49ers

49ers offensive review: Kaepernick managed the game

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49ers offensive review: Kaepernick managed the game

It was probably the most thorough 49ers performance against a good team this season, as they had their way in a 32-7 victory over the Chicago Bears on Monday night.The 49ers had standout play on offense, defense and special teams.Let's start with the offense. And let's kick if off with a look at the performance of Colin Kaepernick, who tied a 49ers record for most yards passing in a first start. Jeff Garcia had 243 yards in his 1999 debut, a 24-22 win against the Tennessee Titans.MAIOCCO: Harbaugh considers Kaepernick's 'hot hand'
--Kaepernick threw the ball with accuracy, considering the level of difficulty of some of his throws. He completed 16 of 23 attempts. Kaepernick also did a very good job of being a game manager. And, trust me, that term is not being used in a derogatory manner.According to Pro Football Focus, Kaepernick completed 3 of 4 attempts 20 yards or more down the field for 111 yards. While being blitzed, Kaepernick was 7 of 10 with one touchdown and a 144.6 rating.He had a clean pocket from which to throw for most of the game. On his 57-yard pass to Kyle Williams in the first quarter, Right tackle Anthony Davis handled Israel Idonije and left tackle Joe Staley guided Corey Wooten to the outside to allow Kaepernick plenty of room to make the throw. And Kaepernick's throw to Williams was absolutely perfect.RATTO: 49ers' fan base proclaims Kaepernick the Baby Jesus
--Kaepernick appeared to do a good job at the line of scrimmage with his decisions in situations in which he received two play calls in the huddle. Kaepernick appeared to receive some help from Frank Gore late in the first quarter to kill a play, which resulted in 12-yard completion to Randy Moss.On the first play of the second half, Kaepernick made two adjustments with his presnap read and Gore gained 11 yards around left end.--Kaepernick enabled tight end Vernon Davis to have his best game in a while. He made a couple of throws that Davis would not ordinarily see go his way. The best example of that was in the fourth quarter. It was a third-and-12, and the Bears showed an all-out blitz. Idonije and Brian Urlacher backed off into coverage at the snap of the ball, but that left Lance Briggs coming inside on a blitz. Kaepernick threw to Davis in a window between Idonije and Urlacher, and in front of safety Major Wright. The play went for 11 yards and failed to pick up a first down, but Kaepernick's throw rightfully impressed Davis, who compared it to something he'd see from Tom Brady.--Kaepernick also showed a lot on a 10-yard touchdown pass to Michael Crabtree in which he looked right, scanned the middle of the field, slid to the right and found Crabtree working his way back across the end zone.--Crabtree made a great individual effort on a third-and-11 in the second quarter when Kaepernick hit in him stride on a slant pattern. He broke the tackle attempt of Wright at the 25-yard line and carried cornerback Tim Jennings for another 7 yards to pick up the first down on 20-yard play to the 11-yard line.--Kaepernick put a pass to Mario Manningham on a third-quarter slant in a perfect spot. He appeared to underthrow Manningham by design to direct him away from the teeth of the Bears defense. Manningham caught the pass, stopped and made a pivot away from three Bears defenders to gain 28 yards after the catch with a run down the left sideline.RATTO: For the 49ers, it's a full-blown QB controversy
--The 49ers' pass protection was very good. Of course, the offensive line had a very strong game, but Gore was also very good in pass protection. Gore got enough of Julius Peppers to slow him up on the first play of the game, an 8-yard pass to Manningham.--Gore leveled Briggs on a blitz on Kaepernick's 3-yard touchdown pass to Vernon Davis. Also on that play, fullback Will Tukuafu picked up Urlacher up the middle.--Right guard Alex Boone and Staley graded out highly in PFF's rating system. Boone gave up no quarterback disruptions. Fullback Bruce Miller and tight end Delanie Walker also had good games as blockers.--Right tackle Anthony Davis pushed Peppers inside to open a lane for Gore to pick up 13 yards near the end of the first quarter. --Walker had a big block on nose tackle Stephen Paea to create a hole for Gore to gain 14 yards up the middle. Walker was again inconsistent catching the football. He bobbled a perfectly thrown pass early in the game but still gained 9 yards. Later, he dropped a pass from Kaepernick inside the 5-yard line.--Center Jonathan Goodwin got bested on an inside move from Paea to stop Gore for a 6-yard loss. But Goodwin had a good game from that point on, as he repeatedly got to the second level. He made good blocks on Briggs on plays that gained 13 and 14 yards up the middle.--Kendall Hunter played only 11 offensive snaps, but he made the most of them with 27 yards and a touchdown on five rushing attempts. He got off to a good start when he broke through Urlacher at the line of scrimmage around the right side to pick up 6 yards.--Hunter scored on a 14-yard TD run in the second quarter, as Kaepernick gave him on the ball on a read option. Staley did a good job on defensive tackle Henry Melton down the field, and Hunter broke through Wooten tackle attempt at the 10-yard line.--The Bears picked up two sacks. One came on an odd play call in which Hunter was dropped on apparent halfback pass attempt. The other sack came when Wooten beat Anthony Davis to the outside and Idonije got past Mike Iupati and Gore's chip attempt.

49ers veteran expected to play in Pro Bowl thanks to Eagles

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49ers veteran expected to play in Pro Bowl thanks to Eagles

UPDATED: The 49ers announced Monday morning that Joe Staley has accepted a spot on the NFC Pro Bowl team. He will replace Dallas offensive tackle Tyron Smith.

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Veteran 49ers left tackle Joe Staley is expected to benefit from the Philadelphia Eagles’ trip to the Super Bowl.

Staley, originally chosen as an alternate, is expected to be named to his sixth Pro Bowl to take the place of Eagles Pro Bowl tackle Lane Johnson.

The Pro Bowl will be played Sunday, Jan. 28, in Orlando, Florida. Members of the Super Bowl participant Eagles and New England Patriots will not play in the all-star game. The Eagles advanced to the Super Bowl on Sunday with a 38-7 victory over the Minnesota Vikings.

The other Pro Bowl offensive tackles representing the NFC are Dallas’ Tyron Smith and Los Angeles’ Andrew Whitworth, who replaced Washington’s Trent Williams.

Staley got off to a rough start last season as the 49ers opened on a nine-game losing streak. The idea of his career coming to an end began to creep into his mind, he said recently on the 49ers Insider Podcast.

But Staley said he had a talk with coach Kyle Shanahan that got him refocused for the remainder of the season. The 49ers finished with a five-game win streak to finish with a 6-10 record, and Staley played well down the stretch.

“I’m so far gone from where I was in that moment early in the year that I’m just focused on next year and, hopefully, years after that,” said Staley, 33, an 11-year NFL veteran. “I feel like I can still play.

“I think this last half of the season I played some of the best football of my career. I feel very confident in what we’re doing schematically with the people surrounding us, and it shows in my own play.”

Staley would join fullback Kyle Juszczyk, who was the only 49ers player named to the Pro Bowl when the teams were announced last month.

Foles frenzy: Eagles fly over Vikings to meet Patriots in Super Bowl LII

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Foles frenzy: Eagles fly over Vikings to meet Patriots in Super Bowl LII

BOX SCORE

PHILADELPHIA -- Hey Philly, maybe it's time to forget Carson Wentz. Nick Foles might be good enough to win the Eagles their first Super Bowl.

Foles was on fire Sunday night against the stingiest scoring defense in the NFL. Philly made big play after big play on both sides of the ball in a stunning 38-7 rout of the Minnesota Vikings for the NFC championship.

Next up after their most-lopsided playoff victory: the Eagles' first Super Bowl appearance since 2005, against the team that beat them then, AFC champion New England.

Foles replaced the injured Wentz in Game 13 and finished off a rise from last place to first in the NFC East. There were plenty of doubters entering the playoffs, but the former starter in Philadelphia (15-3) under another regime has been brilliant.

His best work might have come against Minnesota (14-4) and its vaunted defense that was torn apart in every manner. Foles threw for 352 yards and three touchdowns, showing poise, escapability and moxie in going 26 for 33.

In doing so - helped greatly by the Eagles' domination on defense and a spectacular weaving 50-yard interception return TD by Patrick Robinson - Foles ruined the Vikings' hopes of being the first team to play in a Super Bowl in its own stadium

Instead, the Eagles will seek their first Super Bowl crown in Minnesota on Feb. 4; their last championship came in 1960.

OVER AT HALFTIME: Minnesota made it look easy at the outset, driving 75 yards on nine plays, each of which gained yardage. The payoff was a 25-yard throw from Case Keenum to Kyle Rudolph well behind linebacker Najee Goode as Philadelphia's defense looked confused on the play.

That didn't happen again for Philly.

Defensive end Chris Long had a huge hand in Robinson's 50-yard interception return. Long burst in from the left side and got his arm on Keenum to disrupt the throw for Adam Thielen. The ball went directly to Robinson, who sped down the left side, then made a sharp cut to the right and got a superb block from Ronald Darby to reach the end zone.

Inspired, Philly's D forced a three-and-out, the Foles led the Eagles on a 12-play, 75-yard masterpiece of a drive. LeGarrette Blount showed all his power and escapability on an 11-yard surge up the middle for a 14-7 lead.

Turnovers, something Minnesota rarely committed with an NFC-low 14 during the season, hurt again and not only ended a solid drive, but set up more Philly points. On third down from the Eagles 15, Keenum was blindsided by rookie Derek Barnett, and the ball bounced directly to Long.

It was only the second strip-sack the Vikings have been victimized by all season.

A blown coverage - another rarity for Minnesota - on third-and-10 allowed Alshon Jeffery to get wide open for a 53-yard TD, and Philadelphia tacked on Elliott's 38-yard field goal to make it 24-3 at halftime.

DANCING IN THE LINC: Fifty seconds into the final quarter, with the score 38-7, Eagles players on the sideline and waiting to kick off on the field were dancing up a storm and fans were chanting "We want Brady."

They get Tom Brady and company in two weeks.

BACK TO THE BIG GAME: Long won the Super Bowl last year with the Patriots, as did Blount. Now they return on the other side.

QUICK DRIVE: Philadelphia got the ball with 29 seconds remaining in the first half at its 20. Foles hit passes of 11 yards to Jay Ajayi, 36 to Ertz and 13 to Ajayi before Elliott's field goal to end the half.

THIRD DOWNS: Minnesota was the league's best team defending third downs and was third in converting them. Yet Philadelphia went 10 for 14.

NEXT UP: Minnesota returns home to watch two other teams play at its stadium for the Lombardi Trophy.

With the entire stadium singing "Fly Eagles Fly" during the NFC trophy ceremony, Philadelphia can look forward to facing New England in Super Bowl 52 on Feb. 4