49ers-Ravens: Matchups to watch


49ers-Ravens: Matchups to watch

BALTIMORE -- The 49ers had demonstrated an all-around team defense. And the Baltimore Ravens have the most offensive playmakers the organization has ever compiled.But the 49ers' best defender and the Ravens' top producer will take center stage Thursday, and they are bound to see a lot of each other throughout the night.
Tale of the tape
49ers LB Patrick Willis (52): 6-1, 240, Mississippi, fifth season
Ravens RB Ray Rice (27): 5-8, 212, Rutgers, fourth seasonRice carried the ball just five times against the Seattle Seahawks a couple weeks ago, and the Ravens lost. On Sunday, he was fed the ball 20 times, gained 104 yards, and the Ravens defeated the Cincinnati Bengals.So the Ravens make it a priority to get the ball in Rice's hands. Rice ranks fifth in the NFL with 1,176 yards from scrimmage. He's a threat as a rusher and as a target in the passing game.Rice has 663 yards rushing with a 4.2 yards, and he also has 51 catches for 513 yards.
He will undoubtedly see a lot of Willis, who leads a 49ers defense that has been difficult on opposing running backs. Willis has also been a force in pass coverage, so he'll likely be asked to pick up Rice out of the backfield on occasion.CSNBaltimore: 49ers-Ravens -- the basics Keys -- pressure Smith, stop Gore predictions
The 49ers have been dominant against the run this season with Willis and NaVorro Bowman racking up most of the tackles. The 49ers have not allowed a 100-yard rusher in 32 games. And the unit has not allowed a rushing touchdown this season."You look at what's going on over there, and it kind of reminds us of our own defense," Rice said on a conference call with Bay Area reporters. "It's going to be a challenge. Every yard matters in this game. It's going to be a slugfest."And Rice said Willis is the closest comparison to Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis.RELATED: Ravens roster depth chart injuries"He's a tenacious player," Rice said. "I have a lot of respect for that guy. Take Ray out, and (Willis) is the second-best linebacker in the NFL." Other matchups worth watching
49ers LOLB Ahmad Brooks (55) vs. Ravens RT Michael Oher (74): Brooks rarely comes off he field, as he plays standing up on base downs and lines up at defensive end in nickel situations. Brooks ranks seventh on the team in tackles, and his duty is to set the edge in the run game. As a pass-rusher, Brooks is second on the team with six sacks, matching his career-high. Oher, the subject of the book and movie, "The Blind Side," nearly was drafted by the 49ers in 2009. Then-general manager Scot McCloughan insisted on receiver Michael Crabtree over Oher, with then-coach Mike Singletary taking up the argument for the offensive lineman.49ers QB Alex Smith (11) vs. Ravens FS Ed Reed (20): If being a "game manager" means making good decisions and avoiding turnovers, Smith is guilty. But it becomes a lot more difficult to make good decisions and avoid interceptions with Reed patrolling the secondary. Reed is a seven-time Pro Bowl player. He produced a league-best eight interceptions in just 10 games last season, and he has three picks this year. Reed has 57 interceptions in his career, which is the league-high since entering the league in 2002. Thirty-three of his interceptions have come at home. Overall, the Ravens are 35-10 in games in which he has caught a pass from an opposing quarterback.

49ers issue statement regarding incident involving Foster, Armstrong


49ers issue statement regarding incident involving Foster, Armstrong

Late Tuesday afternoon, a report surfaced stating that 49ers linebackers were involving an incident outside a club early on Monday morning.

The 49ers have issued a statement regarding the matter:

Mission Local is reporting that Foster and Armstrong were at Love and Propaganda near Union Square in San Francisco when they noticed a car circling the club. They reportedly asked security to escort them to their car at which point the car in question pulled up next to their car. two men jumped out of the car carrying an assault rifle and a handgun.

According to the report, Foster and Armstrong took off running and ended up at the St. Francis hotel where they promptly called police. Neither was injured in the incident.

Jeff Garcia was frustrated by Brian Hoyer: 'I kept waiting...'


Jeff Garcia was frustrated by Brian Hoyer: 'I kept waiting...'

Former 49ers quarterback Jeff Garcia liked what he saw from rookie C.J. Beathard, who replaced benched starter Brian Hoyer on Sunday.

“It looks like he has that physical and mental toughness,” said Garcia, now an analyst on NBC Sports Bay Area on the latest 49ers Insider Podcast.

“That’s the thing you like to see out of a quarterback, to be a leader, to demonstrate what it’s all about and get everybody on board following him, and to play hungry, to play intense, to demand perfection out of yourself, to want to make every play.”

With Beathard taking over at quarterback, the 49ers rallied from a 17-point deficit to tie the game in the third quarter. He also bought time with his legs to escape the pocket and throw a 45-yard touchdown pass to Aldrick Robinson in the closing minutes to give the 49ers an opportunity for a last-second win.

However, the 49ers lost their fifth consecutive game by three points or less with a 26-24 loss at Washington.

Beathard played with a sense of purpose and urgency Garcia said he did not see from Hoyer, who is playing for his seventh team in nine NFL seasons.

“I kept waiting for Brian to be that guy and he just wasn’t,” Garcia said. “That’s what frustrated me about Brian. Here he had a great opportunity to come in and be a starter and secure a position and take hold of a position for, really, the first time in his career.

“In retrospect, maybe he just is who he is, and that’s why he’s played for so many teams, and that’s why he’s never been considered a full-time starter or 'the guy' in the National Football League.”

Garcia added, “He left a door open, a window open, for another guy to step in and take advantage of it, and that’s what C.J. did. He was very opportunistic on Sunday in stepping onto the field and immediately having an impact.”