Check here early and often for all the updates from the 49ers-Patriots game today at Candlestick.
Niners inactives: QB Jamie Martin (third QB), CB Reggie Smith, CB Shawntae Spencer, OLB Roderick Green, LB Ahmad Brooks, C Cody Wallace, T Jonas Jennings and LB Manny Lawson.
This means that Tully Banta-Cain might see more action than originally figured. Green is a nickel pass-rusher at defensive end. Banta-Cain could see a lot of action on third downs. Also, CB Marcus Hudson will be in uniform for the first time this season.
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The 49ers have waived DE Larry Birdine from the practice squad. They’ll shuttle in somebody else next week to get a look at a new player.
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Patriots inactives: QB Matt Gutierrez (third QB), WR Kelley Washington, WR Maurice Price, CB Lewis Sanders, LB Eric Alexander, C Dan Connolly, T Wesley Britt and LB Shawn Crable.
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We’ll be keeping an eye on whether the 49ers, as expected, play a lot of their patented “B.S.” defense in today’s game. Oh, that means, “Big Sub,” of course.
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Joe Nedney just nailed a 55-yarder in warmups. That apppears to be the outer limit of his range, if the team gets in that situation. Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski just hit the cross bar from 53 yards. (It bounced through.)
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Just returned from the field. Steve Young was getting the hero’s welcome. His number will be retired at halftime. He has a bunch of family and friends here. Brent Jones and Jerry Rice are among those former 49ers in attendance.
* * *Arnaz Battle, Takeo Spikes and Jeff Ulbrich are the captains for this game. Mike Carey is the referee. The last time Carey handled a Patriots game, they lost in the Super Bowl. Patriots win the toss and they defer. The 49ers receive the opening kickoff.
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–Rossum catches ball 7 yards deep for a touchback.
–Delanie Walker and Vernon Davis both on the field for the first play . . . Gore gains 1 yard.
–On second down, pass off Walker’s hands. That play would’ve gone for some big yardage. It’s third and 9.
–Good pressure on JTO. He throws it away. Time to punt.
–Niners defense opens with nickel, as Haralson comes out and Strickland enters before the snap. Maroney gains 4 against the Big Sub.
–Great pressure on Cassel. He’s hit as he throws and Spikes with the interception and a 13-yard return to the NE 45. There’s 12:51 left in the quarter. The Big Sub works!
–JTO throws deep for Walker, and Brandon Meriweather makes the pick. Walker did not play that one well. Walker was back-pedaling on that ball. He stopped running. Pats take over at the 4.
–Maroney stopped for two short gains. It’s third and long. Banta-Cain is in, along with Goldson and Tarell Brown. Willis sniffs out the shovel pass to Welker. Pats to punt.
–Clements was hiding in front of the 49ers’ bench. He caught the punt and came all the way across the field for a 13-yard return. Niners at the Pats’ 30.
–Big third-and-2 coming up . . . JTO scrambles close to the first down, but there’s a flag. Pats called for defensive holding.
–Bajema is in for a two-TE set . . . Gore splits out to the left. He works a post pattern vs. Pats CB Ellis Hobbs and makes a fantastic catch for a 16-yard touchdown. That’s something we haven’t seen yet this season. It’s 49ERS 7, PATRIOTS 0 with 8:57 remaining in the quarter.
–Nice return (poor tackling). Pats take over at 37 after Hobbs’ 35-yard return.
–Strickland is the team’s fifth defensive back. The plays are playing primarily a 4-2-5 defense, with LE McDonald, LT Sopoaga, RT Franklin and RE Justin Smith.
–Welker catches short pass, and Strickland with the nice tackle. Gain of 2.
–Tarell Brown was a step late getting to Cassel on a corner blitz. That gave Cassel enough time to hit Moss on a 66-yard TD vs. the coverage of both Walt Harris and Nate Clements. Harris was playing the role of a safety on that play. That looked easy. It’s 49ERS 7, PATRIOTS 7 with 7:35 remaining in the quarter. That reminded me of New Orleans — minus the hangover.
–Rossum with 34-yard return. Niners take over at the 36.
–The Patriots, by the way, are playing five DBs, too. JTO hits Bruce for a 38 yards.
–Counter play, Gore pops a 16-yarder with Battle lined up in the backfield, behind JTO.
–Nice protection. JTO finds Bruce in the end zone. That was easy, too. Think people in New England are talking about the Patriots’ B.S. defense, too? It’s 49ERS 14, PATRIOTS 7 with 5:25 left in the quarter. Brilliant series for Mike Martz and the offense.
–Delanie Walker just made a heck of a play. He blew up the blocker, wrapped up Hobbs and threw him down like he was a pillow at the 24.
–Niners decline an illegal formation to set up a second-and-8. Pats get near the first down on Kevin Faulk’s run. They’ll bring out the chains . . . it’s a first down.
–Moss wanted no part of that end around. Ronald Fields is in for Franklin, and he helped hold Moss to 2 yards.
–Morris pops a 14-yard run.
–Haralson’s going in; Strickland out. They are out of the big sub.
–RB Sammy Morris went out wide. Haralson followed him out there. Cassel throws to Moss instead for a 5-yard gain.
–Cassel sacked. Haralson and Banta-Cain combine for the sack. Haralson rushed from an ILB spot. Patriots will punt.
–Snyder with a false start. Moves it back to the 15.
–Niners will have a third-and-9 at their own 21 at the start of the second quarter.
–Bruce can’t come up with the catch on a deep out. JTO led him a little too much, but it’s a pass Bruce expects to catch.
–Lee hits a horrendous punt, but it gets a nice bounce for 45 yards. No return. Pats take over at their own 34 with 14:44 left in the half.–Niners open this series in 4-3-4 defense, with Balmer on the field. LaMont Jordan gains 9 yards.
–Now, the Big Sub is back, but the Pats had three receivers on the field.
–Clements gets some redemption. He intercepts Cassel’s deep pass for Moss. He wanted to lateral it to a teammate, but held onto it and was tackled at the 49ers’ 6. That’s where the 49ers take over with 13:11 left in the half.
–Third and 5. Niners with three wides on the field . . . Pats come with blitz. JTO gets out of the pocket and throws it away.
–Lee finally gets off a nice punt. Fair catch — a 46-yarder.
–Niners show 3-4 defense on 8-yard pass to Welker.
–Franklin with the tackle on Jordan. He’s hurt. They’re looking at his right leg. Timeout on the field. He limps off the field. Kevin Faulk is in to replace him. It’ll be second-and-9 from the 49ers’ 44.
–Strickland good coverage on Welker for an incomplete pass. He comes off the first on third down when the 49ers go with their Sub or dime package. Gaffney catches an underneath pass and drags Michael Lewis for the necessary yardage.
–Morris gains 9 yards on a third-and-1.
–Niners call first timeout, as they had just 10 defensive players on the field. Banta-Cain came on late, and Balmer ran off. Balmer stays off. Pats have first and 10 at the 16.
–Third and 6 . . . Niners’ dime defense on the field. . . . Niners get there with the four-man rush, as McDonald gets the sack.
–Gostkowski in for the field goal from 35 yards. It’s good. 49ERS 14, PATRIOTS 10 with 5:22 left in the quarter.
–INJURY UPDATE: Jordan has a leg injury. His return is questionable.
–Michael Robinson is on the field for the first time on offense this season. He lines up at fullback on first down, a 5-yard Gore run.
–On third-and-1, Baas comes in as a tight end. Gore gets stuffed.
–Lee with a nice punt. But Haralson called for ineligible man downfield. Lee will have to punt again.
–Lee uncorks one — an 82-yarder — but it’s only a 62-yard net, as it rolls into the end zone. The Pats take over at the 20.
–At the two-minute warning . . . the Pats will have a first down at their own 48.
–Patriots are moving down the field, mixing the run and the pass. Four-man rush. Easy pitch and catch to Moss at the 14-yard line.
–Third and 6 from the 10 . . . TBC and Haralson are on the field to rush the passer . . . four man rush. Smith with the sack . . . but he’s called for tackling Cassel by the helmet, a personal foul. The Patriots will have a first down from the 6 with :14 remaining.
–Cassel completes pass to Watson. He’s stopped at the 2 with :09 left in the half.
–Faulk with the touchdown from 2-yards out. Franklin and Balmer both got destroyed right up the middle. The penalty on Smith was a killer. It’s PATRIOTS 17, 49ERS 14 with :06 remaining in the half.
–Balmer fields the kickoff and goes into a barrel roll. JTO takes a knee and we’re going to halftime. The Steve Young ceremony is upcoming.
–Brent Jones is introducing Steve Young. Among the former players up on stage: Dwight Clark, Eric Davis, Junior Bryant, Steve Bono, Harris Barton, Dana Stubblefield, Derrick Deese, Dave Fiore, Randy Kirk, Jamie Williams, Guy McIntyre, Keena Turner, Jerry Rice, Tim McDonald, Steve Wallace, Jesse Sapolu.
–Young thanks John, Denise and Jed York for bringing in everybody. He thanks Eddie DeBartolo, and says he couldn’t be here because of some medical issue.
Young says, “Man, am I a lucky guy.” Said he was coached by the best. Bill Walsh, George Seifert, Steve Mariucci and all his coordinators. He said he’s thankful to the fans for giving contributing to all the memories. He concludes with “Go 49ers!”Lowell Cohn is down on the field. He’ll be speaking with Steve and he’ll transcribe the interview and put it on his blog at some point in the second half.
–KEY STAT FROM FIRST HALF: Time of possession — Patriots 20:03, 49ers 9:57.
–Patriots, because they deferred, get the kickoff. There’s a holding penalty, so New England starts at the 21.
–Niners blitz on first down and actually get a sack. Sopoaga drops Cassel for 7-yard loss.
–Third and 7 . . . five-man rush. First down to Welker.
–Patriots have confusion on offense. They use their first timeout of the second half.
–OK, we have a couple seconds. This defense should be a lot better than what they’re showing today. Sure, they’ve recorded two interceptions. But this has not been a good performance. The run defense is being overwhelmed, the pass defense has been so-so, and Manusky needs to be bringing more pressure. All pretty elementary, right?
–Back to back penalties on Harris (holding) and McDonald (offside).
–Strickland came up to make the tackle of Maroney for 2-yard gain. Strickland is playing pretty darn well.
–Balmer getting a lot of action this drive at LDT, as the 49ers play a 4-3.
–Short yardage situation, but Morris easily gets the first down.
–Second-and-10. The Pats have been getting big yards running the ball in this situation . . . shot gun formation . . . draw play to Faulk for 2 yards. That sets up a third and 8.
–Niners bring a blitz (can you believe it?). Cassel spins away from Haralson, but he can’t get away from Willis. The Pats are called for holding, but the Niners decline the penalty. They’ll punt.
–Some players are running onto the field for the 49ers. I’m not sure who they are. Hold on a sec, I’m going to check . . . oh, those are the offensive players. I forgot what they look like. Hey, at least they’re all nice and rested.
–JTO is intercepted by Rodney Harrison. Don’t know why he would’ve thrown that pass to Battle. Bad, bad decision.
–Patriots at the 24. . . Morris gains 14 yards on two rushes.
–Pats have the ball at the 1. Any chance of the 49ers putting together a goal-line stand?
–Incomplete on second down. Why didn’t they run?
–Franklin submarines Morris and trips him up. Franklin is down, injured after the play. That was quite a play he made. Morris is stopped for a 1-yard loss, bringing up fourth down.
–Patriots offense is still on the field. It looks as if they’re going for it.
–Direct snap to Faulk. He takes it in for the touchdown from 2 yards out. The Patriots take a page from the Dolphins’ playbook. Now, it’s PATRIOTS 24, 49ERS 14 with 5:25 remaining in the third quarter.
–Niners take over at the 20. They open with three wides.
–Pass to Gore loses a yard. On second down, Davis is out and Morgan is in. JTO scrambles for 8 yards. It’s third and 3.
–Pass to Morgan loses 4 yards. Niners are 0 for 6 on third downs.
–Cassel to Welker for 20 yards. The Pats are destroying the 49ers.
–On third and 10, the Patriots beat the 49ers blitz with a pass down the field to Gaffney — an 11-yard gain.
–It’ll be third-and-5 when the fourth quarter begins.
–Niners show a no-man line (everybody is standing up) and bring a blitz. Michael Lewis bats the ball down on the blitz.
–Gostkowski in for a 40-yard attempt. It’s good. PATRIOTS 27, 49ERS 14 with 14:53 left in regulation.
–This is a must-score drive for the 49ers.
–Direct snap to Gore, who carries 7 yards and a first down.
–Bryant Johnson (remember him) catches a pass on a drag route and gains 14 yards.
–Battle drops the pass on second down.
–Jason Hill and Morgan come in; Bruce and Davis go out on third down. JTO tries to get it deep for Battle. It’s pass interference on Meriweather. Niners have the ball at the 8-yard line.
–Niners don’t run on first down. JTO throws it away.
–Second down . . . Gore carries to the 5. This might be four-down territory.
–Touchdown to Bruce, running along the back line of the end zone. Nice protection, and CB Deltha O’Neal was nowhere near where he had to be. It’s PATRIOTS 27, 49ERS 21 with 10:22 remaining. Now, let’s see if the defense can do anything.
–Third and 2 . . . Cassel to Moss vs. Strickland’s coverage. It’s a gain of 8 and a first down.
–Patriots have a third and inches at the 49ers’ 34. All the Pats need is a FG to make this a two-possession game.
–New England is challenging that last spot.
–Mike Carey says they’re going to re-spot the ball, and re-measure for a first down. It’s a first down, so the Patriots win the challenge and they won’t be charged with a timeout.
–Niners stop Morris for no gain on first down. Plays is held up with Michael Lewis down. It looks as if they’re working on his right arm. His right elbow has been injured for a couple weeks.
–They blitz on second and 10, forcing Cassel to throw it away.
–This is a big third and 10 from the 34 . . . Welker takes a receiver screen and gets the first down. But, they call offensive pass interference. That’s a 10-yard penalty and moves the Patriots out of field-goal range. Moss was blocking before the pass was thrown.
–It’s third and 20 from the 44 . . . Gaffney with the catch. It’s not a first down, but the Patriots have the ball at the 31. It’ll be a 49-yard field goal. Remember he barely hit from 53 in pre-game warmups.
–Gostkowski made the field goal with A LOT of room to spare. It’s PATRIOTS 30, 49ERS 21 with 4:42 remaining.
–INJURY UPDATE: Lewis has a right elbow injury. His return is questionable.
–Rossum returns to the 49ers’ 35.
–Pass to B.Johnson for 11 yards.
–Timeout on the field, as Pats CB Jonathan Wilhite is injured. Hobbs went off after the previous play, but now he’s back.
–JTO is sacked on third down for an 8-yard loss. It’s fourth down. This is the game. Fourth and 16. That was the first sack for the Patriots. The 49ers don’t get the first down. In fact, O’Neal gets credit for the interception.
–And that’s a wrap, folks. I’ll be heading down to the locker room.
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