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Alex Smith threw TD pass with blurred vision

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Alex Smith threw TD pass with blurred vision

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith threw a 14-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter of Sunday's 24-24 tie against the Rams while playing with blurred vision before coming out with a concussion.

Coach Jim Harbaugh said Monday that Smith connected with Michael Crabtree six plays after he began experiencing blurred vision on a 1-yard keeper early in the second quarter. Six plays earlier, he had taken a vicious hit from St. Louis linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar.

Smith scrambled to his left and started to slide before turning when Dunbar got him in the back of the neck with 1:10 left in the first quarter. He briefly grabbed his face mask and grimaced but stayed in the game.

``He said he had the blurred vision after the quarterback sneak,'' Harbaugh said. ``There's no telling. Did that earlier hit contribute? I don't know. I don't know Alex knows for sure, either.''

Second-year backup Colin Kaepernick entered for the next offensive series after a hurried warm up. Because No. 3 quarterback Scott Tolzien was inactive, wide receiver and special teams player Kyle Williams would have stepped in at quarterback in an emergency.

Harbaugh expressed concern at the thought the 28-year-old Smith played through some concussion symptoms.

``Yeah, that's something, you don't want him out there with blurred vision,'' Harbaugh said. ``We talked about it. What he expressed was he came up from the sneak and he had blurred vision and he felt that it would go away. He came over to the sideline and sat down and felt it would go away and it didn't. He told me he had blurred vision and that's when we made the move.''

Harbaugh said the QB improved overnight and would see a neurologist later Monday. His status is unclear for next Monday night's game against the Bears is uncertain.

``Rather than speculate, we'll let it play out,'' Harbaugh said. ``There's a progression and evaluations that have to be gone through before we'll really know anyway. ... He's doing much better, had a good night sleep last night, symptoms were positive today. He'll be visiting with the neurologist later this afternoon that will be the next step.''

Harbaugh, himself a 15-year NFL quarterback in his day, figures he had multiple concussions during his playing career. He appreciates the increased awareness and serious NFL stand on the issue.

``I think it's a major point of emphasis,'' Harbaugh said. ``I don't have a medical degree. I'm confident in the way the doctors, especially our doctors, their understanding of it and their professional opinion.''

Tolzien could be called upon to do more in practice this week as the NFC West-leading Niners (6-2-1) prepare for Chicago's visit to Candlestick Park in prime time.

``There's a possibility he could get more reps,'' Harbaugh said, unwilling to guess on Smith's status. ``Well, certainly, Dr. Harbaugh won't be qualifying, quantifying that.''

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3 reasons why the Caps beat the Sabres

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USA TODAY Sports

3 reasons why the Caps beat the Sabres

You may think this was an ugly four-game road trip for the Caps, but with a 3-2 win in Buffalo on Monday, Washington managed to earn five out of a possible eight points.

Here is why the Caps beat the Sabres and managed to save the road swing.

A missed high-stick (maybe) from Ovechkin

Ovechkin scored the first goal of the game in the second period as he deflected a high-shot from Christian Djoos down past goalie Chad Johnson. But did the deflection come on a high stick? The play was reviewed and the goal was ultimately upheld. According to the NHL, it was determined that "video review supported the Referee's call on the ice that Alex Ovechkin's stick was at or below the height of the crossbar when he tipped the puck into the Buffalo net."

NBC Sports Washington analyst Alan May broke the play down during the second intermission and made his case for why the NHL actually got the call wrong.

Was that a high stick? I don't know. As compelling an argument as May made, it still looks inconclusive which means the review made the right call. What surprises me is that the referee did not disallow the goal on the initial call.

Whether the review is truly inconclusive or flat out wrong, Washington was fortunate to walk away from this sequence with the goal.

MORE CAPITALS: BIZARRE SEQUENCE LEADS TO CAPS SCORING AND GETTING PENALIZED AT THE SAME TIME

A centimeter of ice

Hockey is a game of inches and it took less than an inch to put Washington up 2-0. When an Evgeny Kuznetsov shot hit off the boards and bounced back to the front of the net, it sparked a scrum next to goalie Chad Johnson. Eventually, John Carlson was able to get a swipe on the puck sending it trickling to the goal line, but Kyle Okposo was there waiting and appeared to kick it out to safety just before it crossed. A review triggered by the Situation Room, however, revealed that the puck had just barely managed to cross the goal line before Okposo got to it.

Here's the view the NHL released after the review:

Philipp Grubauer's third period

After dominating the first 40 minutes of the game and taking a 2-0 lead, Buffalo predictably made a late push in the third period with two goals to pull within one. Washington outshot the Sabres in the first and second periods, but Buffalo reversed that trend in a big way in the third as they outshot the Caps 17-6. Grubauer turned aside 15 of those shots and was impressive after barely being tested in the first two periods.

RELATED: CHECK OUT THE 3 STARS OF THE GAME FROM CAPS-SABRE

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3 stars of the game: Caps knockout the punchless Sabres

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3 stars of the game: Caps knockout the punchless Sabres

Coming off an ugly 7-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, a Buffalo Sabres team missing star Jack Eichel was just what the doctor ordered for the Caps to get back on track. Washington dominated the first two periods and then survived a late surge from Buffalo for the 3-2 win.

After battling to a scoreless first, Alex Ovechkin and John Carlson spotted Washington a 2-0 lead in the second. They then held on in the third period as Buffalo began to tilt the ice in their favor, with Evgeny Kuznetsov scoring the empty-netter to put this game out of reach. Evander Kane would pull Buffalo within one, but with only three seconds left it was too little, too late.

Here are the three stars of the game:

1. Alex Ovechkin: Ovechkin opened up the scoring in the second period as he deflected down an innocent shot from Christian Djoos past Chad Johnson. Ovechkin also set a physical tone as he battled with defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen all game long. After taking a high elbow from Ristolainen early in the game Ovechkin skated up to Ristolainen prior to the faceoff on his next shift and let him know that it was on. 

2. John Carlson: Carlson had a hand in both of Washington's goals on Monday. He recorded a secondary assist on Ovechkin's goal as he made a blue line pass to Djoos which Djoos fired on net and Ovechkin deflected. Carlson then managed to hit the puck past the goal line in a scrum next to Johnson. It looked initially like Kyle Okposo had managed to kick out the puck just before it crossed, but Carlson was awarded the goal as a review showed the puck had completely crossed the line.

3. Philipp Grubauer: A Sabres team that ranks last in the NHL in scoring and that was also without its leading scorer did not test Grubauer much in the first two periods. Facing a 2-0 deficit, however, Buffalo made a third period push to try to tie the game, but Grubauer was up to the task as he turned aside 15 of the 17 shots he faced in the final 20 minutes. He finished with 32 total saves on the night.