Found January 30, 2013 on
The Sports Headquarters:
San Francisco 49ers
Coming off an agonizing NFC Championship loss, the 49ers felt they were only a few minor tweaks away from getting to the Super Bowl and erasing the bitter taste of 2011. They aimed to shore up their offense by (unsuccessfully) going after Peyton Manning which resulted in a messy situation with off-contract starter Alex Smith who himself was flirting with Miami. All was resolved and the 49ers brought their quarterback at a slightly higher price than initially hoped. Their skill positions were addressed in free agency and the draft with receivers Randy Moss, Mario Manningham and A.J. Jenkins coming to the team in free agency and the draft respectively. While neither of those acquisitions set the world on fire in the red and gold, Jenkins failed to see the field for most of the season, they all provided extra depth and decent contributions when they needed to. Second round pick LaMichael James came on during the season as a kick returner and spot duty running back providing a home run threat that can change momentum on a single play. The 49ers thought they had made enough improvements to get their team over the line but only time would tell if they would be enough.
After a – preseason, the 49ers travelled to Green Bay on the opening weekend for an early bout between NFC heavyweights. Randy Moss made his presence felt with a touchdown catch in the 49ers 30-22 victory in Lambeau Field. Their bright start hit the skids in week three against the Minnesota Vikings where they were upset and the team was reminded about the limitations of their offense with Alex Smith under center. They responded perfectly to the loss with a 32-0 thumping of the Jets and a 45-3 win over Buffalo. Their NFC Championship rematch with the Giants turned into a nightmare for them losing 26-3 as Alex Smith had the worst game of the season throwing three interceptions. A seven point win over Seattle on Thursday Night Football before a convincing win over Arizona on Monday Night sent them into their bye at 6-2 and in relatively good shape in terms of a playoff berth.
A home game against St Louis after the bye changed the course of the 49ers season mostly for the better, despite the uncertainty in the immediate aftermath of the game. Alex Smith left the game with a concussion thrusting second year backup Colin Kaepernick into the spotlight as the 49ers managed to survive the scrappy Rams and get away with a tie. The big play potential of Kaepernick revitalized the offense and gave them an entirely new dimension thanks to his running ability. Kaepernick’s perfromances in wins over the Bears and Saints convinced the coaching staff that he was worth sticking with for the remainder of the season as the team’s quarterback despite Smith’s return to health. An overtime loss to the Rams and a win over the Dolphins sent them into New England for the game of the year at 9-3-1 and in contention for a first round bye.
A win over the Patriots at Gillette Stadium would send a real message to the rest of the league about their Super Bowl credentials. After jumping out to a dominating 31-3 lead, the Patriots fought back to tie the game before San Francisco showed some remarkable resiliency to regain the lead and hold off New England. A demoralizing loss in Seattle the next week sent their playoff hopes spiraling before a lucky break in the final week lead to the 49ers getting the second overall seed and a first round bye.
That first round bye proved to be incredibly advantageous as the 49ers were hosting the divisional round match against the Packers instead of making a return trip to Lambeau Field. That Saturday night saw any doubt about coach Harbaugh’s decision to stick with Kaepernick immediately removed. It turned into a coming out party for the young 49ers star as he broke Michael Vick’s rushing record in a playoff game with 181 yards and two scores to complement his 2 scoring passes. All of this came after an interception return for a touchdown on his first drive and it lead to a 49ers victory and a trip to Atlanta for the NFC Championship. Down 17-0 in the second quarter, it looked like that would be the end of San Francisco’s season before a rally lead to the game being competitive again going into the fourth quarter. A Frank Gore touchdown followed by a couple of defensive stands gave the 49ers a victory and a trip to the Super Bowl to erase the memories of their heartbreaking loss last season.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
The Cleveland Browns have officially had their names thrown in the hat as a potential future employer of current San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith.
While NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports that the Bills, Cardinals, Chiefs and “maybe” Eagles have shown interest in the veteran, ESPN Cleveland beat reporter Tony Grossi reports that “you’d have to say that Smith...
The San Francisco 49ers' former starting quarterback Alex Smith is expected to seek his release before free agency, according to Pro Football Talk.
Smith, who lost the starting job to Colin Kaepernick in Week 10, would prefer to be released so he can garner the full benefits of free agency, the report says.
The 49ers aren't likely to release Smith because of his value in...
Unless Alex Smith has to relieve Colin Kaepernick in Super Bowl XLVII this Sunday, the former No. 1 overall pick has likely played his last game with the 49ers.
Now, San Francisco has to pick between trading Smith and his $8.5 million contract, or releasing him. The quarterback would prefer the latter.
Smith will ask for his release before the start of free agency, March 12, according...
The 49ers are looking to rid themselves of the 7.5 million dollars Alex Smith will be paid in 2013. Reportedly the 49ers are actively shopping Alex Smith to potential suitors such as the Browns, Eagles, Bills, Chiefs and the Cardinals.
Alex Smith catapulted the 49ers to an impressive 6-2 record this season after just taking them to the AFC Championship last year. Smith sustained...
Watching 49ers backup quarterback Alex Smith walking around the field on Super Bowl #mediaday was just about the most depressing storyline of the day. That picture above just sums it all up.
In an interview on the NFL Network, Deion Sanders expressed his dissatisfaction that Smith did not have a podium position among the other “important” players below]. Sanders really drove...
According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, contract talks between the Baltimore Ravens and quarterback Joe Flacco’s reps will ramp up after the Super Bowl.
Flacco’s reps have told Rapoport that they believe he’s playing better than Broncos’ quarterback Peyton Manning who’s currently earning $8 million per season. He expects Flacco’s agents to shoot higher than Manning’s...
San Francisco may just be hoarding all the quarterbacks.
With Colin Kaepernick looking like the 49ers’ starter for some time, the common assumption has been that San Francisco will look to trade away backup Alex Smith. The veteran, who was picked No. 1 in the draft in 2005 but didn’t have success as a starter until recently, wouldn’t be of much use if the job is Kaepernick’s...
Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid courted San
Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith last offseason, and he could do the same
thing following the 2012 campaign, according to Trent Dilfer of ESPN.
Today, ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer said new Kansas City coach
Andy Reid, then with the Eagles, expressed interest in acquiring Smith when he
was a free agent after the 2011 season...
The future of the Pro Bowl is uncertain following yesterday's all-star event. Its fate will be decided over the course of the coming offseason, and there's no specific timeline in place for the commissioner and the NFL to make a decision about the possibility of a Pro Bowl in 2014, but that shouldn't take away from yesterday's game, which gave us plenty of entertaining...
What a great 2012 NFL season it's been, We saw the return of Peyton Manning, the resurgence of Adrian Peterson, and the great inspirational story of Chuck Pagano and the Colts. Even though the season is coming to a close, we still got one game left to watch and enjoy. No, I'm not talking about the Pro Bowl, which was last Sunday, I'm talking about the big one, Super...
So you're a fan of one of the 30 teams out of contention for Super Bowl 47. While you may not have a horse left in the race in the quest for this year's Lombardi Trophy, it's never too late to jump on board with one of the two remaining contenders.You're faced with a tough decision, though. Do you bandwagon it with the tattooed breakout from the the Bay, Colin Kaepernick...
In simplest terms: the Ravens need to keep the "Smith Brothers" off Joe Flacco, and they need to beat up the 49ers (especially Kaepernick and his O-Line) on defense.
But of course it's never as simple as that.
An estimated $10 billion is projected to be bet on Super Bowl XLVII worldwide, and over half of all adult Americans are expected to bet on the game in...