49ers

Romo breaks collarbone in Cowboys' win over Eagles

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Romo breaks collarbone in Cowboys' win over Eagles

PHILADELPHIA -- No Romo. No Dez. No problem.

Tony Romo joined Dez Bryant on the injured list with a broken left collarbone, but the Dallas Cowboys shut down DeMarco Murray and beat the Philadelphia Eagles 20-10 on Sunday.

"I'll be back," Romo said. "It's going to take a little bit of time. It's a broken bone. It is what it is. Our team played great. I'm proud we got this win. It's not an easy place to come in and win. We'll hopefully get a few more and we'll get ready to go."

Kyle Wilber returned a blocked punt 26 yards for touchdown, Brandon Weeden threw a 42-yard touchdown pass to Terrance Williams and the Cowboys (2-0) overcame a franchise-record 18 penalties in their 10th consecutive road win.

It's a costly victory for Dallas, however.

Romo suffered a similar injury in Week 7 in 2010 and missed the rest of the season. The team said he'll be evaluated on Monday. Weeden is 5-16 as a starter, including 0-1 for the Cowboys. He finished 7 of 7 for 73 yards.

Dallas already lost Bryant last week. The All-Pro receiver will miss at least six weeks after having foot surgery.

"Key thing is we get to have him at the end of the season," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said of Romo. "Physically, he has such focus and he understands his body. If it's possible to get back, he'll do it. No one has greater appreciation for what we can do than him."

Weeden started 15 games for Cleveland in 2012 as a 29-year-old rookie. He threw two interceptions in a 28-17 loss to Arizona last year in his only start for Dallas.

"I know how to prepare, having Tony around will and you just don't put added pressure on yourself," Weeden said. "It's going to be a challenge."

Murray, the reigning NFL rushing champion, had 2 yards rushing on 13 carries in his first game against his former team. Sam Bradford had three turnovers, including an interception in the end zone. Philadelphia had 21 total yards in the first half and finished with 226.

The Eagles (0-2) were favorites to take the NFC East title away from Dallas, but look more like a team that will contend for the top pick in the draft than the playoffs.

"We have to get it figured out," coach Chip Kelly said. "We let a good defensive effort go for naught. Nothing worked."

Romo was knocked out of the game in the third quarter when Jordan Hicks sacked him. Fletcher Cox recovered Romo's fumble and Bradford drove the offense to the Cowboys 3 before Sean Lee intercepted his pass in the end zone.

The Eagles trailed 13-3 when Malcolm Jenkins picked up Gavin Escobar's fumble and returned it to the Cowboys 30. But Bradford fumbled a shotgun snap on the next play and Nick Hayden recovered for Dallas.

Bradford threw another interception in the fourth quarter when the ball bounced off Zach Ertz's hands and J.J. Wilcoxpicked it.

"We're all really frustrated," Bradford said. "We have to establish our rhythm."

Both teams struggled on offense early and the Cowboys led 6-0 at halftime. The Eagles went three-and-out on five of their first seven possessions and the other two were four-and-outs.

Danny McCray blocked Donnie Jones' punt and Wilber returned it for a score to give the Cowboys a 13-0 lead. Weeden connected with Williams over the middle in the fourth to make it 20-3.

NOTES: Eagles LB Kiko Alonso injured his left knee in the second quarter and didn't return. Alonso missed last season after tearing his left ACL. LB Mychal Kendricks didn't return after a hamstring injury. Kelly said he won't have an update until Monday. ... Mackenzy Bernadeau started at left guard for Dallas for the injured Ronald Leary. He was replaced by rookie La'el Collins after two series and they afterward. ... Romo's NFL-record streak of 41 straight road games with a TD pass ended. ... Cowboys have won four straight games in Philadelphia. ... Eagles are 0-2 for first time since 2007.

How George Kittle's run-blocking enthusiasm rubs off on rest of 49ers

How George Kittle's run-blocking enthusiasm rubs off on rest of 49ers

SANTA CLARA -- George Kittle loves to run block, and his joy for that aspect of the game has become contagious to his 49ers teammates. 

It’s not often that a player who has led their team in receiving yards in each of the last two seasons is also the biggest proponent of run blocking. But after amassing 1,053 receiving yards during the regular season, the tight end couldn't be happier after catching just four passes for 35 yards in the playoffs.  

Kittle wishes coach Kyle Shanahan would run the ball even more. His coach is very appreciative and realizes what effect it has on the rest of the offense.  

“I mean, he had more yards in the pass game as a tight end in the history of the NFL last year,” Shanahan said. “So, any time you have a guy like that who's one of the best players on your team who's always just talking about running the ball and playing the physicality in the game and giving everything you can, it helps you hold everyone else a lot more accountable, and rarely do you have to. 

“When people are watching guys like that do that type of stuff, when they watch guys like [cornerback Richard Sherman] play the run and things like that, it makes your job a lot easier. When your best guys are doing it, everyone else really doesn't have much of a choice.”

Because Kittle’s enthusiasm for the run game permeates throughs the offense, Shanahan has been able to make his schemes more elaborate. He has always involved fullback Kyle Juszczyk, but now the receivers are bigger parts of the run scheme as well. 

Veteran Emmanuel Sanders has mentioned that he enjoys being a “bully” while run blocking. He believes that Kittle sets the tone for what can be accomplished when everyone contributes to the ground game. 

“Kittle is one of the best tight ends in the league, but everybody wants to talk about his blocking as well,” Sanders said. “So, I think it's contagious around the building in terms of going out and doing your job. When you look at your best players and they're doing it, I feel like everybody else will hop on board as well. So, it's contagious.”

Kittle remains humble about his abilities permeating through the offense but will admit that Shanahan’s scheme has been able to grow over the years with everyone’s participation and effort. He describes the transformation with the same joy he shows on the field. 

“Our offense from my rookie year against [the Carolina Panthers in the] opening game is much different than what it is now,” Kittle said. “And, it's really fun too. Just being part of the evolution, how it's grown and how it's changed is really fun because you can look back, ‘Wow, man,’ that's what we were doing and now we're doing this stuff, and it was so much more fun. 

“Just the fact we basically install new plays every single week, we have a whole new playbook every single week, it makes football really fun. You get to learn every single week's techniques, how to block guys. The similarities always carry over, but the difference is what makes it really exciting.”

Sanders knows that Kittle’s efforts don’t just affect the offense. The tight end’s attitude is felt throughout the locker room. 

“I think it's a mindset,” Sanders said. “At the end of the day we've got a lot of guys who aren't 'me' guys, it's about let's get the job done and let's win. It's more about 'we' than 'me.' And I'm one of those guys as well. And I think everybody is a part of it.” 

[RELATED: How Shanahan, Lynch make 49ers CEO York's job easier]

Kittle doesn't need extra motivation to run block, but he might have some against the Kansas City Chiefs on Feb. 3 in Super Bowl LIV.

The University of Iowa product will line up opposite some former Hawkeyes teammates in Miami, and Kittle has revenge on his mind. 

“I'm looking forward to blocking the Iowa linebackers Ben Niemann and Anthony Hitchens [on the Chiefs],” Kittle said. “Hitch used to bully me in practice when I was on scout team at Iowa, and so I'm going to give it back to him a couple times.”

49ers' George Kittle gifts Super Bowl trip to fallen soldier's family

49ers' George Kittle gifts Super Bowl trip to fallen soldier's family

49ers tight end George Kittle stayed after an August practice and cheered on 50 men and women from nearby Travis Air Force Base, who were on hand to run through NFL combine drills as part of a partnership with financial-services company USAA.

With the 49ers clinching a spot in Super Bowl LIV, Kittle again is rewarding a military family, this time with the trip of a lifetime.

The family of former U.S. Army Sgt. Martin “Mick” LaMar will make the trip to Miami for the Super Bowl as Kittle’s guests.

Lamar, a Sacramento native, was shot and killed during a second tour of duty in Mosul, Iraq, on Jan. 15, 2011. LaMar’s wife, Josephine, and 16-year-old son Nicolas will be on hand in South Florida to witness the 49ers' seventh Super Bowl appearance in franchise history.

Mick was an avid 49ers fan, and passed that down to his family, who met with Kittle on Friday.

[RELATED: How Shanahan, Lynch make 49ers CEO York's job easier]

"As I hit the field to play in the Super Bowl, I find comfort in the fact that 49ers fans Josie and Nicolas LaMar will be cheering our team on," Kittle said in a statement. "It's a special privilege to be able to team up with USAA and TAPS to award a trip to the Super Bowl to Sergeant LaMar's family in recognition of his military service and paying the ultimate sacrifice in service of our country."

Kittle and the 49ers will take the field for Super Bowl LIV on Feb. 2, with kickoff scheduled for 3:30 p.m. PT.