49ers

Antonio Brown asked Terrell Owens about 49ers, Bay Area in recent chat

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Antonio Brown asked Terrell Owens about 49ers, Bay Area in recent chat

In case it wasn't already clear, Antonio Brown really, really wants to come to the Bay Area.

The latest evidence comes from former 49ers wide receiver Terrell Owens.

During a Friday interview on NFL Network, Owens was asked about Brown's future and revealed that he's spoken to the disgruntled Steelers wide receiver in recent weeks.

"Obviously, the cat's out of the bag because Jerry Rice has mentioned some things about him being in a 49ers uniform," Owens said on NFL Total Access. "When I spoke to him, I thought we were just discussing some possible options, but he kept asking 'Yo, how's the Bay Area?' And I'm like, 'It was nice when I played there.' I'm like, 'They have Jimmy [Garoppolo] there.' I'm like, 'You have a great quarterback to complement what you do on the football field.'

"And he kept asking me, 'What's the Bay Area like?' Well, it's sunny, it's shiny, they have a great quarterback, management is starting to turn around, they have a new stadium there. And he's a guy that's very smart and savvy, and he'll be in Silicon Valley. And with AB, business will be booming."

Rice said two weeks ago that Brown wants to be a 49er "really badly." Recent reporting from NFL Media's Mike Garafolo suggests there's no sense the 49ers will pursue the All-Pro wide receiver, though.

Over the last few weeks, Brown has hinted at his desire to join the 49ers on his social media accounts. The latest came Friday when Brown posted a Photoshopped image of himself in a 49ers uniform embracing Rice.

No trades can happen until the new league year starts in mid-March, but one executive told ESPN that the trade market for Brown will be "small but strong."

In case Brown is reading this, the high temperature in San Francisco on Satutday is 63 degrees. In Pittsburgh, the high will be 28 degrees.

49ers' offense remains calm on game-winning drive vs. Saints

49ers' offense remains calm on game-winning drive vs. Saints

NEW ORLEANS -- Drew Brees and the high-powered New Orleans Saints offense left too much time on the clock for 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and tight end George Kittle on Sunday.

The 49ers’ defense, which has been dominant this season, could not protect the team’s lead late in the game. New Orleans marched 76 yards on seven plays to take the lead on Brees’ 18-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Tre’Quan Smith.

But the 49ers still had 53 seconds to respond. And it turned out to be more than enough.

The offense came up big, setting the stage for Robbie Gould’s 30-yard field goal as time expired for a 48-46 victory over the Saints at the Superdome.

“It wasn’t anything different than usual,” Garoppolo said. “I thought everybody was calm on the sideline. We were all in a good state of mind. We went out there and executed. That’s really what it comes down to in those situations -- execution.”

A week earlier, the 49ers failed on a fourth-and-1 pass play in the late stages of their 20-17 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Again, the 49ers faced a critical fourth-down play with less than a minute remaining with the Saints leading by one point.

“Coach Shanahan said as an offense we feel like we lost the game last week,” Kittle said. “Fourth-and-1, we just couldn’t get it done. We have to learn to not put our defense in those positions. I think we did that today.

“It came down to us having to win the game, and I’m just happy we could get it done.”

Faced with a fourth-and-2 situation from their own 33, the 49ers had to use a timeout to set up the play because of difficulty dealing with the crowd noise.

“The guys kept battling,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “We had to call a timeout right before. It was hard to hear the right play calls in the huddle just because they couldn’t hear through the microphone. I had to use a timeout there, and it quieted down so we could call that. It ended up being worth it because Kittle made a hell of a route, broke that tackle and taking it down the sideline.”

Garoppolo hit Kittle on a pass play for the first down when he got open with an outbreaking route against rookie C.J. Gardner-Johnson. After Kittle slipped through Gardner-Johnson’s tackle attempt, Kittle set his sights on safety Marcus Williams.

“Once he caught it and turned upfield and squared the guy up, I didn’t know what he was going to do, but I knew the guy was in a bad situation on the other side,” Garoppolo said. “George is a beast with the ball in his hands, so it’s just get him the ball in space, let him go to work.”

When it was over, Kittle had rumbled 39 yards while carrying Williams for the final 20 yards with him. Williams finally brought Kittle down with the use of his facemask to add another 15 yards onto the play to set up Gould’s short field-goal attempt.

“George is a beast,” 49ers right tackle Mike McGlinchey said. “It took them to almost rip his neck off for them to bring him down. He’s the best in the world.”

[RELATED: Kittle fulfills promise to Yorks with 49ers' win in NOLA]

Veteran tackle Joe Staley said the game reminded him of the playoff matchup against the Saints at Candlestick Park in January 2012. There were four lead changes in the final four minutes of that game. The 49ers took over trailing with 97 seconds remaining and pulled off the 36-32 victory on Alex Smith’s last-second touchdown pass to Vernon Davis.

“It was kind of eerie how they scored late and we still had that time to come down and get some points,” Staley said. “We were fortunate we had enough time left on the clock. And we were able to execute ... and we got George Kittle.”

49ers' Tarvarius Moore knew about pass interference rule on fake punt

49ers' Tarvarius Moore knew about pass interference rule on fake punt

The Saints, their coach and their fans were quite upset at a controversial moment in Sunday's loss to the 49ers, and really, who could blame them? After the way the NFC Championship game ended last year, it's going to take decades for those feelings of being cheated to wear off.

This time, though, their complaints didn't hold any water.

Late in the third quarter, New Orleans opted for a fake punt, as swiss-army knife Taysom Hill took the snap before launching a long pass down the right sideline intended for receiver Tre'Quan Smith. Smith, however, was absolutely blanketed by 49ers defensive back Tarvarius Moore, and the pass fell incomplete. No penalty flag was thrown, as boos rained down from Mercedez-Benz Superdome. Saints coach Sean Payton vehemently protested what he viewed as a blown call to the officials, but in fact, he was in the wrong, and the officials ruled correctly.

Per NFL rules, there is no such thing as pass interference in that situation.

"This is absolutely the correct ruling," Fox Sports rules analyst Dean Blandino explained on the telecast. "When you're in a punt formation and you attempt a fake, you can't have pass interference on the widest man on either side of the formation."

Unlike the vast majority of New Orleans, apparently, Moore knew the correct rule, and took advantage of it.

If that particular rule didn't exist, teams could just run fake punts every single time and be basically guaranteed of extending their drive. The defenders blocking the outside gunners on punt coverage have no way of seeing the developing play behind them, and thus are at too great of a disadvantage for that rule not to be in place.

Cameras later appeared to catch Payton calling for a holding penalty, rather than pass interference. Holding is possible on a punt play, so the officials could have called that, but they didn't, and it's not a reviewable penalty.

[RELATED: Shanahan used Saints' own play against them in 49ers' win]

And really, if the Saints still want to act like they got screwed because of a missed holding penalty, they aren't going to get much sympathy, considering that happens on just about every play during an NFL game.

You don't necessarily have to agree with the rules, but you do have to play by them. Obviously, it helps to know what they are.