49ers

NFL capsule: 49ers underdogs in Kaepernick's return

NFL capsule: 49ers underdogs in Kaepernick's return

SAN FRANCISCO (1-4) at BUFFALO (3-2)

Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT, Fox

OPENING LINE - Bills by 7 1/2

RECORD VS. SPREAD - 49ers 1-4, Bills 3-2

SERIES RECORD - 49ers lead 6-5

LAST MEETING - 49ers beat Bills 45-3, Oct. 7, 2012

LAST WEEK - Cardinals beat 49ers 33-21; Bills beat Rams, 30-19

AP PRO32 RANKING - 49ers No. 31, Bills No. 11

49ERS OFFENSE - OVERALL (31), RUSH (8), PASS (31).

49ERS DEFENSE - OVERALL (20), RUSH (31), PASS (10).

BILLS OFFENSE - OVERALL (28), RUSH (3), PASS (32).

BILLS DEFENSE - OVERALL (15), RUSH (13), PASS (17).

STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES - Plenty of coaching connections between staffs. Bills offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn spent two seasons in mid-1990s playing running back for 49ers. San Francisco offensive coordinator Curtis Modkins held same position with Bills from 2010-12, while defensive coordinator Jim O'Neil was Bills linebackers coach in 2013. ... QB Colin Kaepernick takes over as 49ers starter afterBlaine Gabbert benched. Kaepernick lost job after 2-6 start last year, and then had season-ending left shoulder surgery. Kaepernick has made most news this year by not standing for national anthem. ... RBCarlos Hyde tied for NFL lead with six TDs rushing. He's scored in three consecutive games for first time in career. ... Niners have scored TDs on 12 of 16 drives that have reached opponents' 30. ... SF allowed seven sacks and punted five times in first half during loss to Cardinals. Seeking to avoid first five-game skid since opening 2010 season 0-5. ... Bills seeking to win four straight for first time since opening 2008 season 4-0. ... RB LeSean McCoy has combined 330 yards rushing and three TDs (including one receiving) in past three games since Lynn replaced Greg Roman as offensive coordinator. McCoy faces former coach Chip Kelly for second straight year; Buffalo acquired him in trade with Philadelphia in 2014. ... In three games without starting WR Sammy Watkins (left foot), QB Tyrod Taylor is 53 of 87 for 489 yards with three TDs and one interception. ... Buffalo offense has topped 16 first downs once this year. ... LB Lorenzo Alexander has NFL-leading seven sacks and is first Bills player to have sack in each of first five games of season. ... Buffalo's 17 sacks in five games are four fewer than defense had all last season. ... Defense has recovered fumble in five straight games, team's best streak since six-game stretch spanning 2007-08 seasons. Fantasy Tip: McCoy facing defense that has allowed 100-yard rusher in each of past four games, including 157 yards and two touchdowns to Cardinals RB David Johnson.

Kwon Alexander will fill Reuben Foster's void, John Lynch believes

Kwon Alexander will fill Reuben Foster's void, John Lynch believes

49ers general manager John Lynch acknowledged that he signed Kwon Alexander to fill the void left by former 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster, who was released last season. 

In an interview with 49ers.com, Lynch spoke about how he and his staff brought back several familiar faces to the linebackers room. He was also very frank about what the team lost in Foster as a player. 

“Let’s be honest,” Lynch said. “We had a void that we thought we had filled with Reuben Foster. Things transpired there. We had a void there and that stinks but you can’t just sit there and pout, you gotta say ‘OK, let’s do something.'

“We needed a dynamic football player at that position. It’s a very critical position in our scheme and this became the guy. Kwon became the guy that we wanted to be that guy.” 

Alexander has many of the same on-field characteristics as Foster. He’s known as a hard hitter who flies around the field, making players think twice about going across the middle. He may make some mistakes in the game, but his passion and heart are recognized by his teammates. 

“I think what stood out to us with Kwon,” Lynch said, “he’s a dynamic football player. He’s a tone setter. You need tone-setters on your defense. 

“I think he’s a guy that when you watch him, when you talk to people who played against him, people who played with him, he’s exactly that. His type of play running all over the field, hitting people, getting the ball, it’s contagious. We need that.” 

The 49ers' admiration for Alexander grew as they did more research on him. They understand it may take some time before he returns to 100 percent health.

[RELATED: Kwon Alexander overcame tragedy, adversity]

“The more we watched him the more we liked,” Lynch said. “We knew he was coming off an ACL injury but we got comfortable with the medical part and also got comfortable with 'Hey, we are going to wait as long as it takes.' This is a long-term investment. He’s doing very well in his rehab.” 

The staff ideally would like to see Alexander lined up next to Fred Warner, who had a stand-out rookie season. They also brought back Elijah Lee, special teams contributor Mark Nzeocha, and signed ex-Panther David Mayo to a two-year contract to fill out the linebackers room.

Top NFL draft prospect Josh Allen thinks he's best player available

Top NFL draft prospect Josh Allen thinks he's best player available

Josh Allen does not lack confidence.

The edge rusher out of Kentucky, who is linked to both the 49ers with the No. 2 pick and Raiders at No. 4 in next month's NFL draft, spoke highly of his abilities during his pro day Friday.

"You can just watch the film, watch the games," Allen told ESPN on Friday. "If you're talking about stats, I mean, I finished second in the nation in sacks, playing in the SEC, which doesn't throw the ball as much as other conferences.

"I'm physical. I played the whole season. I played every game. I'm healthy. I just think I'm the best edge rusher, the best pass rusher, the best overall player in this draft."

OK then.

Allen put up tremendous numbers in his senior season at Kentucky, totaling 17 sacks and 88 tackles, including 56 solo. The 49ers and Raiders both desperately need someone who can rush the quarterback, so Allen fits the mold for both teams.

Allen told NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco that he has scheduled pre-draft meetings with both the 49ers and the Raiders.

The latest speculation is that the 49ers will draft Ohio State edge rusher Nick Bosa with the No. 2 pick, as the Cardinals -- who own the No. 1 pick -- have been heavily linked to Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray. If both Bosa and Allen are available to the 49ers, GM John Lynch will have his pick of the two edge rushers.

[RELATED: Draft prospect Quinnen Williams dined with 49ers at IHOP]

The Raiders, meanwhile, have to wait until No. 4 to see if Allen is still available. If both the Cardinals and 49ers pass on the Kentucky standout, only the Jets at No. 3 would stand in their way of getting -- as Allen puts it -- "the best overall player in the draft."

Time will tell whether Allen lives up to his bold proclamation. But it seems as if the 49ers or Raiders would be lucky to find out.