49ers

Smith applauds Kaepernick's contributions in 34-0 win

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Smith applauds Kaepernick's contributions in 34-0 win

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- There is no quarterback controversy, but the backup made it clear he wants more playing time.And he likely earned that right on Sunday.Colin Kaepernick got his first extensive playing time of his NFL career on Sunday, as the 49ers sprinkled him into the game against the New York Jets. And Kaepernick delivered with the first touchdown in the 49ers' 34-0 victory over the New York Jets."He's doing a great job in the understudy role," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said. "There was an opportunity to get him in and contribute, and he handled it well."And it's no surprise Kaepernick hopes he gets a chance to handle it more often."I'm hoping they'll use me more and more as the season goes along," Kaepernick said.Kaepernick finished the game with 50 yards rushing, including a 7-yard touchdown, on five rushing attempts. He also attempted a deep pass to Randy Moss, but the throw into triple-coverage was incomplete.He could've had a second touchdown, but he went down at the Jets' 3-yard line with 1:12 remaining at the end of a 30-yard run because he said he didn't want to put his teammates under any more risks than necessary."That's one less kickoff we have to cover," Kaepernick said. "That's one less time we have to go out on defense. We can end the game with no more collisions and no more chances for injury."RELATED: Maiocco's Instant Replay: 49ers 34, Jets 0
He was the first player in NCAA history to throw for at least 2,000 yards passing and rush for at least 1,000 yards in three consecutive seasons. The 49ers traded up to select him in the second round of the 2011 draft.Kaepernick gave the 49ers a 7-0 lead when he dashed around the left side for a touchdown early in the second quarter. Kaepernick replaced starting quarterback Alex Smith for the third-and-6 play."It was fun," Smith said of watching Kaepernick play. "It was great. Effective, for sure. That would be an understatement. He's a good player. I'm happy for him. He works extremely hard. He can help this team, so it's fun to see him get out there and have success."When asked about his emotions to be removed from the game for an important early-game play, Smith said, "That's not an issue. I don't care. We scored. We ran it in."The 49ers managed to spread the ball around in the run game like a lot of teams distribute the ball in the passing game.Nine different runners combined for 245 rushing yards for the 49ers. Leading rusher Frank Gore had a rough time finding room to run, though. He had 62 yards and a touchdown on 21 rushing attempts. Backup Kendall Hunter had a good day with 56 yards and a touchdown on eight rushing attempts. Gore also enjoyed seeing all the backups have a substantial hand in the 49ers' success."It was good to see," Gore said. "Kaepernick practices hard and works hard every day. He prepares like a starter, just like Kendall."The 49ers took some shots deep early in the game. Smith's first attempt of the game, targeted toward Michael Crabtree, drew a 14-yard penalty for pass interference on Jets cornerback Kyle Wilson, who got the start in place of injured starter Darrelle Revis.But the 49ers did not have a lot of success throwing the ball. Smith completed just 12 of 21 passes for 143 yards.Where the 49ers' offense was perfect was in holding onto the ball. Kicker David Akers missed field-goal attempts of 55 and 40 yards, but the 49ers made the Jets offense work for everything.And the defense rebounded with a dominating performance, limiting the overmatched Jets (2-2) to just 145 yards of total offense. The 49ers (3-1) also forced four turnovers.Cornerback Carlos Rogers had two fumble recoveries, including an odd play that he turned into a 51-yard touchdown return in the fourth quarter.Jets receiver Santonio Holmes caught a short pass and went down with a non-contact knee injury. When he was down -- and before Rogers touched him -- Holmes tossed the ball into the air. Rogers caught it and took it into the end zone."I was surprised," Rogers said. "I didn't know what was going on. I thought he just fell or slipped. Next thing I know, the ball came out and I tried to score with it."The 49ers held the Jets to a rushing average of 2.6 yards. And New York quarterback Mark Sanchez struggled immensely, completing just 13 of 29 passes for 103 yards. Outside linebacker Aldon Smith recorded two of the 49ers' three sacks."After the last game, some people questioned us," Aldon Smith said. "We know what we are capable of. We are a good defense that plays well together."A year ago, the 49ers practiced in Youngstown, and they rallied for a season-changing victory at the Philadelphia Eagles. A week ago, the 49ers were admittedly flat in losing at the Minnesota Vikings. But they came back strong against the Jets."This week we knew it was going to be a better showing," Rogers said. "After we left Youngstown for the week, we knew what we did last year when we left there. We just wanted to keep it going.""It was a job well-done by the offensive line and, overall, just a great game by our players," Harbaugh said. "'That's more like it!' As they were saying in the locker room. Really, they're the ones who did it. It was a tremendous effort by our players."
Said Alex Smith, "This team was pretty upset after last week with ourselves. Really felt we all had a hand in what went on last Sunday. Had a great week in Youngstown, and obviously the guys came out ready to play. Any time the defense plays like that. It makes it easy on all of us."

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