Smith gets big plays in passing game


Smith gets big plays in passing game

SAN FRANCISCO -- The 49ers have been ranked near the bottom of the NFL in passing yards all season. Big plays have been rare.But the 49ers had success through the air Sunday against the St. Louis Rams in their 26-0 NFC West-clinching victory at Candlestick Park.Quarterback Alex Smith had his two longest pass plays of the season and both went for touchdowns. And Smith made another perfect deep pass on a ball tight end Vernon Davis dropped in the end zone.
After settling for three David Akers field goals in the first half, the 49ers broke through early in the third quarter.Michael Crabtree used a stutter move against cornerback Justin King on a deep post and caught Smith's perfectly thrown pass for a 52-yard touchdown."I just had to go get the ball," said Crabtree, who is tied with Davis for the team-lead with 48 receptions. "Alex made a great throw and I ran up right under it."Second-year receiver Kyle Williams showed his 4.43 speed in the 40-yard dash early in the fourth quarter to provide another long touchdown.The Rams brought a six-man blitz, and Smith threw an 8-yard hitch to Williams, who cut inside of right cornerback Josh Gordy and outran everybody to the end zone for a 56-yard score."(I) certainly didn't expect him to house-call it, but he slipped inside, broke a tackle and that was it," Smith said.Smith had the best passer rating of his career (142.3), as he completed 17 of 23 passes for 274 yards and two touchdowns. One of Smith's six incomplete passes could've easily been a 40-yard touchdown.Davis got several steps behind Rams safeties Craig Dahl and Quintin Mikell, but he simply dropped the second-quarter pass in the end zone. Davis said he got "over-excited because I'd pretty much killed the guy and I was in the end zone.""I've never had that happen to me before," Davis said. "I know all the great ones in the past, T.O. (Terrell Owens), Jerry Rice, they dropped passes. But that's not something I want to do. I want to be better than that. You always want to be better than the best. So that's something I have to get fixed."

Joe Montana: Dwight Clark appreciates all the support from former teammates


Joe Montana: Dwight Clark appreciates all the support from former teammates

More than 35 players from the 49ers’ first Super Bowl champion will be in attendance on Sunday at Levi’s Stadium to show support for Dwight Clark, who revealed in March he was diagnosed with ALS.

Clark, 60, will have ample opportunity to reconnect with some of his old friends on Saturday evening and again on Sunday. At halftime, Joe Montana, surrounded by most of the 49ers' 1981 team, will introduce Clark before a video tribute.

Clark is also expected to make some remarks while situated in a suite for the 49ers’ game against the Dallas Cowboys.

Montana and his wife, Jennifer, have remained in close contact with Clark and his wife, Kelly. The Clarks recently watched the Blue Angels in San Francisco with the Montanas during Fleet Week.

“He’s getting pretty inundated with everyone staying in touch with him at this point,” Montana said on The 49ers Insider Podcast.

“It’s fun for him. At one point, he was telling his wife, Kelly, ‘This is what it’s all about. This is what I want and what I miss, seeing the guys.’ So any of the guys reaching out to him, he surely appreciates it.”

Montana said Clark has not lost his positive outlook or his sense of humor, as evidenced by some not-fit-for-print words he recently had about his wheelchair. Montana said there are always some good laughs and stories any time Clark gets together with his friends.

“That’s the fun part," Montana said. “You just try to get him to forget what’s there, and that you’re there for him whenever. I think the support is the biggest thing right now. In that stage of ALS, it's got to be getting tough, where all of a sudden, things are becoming more and more difficult.”

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.”