49ers

Smith outshines Rodgers in 49ers' victory

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Smith outshines Rodgers in 49ers' victory

GREEN BAY, Wisc. -- Quarterback Alex Smith did not throw for as many yards as Aaron Rodgers, but he did everything else better on Sunday.It's Week 1 of the NFL season, and the 49ers wasted no time in getting a marquee 30-22 victory over the Green Bay Packers, a team ESPN The Magazine predicted would finish with a 16-0 record.So much for Packers perfection. The 49ers played a top-notch all-around game to register the franchise's first victory at Lambeau Field in eight tries, spanning 22 years.And Smith was not just along for the ride. He broke the team record, previously held by Steve Young, for most consecutive passes without throwing an interception while orchestrating a balanced offensive attack.
"I thought he was great," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said. "All game he used his legs, his arm, his mind, his toughness. He was really efficient tonight, and he had a heck of a ballgame."Smith completed 20 of 26 passes for 211 yards and two touchdowns for a passer rating of 125.6. He was sacked four times, as left tackle Joe Staley had his struggles against Green Bay outside linebacker Clay Matthews, who recorded 2.5 sacks.Rodgers, the reigning NFL Most Valuable Player, completed 30 of 44 attempts for 303 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Linebacker NaVorro Bowman's interception of Rodgers was the only turnover of the game. And it led directly to Frank Gore's 23-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter. Gore finished with 112 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries."I think we played good team football for 60 minutes," Smith said. "It wasn't perfect, by any means. But everyone was helping each other and executing. It's tough to come in here on the road on opening day in a loud place, a lot of things against you. And we were able to come out with a win."Said Rodgers, "It's one game. This is a team that was in the NFC championship game last year. It's a good team. Hopefully, we see them down the playoffs."And if there is a meeting in January, the 49ers took a huge step toward ensuring that game would take place in Candlestick Park. With the head-to-head victory, the 49ers would own the tie-breaker advantage. But that's getting way ahead of ourselves.In the immediate future, the 49ers gave a glimpse Sunday of what can be expected from an offense that gave very few clues during the exhibition season.
Smith made good use of the 49ers' improved corps of wide receivers. He targeted Michael Crabtree, Randy Moss and Mario Manningham on 17 passes. He completed 15 of those pass attempts.Crabtree led the way with seven catches for 76 yards. Manningham had four receptions for 29 yards.Moss had a successful return to football in a familiar place. He sat out last season. He played his first seven seasons for the Minnesota Vikings, and played eight times previously at Lambeau Field.Moss, who played approximately 20 of the 49ers' 62 offensive snaps in the game, had four catches for 47 yards. His 14-yard scoring pass from Smith gave the 49ers a 10-0 lead early in the second quarter."We got what we were looking for and he (Moss) blew open," said Smith, who also tossed a 4-yard touchdown pass to Vernon Davis. "I think his eyes lighted up bigger than mine and he made a great catch. I'm happy for him to get that touchdown out of the way, so he doesn't have to deal with that."It was Moss' 154th career touchdown, one more than Terrell Owens, and it moved him into second place all-time in NFL history behind Jerry Rice's 197 touchdown catches. Fourteen of Moss' touchdowns have come against the Packers -- the record for opposing players.It was also a record-setting day for Smith, who now has attempted 185 regular-season passes without throwing an interception. Young held the record at 184, which he set in 1993. And Smith's mark does not include the 68 pass attempts in two playoff games without an interception."For me, just making good decisions and being smart with the football," Smith said. "It starts with that, and I think we did a good job of that tonight."Smith was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 draft. Rodgers was the 24th overall selection. But it's Rodgers who has turned into, perhaps, the best player in the game. Rodgers and Smith have remained close, and Rodgers last week showed great support for Smith during a conference call with Bay Area reporters."It's humbling," Smith said. "You know he is arguably playing the quarterback position as well as it has ever been played. You look at last year, what he did, numbers aside, just his play on the field and as good as he was last year. It's humbling when a guy like that gives you a compliment."

Roger Craig, Terrell Owens, John Lynch among Hall of Fame semifinalists

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AP

Roger Craig, Terrell Owens, John Lynch among Hall of Fame semifinalists

Former 49ers running back Roger Craig, in his final year on the modern-era ballot, is a semifinalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame for the 10th consecutive year.

Craig is among 27 semifinalists announced for the Class of 2018. The list includes six first-year eligible candidates and four other players who have been eligible previously but are semifinalists for the first time.

Wide receiver Terrell Owens and safety John Lynch, currently 49ers general manager, are among the return semifinalists. Lynch was among the final 10 players last year, while Owens made it to the top 15.

The list of first-year eligible semifinalists includes wide receiver Randy Moss, defensive back Ronde Barber, guard Steve Hutchinson, linebackers Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher, and defensive lineman Richard Seymour.

The four previously-eligible players who are semifinalists for the first time are safety LeRoy Butler, defensive ends Leslie O’Neal and Simeon Rice, and cornerback Everson Walls.

In January, the list of modern-era candidates will be trimmed to 15 individuals. There will be a total of 18 finalists, including contributor finalist Bobby Beathard and seniors finalists Robert Brazile and Jerry Kramer. Hall of Fame rules stipulate from four to eight new members will be selected every year.

Beathard, Brazile and Kramer will be voted on separately and, like all other finalists, must receive 80-percent approval from the full selection committee at the annual selection meeting on Feb. 3, 2018 in Minneapolis, the day before Super Bowl LII.

Craig's teams made it to the playoffs in each of his 11 NFL seasons, including his first eight years with the 49ers. In 1985, he became the first player in NFL history with 1,000 yards rushing and 1,000 yards receiving in the same season.

Owens, who played his first eight seasons with the 49ers, was a first-team All-Pro performer six times. He ranks second all-time in receiving yards (15,934) and third with 153 receiving touchdowns.

Lynch, a hard-hitting safety with Tampa Bay and Denver, was selected to nine Pro Bowls in his 15-year career. He recorded 26 interceptions, forced 16 fumbles and recovered nine in his career.

2018 MODERN-ERA SEMIFINALISTS
Steve Atwater, S – 1989-1998 Denver Broncos, 1999 New York Jets | (Times as a Semifinalist: 7 – 2012-18)
Ronde Barber, CB/S – 1997-2012 Tampa Bay Buccaneers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2018)
Tony Boselli, T – 1995-2001 Jacksonville Jaguars, 2002 Houston Texans (injured reserve) | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2016-18)
Isaac Bruce, WR – 1994-2007 Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams, 2008-09 San Francisco 49ers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 4 – 2015-18)
LeRoy Butler, S – 1990-2001 Green Bay Packers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2018)
Don Coryell, Coach – 1973-77 St. Louis Cardinals, 1978-1986 San Diego Chargers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 10 – 2005, 2010-18)
Roger Craig, RB – 1983-1990 San Francisco 49ers, 1991 Los Angeles Raiders, 1992-93 Minnesota Vikings | (Times as a Semifinalist: 10 – 2009-18)
Brian Dawkins, S – 1996-2008 Philadelphia Eagles, 2009-2011 Denver Broncos | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2017-18)
Alan Faneca, G – 1998-2007 Pittsburgh Steelers, 2008-09 New York Jets, 2010 Arizona Cardinals | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2016-18)
Torry Holt, WR – 1999-2008 St. Louis Rams, 2009 Jacksonville Jaguars | (Times as a Semifinalist: 4 – 2015-18)
Steve Hutchinson, G – 2001-05 Seattle Seahawks, 2006-2011 Minnesota Vikings, 2012 Tennessee Titans | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2018)
Joe Jacoby, T – 1981-1993 Washington Redskins | (Times as a Semifinalist: 8 – 2005, 2008, 2013-18)
Edgerrin James, RB – 1999-2005 Indianapolis Colts, 2006-08 Arizona Cardinals, 2009 Seattle Seahawks | (Times as a Semifinalist: 4 – 2015-18)
Jimmy Johnson, Coach – 1989-1993 Dallas Cowboys, 1996-99 Miami Dolphins | (Times as a Semifinalist: 5 – 2014-18)
Ty Law, CB – 1995-2004 New England Patriots, 2005, 2008 New York Jets, 2006-07 Kansas City Chiefs, 2009 Denver Broncos | (Times as a Semifinalist: 4 – 2015-18)
Ray Lewis, LB – 1996-2012 Baltimore Ravens | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2018)
John Lynch, FS – 1993-2003 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2004-07 Denver Broncos | (Times as a Semifinalist: 6 – 2013-18)
Kevin Mawae, C/G – 1994-97 Seattle Seahawks, 1998-2005 New York Jets, 2006-09 Tennessee Titans | (Times as a Semifinalist: 4 – 2015-18)
Karl Mecklenburg, LB – 1983-1994 Denver Broncos | (Times as a Semifinalist: 7 – 2012-18)
Randy Moss, WR – 1998-2004, 2010 Minnesota Vikings, 2005-06 Oakland Raiders, 2007-2010 New England Patriots, 2010 Tennessee Titans, 2012 San Francisco 49ers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2018)
Leslie O'Neal, DE – 1986, 1988-1995 San Diego Chargers, 1996-1997 St. Louis Rams, 1998-1999 Kansas City Chiefs | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2018)
Terrell Owens, WR – 1996-2003 San Francisco 49ers, 2004-05 Philadelphia Eagles, 2006-08 Dallas Cowboys, 2009 Buffalo Bills, 2010 Cincinnati Bengals | (Times as a Semifinalist: 3 – 2016-18)
Simeon Rice, DE – 1996-2000 Arizona Cardinals, 2001-06 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2007 Denver Broncos, 2007 Indianapolis Colts | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2018)
Richard Seymour, DE/DT – 2001-08 New England Patriots, 2009-2012 Oakland Raiders | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2018)
Brian Urlacher, LB – 2000-2012 Chicago Bears | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2018)
Everson Walls, CB – 1981-89 Dallas Cowboys, 1990-92 New York Giants, 1992-93 Cleveland Browns | (Times as a Semifinalist: 1 – 2018)
Hines Ward, WR – 1998-2011 Pittsburgh Steelers | (Times as a Semifinalist: 2 – 2017-18)

EDITOR'S NOTE: Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area is one of 48 members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee.

John Lynch: Eventually, Garoppolo 'is going to be our guy'

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USATI

John Lynch: Eventually, Garoppolo 'is going to be our guy'

SANTA CLARA – General manager John Lynch came close Tuesday to announcing which quarterback will start for the 49ers this week.

But the official announcement that rookie C.J. Beathard will start Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks will have to come from coach Kyle Shanahan, he said.

“C.J. (Beathard) played extremely well against the Giants, and that’s likely,” Lynch told reporters at Levi’s Stadium. “But I’ll let Kyle speak to that.”

Lynch reiterated that they want to give newly acquired Jimmy Garoppolo the best chance to succeed. Garoppolo spent part of the 49ers' bye week learning the basics of the offensive system in meetings with quarterbacks coach Rich Scangarello. Garoppolo also met one-on-one with Shanahan.

Beathard had his best game as a pro on Nov. 12, before the bye week, as he threw for 288 yards and two touchdowns in a 31-21 victory over the New York Giants. Garoppolo arrived in Santa Clara on Oct. 31 in a trade with the New England Patriots.

Lynch said he feels Garoppolo “is going to be our guy,” so the organization does not feel any urgency to rush him onto the field. In fact, Lynch sounded as if the 49ers are not placing a high priority on spending big on the quarterback position with Garoppolo and Beathard on the team.

"You still study every position, but we feel pretty good about where our quarterback room is,” Lynch said.