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Morning Tailgate: Oct. 24

Posted by Alex Espinoza on October 24, 2012 – 10:58 AM

It’s already Week 8 of the 2012 season and identities of the NFL’s 32 clubs are taking shape. Through their first seven games, the 49ers have featured one of the league’s best rushing attacks, ranking first in yards per carry (5.9) and second in yards per game (176.6).

Frank Gore (103 carries) and Kendall Hunter (50 attempts) have carried the load for the 49ers so far this season, totaling 859 rushing yards as a tandem already. Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee also noted that Gore (5.8 yards per carry) and Hunter (5.2) are the only duo to average better than five yards per carry this year.

“Gore, 29, trails only Buffalo running back C.J. Spiller ,a change-of-pace back who has sprinter’s speed, in averaging 5.8 yards per carry,” Barrows wrote. “He’s on pace for 1,374 yards this season, which would be his best output since he ran for 1,695 yards in 2006.”

Today’s Morning Tailgate looks at the challenge the Arizona run defense imposes, Eddie DeBartolo’s upcoming profile on the NFL Network and more.

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Morning Tailgate: Oct. 22

Posted by Taylor Price on October 22, 2012 – 10:22 AM

San Francisco 49ers fans are somewhat spoiled when it comes to special teams. It’s understandable though.

After all, it’s hard to notice and appreciate all the efforts of All-Pro, Pro Bowl punter Andy Lee when everything he does looks so routine.

Lee’s five-punt effort last week against Seattle, however, wasn’t overlooked by respected Sports Illustrated football writer Peter King, who listed Lee as his Week 7 Special Teams Player of the Week. King ranked San Francisco as his No. 5 overall team, too.

The nine-year veteran punter continues his stellar play with a 47.5 average on his 26 punts, including 14 inside the 20-yard line. Lee placed 28 punts inside the 20-yard line last season and is on pace to beat that mark this season.

According to King, Lee’s booming right leg blends perfectly with San Francisco’s roster.

“Jim Harbaugh knows the kind of team he has. It’s a field-position team. His passing game is not explosive, but his running game is very good, and his defense mostly suffocating,” King wrote in his weekly Monday Morning Quarterback column.

“On Thursday night, Lee, the superb punter for the Niners, played right into Harbaugh’s plans. He punted five times. He pinned the Seahawks back at their 4-, 33-, 14-, 9- and 6-yard lines. (Average post-punt drive start: 13-yard line.) Seattle had five punt-return yards all night. Niners 13, Seahawks 6.”

King also gave praise to the interior of the 49ers offensive line for their dominant running in the second half of the 49ers win.

“Left guard Mike Iupati, center Jonathan Goodwin, right guard Alex Boone. You want to see how to wear down a defensive front? Watch the three men on the Niners offensive line batter a very good Seattle front seven (and tackles Joe Staley and Antony Davis played well too) for 175 rushing yards on 32 clock-eating carries,” King Wrote.

“My favorite run of the Thursday night win over the Seahawks: Early in the fourth quarter, Frank Gore took a handoff from Alex Smith. Boone cut left to erase defensive lineman Jason Jones, Goodwin blasted out to smother defensive tackle Clinton McDonald, and Iupati, foraging for a victim, ran ahead to clear out middle linebacker Bobby Wagner. Gore was off to the races. Gain of 37. This is what these three guys did all night for Gore and Kendall Hunter, particularly late, when their physical dominance showed.”

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Posted in Morning Tailgate | 26 Comments »

Rice Inducted Into Hall of Fame

Posted by Scott Kegley on August 8, 2010 – 2:18 PM

CANTON, OH – Team owner John York described the night well.  “When you put Steve Young, Joe Montana and Jerry Rice together on stage…that’s what makes it great to be a Forty-Niner,” he said.

The current members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame welcomed seven new members to their elite fraternity on Saturday night at Fawcett Stadium.  The 2010 Class adds several elite names of its own.  Russ Grimm, Rickey Jackson, Dick LeBeau, Floyd Little, John Randle and the NFL’s all-time leading rusher Emmitt Smith, were joined by the league’s all-time leading receiver, Jerry Rice.

Rice, always  concerned with fashion, told the media earlier in the week that he made sure he had his gold jacket tapered.  With the same approach he took to his sharp looking uniform during his 20-year career, Rice had to look the part as he went into the Hall of Fame.

“I made a mistake tonight, I have a blue and a black sock on tonight,” Rice told the crowd as he took the podium. “Just joking guys!”

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