Patriots

Garoppolo throws TD in relief during 49ers' loss to Seahawks

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Garoppolo throws TD in relief during 49ers' loss to Seahawks

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Jimmy Garoppolo -- whom the 49ers had been saying "didn't need to play this season" for them to keep him in their plans -- finally got on the field Sunday.

And gave the 'Niners a glimpse of what they're hoping for.  

Garoppolo made his 49ers debut with 1:07 remaining in their game against the Seahawks after starting quarterback C.J. Beathard went down with a left leg injury on a hit by Michael Bennett as he threw a pass. Garoppolo -- acquired from New England at the trade deadline last month and intended to stay on the shelf a little longer given the lost season -- immediately scrambled to gain four yards, then found Louis Murphy for a 10-yard touchdown as time expired in San Francisco's 24-13 loss.

"There's never an easy situation to go into," Garoppolo said. "Being the backup, I've experienced both ends of it. But you always have to be ready."

According to NBC Sports Bay Area, the fans at Levi's Stadium were excited to see Garoppolo enter the game . . . but the 49er players were upset because the cheers for Jimmy G. began when Beathard was still being treated on the field:

“People don’t understand what we through as football players and what our bodies go through," 49ers safety Eric Reid said. "And he’s laying down on the ground and people are cheering. That’s messed up.” . . . 

“I was disappointed in them when they were cheering,” 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster said. “Our fans are better than that. It’s a fact that our starting quarterback is down. And he’s been making plays. He’s been taking his body into a lot of things that a quarterback shouldn’t be getting into.

“I have to wait and make sure my brother on the ground is (OK) before I cheer for Jimmy. I’m going to cheer for my brother when he gets off the ground because he’s all right. And then I’m going to cheer for Jimmy.”

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Patriots downgrade S Patrick Chung, RB Damien Harris to out for Eagles game

Patriots downgrade S Patrick Chung, RB Damien Harris to out for Eagles game

The Patriots have downgraded safety Patrick Chung and running back Damien Harris from questionable to out for the game Sunday against the Eagles in Philadelphia.

Chung has had heel and chest injuries but did play in the Pats' last game before their bye week, the Nov. 3 loss to the Ravens. Harris appeared on the injury report for the first time on Friday with a hamstring issue. The rookie third-round pick from Alabama has only been active for two games this season.

The loss of Chung could impact the Patriots most in their coverage of Eagles tight ends Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert. Taking on tight ends is something Chung has excelled at. 

ESPN Mike Reiss reports that Patriots tight end Matt LaCosse, out with a knee injury since Oct. 10, did travel with the team to Philly so he will likely be active for the game.

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Ten years ago today, on fourth-and-2, Bill Belichick made one of his most controversial decisions

Ten years ago today, on fourth-and-2, Bill Belichick made one of his most controversial decisions

It was one of the most controversial calls in Patriots history...and it didn't come from an official.

It was Bill Belichick's decision to go for it on fourth-and-2 in the final minutes against the Indianapolis Colts. And it was 10 years ago today.

THE DECISION

It remains Belichick's most talked-about moves this side of Malcolm Butler. In a Week 10 matchup in Indianapolis, the 8-0 Colts faced the 6-2 Patriots in a high-scoring affair. Leading 34-28 but backed up at their own 28-yard-line and needing two yards for a first down, Belichick chose to go for it on fourth down and try and keep the ball out of quarterback Peyton Manning's hands.

THE PLAY

Tom Brady completed a pass to running back Kevin Faulk, who was driven backward by the Colts' Melvin Bullitt. After a measurement, Faulk was ruled short of the first down. Three Colts plays later, a Manning-to-Reggie Wayne TD pass and extra point with 13 seconds left a 35-34 victory.

THE AFTERMATH

There was plenty of second-guessing of Belichick's move. Had he outsmarted himself? Why didn't he punt and show more faith in his defense? 

“We thought we could win the game with that play,” he explained at the time. “That was a yard I was confident we could get.” Belichick had maintained it was more like fourth-and-long-1, rather than 2. Where the ball was spotted after the Faulk play is still the subject of debate.

Those Pats would go on to lose two of their next three, finish 10-6, still win the AFC East but get smoked by the Baltimore Ravens 33-14 in Foxboro in a wild-card playoff game. Manning's team won its first 14 games, then rested its regulars and lost twice before reaching its first Super Bowl as the Indy Colts and losing to the New Orleans Saints. 

TODAY

When Indianapolis reporter Kevin Bowen tweeted about the play's 10th anniversary on Saturday, it stirred up memories for former Colts linebacker Gary Brackens, who recalled the disrespect he felt from Belichick's decision to test the Indy defense. 

To this day, "Fourth-and-2" means only one thing to most NFL fans.

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