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49ers trying to 'regroup, refit and reorganize'

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49ers trying to 'regroup, refit and reorganize'

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) Jim Harbaugh kept his sentences short and information at a minimum Monday, repeating a phrase he will rely on following the worst loss of his NFL coaching career: regroup, refit and reorganize.

That's all the San Francisco 49ers can do at this point.

Beat up and down, San Francisco's 42-13 blowout loss at Seattle cost the 49ers (10-4-1) more than just a game. They have another pair of key starters questionable with injuries, let control of a first-round playoff bye slip away, and head into Sunday's regular-season finale at home against Arizona (5-10) with a half-game lead in the NFC West.

``No excuses or justifications,'' an overwhelmingly grim, tight-lipped and humbled Harbaugh said back at 49ers headquarters. ``Our team needs to bounce back.''

The only way the 49ers can secure a No. 2 playoff seed - and the first-round bye that comes with it - is a win against the Cardinals coupled with a Green Bay loss at Minnesota. If they lose and Seattle (10-5) wins at home against St. Louis, the Seahawks will steal the division and send San Francisco on the road for the first round.

Complicating matters even more, the 49ers enter the finale with their depth depleted.

Wide receiver Mario Manningham, bothered by a shoulder injury previously, limped out of the locker room Monday on crutches. He was scheduled to have an MRI exam on his left knee after he was tackled low by Leroy Hill and fumbled in the third quarter.

Tight end Vernon Davis must clear the league's NFL concussion protocol after getting knocked off his feet along the sideline by safety Kam Chancellor on a huge hit that looked legal but drew a penalty for thumping a defenseless receiver.

And defensive lineman Justin Smith's streak of 185 straight starts ended when he sat out with an elbow injury. Harbaugh remained mum on Smith's status, except for saying ``he has not undergone a procedure.'' Asked if Smith will need surgery at some point, Harbaugh would only say ``we'll see.''

San Francisco already had lost backup running back Kendall Hunter (lower leg), wide receiver and punt returner Kyle Williams (left knee) and defensive lineman Demarcus Dobbs (right knee) to season-ending injuries. Defensive lineman Will Tukuafu added to Harbaugh's headaches when he hurt his back against the Seahawks and did not return, and backup linebacker Clark Haggans missed the game with a shoulder injury.

``I feel our team's leadership, I feel the intellect of the staff, I think the talent of the players, the work ethic of the players will pave the way,'' Harbaugh said.

There are still plenty of problems for the 49ers who are healthy.

Seattle's loud fans flustered quarterback Colin Kaepernick and the coaching staff from the start, forcing the 49ers to call two timeouts and get two delay-of-game penalties in the first half alone. Kaepernick completed 19 of 36 passes for 244 yards and a touchdown with one interception in the end zone.

What do the 49ers have to do offensively to avoid penalties and clock-management problems?

``Fix it,'' Harbaugh said.

``That's the only option we have,'' left tackle Joe Staley said. ``You learn from the film, you watch it and make the corrections. Our whole team didn't play well.''

Frank Gore was held to 28 yards on six carries after rushing for a season-high 131 in San Francisco's 13-6 win against Seattle in Week 7. The loss of Justin Smith seemed to affect the entire defense, and Russell Wilson's slipperiness in the pocket didn't help. Aldon Smith is still stuck on 19 1/2 sacks after getting locked up by Seattle's Russell Okung.

Red Bryant also blocked David Akers' 21-yard field-goal attempt, Richard Sherman scooped up the ball and sprinted untouched for a 21-0 lead that put the game out of reach.

``Rather than go position by position, or any one particular phase, I don't think anybody looks back on this and feels like it was good enough,'' said Harbaugh, handed a miserable loss on his 49th birthday by longtime rival and Seattle coach Pete Carroll.

If there's a bright side to San Francisco's setback, Harbaugh is 7-0 after a loss in his two-year tenure and competition will not be nearly as difficult as the last two weeks at Seattle and New England.

The 49ers routed the Cardinals 24-3 in the desert on a Monday night in late October, a game Alex Smith completed 18 of 19 passes for 232 yards and three touchdowns. Smith has since been replaced by Kaepernick, a high-risk, high-reward, dual-threat quarterback who is 4-2 as the starter.

While the 49ers also have looked dominant at times this season, they have yet to put together a winning streak. Five times this season San Francisco has won two consecutive games, and five times they have failed to win the third game, including a 24-24 tie against St. Louis in Week 10.

To win the Super Bowl - or even just get there - the 49ers will have to change that.

``It was a punch in the face,'' cornerback Carlos Rogers said of the loss in Seattle. ``But the thing about it is we still have a chance to win the division and we're in the playoffs. It's a new season once the playoffs start.''

NOTES: The 49ers released LB Alex Hoffman-Ellis from the practice squad. He had been signed on Dec. 4.... Players are off Tuesday for Christmas.

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'It's like losing a brother': The human aspect of the NHL trade deadline

'It's like losing a brother': The human aspect of the NHL trade deadline

The NHL trade deadline is always a fun time for fans. It's a time for buyers to bring in the final key pieces of a Stanley Cup roster or maybe those one or two players needed to complete a run to the playoffs. For sellers, it is time to move players away and begin looking towards the future. It's a time when everyone with any interest in hockey pours over rosters, cap hits and stats trying to determine who could fit where like pieces on a chessboard.

The feeling is much different for the players.

"It's difficult," Nick Jensen said of the trade deadline. "It's a whirlwind. Everything's going on, you're kind of comfortable at the place you're at, you have a place where you played for a while and your family's there and all of a sudden, for me, I got traded and that night I was gone and I never really looked back."

To the players, the trade deadline is not just about shuffling names from roster to roster, this is real life. A player's life can change with one phone call and the news that he now has to pack his bags for a new city and get there in a matter of days, sometimes hours.

The uncertainty of the trade deadline affects every player of every team. Obviously there are those like Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom who know they are not going to be traded, but that doesn't mean friends can't be traded for or away. Whether your team is in a rebuild or a Cup contender, there's a chance the roster could look very different by 3 p.m. on Monday for any team in the NHL.

"It can be a little distracting at times for the whole team in general if you're a team that you think was going to be making some moves, but it can also especially be distracting if you're a guy that's being talked about being traded," said Jensen who was traded to the Caps in 2019 as a deadline move.

Some players find themselves to be the unwilling trade chips of a deal as general managers try to tweak their rosters. The news of a trade, however, can sometimes be a welcome relief. That certainly has been the case for most deadline pickups for Washington in recent years.

From a competitive standpoint, typically the Caps have sought reinforcements from teams that know they will not be headed to the playoffs. Players come to Washington with the hope of competing for a Stanley Cup or perhaps of being able to find a better fit and a bigger role than the one they are leaving.

"I was in really bad situation [in Chicago]," said Michal Kempny, who was a trade deadline pickup for the Caps in 2018. "Every change was good for me. I just kind of waited what's going to happen and I got traded here."

"To come here and have some big-time meaningful games coming up, and be right in the thick of the race, it's a lot of fun," the newly acquired Brenden Dillon said.

But that's on the ice. The off-ice implications are a bit more complicated.

Off the ice, players have to think about their homes, their wives or girlfriends and their kids. Off the ice, players are faced with the realities of a world that is not built around the schedule of a professional athlete.

"My wife had just finally started living with me because she was in grad school before that so it was like oh finally we get to live together," Jensen said, "And then we lived together for like five months then I get traded and like oh here we go again. Dealing with when you get traded the stuff outside of hockey can be tough like that."

Initially, players do not have to worry about much in terms of housing. They are put up in a hotel and can adjust to their new surroundings. Then they are left to trying to adjust to their new team.

"It's kind of different.," Kempny said. "New city, new organization, new teammates. It's part of our job and those things happening every year to a lot of guys."

Adjusting to a new team can be especially difficult when it is one as tight as the Caps.

While players are certainly excited to join the organization, there also comes with it a level of intimidation of walking into the locker room.

"It feels like a tight-knit family in here, and there's a reason that they've had so much success not just this year but in years past," Dillon said. "I'm just trying to be a piece to the puzzle, come in and do what I can."

"I'm coming into a team where I got traded for a guy that was here that a lot of the guys were pretty fond of so that's kind of in the back of your mind too," Jensen said. "I know the guys really liked [Madison Bowey.] I heard he was a really great guy so I know losing guys at trades can be tough in that sense because you could grow as a family here and it's like losing a brother. Going in and trying to replace that can be tough too."

Adjusting to a new team, adjusting to a new system, adjusting to a new city and doing it while also trying to figure out where you're going to live and if and when your family may move with you is a lot for anyone to handle. The trade deadline comes with the added pressure of having to adjust quickly. A player who is traded in December still has over half the season left to play. It comes with all the same challenges, but there is more time for a player to get his game in order.

At the trade deadline, however, it's crunch time. There is only about a quarter of the season left to play and suddenly all the off-ice things that most people would refer to as "life" become a distraction from the task at hand, something in which the players have to shut out.

"The approach I always took is I always try to control the things that I could control and getting traded is out of my control," Jensen said. "I just focus on each game and take the same approach that you always take whether you're being traded or not being traded. If you focus on the stuff outside of your game, it's just a distraction, it's a waste of energy and it kind of puts a toll on you a little bit.

"It's not easy. It's not easy shutting things out like that, but that's kind of the approach you've got to take."

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Wizards vs. Bucks: time, TV channel, live stream, how to watch

Wizards vs. Bucks: time, TV channel, live stream, how to watch

The Wizards head back to the nation's capital Monday night for a matchup with Giannis Antetokoumpo and the Milwaukee Bucks at Capital One Arena.

Bradley Beal led the Wizards with an astounding 53 points in the team's loss Sunday night to the Chicago Bulls. Beal passed Jeff Malone on the team's all-time scoring list for second place. He now only trails Elvin Hayes.

The Bucks are coming off a dominant 21-point win over the 76ers on Friday night and look to continue their stellar play in D.C. against the struggling Wizards.

Here is everything you need to know.

WIZARDS vs. BUCKS HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Wizards vs. Milwaukee Bucks

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington D.C.

When: Monday, Feb. 24, 2020, at 7:00 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Wizards vs. Bucks will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (NBC Sports Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can live stream Wizards vs. Bucks on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the MyTeams App.

Radio: Wizards Radio Network, 1500 AM

WIZARDS vs. BULLS TV SCHEDULE

6:00 PM: Wizards Outsiders

6:30 PM: Wizards Pregame Live

7:00 PM: Wizards vs. Bucks

9:30 PM: Wizards Postgame Live

10:00 PM: Wizards Talk

WIZARDS vs. BUCKS PLAYERS TO WATCH

Bradley Beal, Wizards (29.6 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 6.0 APG): Beal will look to carry the Wizards to victory against the Bucks after the team was unable to defeat the Bulls on Sunday night.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks (30.0 PPG, 13.6 RPG, 5.8 APG): The Greek freak is on a fast-track to another MVP trophy and has the Bucks in a prime position to come out of the Eastern Conference.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

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