Instant Analysis: 49ers force OT, but still winless after loss to Colts

Instant Analysis: 49ers force OT, but still winless after loss to Colts


INDIANAPOLIS – Not even a defense that entered the weekend ranked next-to-last in the league could help the 49ers’ offense get going on Sunday.

The 49ers’ struggles under first-year coach Kyle Shanahan continued, as it becomes more and more difficult to find a winnable game on the schedule.

The 49ers remain winless with a lackluster showing in a 26-23 overtime loss against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium.

The 49ers did not get into the end zone until the midway point of the fourth quarter on Brian Hoyer’s shovel pass to fullback Kyle Juszczyk for a 6-yard touchdown.

After Indianapolis’ Adam Vinatieri and the 49ers’ Robbie Gould matched field goals for most of the game, the Colts pulled out to a 10-point lead in the third quarter.

Vinatieri’s 38-yard field goal gave Indianapolis a 9-6 lead. The Colts got into the end zone on their next possession on running back Marlon Mack’s 22-yard reception from quarterback Jacoby Brissett.

Brissett later added a 3-yard touchdown run with 9:56 remaining in the fourth quarter to extend the Colts’ lead to 23-9.

The 49ers’ offense continued to stall. Running back Carlos Hyde, who has been limited due to a hip injury, accounted for just 10 yards on five carries. Matt Breida replaced him in the third quarter.

Quarterback Brian Hoyer completed 29 of 46 passes for 353 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.

Running back Frank Gore gained 48 yards on 14 rushing attempts to move past Eric Dickerson and into seventh place on the NFL’s all-time rushing yardage list.

Gore entered the game with 13,256 rushing yards in 13 NFL seasons. Dickerson gained 13,259 yards in 11 seasons. Gore broke into the league as a third-round draft pick of the 49ers in 2005. This is his third season with the Colts.

Gore also added three receptions for 38 yards, including a 26-yard catch and run that set up the Colts’ third-quarter touchdown.

The 49ers’ defense experienced problems keeping the yardage to a minimum on short dump-off passes to running backs. So the team made a change that included the benching of veteran linebacker NaVorro Bowman.

Bowman came off the field late in the first half for an entire series, as Brock Coyle replaced him. When the 49ers went with six defensive backs, Coyle remained on the field with Ray-Ray Armstrong also leaving the game.

Bowman and Armstrong started the second half, but Bowman was replaced again after several series.

--Rookie cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon made his NFL regular-season debut but left the game in the first half after sustaining a concussion.

Witherspoon replaced cornerback Dontae Johnson for one series, then replaced Rashard Robinson on the next series But after just a couple of plays on the field in Robinson’s spot, Witherspoon sustained a concussion in the second quarter and did not return.

--Robinson left the game in the third quarter after experiencing cramps. Reserve cornerback Asa Jackson was ruled out after sustaining a hamstring injury.

While Robinson was out, the 49ers used nickel back K’Waun Williams on the outside and moved Jimmie Ward to cover the slot receiver. Rookie Lorenzo Jerome took over at free safety.

--With Gould’s third field goal of the game set the franchise record with 14 consecutive made field goals to open a season. Wade Richey set the mark in 1999 when he made 13 in a row. It was also the 300th field goal of Gould’s career.

--On the 49ers’ touchdown drive in the middle of the fourth quarter, Hoyer hit Marquise Goodwin on back-to-back pass plays of 20 and 51 yards.

Roger Goodell: 'What we are trying to stay out of is politics'


Roger Goodell: 'What we are trying to stay out of is politics'

NEW YORK — The NFL is not changing its national anthem policy to require players to stand during the national anthem.

Commissioner Roger Goodell and several owners said Wednesday at the league’s fall meetings that altering the language from “should stand” to “must stand” was not discussed.

New York Giants owner John Mara noted that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones “spoke at length” to the other owners about the anthem issue. Jones has said any Dallas player who doesn’t stand for “The Star-Spangled Banner” would not be playing.

Goodell reiterated that the league and its 32 clubs “believe everyone should stand for the national anthem. It’s an important part of our policy and the game. It’s important to honor our flag and our country and I think our fans expect that.”

Asked about any owners who threatened discipline for players who didn’t stand, Goodell said the owners didn’t discuss it.

“There was a fair amount of conversation and I think our clubs see it the same way. I can’t deal with hypotheticals,” Goodell said.

Reminded that President Donald Trump tweeted again Wednesday about the demonstrations during the anthem, Goodell said there was nothing unpatriotic about his league.

“Everyone feels strongly about our country and have pride,” he said, adding the NFL is “not afraid of tough conversations.

“What we are trying to stay out of is politics.”

Goodell noted that only six or seven players are still kneeling or are involved in protests.

“We hope we will continue to work to put that at zero,” he said.

On Tuesday, in an unprecedented move for a league meeting, a group of 11 owners and more than a dozen players met for more than two hours at NFL headquarters. Among the topics discussed was enhancing the players’ platforms for speaking out on social issues.

“I understand the way they feel about these issues,” Goodell said Wednesday. “We feel the same about patriotism and the flag and I believe our players feel that way. We have a great deal of support for the efforts of our players.”

Trump blasts NFL for not demanding players stand during national anthem


Trump blasts NFL for not demanding players stand during national anthem

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is again criticizing the NFL over players kneeling during the national anthem.

Trump said on Twitter Wednesday that the “NFL has decided that it will not force players to stand for the playing of our National Anthem.”

He adds: “Total disrespect for our great country!”

Trump appeared to be responding to the NFL annual fall meeting on Tuesday. The league invited players and representatives from their union to discuss social issues.

The topic of the national anthem was not discussed at length. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said owners did not ask players to commit to standing during the anthem.

Trump has suggested the owners should “fire” any players who knelt during “The Star-Spangled Banner.”