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Morning Tailgate: Jan. 17

Posted by Alex Espinoza on January 17, 2013 – 10:54 AM

For most running backs in the NFL, their production starts to dip as they approach their 30th birthday. But 49ers rushing king Frank Gore isn’t like most running backs.

The franchise’s all-time leader in yards, touchdowns and carries is still a workhorse in the backfield at the age of 29. Last week against the Packers, the eight-year veteran ran for 119 yards, joining Colin Kaepernick (181 rushing yards) and Michael Crabtree (119 yards receiving) as the only trio in NFL playoff history to feature two, 100-yard rushers and a 100-yard receiver on the same team.

Jim Trotter of Sports Illustrated traced Gore’s career and his ability to bounce back from devastating injuries and still be one of the game’s most productive backs.

“His resiliency is largely due to genetics and toughness, but there is an ample dose of passion in the recipe,” Trotter wrote. “It might not be as public as a Ray Lewis pre-game dance or speech, but it’s obvious behind the closed doors of the locker room, where the soft-spoken 5-foot-9, 217-pound veteran has been known to cry at his locker after losses, or on the practice field, where during training camp in 2007 coaches had to hide his helmet because he kept sneaking onto to the practice field despite having a broken hand.”

Do you want to see the NFC Championship game in Atlanta? 49ers Faithful have until Noon today to enter to win a trip to Atlanta that includes airfare, lodging and game tickets.

Today’s Morning Tailgate also focuses on Colin Kaepernick in the national spotlight, NFC Championship matchups to watch and more.

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Morning Tailgate: Jan. 16

Posted by Taylor Price on January 16, 2013 – 9:36 AM

Looking for an unsung hero on the San Francisco 49ers defense? Look no further than sixth-year cornerback Tarell Brown.

The 5-foot-10, 193-pound cornerback continues to be one of the key contributors on a 49ers defense that stands one win away from reaching the franchise’s sixth Super Bowl.

Brown recorded a career-high 59 tackles in the regular season to go with 14 pass breakups and two interceptions.

Quietly, Brown has come up big all season for the 49ers. The fundamentally-sound defensive back intercepted a pass in San Francisco’s Week 17 win and followed it up two weeks later with an impressive interception in the 45-31 Divisional Playoff win over the Green Bay Packers.

For a second consecutive postseason, Brown turned in a key interception.

Brown’s efforts, however, aren’t going unnoticed. ProFootballFocus.com reviewed the 49ers dominant victory over the Packers and singled out Brown’s performance. According to PFF, Brown was thrown against on four different occasions by Green Bay’s high-powered passing attack. In the end, Brown allowed two receptions for 16 yards. His interception, a quality over-the-shoulder reception of a deep Aaron Rodgers throw, was also returned 39 yards.

With the NFC title game just around the corner, the 49ers defensive back will be counted on once more against Atlanta’s impressive passing arsenal.

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Morning Tailgate: Jan. 7

Posted by Alex Espinoza on January 7, 2013 – 10:47 AM

It’s been nearly four months since the 49ers kicked off the 2012 season with a 30-22 victory against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. By virtue of their 24-10 victory over Minnesota on Saturday, the Packers are headed to Candlestick for the 5 p.m. PT Saturday kickoff against the 49ers in the NFC Divisional Round.

Aaron Rodgers led Green Bay to an 11-5 record and the NFC North title in the regular season, earning the No. 3 seed in the postseason. The 49ers and Packers and no strangers to each other in the playoffs. Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com took a look back at the rich postseason history between the two proud franchises over the years.

“When the third-seeded Green Bay Packers visit Candlestick Park on Saturday to face the No. 2 seed 49ers, it’ll be their sixth postseason meeting,” Maiocco wrote. “But it’ll be the first time Chico native Aaron Rodgers has played in San Francisco in his career. And it’ll be the first playoff appearance for Colin Kaepernick.”

The rest of today’s Morning Tailgate looks ahead to the playoff matchup with the Pack as the 49ers open their Quest for Six.

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Week 16 Game Notes

Posted by Alex Espinoza on December 24, 2012 – 12:43 PM

A 42-13 loss at Seattle moved the 49ers’ record to 10-4-1 on the season, but San Francisco still leads the NFC West heading into the regular-season finale against Arizona. 49ers Public Relations presents the following game notes from the Week 16 matchup.

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Morning Tailgate: Dec. 24

Posted by Alex Espinoza on December 24, 2012 – 12:00 PM

The 49ers suffered a humbling 42-13 defeat in Seattle on Sunday night, but still woke up on Christmas Eve with a half-game lead in the NFC West over the Seahawks. With a victory on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals at Candlestick Park, San Francisco will capture their second straight division crown.

Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group examined the lopsided loss and what it means for the 49ers. “Both the 49ers and Seahawks are assured playoff berths,” Inman wrote. “The 49ers clinched at least a wild-card spot a week ago after outlasting the New England Patriots 41-34. The Seahawks earned their playoff ticket with Sunday’s prime-time win.”

The rest of today’s Morning Tailgate looks at the defeat and possible playoff scenarios for the 49ers.

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James Earns Week 15 Rookie Honor

Posted by Taylor Price on December 18, 2012 – 9:51 AM

San Francisco 49ers second-round draft pick LaMichael James has been active for two games in his young NFL career.

The second performance last week in New England, however, earned the 49ers running back a Week 15 Pepsi MAX NFL Rookie of the Week nomination along with quarterbacks Kirk Cousins, Ryan Tannehill, Russell Wilson and kicker Blair Wilson.

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Afternoon Tailgate: Dec. 17

Posted by Alex Espinoza on December 17, 2012 – 3:06 PM

Following last night’s momentous 41-34 road victory against the New England Patriots on Sunday Night Football, the 49ers took a red eye, cross-country flight from Providence, R.I. to SFO that landed about 7 a.m. It was one of the biggest regular season wins in the Harbaugh era, thanks to a complete team effort. Explosive touchdowns and big-time turnovers marked the win for the 49ers, who are now 10-3-1 and one victory away from claiming the NFC West title.

Albert Breer of NFL.com was in Foxborough on Sunday night and wrote that San Francisco proved its mettle against the tough opponent in a hostile environment

“The circumstances were what made this one different, and divine, for a Niners group that has been a bear to deal with for everyone since the minute Jim Harbaugh walked in the door,” Breer wrote. “There was the aforementioned weather. There was the juncture at which they were facing the Patriots, maybe the hottest team in the league over the past month. Then there was the game itself.”

The rest of today’s Morning Tailgate rounds up the best coverage from the Week 15 thriller, and explains why the 49ers are the best team to use in Madden 2013.

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Morning Tailgate: Dec. 12

Posted by Taylor Price on December 12, 2012 – 9:29 AM

Earlier this week, we discussed Aldon Smith’s chances of winning NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors. Sports lllustrated’s Peter King believes the 49ers outside linebacker and league’s sack-leader (19.5) has a serious chance of taking home the honor if he’s able to break the NFL’s single-season sack record of 22.5 set by Michael Strahan.

If able to break the record, Smith might pick up even more hardware according to ESPN.com’s Mike Sando, who lists Smith at No. 10 on his latest MVP Watch post.

“Smith has 10 sacks in his last four games,” Sando wrote in his explanation for Smith’s inclusion in the Top-10. “He has 15 sacks in his last seven games. For perspective, consider that Hall of Famer Bruce Smith finished two of his 19 seasons with 15-plus sacks.”

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Morning Tailgate: Dec. 10

Posted by Taylor Price on December 10, 2012 – 10:34 AM

Aldon Smith now owns the San Francisco 49ers single-season sack outright record thanks to a two-sack performance against the Miami Dolphins. With 19.5 sacks on the season, Smith leads the NFL in sacks and has the team’s single-season sack record, distancing himself from Fred Dean’s 17.5 sacks set in 1983.

Now, it remains to be seen whether or not the second-year linebacker can record 3.5 sacks in his last three games to break Michael Strahan’s NFL single-season sack record (22.5).

Smith’s also including himself into the league’s Defensive Player of the Year conversation according to Sports Illustrated’s Peter King.

“A factor that must be considered, obviously, is Smith threatening the NFL sack record,” King wrote in his weekly MMQB column. “He has 19.5 after getting two Sunday against Miami. The record is 22.5 by Michael Strahan. With three games left — at New England and Seattle, then home against the leaky Arizona line — Smith needs 3.5 sacks. Today I’ll take Watt, with his 16.5 sacks and league-record 15 passes batted down, four of which resulted in Houston interceptions. Three weeks from today, who knows?”

King also ranked San Francisco as the league’s No. 4 overall team heading into Week 15.

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Morning Tailgate: Dec. 5

Posted by Taylor Price on December 5, 2012 – 10:11 AM

Jed York speaks of flexibility when it comes to the technology vision for the new Santa Clara Stadium, the future home of the San Francisco 49ers.

“We want to make sure it’s an open-source stadium that can grow and develop over time,” the 49ers CEO recently told Fortune’s editor-at-large Adam Lashinsky in a video aired on CNN Money.

In the piece, York discussed the team’s vision for the billion-dollar future home for the five-time Super Bowl champion franchise. The 49ers CEO also expressed his excitement in the team’s working partnership with the City of Santa Clara and the Stadium Authority.

“I think the most important thing is we have a public-private partnership,” York told Lashinsky. “If you don’t have a good relationship between your municipality and a sports team, then you’re setting yourself up for failure.”

The 49ers certainly feel good about the recent developments for the stadium. Besides having the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl to be played at the new stadium beginning in 2014, this week will mark the “topping out” ceremony for the stadium project when the highest pieces of steel will be erected.

While construction remains rampant at the stadium site, the same can be said for the team’s technology vision. York and the team’s technology department aim to find ways to compete with the NFL’s high-definition television coverage.

“What I really want to do is build a software-driven stadium as opposed to a hardware-driven stadium,” the 49ers CEO explained.

In York’s mind, scoreboards will be obsolete in five years. Fans will be utilizing smart phones and personal tablets for instant information.

“I would much rather leverage the great companies that we have in the Silicon Valley who are creating smart phones, creating tablets, that our fanbase and the majority of folks in Northern California use  on a daily basis,” York went on to say.

The team has visions of a ticket-less, cash-less building for the future home of the 49ers, all while increasing viewing options on a fan’s preferred personal device.

But as York explains it, the key is to be flexible. With technology rapidly improving fan’s experiences within NFL stadiums, the 49ers CEO wants to be at the forefront of it.

Visit NewSantaClaraStadium.com for ticket information on the future home of the 49ers.

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