Maiocco's Instant Replay: 49ers 34, Jets 0


Maiocco's Instant Replay: 49ers 34, Jets 0


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The 49ers traded up to select quarterback Colin Kaepernick in the second round of the 2011 draft. On Sunday, they finally put him to work.While everyone seemed focus on the running capabilities of the New York Jets' backup quarterback, it was Kaepernick who easily had the biggest impact Sunday in the 49ers' 34-0 victory over the New York Jets.After losing to the Minnesota Vikings last week, the 49ers spent the week of practice at Youngstown, Ohio. The preparation time away from home seemed to work, as the 49ers (3-1) bounced back with a thorough thrashing of the Jets, who fall to 2-2.It might have also given the coaching staff more time to implement a special package of plays designed for the running ability of Kaepernick.Kaepernick entered the game in the first quarter and seemed to give the New York Jets all kinds of fits. The first time he took a snap, Kaepernick gained 17 yards when he kept the ball on a read-option run.And it was Kaepernick who entered on a third-and-6 play from the Jets' 7-yard line, to replace Alex Smith late in the first quarter. Kaepernick dashed around the left side, picked up a block from running back Frank Gore, and got into the end zone for his first career touchdown.When Kaepernick dropped the ball to celebrate with his teammates, veteran Randy Moss picked it up and handed it back to Kaepernick for a keepsake.The 49ers gained 68 yards rushing on their touchdown drive, using six different players to carry the ball along the way. After Smith hit Gore for a 5-yard gain to open the drive, the 49ers went solely with the ground game.--Smith scrambled 9 yards to the 49ers' 46-yard line.--Gore gained 4 yards on a run up the middle.--The 49ers faked an end-around to Ted Ginn. Then, Mario Manningham got the ball coming around the other side. Manningham turned up field and gained 28 yards.--Kendall Hunter picked up 11 yards around left end.--After an incomplete pass, Kyle Williams took an option pitch from Smith and gained 9 yards.--Following a false-start penalty on Delanie Walker, Kaepernick entered on a third-down play and rushed around left end for a touchdown.It was the first time in Kaepernick's regular-season career that the 49ers had a package of plays available for him in a game. And the 49ers unveiled it in the first half. During that time, Kaepernick carried twice for 24 yards and attempted a deep pass to Randy Moss into triple coverage that fell incomplete.Meanwhile, Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez struggled getting anything going against the 49ers' defense. Jets backup quarterback Tim Tebow, known for his running ability, was no factor. He carried twice for 0 yards and completed one jump-pass for 9 yards, that resulted in a fumble.
TOUGH DEFENSE: The 49ers' defense forced four turnovers, including two takeaways in the first half that kept the Jets from scoring. Safety Dashon Goldson made a low hit on tight end Dedrick Epps after a 9-yard reception from Tebow to the Jets' 48. Cornerback Carlos Rogers scooped up the loose ball.Later, the Jets were on the march again at the 49ers' 25-yard line. This time, outside linebacker Aldon Smith sacked Sanchez and forced a fumble, which Justin Smith recovered.The 49ers took over with 1:11 remaining in the half, and moved 56 yards. Kicker David Akers kicked a 36-yard field goal on the final play of the first half to give the 49ers a 10-0 lead.DEFENSE SCORES: Rogers gave the 49ers a 24-0 lead on the first play of the fourth quarter on a play that could have disastrous ramifications for the Jets.One week after the Jets lost their best defensive player, cornerback Darrelle Revis, to a season-ending knee injury, New York's best offensive player, receiver Santonio Holmes, went down with a knee injury.After a short completion, Holmes went down without being touched as his left knee bent awkwardly. As he went down, Holmes tossed the ball into the air. Rogers caught the ball and returned it 51 yards for a touchdown.FOURTH-DOWN CONVERSION: The 49ers' defense gave the offense ample opportunities to widen the advantage, but it wasn't until a fourth-down conversion that the 49ers gave themselves some breathing room in the third quarter.Gore crashed through the left side for a 2-yard touchdown run with 2:49 remaining in the third quarter for a 17-0 lead.POURING IT ON: The 49ers tacked on another score when Larry Grant blocked a Robert Malone punt in the fourth quarter. The ball rolled out of bounds at the Jets' 4-yard line. Hunter scored on a 1-yard run with 6:30 remaining. It was the 49ers' first blocked since Dominique Ziegler in October 2010 at Atlanta.NOTES: Ginn returned to his role as the team's top punt returner after missing the first three games with an ankle injury. . . The 49ers' seven inactive players were quarterback Scott Tolzien, wide receiver A.J. Jenkins, running backs Brandon Jacobs and LaMichael James, safety Trenton Robinson, guard Joe Looney and nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga. . . Ricky Jean Francois got his third career start, as he took over for Sopoaga.

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


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


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


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