49ers

Three things you need to know from 49ers' 26-23 overtime loss to Colts

Three things you need to know from 49ers' 26-23 overtime loss to Colts

INDIANAPOLIS -- Three things you need to know about the 49ers’ 26-23 loss to the Colts in Week 5 on Sunday:

1. Close is not good enough
The 49ers have not figured out this whole winning thing. Kyle Shanahan’s team is 0-5. After a blowout loss in Week 1, the 49ers have dropped their past four games by a total of 11 points.

The 49ers lost in overtime for the second week in a row. Trailing by 14 points at the midpoint of the fourth quarter, the fact the 49ers forced overtime against Indianapolis was a minor miracle.

Quarterback Brian Hoyer could not get things going until the final eight minutes of the fourth quarter. He finished with a more-than-respectable stat line, completing 29 of 46 pass attempts for 353 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.

But when the 49ers had a chance to win the game in overtime, they could not capitalize.

The defense kept the team in the game for much of the day, including Ray-Ray Armstrong’s interception at the goal line to open overtime. But the defense did not get the big stop when it was needed. Colts running back Marlon Mack got around the corner on a 35-yard run in overtime to set up the winning field goal.

In short, the 49ers have found a way to lose every week. And things are not going to be getting any easier. The 49ers’ upcoming games are at Washington, vs. Dallas, at Philadelphia and vs. Arizona.

2. Is Bowman getting phased out?
Linebacker NaVorro Bowman has not been a role player since his first season in the NFL. And he does not appear ready to accept that role now after being named first-team All-Pro selection in all four of his full NFL seasons. But Bowman appears to have slowed down dramatically, and the coaching staff has determined he is a liability in coverage.

The 49ers’ coaching staff decided the defense could be better if Bowman is given some time to rest during the course of a game, too. Brock Coyle came off the sideline to play at least three defensive series on Sunday.

“They’re doing what they want to do, and . . . I don’t know. I don’t like it. Nobody likes coming out of the game, but I’m a team player,” Bowman said.

“They told me. But it’s hard to do that in the midst of a tough game. No player likes being taken out.”

We could be seeing the end of Bowman with the 49ers. He is scheduled to make $9.45 million next season in salary and bonuses, and the 49ers certainly are not going to pay that kind of money to a linebacker whose playing time is being cut back.

3. Kittle emerges in fourth
Looking for a bright spot? Rookie tight end George Kittle came through with a big fourth quarter to help the 49ers pull even and force overtime.

Kittle caught seven passes for 83 yards to exceed by 1 yard his total receiving output of the first four games combined. And Kittle came through in the clutch, too.

Hoyer looked for him when it mattered, and Kittle came through. He kept the late-fourth-quarter drive alive with a 19-yard reception on a fourth-and-1 play. Then, on a fourth-and-goal play from the 5 with time running out in regulation, Kittle caught a short pass and powered his way into the end zone with Colts rookie safety Malik Hooker on his back.

 

Roger Goodell: 'What we are trying to stay out of is politics'

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USATSI

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.”

Trump blasts NFL for not demanding players stand during national anthem

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AP

Trump blasts NFL for not demanding players stand during national anthem

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is again criticizing the NFL over players kneeling during the national anthem.

Trump said on Twitter Wednesday that the “NFL has decided that it will not force players to stand for the playing of our National Anthem.”

He adds: “Total disrespect for our great country!”

Trump appeared to be responding to the NFL annual fall meeting on Tuesday. The league invited players and representatives from their union to discuss social issues.

The topic of the national anthem was not discussed at length. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said owners did not ask players to commit to standing during the anthem.

Trump has suggested the owners should “fire” any players who knelt during “The Star-Spangled Banner.”