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See what The Bee's Matt Barrows had to say about the 49ers following their critical victory and the aftermath that included strong criticism of coach Jim Harbaugh.

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Paul Kitagaki Jr./ The Bee
Colin Kaepernick’s favorite target? That’s Michael Crabtree, who leads the 49ers in pass targets through four games despite not playing as many snaps as Anquan Boldin.

The elder statesmen of the 49ers' offense and defense, Frank Gore and Justin Smith, have played fewer snaps through four games than at this point last year.

For Smith, 35, the decreased workload is somewhat of a surprise considering he was dealing with a shoulder injury last season and is healthy again – and playing very well – this year. He's played 190 snaps this year vs. 213 last year. The 190 plays is 74.5 percent of the team's total defensive snaps through four games.

Gore, meanwhile, is just off of last year's pace. He's been on the field 179 plays as opposed to 187 plays in the first four games of 2013. This season has begun similarly to last year for the 49ers running back in that he was lightly utilized in a game (vs. Seattle last year; vs. Arizona this year) before having a big game in Week 4.

Gore rushed 20 times for 153 yards in a win over St. Louis last year to bring the 49ers' record to 2-2. He ran 24 times for 119 yards Sunday in a win that brought the 49ers' record to 2-2. He has 59 carries for 258 yards this year; he had 61 carries for 295 yards last year at this time.

Eagles 49ers Football
Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Photo
San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, left, congratulating running back Frank Gore, denies reports that his players are turning against him.
Paul Kitagaki Jr./ The Bee
Jim Harbaugh on the sideline with Colin Kaepernick during Sunday’s win over the Eagles.

Jim Harbaugh had a strong reaction to Deion Sanders’ comments that the 49ers’ head coach is losing the locker room and his players want him out.

“Personally, I feel that’s a bunch of crap,” Harbaugh said at his news conference today. The coach also addressed other anonymous reports about discontent in the organization.

“If someone has a good story to tell, they want to put their name to it,” he said. “If you had a good story to tell, you’d put your name to it. If I had a good story to tell, I’d want to put my name to it. So I don’t put a lot of credibility into the unnamed source.”

Sanders’ comments came Sunday on the league-owned NFL Network. “They want him out,” he said of the 49ers’ players. “They’re not on the same page.”

G5F1CAHH6.4Senior Photographer
Paul Kitagaki Jr./
Coach Jim Harbaugh talks to quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) and running back Frank Gore during a timeout. The 49ers led the NFL in delay-of-game penalties with 10 this season.
Ron Ennis/ MCT
Patrick Willis and Eric Reid -- choir boys when it came to penalties last season -- combined for six flags Sunday in Arizona

Coach Jim Harbaugh said the 49ers must do a better job managing the clock one day after the team committed two delay-of-game penalties and ran out of timeouts with more than three minutes remaining.

“That’s something we have to keep addressing and stay on top of,” Harbaugh said Monday. “There were a few too many times when the play clock was ticking down close to zero. We’ve all got to do a better job getting back into the huddle, getting the plays in quickly and early, and managing the clock.”

It’s not surprising that the 49ers lead the league in delay-of-game penalties after four weeks. They had more than any other team last year, too.

In 2013, teams averaged 4.6 delay-of-game fouls over their 16-game seasons, according to the NFL. The 49ers had 11. The only other team that came close to that number was Tampa Bay, with nine. Three teams – the Panthers, Packers and Patriots – had one.

The 49ers lead the league in delay-of-game penalties after four weeks, which shouldn't be a surprise. They had more than any other team last year as well.

In 2013 teams averaged 4.6 delay-of-game fouls over their 16-game seasons, according to data from the NFL. The 49ers had 11. The only other team that came close to that mark was Tampa Bay, which had nine. Three teams – the Panthers, Packers and Patriots – had one all season.

The 49ers appear to be trying to beat last year's mark. They have four through four games. Only one other team – Tampa Bay again – has as many as three. Eleven teams have yet to be hit with a penalty for delay of game.

“That’s something we have to keep addressing and stay on top of,” Jim Harbaugh said a day after his team was hit with two delay-of-game fouls. “There were a few too many times when they play clock was ticking down close to zero. We've all got to do a better job getting back into the huddle, getting the plays in quickly and early and managing the clock.”

Paul Kitagaki Jr./ The Bee
Right tackle Anthony Davis was forced out of Sunday’s game when Colin Kaepernick was tackled into the back of Davis’ knee.
Paul Kitagaki Jr./ The Bee
Colin Kapernick celebrates a third-quarter touchdown with Stevie Johnson.

SANTA CLARA -- There were two amazing aspects of Frank Gore's 55-yard touchdown catch and run in the second quarter of Sunday's game.

The first was the throw. Thirty-yard throws are fairly common in the NFL. Thirty-yard throws laterally are not. Colin Kaepernick looked like an MLB shortstop moving one way and throwing another on the play, which is something he did a lot when he was at Nevada. Best of all, Kaepernick had his eyes down-field as he was scrambling, something he was criticized for not doing (or not doing well) in the previous two games but did throughout Sunday's win over the Eagles.

His touchdown throw to Stevie Johnson was another example of this. Kaepernick escaped the pocket but instead of tucking the ball and running, he kept his facemask up, then fired a strike to Johnson.

The second amazing thing to happen is that 31-year-old Gore outran a defensive back who had a perfect angle on him. That hasn't happened since the 2006 season. After Gore caught the pass, he seemed to lull safety Earl Wolff by slowing down a bit. Wolff in turn slowed his stride and prepared to make a hit. But the crafty running back suddenly hit the gas, stiff-armed Wolff in the same motion and was gone. It was the best bit of open-field running Gore has had since the 2006 season when he was 23 years old.

Monday, September 29 2014
49ers notes: Lynch delivers late
Paul Kitagaki Jr./ The Bee
The crowd at Levi’s Stadium got a better review from 49ers players than it did after the team’s Week 2 game against the Bears

The 49ers addressed their anemic pass rush by replacing outside linebacker Corey Lemonier with rookie Aaron Lynch on passing downs.

Lynch, a fifth-round pick from South Florida, didn’t have any sacks Sunday. But he was prominent throughout the game, especially in the fourth quarter when he forced a quick throw by Nick Foles on one third-down play then chased him out of the pocket on the Eagles’ final chance for a go-ahead touchdown at San Francisco’s goal line.

Lynch, who primarily rushed from the left side, finished with two quarterback hurries and a tackle for loss.

“He was really running, really pursuing, and put pressure on the quarterback when he was out of the pocket,” 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said. “Thought he had some other fine plays. I mean – physical, power, and speed. Just keep coming, Aaron. You’re doing a nice job.”

G7633G6J3.3Senior Photographer
Paul Kitagaki Jr./
San Francisco’s Michael Crabtree makes a one-handed pass reception for a two-yard gain against the Philadelphia Eagles at Levi’s Stadium, Sunday, September 28, 2014 in Santa Clara, Calif.
GLS33G6QI.3Senior Photographer
Paul Kitagaki Jr./
Colin Kaepernick runs for a seven-yard gain in the second quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.

The 49ers’ coaching staff wanted to make Friday’s practice so taxing on the defense that Sunday would seem like a breeze by comparison.

The defensive backs chased the scout-team receivers deep downfield on one play, then turned around to find a fresh set of receivers already lined up for the next snap. Coordinator Vic Fangio didn’t send in the plays to his panting defenders until the last second. All the while, Guns N’ Roses blasted at them from colossal speakers on the side of the practice field.

Welcome to the jungle.

Two days later, the Eagles’ fast-paced, no-huddled offense that had received coast-to-coast hype didn’t seem so intimidating. Philadelphia, which had been averaging 33.7 points a contest, didn’t score an offensive touchdown on Sunday, quarterback Nick Foles had only 195 passing yards and two interceptions, and the 49ers handed the Eagles their first defeat of the season, 26-21, which also was the 49ers’ first win at Levi’s Stadium.

SANTA CLARA --- The 49ers have taken the vaunted Eagles offense out of the game and yet still trail 21-13 at the half.

That's due to two huge special teams blunders and a Colin Kaepernick interception that was returned for a touchdown. Those miscues have more than outweighed the 49ers' defensive performance as well as Frank Gore's big half for the 49ers.

A week after they allowed a blocked field goal, the 49ers opened the game by allowing a blocked punt from their own end zone. Eagles tight end Trey Burton end simply bull-rushed Dan Skuta on the play and backed him up far enough to smother Andy Lee's punt.

The coverage units, which are without last year's veterans Ray Ventrone and C.J. Spillman, also lapsed in the second quarter when Darren Sproles took a punt 82 yards up the sideline for a touchdown. That score occurred one series after Kaepernick, tracking Brandon Lloyd on a crossing route, failed to see Malcolm Jenkins lurking in the middle.

Paul Kitagaki Jr./ The Bee
Tight end Vernon Davis, who missed last week’s game in Arizona with an ankle injury, is active and expected to start against the Eagles.

Both Vernon Davis and Anthony Davis are active today and in line to start, good news for a 49ers rushing attack that enters the game ranked 18th in the league and was lightly used in last week’s loss.

Meanwhile, another tight end, Vance McDonald, will miss his second straight game with a knee injury. Derek Carrier will play in his place. Second-year defensive lineman Tank Carradine and starting cornerback Tramaine Brock (toe) are inactive for the third time this season.

Carradine told The Bee earlier this week he suspects he is not playing because he hasn’t mastered the playbook. The 49ers have just four sacks through three games, a pace that would leave them with their fewest ever in a 16-game season.

Vernon Davis suffered an ankle injury in the fourth quarter of Week 2 and did not play last week. The 49ers are 0-4 in games he either leaves or misses entirely due to injuries.

The Bee's live blog featuring updates from Matt Barrows and other reporters will provide observations, opinions and other key information from the game between the San Francisco 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles. The live blog begins at noon and will run until well after the game concludes.

Access the live blog from mobile devices here.

Live blog: Updates, insights from 49ers-Eagles game, noon Sept. 28

Levi's Stadium may not generate a lot of noise, but one of the hotels nearby certainly did.

An alarm went off at the Eagles team hotel shortly before 2 a.m., according to players' Twitter accounts.

“Which cruel cruel Niners fan pulled the fire alarm at our hotel?!” linebacker Emmanuel Acho wrote on Twitter.

After 17 minutes of din, quarterback Matt Barkley wrote, “Make it stopppp.”

For 49ers blog posts before May 2014, go to the blog archives


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.

49ers Blog Archives

Note: The 49ers blog switched blog platforms in May 2014. All posts after the switch are found here. Older posts are available using the list below.

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