49ers 14, Lions 6 -- halftime report


49ers 14, Lions 6 -- halftime report

SAN FRANCISCO -- The 49ers committed their first turnover in 26 regular-season quarters, but the defense made sure the Detroit Lions did not fully cash in.The 49ers led 14-6 at halftime, as the defense managed to hold the Lions to just three field-goal attempts. Detroit kicker Jason Hanson made his tries from 38 and 41 but doinked a 40-yard attempt late in the quarter off the uprights.The 49ers mostly played their nickel defense against the Lions' high-powered offense. Matthew Stafford complted just 7 of 16 passes for 67 yards. The 49ers played their nickel defense for 27 snaps in the first half, while putting their base on the field for just six snaps. In the nickel defense, third cornerback Chris Culliver replaces nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga.Safety Dashon Goldson intercepted a poorly thrown Stafford pass late in the first quarter to set up a 49ers touchdown. Receiver Calvin Johnson had three catches for 36 yards in the first half.The 49ers wasted little time getting on the scoreboard after holding the 49ers to a three-and-out on the opening drive. Mario Manningham gained 29 yards on an end-around. Alex Smith hit Michael Crabtree for 17 yardsAnd Smith found Vernon Davis against the coverage of safety John Wendling for a 21-yard touchdown. Wendling started in place of injured Louis Delmas.The 49ers scored another touchdown on the first play of the second quarter when running back Frank Gore had a 1-yard run behind the blocks of Joe Staley, Alex Boone, Delanie Walker and Will Tukuafu.The 49ers elected to take points off the board after the Lions were guilty of running into 49ers kicker David Akers on a 35-yard field goal.Alex Smith completed 7 of 14 pass attempts for 82 yards. The 49ers had four catchable passes slip through their hands.The 49ers' turnover-less streak ended at 26 consecutive regular-season quarters when Kendall Hunter fumbled a kickoff in the first quarter.
Vernon Davis missed some time in the first half when he was poked in the eye. Here's how the play time broke down among the 49ers' eligible receivers in the first half:RB: Frank Gore 23, Kendall Hunter 5.
WR: Michael Crabtree 21, Mario Manningham 19, Kyle Williams 13, Randy Moss 7.
TE: Vernon Davis 20, Delanie Walker 14, Demarcus Dobbs 1.
Extra blockers: Will Tukuafu 3, Daniel Kilgore 2, Leonard Davis 2.

Former 49ers quarterback takes over under center for Cardinals


Former 49ers quarterback takes over under center for Cardinals

TEMPE, Ariz. — Blaine Gabbert will get his first start for the Arizona Cardinals when they play the Texans in Houston on Sunday.

Coach Bruce Arians announced the decision after Friday's practice.

Drew Stanton, the starter the last two games, bruised his knee early in the Thursday night loss to Seattle last week. He stayed in the game but has been limited in practice all week.

Arians said it will be a game-time decision as to whether Stanton or recently signed Matt Barkley would be Gabbert's backup.

Gabbert will be making his 41st NFL start. He has a 9-31 record. He signed with Arizona last offseason and was the third quarterback until Carson Palmer broke his arm against the Los Angeles Rams in London and was lost for the season.

49ers Mailbag: Should Shanahan give up play-calling?


49ers Mailbag: Should Shanahan give up play-calling?

Believe it or not, the 49ers’ offense is improved from last season.

The 49ers ranked 31st in the NFL in 2016, averaging 308.1 yards per game. Although the offense is producing just a little better (325.9 yards per game), their ranking this season has shot up to 21st in the league.

The 49ers have had a different head coach and different person running the offense in each of the past four seasons, so their continuity has been severely lacking.

Next season, the 49ers should finally have carryover from one season to the next.

The direction of the offense is one of the topics addressed on this edition of 49ers Mailbag (questions were submitted via Facebook):

Now that we have Jimmy G do you see 49ers getting an offensive coordinator or will it still be Kyle calling the plays? (Julio Orozco)
I'm not sure why the arrival of Jimmy Garoppolo would have any impact on the 49ers’ offensive structure, but in any event, the answer is a resounding, “No.”

Kyle Shanahan has been hailed as one of the best offensive coordinators in the NFL. The reason he was hired as 49ers head coach was, in large part, because of the success he achieved while designing offenses and calling plays.

Why would he give that up? It makes no sense.

Rob Demovsky of ESPN this week identified the 32 primary play-callers. There are 18 NFL head coaches with offensive backgrounds. Twelve of those coaches call their own plays.

Shanahan has a staff of assistant coaches on whom he leans. Passing game specialist Mike LaFleur and quarterbacks coach Rich Scangarello are closely involved in working with Shanahan on the passing game, while running game specialist Mike McDaniel, offensive line coach John Benton and running backs coach Bobby Turner spearhead the involvement in the ground game.

But, make no mistake, it is Shanahan who calls the shots. And that's the way it should be. If Shanahan stepped aside as his own offensive coordinator, he would be diminishing his biggest strength as a coach.

What do you see happing with the Hyde situation? We drafted Joe Williams and Breida seems to be a bright spot. There’s a lot of talk about Barkley from Penn State with that high 1st rounder. (Manny Hinojos)
There does not seem to be any movement toward a long-term extension for Hyde. It is getting to the point in the season where it makes a lot more sense for Hyde to play out his contract and hit the open market.

There is no question in my mind the 49ers like Hyde a lot. He has scored some major points with the organization for his performance on the field and how he has responded off the field.

GM John Lynch loved it when Hyde came to the defense of quarterback C.J. Beathard, tussled with Arizona lineman Frostee Rucker and got ejected from the game.

That said, the 49ers are not going to break the bank for Hyde. A multi-year agreement has to come at the right price. My personal feeling is that running backs are luxury pieces when the remainder of a team’s roster -- especially the offensive line -- is set.

Shanahan and his father, Mike Shanahan, and Turner (the assistant coach who served on both of their staffs) have achieved a lot of success without investing heavily in running backs. That’s why I think the 49ers would be best-served by investing elsewhere and using another mid-round draft pick on a running back.

With Joshua Garnett coming back next season how aggressive will Lynch and Shanahan be in trying to get guards this offseason? (David Hartless)
Garnett is not a particularly good fit for this offensive scheme. The presence of Garnett can help increase the competition next offseason, but I do not believe he is being penciled in as a starter.

The 49ers will certainly be aggressive in an attempt to upgrade the guard positions. Currently, Laken Tomlinson and Brandon Fusco are the starters. Neither will be assured a starting job when the offseason begins.

The 49ers did not see enough from Garnett to determine he has a future with the organization, but he will be given the opportunity to come back healthy and prove himself.

Is Eric Reid in long-term plans? (Grant Rasmussen)
I do not believe so. I think the 49ers would like their starting safeties next season to be Jimmie Ward and Jaquiski Tartt – with Adrian Colbert as the front-runner for the No. 3 job.

The 49ers can also be expected to add a player or two in free agency, as well as the draft, to provide a competitive environment in the offseason. The 49ers seemed to telegraph their intention with Reid when they moved him to linebacker with Ward and Tartt remaining as the starting safeties.

That position change lasted about a week, as Ward’s injury prompted the team to move Reid back to safety. Reid is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. It's entirely possible there will not be a big market for him, but I do not believe the 49ers are going to be ultra-competitive in retaining him on the open market.