49ers key matchup No. 2: Staley vs. Pierre-Paul


49ers key matchup No. 2: Staley vs. Pierre-Paul

This is the second part in a series that spotlights three 49ers-Giants matchups to watch Sunday, 1:25 p.m. (FOX-TV), at Candlestick Park.

Matchup No. 3: Justin Smith vs. Kevin Boothe
49ers LT Joe Staley vs. Giants RDE Jason Pierre-PaulTale of the tape
Staley (74): 6-foot-5, 315 pounds, sixth season, Central Michigan
Pierre-Paul (90): 6-foot-5, 278 pounds, third season, South FloridaThe key to the New York Giants' defense is their ability to pressure the quarterback with a four-man rush. And their four-man rush is unlike any other in the NFL."Sometimes they'll get into sets where they have four defensive ends in there," 49ers guard Alex Boone said. "And that makes it kind of interesting. Normally, you'll have two bigger guys in the middle. They can put four defensive ends down and pin their ears back and go straight ahead."Left tackle Joe Staley figures to have the biggest challenge ahead of him. He will alternately face challenges from two dangerous pass-rushers. Staley will mostly be up against first-team All-Pro Jason Pierre-Paul, who recorded 16.5 sacks last season. Staley will also see plenty of snaps against two-time Pro Bowler Osi Umenyiora. Staley has already gone up against Green Bay's Clay Matthews and Minnesota's Jared Allen this season, so he is no stranger to facing challenges. Staley has surrendered five sacks, according to Pro Football Focus, but still grades out as the No. 2 left tackle in the NFL through five games. His strength has been superior run-blocking.The 49ers will try to slow down the Giants' pass rush with a strong running game on Sunday. But, even in that phase, Staley will have his hands full against Pierre-Paul."Jason Pierre-Paul is a rare player and he has incredibly great length, strength, and for a man his size and length, he can bend extremely well," 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman said. "So he can play with leverage. A lot of times, guys that big can't bend necessarily and play low."Pierre-Paul is a force against the run and against the pass."The 49ers are coming off a game in which they rolled up 621 yards of total offense in a 45-3 rout of the Buffalo Bills. It was the first game that quarterback Alex Smith was not sacked this season. It'll be a much-bigger chore to keep Smith's jersey clean on Sunday.
Staley and the Pierre-PaulUmenyiora combination played to a virtual draw in two games last season. Staley's initial protection was typically solid, but Umenyiora and Pierre-Paul combined for 1.5 sacks on plays in which Smith held the ball longer than designed.

49ers wide receiver Pierre Garçon handed hefty fine


49ers wide receiver Pierre Garçon handed hefty fine

The NFL fined 49ers wide receiver Pierre Garçon $24,309 for unnecessary roughness in last week’s game against Washington.

Garçon, who was not penalized on the play, lowered his helmet and struck Washington safety Montae Nicholson at the end of an 8-yard pass reception in the second quarter.

In 2013, the NFL passed a rule that bans the ball carrier from initiating contact with the crown of his helmet in the open field.

Nicholson’s helmet flew off and he remained on the ground for a couple of minutes. He was evaluated for a possible concussion and shoulder injury. However, Nicholson was cleared and he returned to action.

After the play, Garçon and Washington safety D.J. Swearinger exchanged words, and Swearinger took a swipe at Garçon’s facemask. Swearinger was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct.

The NFL fined Swearinger $9,115 for unnecessary roughness.

Ronnie Lott: Chance to show Dwight Clark how much we care


Ronnie Lott: Chance to show Dwight Clark how much we care

SANTA CLARA – In less than a year since a group of former 49ers players came together to form the Golden Heart Fund, the non-profit organization has provided valuable assistance.

“We’ve made some progress with the idea of knowing there are some people in need, so we’ve been able to make some grants to some of the ex-Niners,” Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott told NBC Sports Bay Area.

“We’ve been able to respond. This is more about us being able to give guys the ability to know they can have, as (former 49ers linebacker and Golden Heart Fund board member) Ron Ferrari says, a hand up not a hand out.”

The organization is in the midst of a fund-raising drive this week in conjunction with "Dwight Clark Day" on Sunday. The 49ers face the Dallas Cowboys at Levi’s Stadium, and Clark will be the guest of honor. More than 35 players from the 49ers' first Super Bowl championship team are expected to be in attendance.

Clark played nine seasons for the 49ers and provided the most memorable play in franchise history with “The Catch” against Dallas in the 1981 NFC Championship game, which propelled the organization to its first Super Bowl. Clark served as a front-office executive for a decade after his playing days.

In March, Clark announced he was diagnosed with ALS. He is scheduled to attend Sunday’s game and make some remarks at halftime from a suite.

“It’s unbelievable we are having an opportunity to celebrate an incredible day for this gentleman,” Lott said. “We can all say there was a moment in time in which we stood on his shoulders after making that catch. Now, we get a chance to lift him up a little bit and let him know how much we all care.”

Lott said Clark has been a champion of the Golden Heart Fund from its inception. Past and current 49ers ownership has supported the organization, which provides financial support for former 49ers players in times of physical, emotional and financial need.

“It’s the spirit of Dwight,” Lott said. “It’s more about the funds going in through his efforts. He’s paying it forward.”

--The public can made a direct contribution to the fund at GoldenHeartFund.org.

--Proceeds from the 50/50 raffle at Sunday’s game will benefit the Golden Heart Fund.

--Twenty-five percent of proceeds from the sales of Dwight Clark apparel purchased on game day will go to the fund.

--Half of all proceeds from admission to the 49ers Museum at Levi’s Stadium throughout the year will go to the charity.

-- On Sunday, Nov. 19, Levi’s Stadium and race grand marshal Roger Craig will host the first Golden Heart 4.9K Run with all proceeds from the event going to the Golden Heart Fund. Runners can register GoldenHeartRun.com.