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Ever since the dawn of fandom, there's always been homerism. That's what happens when a fan is more literally what the term itself implies - fanatical - and has opinions that are based less in reality than the daily goings-on in Terry Bradshaw's head. The third string quarterback is always the favorite player on the team, the most physical specimen on either the defensive or offensive line is just looking for his chance to shine, and that sixth round wide receiver is going to put it all together and be something special someday.
All of these things are unrealistic, and something that every team's fans do. That isn't to say that being excited about a late-round prospect is homerism, it's just that a lot of the times, you see those players through team-colored goggles. Just hope you're not a Seahawks fan and you're sporting alternates goggles - you'll probably go blind from the hideousness.
Back on track, it looks like 49ers fans may be right about one of their late round prospects. Wide receiver Kyle Williams has had himself a pair of breakout games in recent weeks, and on Sunday, he had a 56 yard touchdown, showing off impressive acceleration and agility to get between some would-be tacklers and pile on the YAC on his way into the endzone. He also had a point where he rushed the ball for 25 yards and threw out a pride-obliterating stiff arm to a St Louis Rams player. In short, he was pretty darn good in the 49ers 26-0 win over St. Louis.
When the team drafted him, a sizable portion of the fanbase talked about how they were excited for the pick. There was a possibility of him being a punt returner, but he suffered some injuries. When he was healthy, fans begged the question "Why isn't Kyle Williams playing more!?" and the answer was pretty simple: "He's raw. He's new. We don't know what he can bring." But the fans kept on with this one, and after string of good games, they could be onto something.
He's shown good hands and decent route-running, coupled with an explosiveness on the field that the 49ers have lacked. All of those things spell out more playing time, and maybe this late-round prospect can be something special. Only time will tell, but the homers were likely more than homers this time around.
Quarterback Alex Smith was one of the offensive heroes of the game as he recorded his best start of 2011. His offensive and defensive lines made sure he was comfortable all game, allowing him to go about his business and not worry about the score.
Smith finished the game going 17-for-23 with 274 passing yards, 10 rushing yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions and a nifty 142.3 NFL rating. He also launched his two longest passes of the season, completing a 52-yarder and a 56-yarder. He averaged 11.9 yards per pass.
Smith is having a career season in 2011 and will be thinking about padding some of those numbers next week against a potentially iffy Arizona Cardinals secondary.
To keep up with all news and information regarding the San Francisco 49ers, please visit Niners Nation.
One of the key offensive weapons for the season has been wide receiver Michael Crabtree. Sunday was another solid game for Crabtree, who finished the game with a touchdown and 96 total yards on four catches. That yardage number is helped along by a 52-yard catch, but was good enough to lead all receivers.Only Vernon Davis made more catches on a great day by quarterback Alex Smith, finishing with five catches.
The 96 yards were also good enough to be Crabtree's second-best game of 2011. He's only caught two touchdowns this season, but his consistency and ability to come down with tough catches continues to make him a solid pick.
To find all news and information regarding the San Francisco 49ers, please visit Niners Nation.
The San Francisco 49ers shut out the St. Louis Rams on Sunday to improve to 10-2 on the season and clinch their first playoff berth since 2002, but a far more noteworthy milestone was met and surpassed during the course of that game.
49ers running back Frank Gore passed Hall of Famer Joe Perry as the all-time leader in rushing yards for the San Francisco franchise. Gore entered the game in second place behind Perry's career total of 7,344, but broke that mark with a two-yard run in the second quarter.
It is interesting that in football, there is often no fanfare for events like this, particularly when records are broken in such a manner. In baseball or hockey, for example, it is possible to halt the game and have a small ceremony on the field to honor a personal achievement. On Gore's historical run, the chains didn't even move, seemingly just another run for a short gain.
It was much more than that, of course. Gore would finish the game with 73 yards on 21 carries and stand alone in first place on the all-time rushing list for San Francisco players with 7,396 yards. Quite an achievement.
Following the game, Gore seemed awed by his own accomplishment and had this to say:
"Yes it feels great. It is a blessing. I first have to say thanks to the man up above for letting me do something that I love to do and to have my name being mentioned with some of the guys who were here before me. I also have to give a shout out to all of my o-linemen that have helped me get this record. The ones who are here now and the ones who were here before. All of the coaches. It is just a blessing and I am happy. The main thing that I am happy about is that I get the opportunity to play in the post season."
Many San Francisco fans will surely be echoing his sentiment, as they're also thankful for the playoff berth. Moreover, they're thankful they've had a chance to see Frank Gore adapt and grow to become the all-time rushing leader for their favorite team.
To keep up with all news and information regarding the San Francisco 49ers, please visit Niners Nation.
As has been the case all season long, the San Francisco 49ers focused on the rushing game to get things done - both on offense and defense. Frank Gore had 73 yards off of 21 attempts, while receiving targets Kyle Williams, Ted Ginn Jr. and Delanie Walker combined for 55 yards on the ground. Kendall Hunter didn't have the best day in relief for Gore, getting just four yards on five carries, but the 49ers didn't need him to.
While Gore didn't get his sixth 100 yard rushing game of the season, he did pass Joe Perry for first place in 49ers franchise history for rushing yardage. He passed Roger Craig earlier this season, and looked good against a Rams team that did nothing but try and stop the run. They continually played man coverage while stacking the box. Sure, they gave up 200+ yards to Beanie Wells a week ago, but do you think Steve Spagnuolo's gameplan heading into that game was to halt the power rushing attack of Wells? Not likely.
The 49ers dominance continued on the other side of the ball, too. This team will be remembered as one of the better run-stopping teams in NFL history - if there are people out there who remember such things. Their streak of games without allowing a rushing touchdown extended to 12 games, just one shy of tying the league record. The record is held by the 1920 Decatur Staleys, when they didn't allow a rushing touchdown for all of their 13-game season.
Steven Jackson was the last player to score a touchdown on the 49ers, but that was a season ago. He hasn't done it this year (he will get another shot at the end of the season), and he wasn't able to break the 49ers streak of games not allowing a 100 yard rusher, either. Jackson had just 19 yards on the day, while Norwood, his backup, had just 18 yards. The 49ers defende was just absolutely on fire.
Next, they'll take on the Arizona Cardinals, who rushed for a couple hundred yards against the very same Rams that San Francisco just beat. As such, they'll likely present a challenge, and will be threatening to break the various streaks with their rushing attack. That being said, the 49ers have played some very good running backs this season. They're not about to be intimidated by Beanie Wells, no matter you slice it.
The San Francisco 49ers had no problem wrapping up a playoff spot and a division title against the hapless St. Louis Rams. Alex Smith had one of his best games as a 49ers, and David Akers capped off the scoring with four field goals.
San Francisco was dominant despite needing only 16 first downs. This was thanks to big connections with Smith to Michael Crabtree (52 yard touchdown) and Kyle Williams (56 yard touchdown). San Francisco had the ball for 36 minutes and outgained St. Louis 389 to 157 yards. Smith completed 17 of 23 passes for 274 yards in probably his best performance of the season. San Francisco's defense shut down Steven Jackson with 19 yards, and forced A.J. Feeley to throw 12 of 22 for 156 yards.
Next up for the 49ers? Ensuring a first round bye, which they can do with three wins in their final four games.
The San Francisco 49ers are in total control against the St. Louis Rams. San Francisco has 15 first downs to St. Louis's six, has outgained the Rams by 250 yards, and have kept St. Louis from converting a single third down. A.J Feeley has thrown an interception and Stephen Jackson has only run for 19 yards.
Meanwhile, Alex Smith has had one of his best games of the season. Smith has completed over 70% of his passes and has had two beautiful throws. He connected with Michael Crabtree for 52 yards and Kyle Williams for 56 yards on two touchdown throws, and another intermediate throw to Ted Ginn Jr. and a Williams rush set up the fourth field goal for David Akers. San Francisco is on their way back to the playoffs.
San Francisco was up 3-0 before A.J. Feeley was sacked by Ray McDonald and lost the football. The 49ers recovered deep in Rams territory, but Frank Gore couldn't punch it in the end zone. David Akers knocked in a chip shot field goal to put San Francisco up 6-0.
Alex Smith directed a nice drive before the end of the half, rushing for eight yards, throwing two nice passes to Kendall Hunter for 15 yards and Michael Crabtree for 10 yards, and a Frank Gore 20 yard rush helped set up another Akers field goal to put San Francisco up two scores before halftime.
The San Francisco 49ers aren't facing an formidable foe today against the St. Louis Rams, so it's important that they stay healthy through this contest. Unfortunately, Patrick Willis might have suffered a pulled hamstring midway through the first quarter. Here he is clutching it during the game. (HT jose3030 of Twitter)
Willis is doubtful to return.
The 49ers do have points on the board to start things out. Alex Smith connected with Michael Crabtree, Vernon Davis, Kyle Williams and Ted Ginn, Jr. to set up an early David Akers 36 yard field goal. The Rams have A.J. Feeley at quarterback, but St. Louis has only two first downs through the first quarter and the 49ers defense remains the best unit on the field. The Rams have to prove they can move the football down the field before the Niners can start feeling concerned about their hopes at winning this one.
The San Francisco 49ers will host the St. Louis Rams on Sunday, and are hoping for a victory that would clinch their first playoff berth since 2002. San Francisco is heavily favored, and the Rams have looked woeful all season. A large part of making it to the postseason is beating the teams that you are expected to beat, which the 49ers have done an amazing job of in 2011.
If the 49ers can manage one more of those type of games on Sunday, they'll be playoff bound. That will leave the final four games of the season for securing a potential first round bye ahead of the New Orleans Saints, Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants.
We have all of the information you'll need for following the game right here.
Kickoff: The game is scheduled to begin at 1:15 PM PST.
TV Broadcast: The game will be televised on FOX KTVU (FOX 2). Your commentators will be Chris Myers and Tim Ryan.
Radio: You can listen to the game at KNBR/BONE, or at Sirius 92.
Odds: The Niners are currently favored at between 13.5 and 15.5 points, according to our friends at OddsShark.
Online Coverage: As always, your news and information for all things San Francisco can be found at Niners Nation.
Just about all of the analysis surrounding the San Francisco 49ers and their on the field product centers on rushing these days. Defensively, they haven't allowed a 100-yard rusher all season and have not allowed a rushing touchdown all season, the first team since 1929 to do that it for 11 straight games. They're two games shy of the league record for straight games of not allowing a rushing touchdown - a record that dates back to 1920.
But don't forget about the offensive side of the ball. San Francisco experienced a brief moment of worry at the beginning of the season when the team fell short of 100 yards for the first few games, but then feature running back Frank Gore rushed for yardage totals of 127, 125, 141, 134 and 107 in straight games. Gore was injured three weeks ago and didn't have any yards for that game. He followed that up with 88 yards against the Arizona Cardinals, but only had 39 against the Baltimore Ravens on Thanksgiving.
This season, Gore passed Roger Craig for second place in 49ers franchise history in rushing yards. Now, he needs just 22 yards on Sunday against the St. Louis Rams to pass up Joe Perry to become the franchise's leading rusher. Many folks are wondering how much Gore has left, what with all of the injuries and the like, but he's been on fire this season. It's only fitting that he moves into first place, he's been so great for such a bad team for so many seasons.
Gore will also be looking to simply out-gain Steven Jackson on Sunday. The two are always game when the 49ers play the Rams, and they've been battling for the title of best running back in the NFC West for years now. With Seattle and Arizona lacking a dog in that fight, the competition has become rather heated. Jackson was also the last running back to score a touchdown on the 49ers - last season. The team has gone 51 straight quarters since then without allowing a rushing touchdown. Can he get another against them?
The 49ers and Rams will meet on Sunday afternoon in beautiful San Francisco in a battle of two NFC West teams. With the regular season winding down, all eyes will be on the Niners as they attempt to rebound after losing to the Ravens on Thanksgiving. Fortunately for the coaching staff, the team is as healthy as they have been all season.
DOUBTFUL - WR Braylon Edwards (knee)
The big news for the 49ers has to be Frank Gore's status being elevated to probable. The star running back will likely be at full strength on Sunday afternoon. In a bit of non-injury news -- and it feels weird to say because he's seemingly been injured since the 2010 Draft -- Michael Crabtree is absent from the injury report for the first time all year.
Sam Bradford has managed to play on a bad ankle and will likely suit up once again against San Francisco. With the Niners ability to get into the backfield, it could be a long day for the young quarterback.
The San Francisco 49ers haven't allowed a 100-yard rusher in quite some time. More impressive is the fact that they haven't allowed a single rushing touchdown all season, the first team to do that in its first eleven games since the Providence Steamrollers in 1928. They're the first team to do it in eleven consecutive games (meaning not from the beginning of the season) since 1970.
If the 49ers are able to continue this streak of not allowing a rushing touchdown for another two games, they'll match the record set by the 1920 Decatur Staleys - kudos to Eric Branch for that note - when they didn't allow one all season, which at the time was 13 games. That would be a colossal achievement to bring some recognition to a 49ers team that has stopped the run well for many seasons now, but were often overlooked.
Sunday's game against the St. Louis Rams is a lot of things, many of which the 49ers probably don't care about. Their chief objective will be to win and secure the NFC West and their tenth win, while keeping an eye on the playoff seeding. But you can bet that players on that defense want to keep their great defense against the run up to par. The last player to score a rushing touchdown against the 49ers?
Steven Jackson, last year.
So the 49ers will be swarming him on Sunday, trying to make sure the game is in Sam Bradford's hands - providing he even plays. There is some things to note regarding Jackson and his "potential" to break the streak, however. Though he was the last player to score a rushing touchdown on the 49ers, he hasn't been scoring lately. He's got four on the season and hasn't scored one in four games. His last touchdown came when the Rams beat the Saints. In his last two games, though, Jackson rushed for less than 100 yards.
Look for the streak to continue against the Rams this weekend, despite Jackson's history against the 49ers.
The end of the regular season is approaching quickly and the San Francisco 49ers have their eyes set on the NFC West title and home field advantage in the playoffs. The team can take a big step towards accomplishing those goals with a win over their inter-division rivals this weekend when the St. Louis Rams come to town. Here is the full injury report from Thursday.
Did Not Participate In Practice: WR Braylon Edwards (knee)
Full Participation In Practice: CB Chris Culliver (shoulder), T Anthony Davis (ankle)
The big news for San Francisco has to be Gore, Miller and Snyder all continuing to participate in practice, even if it is on a limited basis. All three are questionable for Sunday's matchup. As for the Rams, Sam Bradford has missed a majority of practices since spraining his ankle, but many believe he should be cleared to play.
For more on the 49ers, check out Niners Nation.
The San Francisco 49ers and the St. Louis Rams prepare for what appears to be a one-sided matchup on paper. It might have gotten a little bit one more one-sided if a critical player for St. Louis doesn't play.
Sam Bradford has an ankle issue that might hamper his ability to play on Sunday. Bradford didn't practice on Thursday, which should put him at least at questionable status. With St. Louis's season ending outside the playoff hunt, it would make sense if the Rams decided not to play him and risk further injury to the future of the franchise. A.J. Feeley is getting the current first unit reps, which probably should delight the 49ers defenders ready to get back at it after a nine-ten day layoff.
In better news for the Rams, defensive end Chris Long didn't practice, but he says he's 100% ready to go for Sunday's game.
The San Francisco 49ers welcome the St. Louis Rams to town in Week 13 with a chance to clinch the NFC West with a victory. The 49ers can clinch the division for the first time since 2002 with either a win over the St. Louis Rams OR losses by the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals. The 49ers are 13 1/2 point favorites over the Rams so I'd imagine they'd like to just handle their business on Sunday and move on.
The 49ers also have a one-game lead over the New Orleans Saints for the number two seed in the NFC. The 49ers and Saints do not meet up so their first tiebreaker is conference record. Right now the 49ers are 7-1 in conference and the Saints at 5-3. There are a variety of games with different playoff implications, so we'll make picks of the games that matter to the 49ers.
St. Louis Rams @ San Francisco 49ers: The 49ers are huge favorites and look to get back on the winning track against the Rams. While they could very well suffer an emotional letdown, it would be a surprise to see them come up short at home. PICK: 49ers
Philadelphia Eagles @ Seattle Seahawks: This Thursday Night Football contest features two teams that have stumbled around for much of the season trying to get the ship righted. The Seahawks usually play well at home, but considering their stinker against the Redskins last week, even that theory is out the window. The Eagles beat the New York Giants on the road but were then clobbered by the New England Patriots at home. Consider this game a toss-up. PICK: Eagles
Dallas Cowboys @ Arizona Cardinals: The Cowboys head into Arizona with a four-game winning streak and a one-game lead over the New York Giants in the NFC East. The Cardinals are 4-7, but half there wins have come against the last-place St. Louis Rams. They did beat Philadelphia, but the Cowboys are on a roll right now. PICK: Cowboys
Detroit Lions @ New Orleans Saints: The Saints are not perfect at home, but they have come pretty close to invincible at the Superdome. This could get into a bit of a shootout, but I just don't see the Saints losing at home for the foreseeable future. PICK: Saints
On Thursday, the San Francisco 49ers fought to a close loss against the Baltimore Ravens, but in one area in particular, they were thoroughly dominated. Every player on the starting offensive line - and one backup - were assaulted from the very beginning. Chilo Rachal, filling in for the injured Adam Snyder, was particularly beaten with regularity. In fact, a good deal of the pressure came from the right side, and that means Anthony Davis had a rough outing as well.
Davis hasn't played up to expectations, but he hasn't played too poorly, either. He was drafted just outside of the top ten in 2010, and was immediately inserted into the starting lineup along with fellow first rounder Mike Iupati. He has, at times, played well, played poorly, made no impression and made a very bad impression. The latter two are referring to his attitude. He has no locker room problems, or at least there are none reported, but he's been considered immature, probably because he entered the draft at just 21 years old.
He's been a guy who frequently gets into Twitter disputes, whether it be with other players or fans, and has quit the service on another occasion for one reason or another. His interview answers have never really felt as though they were really thought out, but he did have a notable answer in talking to the Bay Area media on Wednesday at his locker, kudos to Grant Cohn for transcribing:
Q: How did having a short week affect the game against Baltimore?
ANTHONY DAVIS: It didn't affect it. We went out, we played, and we lost. Get back to work. No excuses.
That's a fantastic answer to an easy question - one that would rarely reveal such an answer. It's likely that the "get back to work, no excuses" bit would appear, but the first bit is a rare bit of personal honesty. That being said, it's clear that it affected plenty of things from a gameplanning standpoint and, more than likely, Davis was affected by the short week and the long trip. The trip itself was a bad case of ratings-obsession by the NFL, and while it's not a total excuse for the loss, it had an affect.
Still - it's nice that the complaining and the finger pointing is left to a writer like myself, and the player is ready to assume responsibility and get right back in the thick of things.
The San Francisco 49ers get ready for what figures to be one of their easier contests of the year when they take on the St. Louis Rams. They are somewhat banged up, but should be able to play most of their essential skillmakers.
In fact, only one Niner wasn't involved in Wednesday's practice. Braylon Edwards had to sit things out today with a shoulder injury. Fantasy owners, If you have Edwards on your team, exercise extreme caution.
Adam Snyder participated in practice after he strained his hamstring, which bodes well for the Niner lineman to have a chance to play this Sunday. Probably the best news involves Michael Crabtree, who now appears to be off the injury report for the first time all season. Alex Smith could use a reliable pass-catching option on the outside to keep him performing at maximal efficiency.
Did Not Participate In Practice: WR Braylon Edwards (knee)
Limited Participation in Practice: RB Frank Gore (ankle), RB Bruce Miller (concussion), G Adam Snyder (hamstring)
Full Participation in Practice: CB Chris Culliver (shoulder), T Anthony Davis (ankle)
Did Not Participate In Practice: DT Justin Bannan (shoulder), LB Josh Hull (hamstring), P Donnie Jones (not injury related), T Mark LeVoir (pectoral), S Darian Stewart (head)
Limited Participation in Practice: QB Sam Bradford (ankle), LB Chris Chamberlain (hamstring), WR Dominique Curry (shoulder), CB Justin King (ankle), DE Chris Long (ankle), RB Brit Miller (hamstring)
As the San Francisco 49ers look to lock up the NFC West this weekend against the St. Louis Rams, fantasy football owners around the world are scrambling to make the playoffs in their respective leagues, or shore up some feel good wins in a lost season. Owners of San Francisco 49ers on their fantasy team should have a few options to start this week, according to Numberfire.com.
Frank Gore: Numberfire projects Frank the tank to earn around 13 fantasy points with 79 yards on 18 carries as well as a few catches for around 13 yards. The Rams currently are dead last in rushing yards allowed in the NFL, so I wouldn't be surprised if Gore had himself a day and scored well above this this week. I like this matchup for Gore, who should be a solid start this week.
Vernon Davis: Many owners have been waiting for Vernon to have himself another big day, and this Sunday might just be it. Numberfire has him projected to earn around 6 points, though he has been playing a much larger role blocking lately than receiving. Hopefully the loss on Thanksgiving will shake the offense awake against St. Louis, starting with Vernon Davis.
David Akers: Akers has been rather money for the majority of the season with around a 84% field goal completion rate and six from beyond 50 yards this season, and is projected to score around 8 or 9 points this week. Weather shouldn't be a problem at Candlestick this Sunday, and Akers will likely get some serious action, so start him if you got him.
49ers Defense: The Niners D has been incredibly solid an consistent throughout the season thus far, and hopefully this week will be no different. Numberfire projects them to earn around 7-8 points allowing 21 points against, forcing almost two turnovers, and recording 2 sacks. Remember, the Niners have still not allowed a rushing touchdown or 100 yard rusher all season.
Alex Smith: I'd like to think that Alex is going to come out with a huge game after getting shutdown by the Ravens last week, but I don't have a good feeling he will. He's projected to score less than 10 points for around 170 yards and possibly a touchdown, and is going against the 8th stingiest pass defense in the league. Look for another option at QB unless Smith is your best choice.
For more in depth discussion and analysis of the San Francisco 49ers, head over to Niners Nation to get in on the action.
The San Francisco 49ers have essentially wrapped up the NFC West and are looking to clinch a birth in the playoffs for the first time in nearly a decade. With many teams around the league scratching and clawing each week as they attempt to improve their place in the division and wildcard standings, the 49ers should not have any problems in the final month of the season.
From weeks 13 to 17, San Francisco will face five teams with a combined record of 20-35. Of those 20 wins, eight of them belong to the Pittsburgh Steelers, who will play the 49ers in week 15. Other than Pittsburgh, the team should not have any problems; they play the St. Louis Rams (2-9) twice, @ the Arizona Cardinals (4-7) and @ the Seattle Seahawks (4-7). According to Football Outsiders, the 49ers have the easiest remaining schedule of any team in the league.
It is imperative for San Francisco to not lose focus as the playoffs get closer and closer, but one has to like their chances against the weaker competition. No offense to Seattle, St. Louis or Arizona, but if the Niners can't easily handle these teams, they probably shouldn't be headed to the playoffs, anyway.
For more on the 49ers, head on over to Niners Nation.
The San Francisco 49ers will keep their gameplan simple on Sunday when they host the St. Louis Rams. From start to finish, the game should focus on stopping Steven Jackson and getting to Sam Bradford. The 49ers don't feel as though Bradford is a huge threat, which means getting to him early will bode well for them. They'll have guys out there who need big games: rookie linebacker Aldon Smith is always looking to impress, rookie cornerback Chris Culliver could use some more seasoning, Carlos Rogers can work on his hands some more and, all-in-all, that's what this game comes down to.
Steven Jackson will be front and center and the focal point on Sunday. The 49ers have become the first team since 1928 to not allow a rushing touchdown in 11 games, and that's a mark that probably means more to them than you might think. On Thursday, Ray Rice didn't break the century mark in rushing yards and came ever so close to getting that rushing touchdown, but was ultimately denied by C.J. Spillman.
Spillman plays in the 49ers goal line defense - the only time he sees the field on defense. After the play he made on Thursday to tackle Rice for a four-yard loss after the team had a first and goal at the six yard line, Spillman might have earned himself some more playing time on defense. At the very least, he might see the field more in running situations. The 49ers include him in their goal line defense because he's a sure tackler and is a perfect guy to have out there to prevent a running back from breaking a big one.
This isn't a game in which the 49ers are guaranteed to walk away with a win, but this is a time where they can let struggling guys like Braylon Edwards heal up and get some more playing time for players they'd like to progress sooner rather than later in Culliver and Aldon. San Francisco needs to be winning every game they can, as playoff seeding is suddenly a priority, but you can expect a lot of morale-based victory on Sunday.
Braylon Edwards has been disappointing for the 49ers, to say the least. On one hand, he's been hampered by injuries, and that's all quite understandable, but on the other - he was signed to be a number one wide receiver and he hasn't been that. If Michael Crabtree wasn't starting to come into his own over the past few weeks, the 49ers would be in a very bad place, especially with Josh Morgan on injured reserve.
The problem with Edwards is that the injuries have been constant, and that he hasn't been a help out there when hampered by them. The team is short on receivers, and are essentially forced to put him out there every week. When they took on the Baltimore Ravens on Thanksgiving, there's no nice way to put it: Edwards was an extreme liability on the field.
He was only targeted three times, but that's not because Alex Smith was neglecting him. Edwards ran slow, lazy routes and gave up on plays. On the play that eventually went for an interception at the end of the half, it was certainly a bad throw, but there is no reason whatsoever that the ball should have been picked. On one hand, Edwards sort of gave up and didn't even go for position on the ball and on the other, he didn't even try and disrupt the defender. Hell, draw a penalty at that point.
You shouldn't draw your entire opinion of the guy from that one play, but it really put an exclamation point on his play this year. It's not that the phrase "gave up on plays," means that in the literal sense ... it could have happened for any reason. Of course the guy is injured, so, really, the solution is simple.
Sit him on Sunday. Don't play him against the St. Louis Rams - give Kyle Williams some more touches, see how that works out. Edwards has always been a receiver with phenomenal big play potential. If he's not 100%, he shouldn't be out there, especially against a team like the Rams.
The San Francisco 49ers are on the verge of clinching their first playoff berth since 2002, and some players are already looking ahead and getting prepared for the second season in the NFL. One such player is wide receiver Braylon Edwards, who spoke of his own health in a locker room interview Monday transcribed by the Press Democrat's Grant Cohn.
Braylon has been dealing with an injury to his AC joint in his right knee since the third play from scrimmage of the Niners meeting with the Dallas Cowboys in Week 2, causing him to have a surgical procedure the following week and miss six weeks of the season thus far. He also injured his shoulder a bit during the Redskins game, though it isn't as serious as his knee.
Braylon has been visibly limited on the field since his return, though he knows the team will need him down the stretch, especially in the postseason.
Q: With five games left in the regular season and then the playoffs, what's the goal? To get to that spot where you can be a contributor in January?
EDWARDS: My plan is more the playoffs. We can pretty much wrap those up with a win this week. So I think the big thing for me is to get back healthy. We've got five games left like you said, plus the playoffs. So the ideal goal for me is to just get back healthy for the playoffs. That would be key.
Braylon's answer would lead me to believe that he will likely take some time off after the Niners clinch to get ready for the postseason, though he answered that question in true Harbaugh fashion:
Q: Would it be necessary to take more time off, miss a game, just so you could be ready for January?
EDWARDS: We'll see what the doctors say. We'll put that plan in the hands of the doctor and the trainers and coach Harbaugh and see what they think. Maybe it's necessary. Maybe that's what needs to happen.
No. 17 also spoke about dealing with significant injury for essentially the first time in his professional career:
Q: How frustrating has this been? I'm sure this isn't the kind of production you expected from yourself.
EDWARDS: It's not about production, I've been hurt. I had knee surgery, now I have a bad shoulder. So it's not about production, I've been hurt. I haven't ever had a season where I've been hurt, with the exception of my rookie year. This is all new to me, it's very frustrating, but I ask the team to bear with me. I can't really control being hurt - it's part of the game.
Q: Do you think you'll be able to get out on the practice field a little bit more in the next few weeks?
EDWARDS: We'll see. I hope so. That's always the plan. You can't rush things.
No need to rush as time is definitely on the 49ers side for Edwards to be ready for the playoffs, and he's no good to them sitting on the sideline.
For more in depth discussion and analysis of the San Francisco 49ers, head over to Niners Nation, THE place to be for 49er fans.
After coming off a hard-fought, grown man game against the Baltimore Ravens that resulted in a 16-6 loss, the San Francisco 49ers can breathe a sigh of relief as their early Christmas gift upon returning to the west coast is a visit from the St. Louis Rams.
The 49ers are 13.5-point favorites over the Rams heading into their NFC West game on Sunday. The two teams records are flip-flopped as the 49ers have been the surprise of the season with a 9-2 record under first-year head coach Jim Harbaugh, while the Rams have struggled to a 2-9 record.
The 49ers' place in the playoffs is just a formality. Now, it's all about positioning. The 49ers have a chance to clinch the division with a win over the Rams and the best bet is that Harbaugh will have them ready to get this seasonal goal locked up now so they can start prepping for the playoffs.
The San Francisco 49ers are coming off a loss - their first in nine games - but are looking to the St. Louis Rams for a good chance to get back in the win column and continue their run to the playoffs. For more on the 49ers, head on over to Niners Nation.
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