like a legal hit. It was kind of closeline it was high on Brees chest but that’s a legal hit if you hit him in the chest. The official thought it was more in the neck area which wouldn’t be legal but watching the replay it sure look to me like it hit Brees in the chest and maybe after the hit his arm slid up higher towards his neck.
That was a play that turned the entire game around if the 49ers get that fumble recovery that’s probably the gamer which it makes incredibly difficult for the Saints to win. It definitely gives the Niners a better opportunity to win. There are several problems that the 49ers are trying to solve right now. One the receiving core is just not coming through Anquan Boldin had a nice grab and so did Vernon Davis.
The 49ers passing game was really non existent their really working things through and maybe in addition to Mario Manningham it’s helping but the 49ers have not really been active in the passing since Michael Crabtree outside of that first game of the season against Green Bay Crabtree really seemed to make this offense go last year. Once Kaeppernick became the quarterback Crabtree really blossomed and really opened things up for the receiving core and everything else.
So the 49ers could get Crabtree in a couple of weeks I don’t think it’s going to be this week against Washington on Monday night you never know but there was no report to indicate that Crabtree is going to be back. That Saints game was tough and the 49ers really have to move past that game because their going into Washington on a Monday night it’s another road game with a national audience and playoff seeding is not aligned in this one the 49ers have more or less lost the NFC west unless Seattle suffers a big collapse.
The 49ers have to focus on the wild card, they have to focus on seeding and just making the wild card, because technically speaking they’re tied with four other teams for that wild card position. Washington has been playing very poorly this season their coming off another loss this time to Philadelphia. Washington has not looked good their not the team they were last year when they made the playoffs behind Robert Griffin III.
Daivd Zizmor covers the NFL for Sportstalk Radio

49ers in for another tough matchup in New Orleans

By Gabe Schapiro

This Sunday at 1:25pm the San Francisco 49ers (6-3) will be taking on the New Orleans Saints (7-2) at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The 49ers sit in second place in the NFC West, two games behind the Seattle Seahawks. The Saints are in first place in the NFC South, one game up on the Carolina Panthers.

Last weekend San Francisco lost in a tough low-scoring affair against the Panthers, to a final score of 10-9, snapping their five-game winning streak. In many regards it lived up to the billing heading into the game, as it was truly a battle of the defenses. Three first half field goals was enough to give the 49ers the lead for much of the game, but it wasn’t enough to hold up. Carolina got a late field goal of their own with three minutes remaining in the game to give them the one point lead. San Francisco had another possession to try and retake the lead, but their offense simply couldn’t get anything going against the stingy Panthers defense.

The 49ers finished last weekends game with just 151 total net yards, a respectable 105 on the ground, but just a measly 46 through the air. As expected they tried to lean more heavily on Frank Gore and their rushing attack, but when forced to pass Colin Kaepernick couldn’t gain any traction. He completed 11-of-22 passes for 91 yards and an interception. He was also sacked six times. Gore finished with 82 yards rushing on 16 carries.

San Francisco will look to bounce back this week, but they will once again have their hands full with possibly an even tougher matchup against New Orleans. The Saints are tied for the fourth best record in the NFL, and feature a high-flying offense led by one of the best quarterbacks in the game, Drew Brees. Brees currently ranks second in the league in passing yards, touchdowns, and passer rating. He spreads the ball around a lot, but his primary target is Jimmy Graham, possibly the league’s best tight end in his own right, and the all-purpose weapon of Darren Sproles. As a unit they are the second highest scoring offense in football, behind only the record-breaking Denver Broncos.

It’s no surprise that the Saints once again have a high-powered offense, but what has been a bit of a new and unexpected development this season is how well their defense has performed. In both points and yards allowed they rank just one slot behind the 49ers, at fifth in the league in both categories. They don’t contain the stout personnel that Carolina does, but they are no longer a defense that can be scoffed at by any means.

The bright side for the 49ers is that the Saints primary weakness on the defensive side of the ball is stopping the run, where they tank 23rd. With Kaepernick still struggling, once again you can expect a heavy dose of Gore, Kendall Hunter, and the run game as they try to exploit New Orleans’ biggest weakness. Regardless, to keep pace with the Saints they will need a better more complete game from Kaepernick.

On the other side of the ball San Francisco will have their hands full containing the Saints offense. The 49ers have the defensive talent to do it, but they’ll need to be on top of their game. With Brees it is often just about containing him, rather hoping you will be able to stop him.  

This week San Francisco got great news when it was reported that Vernon Davis and Eric Reid both avoided a major injury, and are expected to suit up and be fine for this Sunday. Each player had to be removed from last weeks game with concussion-like symptoms. Reid will be a big plus in trying to slow down Brees, and Davis has been Kaepernick’s favorite red-zone target so far this season.