Harbaugh happy with 49ers' offensive approach

Harbaugh happy with 49ers' offensive approach

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) The San Francisco 49ers went back to what they do best: a steady diet of Frank Gore mixed with a dominant defense and timely special teams play.

The result was a 13-6 victory over the Seattle Seahawks that got San Francisco back on track following a demoralizing loss to the New York Giants.

It was a vastly different approach than the one San Francisco used four days earlier when it ran the ball just 17 times while Alex Smith threw three interceptions.

A change in offensive philosophy or just taking what the defense was giving up?

Probably somewhere in the middle.

``There are a lot of things you go into a game plan with and you want to have some volume for the things that are working,'' coach Jim Harbaugh said Friday. ``That doesn't mean there's not volume for other situations but there's always a tendency to repeat good plays.''

For the 49ers, that meant getting the ball in Gore's hands and letting the running game and defense grind out the win.

Gore rushed for 92 of his season-high 131 yards in the second half despite bruising his ribs midway through Thursday night's game. He also led the 49ers with five catches for 51 yards.

The 182 yards were the most combined rushing and receiving by Gore since Sept. 20, 2009, when he had 207 on the ground and 39 yards receiving during another home victory against the Seahawks.

Overall, San Francisco (5-2) ran the ball on 16 of its final 28 plays against Seattle while milking nearly 18 minutes off the clock.

Smith, the NFL's highest-rated passer through five games, took a back seat to the running game and was content to throw the ball to his check-down receivers more often than not whenever the 49ers did try to pass the ball. He finished 14 of 23 for 140 yards.

``It's not something that we've been majoring in over the first six games,'' Harbaugh said. ``Everything had been more shot down the field or the intermediate throws. Alex did a good job of taking what was there. We did have a couple shots downfield, especially early. We probed that and we had a couple good looks but we didn't hit them.''

Some took San Francisco's scaled-back attack as a sign the team was going conservative as a result of Smith's recent struggles. He has four interceptions over his past two games after throwing five all of 2011, and the 23 pass attempts against Seattle were the second-fewest thrown by Smith this season.

But Harbaugh defended his quarterback, who has been nursing a sore middle finger on his throwing hand for nearly two weeks.

``We had one game that was out of our character, out of his character,'' Harbaugh said. ``For the most part our offense was moving last night. We were gaining the field position advantage. We were in a better situation in this particular game in terms of field position than we were in the previous game.''

Gore told reporters he had difficulty breathing at times against Seattle after getting hit midway through the game and was noncommittal when asked whether he could play if there was a game soon.

Fortunately for Gore, the 49ers have an extended rest after playing two games in a five-day period and won't play again until traveling to Arizona on Oct. 29.

``I think our whole team needs some rest,'' Harbaugh said. ``I know our coaches do.''

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After releasing Martez Carter the Redskins are thin at running back

Associated Press

After releasing Martez Carter the Redskins are thin at running back

The Redskins are very thin at running back right now. 

Today at practice the Redskins had three running backs on the field. Rob Kelley and Kapri Bibbs are fully healthy while Chris Thompson is limited as he recovers from a broken leg he suffered last November. 

Injuries have hit the depth at running back. The most recent casualty was Martez Carter, who was waived with an injury designation. 

The move was surprising since Carter had some good runs against the Jets during their preseason game on Thursday and he did not appear to be injured during the game. 

Coach Jay Gruden did not offer any more details as to what the injury to Carter was, only that he is no longer with the team. 

Also sidelined with lower leg injuries are Samaje Perine and Byron Marshall. According to media reports, Perine will be out one week and Marshall for two to four. Gruden would not confirm the timelines, saying only that they are undergoing treatment and the timetable for their returns in unknown. 

The Redskins will bring in some running backs to try out on Sunday. They will need at least one and probably two in order to get through the upcoming preseason game against the Broncos on Friday. 

In other personnel moves, the Redskins waived linebacker Jeff Knox and defensive end Jalen Wilkerson and signed offensive tackle Kendall Calhoun, defensive back Darius Hillary, and wide receiver Allenzae Staggers. 

More Redskins news

-Redskins vs Jets: Must-see photos from the game
-AnalysisFive Redskins-Jets observations

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, and follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS and on Instagram @RichTandler


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Alex Ovechkin and wife Nastya Ovechkina welcome baby boy

NBC Sports Washington/USATSI

Alex Ovechkin and wife Nastya Ovechkina welcome baby boy

After lifting the Stanley Cup just over two months ago, something else very exciting has happened in Alex Ovechkin's life.

Saturday morning, Nastya and Alex Ovechkin welcomed their first child, a baby boy named Sergei, after Ovechkin's late brother. 

Ovi spent this week practicing at the Florida Panthers' facilities with other NHL players living in the surrounding area.

After the Cup's visit to Moscow, Nastya and Alex settled down at their apartment in Miami, staying put and preparing for the birth. 

The couple were married two years ago but didn't hold an official ceremony until July of last year. The celebration was as lavish as you'd expect.

She revealed her pregnancy shortly after the Cup victory, and has kept us up to date on life this summer via Instagram. A few weeks ago, the Ovechkins graced HELLO! Russia magazine, showing off Nastya's baby bump among their glamour shots.

💛 @aleksandrovechkinofficial #hello #hellorussia @hello__ru

A post shared by Nastasiya Ovechkina (@nastyashubskaya) on

Congratulations to Ovi and Nastya, and all our best wishes for health and happiness!