Tag Archives: 49ers

Post-Power Outage Comeback Comes Up Short: Ravens Defeat 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII

After returning from a 22-point deficit to within two points of the lead, the San Francisco 49ers couldn’t pull off the comeback victory last Sunday in Super Bowl XLVII. The Baltimore Ravens took home the Lombardi Trophy with a 34-31 win for their second Super Bowl victory in the team’s history.

The game took place in the Superdome of New Orleans, Lou., in front of over 71,000 fans. Baltimore scored first, with a touchdown five minutes into the first quarter, and from there the Ravens rode their momentum all the way through the half and beyond. San Francisco scored around the three-minute mark in the first quarter on a 36-yard field goal by kicker David Akers. They finished the first quarter behind 7-3.

With the exception of a solid 49ers defensive play on a Ravens fake field goal attempt, Baltimore dominated the second quarter as well. Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco threw two touchdown passes for a combined total of 57 yards, and Ravens safety Ed Reed picked up the lone interception of the game—also the first interception ever thrown by a San Francisco quarterback in the Super Bowl. The 49ers once again came away from the quarter with just a field goal, a 27-yard kick by Akers with no time left on the clock. The score at halftime was a daunting 21-6.

On the first play after halftime, Baltimore destroyed the 49ers’ hope for a shift in momentum as the Ravens’ Jacoby Jones returned the kickoff for a 108-yard touchdown, the longest play in Super Bowl history. Shortly after the touchdown, a power outage in the Superdome caused half the stadium’s lights to go out and delayed the game for 34 minutes. The extra break renewed San Francisco’s energy, and as power slowly returned to the lights and electronic sideline equipment, the 49ers prepared to come back from the biggest point deficit to ever be conquered in a Super Bowl game.

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick brought San Francisco back into the game with a 31-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Michael Crabtree at the 7:20 mark in the third quarter. Less than three minutes later, San Francisco scored again on running back Frank Gore’s six-yard run. A 34-yard field goal by Akers completed the 49ers explosive third quarter scoring run, leaving them down by just five points (28-23) going into the fourth quarter.

After a scoreless post-power outage third quarter, the Ravens were on the board once again in the beginning of the fourth with a 19-yard field goal by kicker Justin Tucker. San Francisco answered with a 15-yard touchdown run by Kaepernick, the longest touchdown run by a quarterback in Super Bowl history. In an effort to tie up the score at 31-31, the 49ers attempted a two-point conversion, but were thwarted by a well-timed blitz by Reed that forced a hurried throw, resulting in an incomplete pass. Baltimore pulled further away from San Francisco’s reach with a 38-yard field goal by Tucker with four minutes remaining.

Down 34-29, the 49ers drove all the way down the field and got to the Ravens five-yard line with just over two minutes left in the game. San Francisco had four chances to convert a five-yard touchdown, but came up short. Crabtree appeared to be held on the fourth down pass from Kaepernick, but no flag was thrown. Baltimore regained possession of the ball at their own five-yard line and ran three straight running plays to take time off the clock. San Francisco used its third and final timeout following the first down run. The 49ers burned their first two timeouts of the half at questionable moments — one was called on what appeared to be a miscommunication between Kaepernick and 49ers Head Coach Jim Harbaugh. Harbaugh called the 49ers’ second timeout on the previous series when the play clock was about to expire for a penalty.

On fourth down, the Ravens snapped the ball to punter Sam Koch with less than 15 seconds remaining, but instead of punting the ball away, Koch dodged around the end zone for as long as possible to take time off the clock before finally being forced out of bounds for a safety with four seconds remaining. Koch punted the ball away from Baltimore’s 20-yard line, and running back LaMichael James’ return came up short as time expired. The game was over, and Super Bowl XLVII went to the Baltimore Ravens, 34-31.

A Guide to Super Bowl Sunday in San Francisco

Superbowl XLVII is this Sunday, February 3rd, at 3:30p.m.PT,

and our very own San Francisco49ers will be facing off against the Baltimore Ravens. San Franciscans will be representing the 49ers by wearing Gold and Scarlet as they root for their team in the battle takingplace at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. It’s going to be a great game with lots of excitement, from the ridiculously expensive commercials to a grand half timeshow. Here are a few tips for the big day:

First and foremost make sure you have some apparel that represents the 49ers team colors, such as a t-shirt or a 49ers hat!

Be sure to get a group of people together and go somewhere fun and social for the game. I would recommend figuring out where you’re going ahead of time. Don’t forget that the city is going to be patriotic and energetic therefore the bars, bart, and busesare going to be completely packed. Plan ahead to leave at least an hour before thegame, so you don’t miss the national anthem and start of the game.

Travel light. Do not bring too many jackets or purses because places are going to be packed. You won’t find anywhere to put them, and you definitely do not want anything to be stolen.

Be mindful of your surroundings! A lot of people take advantage of days like this because you’re going to be busy having fun, and no one will be supervising you or your belongings.

BE CAREFUL. There are lots of fun activities to do around the city, but it’s important to have fun in a safe and respectable manner.

SF to Lose Historic Candlestick Park with 49er Move to Santa Clara

It’s January 14, 2012, and Candlestick Park is rocking for the San Francisco 49ers first playoff game in 9 years. Despite having home field advantage for the division playoff round, San Francisco is the underdog against the high octane New Orleans Saints.

The team seems poised for their first trip to the NFC Championship game since 1995. The 49ers were unable to hold on to the lead, however, and found themselves down, 32-29, in the waning moments of the fourth quarter. With just nine seconds remaining, quarterback Alex Smith rifled a pass right to tight end Vernon Davis for a game winning touchdown. As the crowd of nearly 70,000 went into frenzy, and Davis shed tears of joy, the 49ers had given Candlestick Park perhaps its one last shining moment.

Three months later, Candlestick Park is empty. It’s the mid afternoon, and the light rain makes Candlestick even bleaker than usual. A brief glimpse of the notorious Candlestick winds helps make the air even colder. The baseball season has just begun, but there is no roar from the bleachers. The stadium that once housed Juan Marichal and Willie Mays has been permanently silent during spring since 2000.

That was the year the San Francisco Giants moved to the state-of-the art AT&T Park. It was the vibrant AT&T Park that saw the Giants capture their first World Series since moving to San Francisco. While the area around AT&T has become a hotpot for nightlife, Candlestick is saddled amongst the urban decay of Hunter’s Point.

In its 52 year existence, Candlestick Park has been witness to some of the greatest moments in sports history. It was the home stadium of baseball greats from Willie Mays to Barry Bonds. It housed Joe Montana and Steve Young, and was the site of the most famous catch in NFL history. Beyond sports, it became a cultural landmark, and welcomed the Beatles for their final full concert.

The “Stick”, as its affectionately known, lost much of its importance when the San Francisco Giants left twelve seasons ago. Now, with the San Francisco 49ers set to leave in 2014 for Santa Clara, Candlestick faces permanent irrelevancy.

While Candlestick Park has been witness to many defining sports moments, the “Stick” was never an architectural land mark. The park was opened in 1960 to accommodate the Giants, who had moved to San Francisco from New York just two years earlier. The first pitch ever thrown at the stadium came from the arm of then-vice president Richard M. Nixon.

“It was built at a time when people didn’t care that much about making something feel really good,” said San Francisco Chronicle urban design critic John King. “They just wanted something big and new. It never had a lot of charm to it.”

In its first year of operation, Candlestick temporarily housed the Oakland Raiders of the upstart AFL, while the 49ers remained at Kezar Stadium. However the stadium’s first monumental event was not a sporting event at all. On Aug. 29, 1966, Candlestick Park welcomed the Beatles. It would be the legendary band’s last live commercial concert. The band ripped through an 11 song set list in 35 minutes before saying goodbye for good.

It didn’t take long for the Candlestick to gain notoriety for its most famous feature: the ferocious winds. The park hosted the 1961 All-Star game, in which pitcher Stu Miller was swept off the mound by a mammoth gust of wind. The wind didn’t affect just the players; it left fans unbearably cold atop the Candlestick bleachers. Starting in 1983, the stadium began handing out the “Croix de Candlestick”, a pin that was awarded to any spectator who managed to stay during the extra innings of a Giants night game.

“The Croix de Candlestick symbolized that you were a true Giants fan,” said John Quebedeaux, a fan who’s lived in San Francisco for upwards of 30 years.
In 1971, the 49ers finally moved out of Kezar and into Candlestick, but not before the city spent $16 million to make the Stick more compatible for football. While their first season was a success, culminating in an appearance in the NFC title game, the 49ers spent much of the 1970’s near the bottom of the NFC standings.

Their fortunes didn’t change until they drafted a young quarterback from Notre Dame named Joe Montana in the third round of the 1979 NFL draft. In 1981, Montana led the 49ers to a NFC championship bout against the Dallas Cowboys at Candlestick. With the 49ers trailing late in the game, Montana threw a desperate heave near the back of end zone. Tight end Dwight Clark leaped up and made an improbable touchdown grab that will forever go down in NFL lore as simply “The Catch”.

“A good friend of mine was there and said you could feel the ground shake and the upper deck was moving,” said Ted Johnson, former beat writer for the San Francisco 49ers.

“That’s what happens when 60,000 people start jumping at the same time.”
“That was the game that really put the 49ers on the map,” said Quebedeaux.

For the next decade and a half, the 49ers would become the dominant superpower
of the NFL, winning 5 Super Bowl championships and making Candlestick the center of the professional football world. During this time period, Candlestick also was center stage for one of the most terrifying moments in San Francisco history. On Oct.17, 1989, the San Francisco Giants were set to face the Oakland Athletics in Game 3 of the World Series. At 5:04 local time, the ground began to shake.

“I was covering the World Series for the news section,” said longtime San Francisco Chronicle writer Carl Nolte. “The guy sitting next to me, he looked at me, his eyes got real big, and he said, ‘Earthquake!’. Some people were saying that the Bay Bridge was falling down. I said ‘Are you kidding? Get out of here.’ Well, we found out it was true. And we could see the Marina burning, and we thought that we better get out of here.”

The Loma Prieta earthquake would ultimately result in 63 deaths. The Giants would eventually lose the World Series, which was postponed 10 days after the tragedy.

In recent years, the venerable park has become more notable for its dilapidated state. Last December, the lights went out at Candlestick right before the 49er’s Monday Night Football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, delaying the start of the game for over 30 minutes.

“Last year I saw Cal play Fresno State, and I thought what a dump this is,” says Nolte of his last visit to Candlestick. “Hard to get to, bad neighborhood, all kinds of stuff.”
Rory Brown, Bleacher Report Director of Content Operations and a Mountain View native, also isn’t impressed by the Stick’s current structure.

“It’s almost better just to watch the 49ers games on television,” he said. In addition, the out of the way location of Candlestick made traveling to the park a hassle for fans and media alike.

“Covering the 49ers was good work but after a while the most important thing in your arsenal was not the tape recorder or note book, or even the press credential. It was the parking pass,” said Johnson. “It’s such a b— to get in and out of the parking lot.”

At one point, it seemed almost unfathomable that the 49ers would leave San Francisco to build a new stadium. In 1997, San Francisco voters approved $100 million dollars in city spending to build a new stadium and shopping mall at Candlestick Point. However, the plan failed to gain any traction for several years.

The pressure heightened for a new stadium to be built in 2006, as then mayor Gavin Newsom wanted it to be the centerpiece of San Francisco’s 2016 Olympic bid. However, with concerns over the viability of Candlestick Point and a lack of other options in San Francisco, the team switched its focus to Santa Clara.

“There was a sense of inevitability that the 49ers would stay in San Francisco,” King said. “Then, all the sudden the team announced they were looking at Santa Clara and it caught everybody by surprise.” The San Francisco 49ers broke ground on their new stadium on April 19, 2012, with hopes to complete it in time for the 2014 NFL season. Conservative estimates put its cost at $1.2 billion.

The 49ers impending departure will be particularly tough for the residents of Hunters Point. Legislators had hoped that a new stadium would help revitalize the struggling Hunter’s Point community.

“People saw how AT&T Park really brought the Mission Bay district to life,” King said. “You’d hope that would happen to Hunters Point too.”

Regardless, Lennar Urban, which is overseeing the redevelopment of the area, is trudging along, planning an ambitious $400 million overhaul of the Hunters View housing project. It’s this plan that will put the final coffin in Candlestick Park; Kofi Bonner, the President of Lennar Urban, told the San Francisco Examiner that his company will start negotiating with the city to demolish Candlestick once the 49ers leave town.

Despite their love-hate relationship with Candlestick Park, many San Franciscans will miss having their very own football team. “The 49ers leaving San Francisco is a tragedy, disaster, awful,” said Nolte. “The 49ers are the original homegrown, major league team.”

“I think losing a football team makes San Francisco a little less diverse,” John King said. “The city is so known for being a certain kind of way, a bastion of left-wing politics, and the 49ers are an antidote to that.”

“San Francisco may not be one of the greatest sports towns in terms of having a large, passionate fan base, but there are a good number of committed fans that will be sad to see it go,” said Rory Brown.
However, all hope is not lost for local fans.

“For me, part of the experience of being a fan is to be able to be with my friends and family and have a great time,” said Meena Naik, a second generation Indian-American whose family resides in the Bay Area. “I’ll still be able to do that in Santa Clara.”

After all, sports, as much as anything, is about creating memories. Candlestick, the old, graying building that it is, has created many indelible images in its lifetime; 49ers fans can only hope the team’s new home will create a history as rich as the Stick.

49ers Continue To Torture Their Fans

The 49ers start to the season can be summed up with one word: torture. Year after year 49ers fans have waited for a playoff appearance and this season was supposed to be the year that wish finally came true.

Coming into the season, the 49ers were the overwhelming favorite to win the NFC West division as practically every analyst and sports writer picked them. But of course, in typical Niner fashion, the team has let down fans with a woeful 1-5 record; with their only win coming this past weekend against the Oakland Raiders. The terrible start has caused fans to demand the removal of Mike Singletarry as head coach along with pleas to bench Alex Smith and remove him as the team’s starting quarterback. The team is a complete mess at the moment and fans are letting the organization know how displeased they are. How are fans supposed to react? Be patient and hope for the best? Or voice their frustrations and give up on the team? Most 49ers fans have chosen the latter and with good reason.

During the 49ers’ week five game against the Philadelphia Eagles, fan frustration reached the boiling point when fans booed Alex Smith mercilessly after he committed a horrendous fumble when he rolled out to the left and the ball slipped out of his hands as he was trying to throw it away. I was at that game and that fumble was the worst turnover I have ever witnessed, and the fans let Alex Smith know. It was the loudest booing I’ve heard in a while; the Dodgers don’t even get booed that loudly when they visit San Francisco. As I was standing in the crowd absorbing the hatred directed at Alex Smith, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him even though I was also disappointed with his play. No matter how bad someone plays, a home crowd should never boo one of their team’s players that way. That was the moment when I realized how tortured and frustrated the 49ers fanbase feels.

Jed York, the owner of the 49ers, didn’t help the frustration level when he guaranteed a division title via text message to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. All that he accomplished was succeeding in making the 49ers a national laughing stock and giving them more bad publicity. It made the 49ers seem like a desperate and disorganized organization, where the owner makes promises that the team can’t uphold. Jed York did the worst thing possible with that text message; he put an enormous amount of pressure on an underachieving team that already is dealing with a ton of pressure. York should have waited for the 49ers to at least win a game before making such strong predictions. Not only does the team torture the fan base with the constant losing, the owner joined the torturing by making empty promises.

49ers fans expect winning. The franchise has won five super bowls, tied for second best overall. Throughout the 80s and 90s and even the early 00s the 49ers were a perennial playoff team that was feared and respected by the rest of the league. Now the Niners are no better than the raiders, bills, lions and every other NFL bottom feeder. The difference between the 49ers and the other cellar dwellers is that the 49ers have a tradition of winning because of this the fans always expect winning. It’s been eight years since the 49ers have finished a season with a winning record, for Niner fans that’s an eternity. The losing was supposed to end this season but it seems like it will continue until the 49ers make some serious personnel changes.

If the 49ers don’t make the playoffs (unlikely at this point) Mike Singletarry will surely be fired and Alex Smith will no longer be the teams starting quarterback. The rebuilding process will start over again and it could mean more losing. There is nothing worse than rooting for a rebuilding team; it’s the ultimate sports torture. Sadly this is where the 49ers seem headed for unless they can somehow find a way to go on a win streak that propels them into the playoffs. So for the rest of the season 49er fans will watch games with one-eye closed, embracing for the possibility of tortuous results that they have become accustomed to seeing. Its amazing how far the mighty have fallen, I guess you can’t be at the top forever.

Editor-in-Chief: Heather Spellacy

Chief Copy-Editor: Burke McSwain

Sports Editor: Matt Steinbach

Both the 49ers and Raiders are poised for improvement

A loud buzz is heard throughout the Bay Area when the topic of the upcoming NFL season is brought up. For the first time in seven years fans of both the Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers have legitimate reasons to feel optimistic. Both teams seem poised to improve upon last season’s performances and become a threat to make the playoffs. Many analysts and reporters are picking each team as sleepers; predicting that they should surprise the league and have strong seasons. Everyone is hyping up both teams, building fan excitement for the season, but it’s far from a guarantee that both teams will improve considering their lack of success in recent years. Let’s take a deeper look at both teams to see how they have improved and whether they can realistically make the playoffs.

The Raiders
The Raiders underwent a massive face-lift of the franchise this off-season replacing their wildly under-performing top pick quarterback Jamarcus Russell, with former first rounder Jason Campbell, who previously played for the Redskins. Russell was simply incompetent and incapable as a starting quarterback, the Raiders were worse with him as a starter than they were when starting with back-ups Charlie Frye and Bruce Gradkowski. In Campbell the Raiders have a solid starting quarterback with some talent. Campbell certainly isn’t a pro bowler but he knows how to get the job done and move an offense. As a former first round pick by the Washington Redskins in 2005, Campbell has talent, he’s mobile, has a good arm that allows him to throw a nice deep ball and he’s fairly accurate. The success of this team greatly relies on Campbell, he needs to be able to move the ball and put the offense in scoring positions.

For the rest of the offense, the Raiders have some intriguing players at every skill positions. At wide receiver they have three young and talented players in Darrius Heyward-Bey, Louis Murphy and Chaz Schillens. Murphy and Schillens showed flashes of their potential last year and now with Campbell throwing them the ball the Raiders hope that they can develop into game-breaking receivers. Heyward-Bey, the Raiders controversial first-round pick from last season certainly has all the measurements and talent to become a play-maker but he needs to learn how to catch the ball first. Heyward-Bey looked lost and over matched on the football field at times last season and when he was thrown the ball he usually dropped it. If this offense has any hope for being explosive it will need a big improvement by Heyward-Bey. The top receiver for the Raiders is actually tight-end Zach Miller who led the team in receptions last year. Miller is a big target with good hands; with Campbell throwing him the ball he could become one of the better tight ends in the league.

The running game was decent last year and it should be better this year with Michael Bush looking to take over the starting job. The Raiders like running the ball and they need to be effective in doing so to take pressure off of Campbell and the passing game. Bush was effective last season when he was given the majority of the touches at running back. The true key to the success of this offense is the offensive-line, which struggled for most of last season. The front office didn’t do much in addressing this issue, only adding rookies with question marks with their third and fourth round picks. The line will need to provide running lanes as well as give Campbell enough time to throw.

On defense the Raiders have play-makers on the line with Richard Seymour, at linebacker with rookie first round pick Rolando Mcclain and in the secondary with All-Pro cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha. Last season this defense struggled in stopping the run, but the hope is this year in the addition of Mcclain they have found a run-stopper and because of him the whole unit will improve. That’s a lot of pressure on a rookie but if he is as good as advertised he will be able to handle it. This defense can be destructive but they need their young players to pan out and provide a huge impact.

With Campbell taking over at quarterback and a defense that could be hard to score on the Raiders should definitely improve upon last years 5-11 season. But with questions marks along the offensive line and at wide receiver the Raiders are still not ready to fight for the playoffs. I see them finishing 7-9, good for second in the AFC West.

The 49ers
A season ago the 49ers finished 8-8 and were a playoff threat and could have actually made the playoffs if not for a few close losses. They had a good season despite starting the year with Shaun Hill, who was the starter for six weeks until Alex Smith took over the job. Michael Crabtree, the 49ers first round draft choice also missed much of the season after holding out in search of a large contract. Needless to say, the 49ers were in transition for much of the season. Now with virtually the same roster in place, the 49ers are confident that they will continue to improve and take the next step into making the playoffs and winning the division. For the first time in years the 49ers are the favorites to win the NFC west, something they haven’t done since 2002. But like the Raiders, the success of this team has a lot to do with the play of the starting quarterback Alex Smith.Alex Smith has under-performed in his career so far and it seems that he may never live up to the expectations of a number one pick. Despite that the 49ers still have faith in Smith and expect him to lead this team to the playoffs. Last season Smith proved that he is capable of putting up numbers and having success in a passing game. After taking over the starting job in week 7, Smith passed for 2,350 yards throwing 18 touchdowns in 11 games. For the first time in his career Smith is playing under the same offensive coordinator, meaning he doesn’t have to learn a new offense and is given the opportunity to master the current offense. The success of the 49ers is directly linked to Smith’s ability to move the offense. The 49ers have talent everywhere but that talent can’t be utilized unless Smith successfully gets them the ball. The success of this team lies on Smith’s shoulders, this is his chance to prove that he can handle the pressure and be a successfully starting quarterback.

The 49ers have weapons in every position on offense. At running back Frank Gore is one of the best in the league, and he is the focal point of this offense. The wide receivers are young and talented starting with Michael Crabtree who has the skills to develop into one of the better receivers in the NFL. Josh Morgan also possesses a lot of skill and talent; he has good size and catches the ball well making him a great weapon opposite of Crabtree. Vernon Davis finally developed into the player the 49ers have always wanted him to be. He made the pro bowl last year and established himself has one of the best tight ends in the NFL and a match up nightmare for any defense. The 49ers made a point to improve the offensive line this off-season, which was their major weakness last year. They drafted two huge offensive linemen in the first round in Anthony Davis and Mike Iupati. The niners hope that these two rookies will solidify the line, giving Gore running lanes and Smith time to throw to his receivers. Everything is in place for Smith to succeed, he just has to put it all together and continue to develop.

On defense the 49ers, led by all-pro middle linebacker Patrick Willis, were one of the best units in the NFL last season. This is the strength of the team, and coach Singletarry prides himself in developing a terrifying defense. There were no major additions or subtractions to the unit so look for them to continue to be dominant and become better. Players such as Dashon Goldson, Shawnte Spencer and Manny Lawson will need to continue to improve if this defense wants to get even better. The secondary is the weak link in the defensive unit, so the 49ers will need them to step up and prevent big plays through the air. A major improvement the 49ers made this off-season was in special teams where they have added a return man in Ted Ginn. Ginn provides the 49ers with a returner who is a threat to turn any kick into a touchdown; something this team has lacked the past few seasons.

The 49ers seem ready to win the NFC West and they should. If they don’t win the division or fail to make the playoffs, the season will be a major disappointment. But I don’t see that happening. The 49ers will win the NFC West this year and finish 10-6, you can take that to the bank.

Editor-in-Chief: Heather Spellacy
Chief Copy-Editor: Burke McSwain
Sports Editor: Matt Steinbach