coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
On 11/19/2013 06:00 PM in NFL

San Francisco 49ers at Washington Redskins: Preview and Pick

San Francisco 49ers at Washington Redskins: Preview and Pick

The Monday night football game for week 12 in the NFL will feature two teams that are struggling. The San Francisco 49ers will hit the road for this prime time game on a modest losing streak. After losing to the Saints on a controversial call, the 49ers need to win against the Redskins so they can keep pace with the other teams that are ready to make a run for the playoffs.

San Francisco 49ers at Washington Redskins Odds

The opening NFL point spread for this game has the 49ers as (-4.5) point favorites although they are slumping. The public has all but given up on the Redskins has over 72 percent of the betting public is backing the 49ers to blowout the Redskins. The point spread has yet to move, but could easily sway towards the road team leading up to kickoff.

The Redskins need to improve if they have any chance of winning this game. Robert Griffin III said after Sunday’s 24-16 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles that it seemed like the defenders knew what was coming. They defended certain pass plays well, notably the pass off a zone-read fake. On those plays, the Eagles’ linebackers played pass first and could then drop into lanes that took away the favored inside routes.

But the Eagles also went heavy with seven-man boxes, trying to help the coverage. That’s a big reason the Redskins ran the ball so well—and why they stuck with the run even as the Eagles pulled away. The 49ers have a much better defense than the Eagles and if the Redskins don’t change things p on offense, the 49ers will demolish this team on a national stage. The Redskins will have to step up on both sides of the ball if they want to have a shot at this game.

The latest football betting trends for this game reveal that the 49ers have some very interesting wagering trends. The 49ers are 9-1-1 against the spread (ATS) in their last 11 games after accumulating less than 150 yards passing in their previous game, 6-2-1 ATS in their last 9 games after accumulating less than 90 yards rushing in their previous game and 21-5 ATS in their last 26 Monday games. The Redskins are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games after accumulating more than 150 yards rushing in their previous game, 2-5 ATS in their last 7 Monday games and 1-7 ATS in their last 8 against the NFC.

San Francisco 49ers at Washington Redskins Pick

With plenty of time to go before the start of the regular season, I will wait to release my pick on this game until we get closer to game day.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
11/20/2013 09:17 PM

The Washington Redskins say their locker room isn't coming apart, even as their season continues to plummet and players are going on local radio stations questioning the quarterback's postgame comments.

On Tuesday, receiver Santana Moss said on 106.7 The Fan's "LaVar & Dukes Show" that Robert Griffin III needed to just accept the blame for a botched final play rather than try to explain what happened. On Wednesday, Moss attempted to clarify what he meant. He also said he spoke with Griffin earlier in the day and that the two are "cool."

"That's the kind of relationship we have," Moss said. "We can talk and get to know or to express what was really said. That's what we have in this locker room. We don't have no divided locker room at all."

And, players said, Griffin is definitely a leader on the team, a point many made both on and off the record. But Moss' comments triggered a firestorm because he spoke at length about the situation.

Griffin tossed an interception that ended the Redskins' 24-16 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday -- a play in which he tried to throw the ball away to the back of the end zone while backpedaling near the 30-yard line.

Griffin took awhile in his postgame news conference before he finally said, "It's something I shouldn't do."

That led to Moss answering the question and saying the quarterback sometimes must just say it's his fault.

Griffin on Wednesday said that everyone is "on the same page." He also took unequivocal blame for the interception.

And Moss said he was trying to send a message to every player and not just Griffin.

"What I was saying [was], if you're ever put in a situation -- anybody -- this is how we can control it so there is no confusion," Moss said. "Because if you nip it in the bud, then you don't have to worry about that story being turned somewhere else. You're a stand-up guy. That's how it's going to be portrayed, whether you know you did something wrong or not. 'I like that dude for what he said because he took it on the chin.' That's all you have to do.

"If I'm a quarterback or I'm a leader and I drop a ball, then it's me. No matter how it came or what the other guy did, it's me. At the time [Tuesday] I was picturing myself being the quarterback and what I could tell you ... is that, at the end of the day, I'm the last guy that has to make the play to win it or we won't. If we won, I'll say we did a great job. If we didn't, I'm gonna say I have to do a better job."

The comments led to questions about Griffin's leadership as well as about whether they were signs of a divided locker room.

Fullback Darrel Young said Moss' comments were taken out of context and agreed with Moss that the veteran receiver was challenging everyone and not just Griffin.

"Robert Griffin's a leader of this team, and I don't care what anyone says," Young said. "I'm going to war with him any day and I know [everyone] in this locker room is going to war with him. ... He holds himself accountable to us. To you guys, it doesn't matter what he thinks. It's the 53 individuals in this locker room that really ride his back. He's been the man since he's been here. We knew that.

"It's the only thing to talk about because we're 3-7, but there's no controversy. This will be behind us once we get a win."

Griffin also said on Sunday that the Eagles' defense stymied the Redskins because it could match them "tit for tat," and that the Redskins needed to counteract better.

Still only 23, Griffin perhaps has yet to fully appreciate how much his words are parsed and dissected. It's why players sometimes feel it's better to say "I" or "me" when discussing bad plays or games.

"We all need to do that, whether it's on you or not," linebacker London Fletcher said. "It makes everyone else feel better."

But Fletcher said the situation should not be viewed as signs of a locker room starting to spiral downward.

"I've been on teams where the minute something goes wrong, guys start finger-pointing and the offense is blaming the defense and the defense is blaming the offense," Fletcher said. "We don't have that type of team. We have a bunch of guys that really look at themselves and say, 'I should have did this better.' We have coaches that stand up and say, 'That was on me.' We have a lot of people that are accountable."

After Sunday's loss, Fletcher raved about Griffin's leadership, which was questioned by former longtime Redskins cornerback and Hall of Famer Darrell Green last week, and he echoed his sentiments Wednesday.

"Robert is an excellent leader," Fletcher said. "Here's a young guy who was voted captain as a rookie; that doesn't happen often. It's voted by his peers, his teammates. That means something. We know the great leadership qualities he has.

"I've never seen a young player come in, maybe [Brian Orakpo], who has the maturity and leadership. Robert is doing things the right way. As you grow in this business, you gain more experience and you learn as you go."

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
11/20/2013 09:18 PM

Washington Redskins receiver Leonard Hankerson will miss the rest of the season after tearing a ligament in his left knee. Hankerson will undergo surgery Thursday to repair the lateral collateral ligament.

It's the second time in three seasons that Hankerson's season has been cut short by an injury; he injured his hip as a rookie. In both cases he had just started becoming a bigger part of the passing game. This time, he had supplanted veteran Josh Morgan as the Redskins starting Z receiver and had caught 30 passes for 375 yards and three touchdowns.

Hankerson had caught a combined 10 passes in the two previous games before hurting his knee on a second-quarter catch against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.

Morgan will return to the starting lineup, one game after being inactive for the first time in his one-plus years in Washington. Morgan has not been productive this season, with just 11 catches. He opened the season as the starter, but has only made two starts.

Others can play the Z spot -- against the Eagles, with Hankerson out and Morgan inactive, the Redskins used undrafted free agent Nick Williams and third-year receiver Aldrick Robinson in that role. Veteran Santana Moss can play that spot as well.

"I've got a lot of confidence in [Morgan]," Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said. "We've got some guys that we can flip-flop different positions if needed."

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
11/20/2013 09:20 PM

Niners All-Pro left guard Mike Iupati sustained a sprained MCL in his left knee in a 23-20 loss to the Saints on Sunday, a source confirmed.

Iuapti was injured in the third quarter when running back Frank Gore crashed into the back of his left leg after he was tackled for no gain by nose tackle Brodrick Buckley. Iupati’s injury is not considered season-ending, but he is expected to miss the first game of his four-year career, the Sacramento Bee first reported.

Iupati, a first-round pick in 2010, has made 63 consecutive starts, including playoff games, and the same five members of the 49ers offensive line have made 26 straight starts dating to 2012.

Adam Snyder, a nine-year veteran with 131 career starts, replaced Iupati on Sunday and swill presumably start in his spot when the 49ers visit Washington on Monday night. Washington (3-7) ranks 28th in total defense (389.9 yards per game) and 30th in points allowed (31.1).

Iupati’s injury comes with the 49ers’ offense in a two-week funk. In losses to the Panthers and Saints, San Francisco has 22 first downs and its 347 yards are its fewest in back-to-back games since 2007.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
11/21/2013 10:44 AM

Colin Kaepernick and Robert Griffin III took the NFL by storm last season as full-time starters for the first time.

This season hasn't gone smoothly for the quarterbacks of the San Francisco 49ers and the Washington Redskins.

Both players have faced criticism as they meet for the first time Monday night in Washington with both clubs trying to avoid a third straight defeat.

Kaepernick and Griffin led their clubs to division titles a year ago, and seemed to be the kind of multi-skilled athletes that were redefining the position with the help of the read-option offense, which seemed to perfectly maximize their talents.

The 2013 season may be proving otherwise.

The 49ers (6-4) were considered a favorite to return to the Super Bowl but are 2 1/2 games behind NFC West-leading Seattle and will likely need a strong finish to gain a wild-card spot. Kaepernick is ranked 31st in completion percentage at 56.2 with only 11 touchdown passes.

''I think we are surprised but we still have six more to go,'' Kaepernick said. ''And we can still finish this season 12-4.''

Washington (3-7) is in last place in the mediocre NFC East. Griffin has completed 59.7 percent of his passes with 14 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

The quarterbacks have similarly pedestrian passer ratings, with Griffin at 83.6 and Kaepernick at 81.8.

The dynamic that gave these two an edge is their running ability, and Griffin ranks third among QBs with 345 yards on the ground while Kaepernick is fourth at 335. But while Kaepernick has three rushing touchdowns, Griffin has yet to find the end zone with his legs as he's coming off reconstructive surgery on his right knee.

"If you're talking about Robert or if you're talking about a guy like Kaepernick, everybody comes from different systems and when you go to the National Football League and you're working with a drop-back passing game and you haven't done a lot of that, it takes some repetition," Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said. "Whoever has been in those shoes realizes that it doesn't happen overnight."

Kaepernick's weaknesses were evident in a 23-20 loss at New Orleans last Sunday. He was limited to 127 yards passing on a day when San Francisco was held to a season-low 81 rushing yards.

The 49ers have been unable to stretch the field, with 24 pass plays of 20 yards or more for the third-worst total in the league. Things could improve Monday if wide receiver Michael Crabtree makes his season debut after being kept out by an Achilles injury.

''We'll see,'' coach Jim Harbaugh said. ''I think he's close.''

Griffin's leadership skills have been called into question following last Sunday's 24-16 loss at Philadelphia, in which his attempt to rally Washington from a 24-point deficit ended with an interception he threw off his back foot in the end zone in the final minute. He made comments that seemed to exonerate him from all blame, then clarified them Wednesday.

"I feel like for myself, moving forward, I have to be more wary of the hostility," Griffin said. "I was trying to give a compliment to Philadelphia's defense and it was taken as a shot against my coaches. It wasn't."

Coaching has certainly taken its share of criticism with Washington headed for its third last-place finish in four seasons under Shanahan, who defended the direction of the franchise.

''In the future it will get better,'' Shanahan said, ''because we do have the ability to get more depth, we've got the ability to add some players on both sides of the football, and that gives you a chance to get better as a football team.''

Another lowlight during this Redskins season was the allegation by left tackle Trent Williams that an official directed profanity at him last weekend. The NFL is reviewing the incident.

The 49ers' passing game could be easy to defend since all of Kaepernick's touchdown passes have gone to Anquan Boldin or Vernon Davis. Davis, a Washington native who will play at FedEx Field for the second time, has reached the end zone twice in his last four games after he had six TD receptions in his first five.

Washington's passing attack also needs improvement. Griffin went 7 of 14 for 57 yards through three quarters before his final numbers improved against an Eagles defense that was playing it safe with a 24-point lead.

Both quarterbacks have faltered despite strong rushing attacks, with Washington first in the NFL at 155.2 yards per game and San Francisco fifth at 141.0. The Redskins' Alfred Morris is 82 yards shy of a second consecutive 1,000-yard season.

Frank Gore ran for 107 yards to help San Francisco post a 19-11 victory Nov. 6, 2011, the last time these teams met.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
11/22/2013 02:06 PM

The struggles of a pair of dynamic, young signal callers will be on display inside the Beltway on "Monday Night Football" when the embattled Robert Griffin III and his Redskins host San Francisco and its reeling frontman Colin Kaepernick.

RG3 and Kaepernick both burst onto the NFL scene in 2012 with the former earning Rookie of the Year honors after willing the Redskins to an NFC East title, and the latter taking his club to the cusp of a Super Bowl title after replacing Alex Smith midway through the campaign.

Each has the dual-threat ability that is en vogue now in the league but the sequels to their breakout seasons have been uneven at best.

More than a few around Washington are calling for Griffin's head in the form of a benching after last Sunday's ugly 24-16 loss at Philadelphia, one in which RG3 had four net passing yards in the opening half.

Griffin did, however, lead a furious fourth quarter comeback for the Redskins and finished with 264 yards on 17-of-35 passing with two touchdowns and an interception. Alfred Morris added 93 rushing yards on 22 carries.

Griffin's lone interception, though, came on Washington's final drive of the game and was a back-breaker.

The march, which started on Washington's own 4-yard line, was highlighted by Santana Moss' 28-yard grab on 3rd-and-25 following a facemask penalty on fellow wideout Pierre Garcon. Griffin eventually led Washington all to way to the Eagles 18-yard line but, on 3-and-1, he was hurried and tossed a prayer off his back foot into the waiting arms of Brandon Boykin.

"Well you always have another choice," 'Skins coach Mike Shanahan said of the tainted toss. "Any time it ends in an interception, you always have another choice. It was 3rd-and-1, the quarterback's always trying to make a play at one of the hardest positions in sports to play. And there's going to be many decisions like that through the years and you grow with them. You'd always rather have it 4th-and-1 than an interception, we all know that, so you've got to be able to throw the ball away at the right time.

"But he's trying to make a play."

The 49ers, meanwhile, will be trying to get Kaepernick, who has passed for a total of 218 yards over his past two contests -- losses to NFC South heavyweights Carolina and New Orleans -- moving in the right direction again.

During a controversial 23-20 setback at the Saints during Week 11, Kaepernick threw touchdown passes to Anquan Boldin and Vernon Davis but amassed only 127 yards passing and was intercepted once as San Francisco fell 3 1/2 games behind the powerful Seattle Seahawks in the NFC West.

New Orleans benefited from a questionable personal foul penalty on Niners linebacker Ahmad Brooks but also limited San Francisco to 196 total yards and a season-worst 81 on the ground.

Brooks sent Drew Brees to the turf with a punishing hit late in the fourth quarter, forcing a fumble that fellow linebacker Patrick Willis recovered. Brooks, though, was flagged for his high tackle, and the extended possession resulted in Garrett Hartley's game-tying 42-yard field goal with 2:06 on the clock.

"I felt like I hit him with my chest, like I bear-hugged him ... kind of hard," Brooks said.

The officials were put to the test again when Kaepernick threw the ball away near his own goal line on the ensuing drive. The quarterback was ruled outside the tackles, but even though the call went the 49ers' way, they had to punt with just under two minutes remaining.

Fair-catch interference on Kassim Osgood put the ball on the Saints' own 40- yard line, and Brees quickly completed 3-of-4 passes for a total 41 yards to move into field-goal range for the game-winner.

This will mark the 30th meeting between the two clubs with the 49ers leading the all-time series 18-10-1.