Palmer hurt; Rams rally to beat Cardinals, improve to 3-1


Palmer hurt; Rams rally to beat Cardinals, improve to 3-1


GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Tavon Austin returned a punt 47 yards to set up Case Keenum's 4-yard touchdown pass to Brian Quick with 2:41 to play, and the Los Angeles Rams improved to 3-1 for the first time in a decade with a 17-13 victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.

Arizona's Carson Palmer threw for 288 yards and a touchdown but left the game to be evaluated for a concussion after his head slammed to the turf on a sack by Aaron Donald with 5:40 to play.

The play forced a Cardinals punt and Austin raced past would-be tacklers to the Arizona 34. A facemask penalty against Ifeanyi Momah moved the ball to the 19 and the Rams (3-1) went ahead when Quick caught a pass under tight defense for the score.

Arizona backup Drew Stanton was intercepted twice in the final minutes, including on a Hail Mary on the game's final play.

Keenum also had a 65-yard touchdown pass to Quick in the first quarter.

Arizona outgained the Rams 420-288 but committed five turnovers to the Rams' one.

The Cardinals, expected to be Super Bowl contenders before the season began, fell to 1-3 and lost their second game at home this season.

Arizona took its only lead of the game 13-10 on Chandler Catanzaro's 21-yard field goal on the final play of the third quarter.

The Cardinals had tied it at 10 on Palmer's 5-yard touchdown pass to Michael Floyd with 24 seconds left in the second quarter.

Arizona's offense stumbled through most of the first half and was hearing boos from the home crowd before finally getting moving in the final two minutes.

Palmer completed 6 of 8 passes for 80 yards in 1 minute, 24 seconds. Floyd had catches of 16 and five yards after his second drop of the game brought more boos during the final drive.

The Rams took an early lead when, on third-and-seven, Keenum threw to the sidelines to Quick. Cornerback Marcus Cooper went up with the receiver but Quick came down with the ball and dashed down the sideline on the 65-yard scoring play.


A defensive holding penalty against the Cardinals kept the Rams' first scoring drive alive and an offensive holding penalty nullified an Arizona touchdown moments later.

The defensive hold on Patrick Peterson came when Keenum was sacked on third-and-five. Three plays later, Keenum connected with Quick for the long TD.

The Cardinals drove to the Los Angeles 10 on their next possession and Chris Johnson ran for an apparent touchdown. But a holding penalty against Jermaine Gresham nullified the score and the Cardinals settled for a field goal.


Turnovers scuttled two Arizona scoring threats.

The Cardinals were at the Rams 33 in the second quarter when Palmer threw deep and Johnson intercepted in the corner of the end zone.

In the third quarter, Arizona recovered Keenum's fumble and drove to the Los Angeles 26, but Aaron Donald hit Palmer, forcing a fumble that the Rams recovered.


Cardinals wide receiver Roy Green was inducted into the team's Ring of Honor at halftime.

Green played on offense, defense and on special teams in 12 seasons with the Cardinals (1979-90). He ranks second in franchise history in touchdowns, third in all-purpose yards and fourth in 100-yard receiving games.

Frank Gore returns home for his 14th NFL season


Frank Gore returns home for his 14th NFL season

Frank Gore is returning home to, in all likelihood, finish his professional football career.

Gore, 34, signed a one-year contract to enter his 14th NFL season with his hometown Miami Dolphins, the team announced Friday.

Gore grew up in Coconut Grove, Florida, and attended Coral Gables High School before playing collegiately at the University of Miami.

He played the first 10 NFL seasons with the 49ers and is the franchise’s all-time leading rusher. Gore ranks fifth in NFL history with 14,026 rushing yards – just 75 yards behind No. 4 Curtis Martin.

After rushing for 11,073 yards and 64 touchdowns with the 49ers, the club declined to offer him a multi-year contract following the 2014 season. Gore played the past three seasons with the Indianapolis Colts.

Gore remains one of the most popular players in 49ers history. When asked recently if he would be willing to “retire” as a member of the 49ers after his final game, Gore reacted enthusiastically about the possibility.

1, Emmitt Smith 18,355
2, Walter Payton 16,726
3, Barry Sanders 15,269
4, Curtis Martin 14,101
5, Frank Gore 14,026

49ers increase competition for starting guard positions


49ers increase competition for starting guard positions

The 49ers are the fifth team to give Jonathan Cooper a chance after he arrived in the NFL as the No. 7 overall pick of the Arizona Cardinals in the 2013 draft.

Cooper, 28, caught the attention of the 49ers with his career-high 13 starts last season with the Dallas Cowboys. The 49ers signed him to a one-year, $4.95 million contract this week.

“We signed him to compete for one of the guard spots as a starter,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said Thursday at Stanford's pro day. “He played very well in our minds for Dallas last year and kind of resurrected his career. He’s battled injuries, but we really like the way he played, and we think he’s a very good fit for what we do. So we were pleased to add him.”

The 49ers plan to take it slowly this offseason with Cooper, who underwent surgery after tearing the medial-collateral ligament in his left knee during the final game of the season. The 49ers report for the offseason program in mid-April.

The 49ers are certain to have at least two new starters on the offensive line. Former New York Giants center Weston Richburg was signed to replace Daniel Kilgore, who was subsequently traded to the Miami Dolphins. Brandon Fusco, who started 16 games at right guard, signed with the Atlanta Falcons as an unrestricted free agent.

Laken Tomlinson has a chance to hold onto a starting job. Acquired shortly before the start of the regular season in a trade from the Detroit Lions, Tomlinson quickly moved into the starting lineup at left guard and started the final 15 games. Tomlinson was a first-round draft pick of the Lions in 2015.

“Laken played very well the longer he was there,” Lynch said. “I think people forget with Laken, he came here in Week 1. He was kind of force-fed. We didn’t have many options. But we saw a guy get better throughout the season. He’ll get his opportunity.”

Joshua Garnett, a first-round pick of the 49ers in 2016, spent last season on injured reserve due to an a knee injury sustained in training camp. The 49ers challenged Garnett to get in better physical condition. He has been cleared for football activity.

“Joshua Garnett has been working extremely hard, so he’ll be in that mix,” Lynch said. “He did a great job embracing the time he has last year to improve as a player. He remade his body and we're looking forward to see him get after it in the offseason.

“I think he’s excited about it. He’s feeling sexy, as he says.”

Erik Magnuson, 24, won a spot on the 49ers’ roster after signing as an undrafted rookie from Michigan. Magnuson could enter into the competition at guard. He displayed unique versatility in his first season, starting two games at right tackle before sustaining a season-ending foot injury. He can also serve as a backup center.

And, perhaps, the 49ers are not finished adding to the competition. The team owns the No. 9 overall selection, and Notre Dame’s Quenton Nelson could be on the radar in the unlikely event he is not selected within the top eight picks.

When asked if the 49ers could also add another player to the mix with a draft pick, Lynch answered, “We’ll see. We’re always looking to get better there.”