State NFL roundup: Former Davidson teammates suffer same injury for San Francisco 49ers

San Francisco 49ers safeties Jaquiski Tartt and Jimmie Ward have had some rare parallels in their football careers. But what happened on the past two Sundays they could have done without.Tartt and Ward were prep teammates at Davidson High School in Mobile. Both went on to decorated collegiate careers -- Ward at Northern Illinois and Tartt at Samford.Ward joined the 49ers as a first-round selection in the 2014 NFL Draft. Tartt also was a San Francisco draft pick, coming in as a second-rounder in 2015, giving the 49ers two players from the same Alabama high school in their secondary.They started six games together this season, with Ward at free safety and Tartt at strong safety.In the 49ers' 20-10 loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, though, Tartt started at free safety because San Francisco put Ward on injured reserve last week after he suffered a fractured forearm against the Philadelphia Eagles on Oct. 29.On Sunday, Tartt had made three tackles against the Cardinals when he got hurt bringing down Arizona's 270-pound tight end Tony Niklas.Tartt's injury? A fractured forearm.As with Ward, Tartt's 2017 season is likely over."I think it's going to be similar to what happened to Jimmie," San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan said. "I'd be surprised if he doesn't go on IR."Tartt was among the 30 former Alabama high school or college players (that didn't play for Alabama or Auburn) who got on the field during the ninth Sunday of the NFL's 2017 season.Other former state players who started on Sunday included:Wide receiver J.J. Nelson (Midfield, UAB) of the Cardinals caught a 15-yard pass against the 49ers.Nose tackle Michael Pierce (Daphne, Samford) of the Baltimore Ravens.Defensive end Mario Addison (Tarrant, Troy) and left cornerback James Bradberry (Pleasant Grove, Samford) of the Carolina Panthers. Addison made two tackles, including a sack, and had two quarterback hits and Bradberry made six tackles in a 20-17 victory over the Atlanta Falcons. Addison Continue Reading

Sunday Morning Quarterback: NY Giants coach Tom Coughlin fights for job vs. rival San Francisco 49ers

There’s something about the 49ers that has always brought out the best in the Giants at the biggest moments going back to the glory days when it was Bill Parcells vs. Bill Walsh and Phil Simms vs. Joe Montana. It’s another big moment for the Giants on Sunday against the 49ers. This time, the season is not on the line, but the jobs of the coaches and players are certainly are at stake. If the Giants, who have lost four in a row by a combined 74 points to the Eagles, Cowboys, Colts and Seahawks, don’t show some life and get blown out again, then get swept by the Cowboys next week for the second year in a row, then it’s very hard to envision how Tom Coughlin is going to get another shot at this next year after he will have missed the playoffs five of the last six seasons. If this is it for Coughlin, then two Super Bowls in 11 seasons is why Wellington Mara insisted in his last major decision that the Giants hire him in 2004. But the NFL is a now-league. Coughlin did amazing work in January and February of 2008 and 2012, but other than those two Super Bowl runs, he was one-and-done in his three other playoff appearances, and this would be the sixth time he’s missed the playoffs. Just before Sunday’s 1 p.m. kickoff, Coughlin should gather his players and show them highlights of when the Giants kicked the Niners’ butts: -- In the 1986 divisional round on the way to their first Super Bowl title, the Giants beat San Francisco 49-3 and Jim Burt knocked Montana out of the game with a vicious hit. It was the second straight year the Giants held Walsh and Montana to just three points in a playoff game at Giants Stadium. -- In the 1990 NFC Championship Game, with the 49ers having won back-to-back Super Bowls and going for an unprecedented three-peat, the Giants ended the 49ers’ dynasty on Matt Bahr’s 42-yard field goal on the final play. The Giants won 15-13 and advanced to the Super Bowl even though they Continue Reading

NY Giants confident after big win vs. San Francisco 49ers, eye Washington Redskins on horizon

When the Giants settled into their seats for the flight home from San Francisco Sunday evening, wideout Domenik Hixon, who hauled in four passes for 78 yards in the 26-3 win, talked with teammates about missed opportunities. Most notable were the field goals despite promising field position following both of safety Antrel Rolle’s interceptions. Hixon wants to remedy the mistakes as the Giants attempt to maintain momentum while charting their course forward. “I hope it does something to whet our appetite,” Tom Coughlin said. The Giants, now 4-2 after dominating the 49ers, head into the teeth of their division schedule the next two weeks, facing the Redskins at home on Sunday, then trekking to Dallas for a rematch with the Cowboys. Even in winning the Super Bowl last season, they were tripped up twice by their NFC East rivals from Washington. Already handicapped with losses to the Eagles and Cowboys this season, the Giants insist they don’t need to look to last year’s defeats to Washington for motivation. “I try not to remember them,” linebacker Michael Boley said. There is a renewed energy in Washington this year. Rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III has sprinted ahead of the rookie learning curve. Slowed only by a concussion he absorbed on a broken play against the Falcons in Week 5, Griffin’s growth has been evident. In Washington’s 38-26 win over the Vikings Sunday, Griffin completed 17 of 22 passes for 182 yards and a touchdown and was sacked once. Those numbers only reveal half of Griffin’s talent. In that win, he also rushed for 138 yards, including a 76-yard sprint that saw him snake through Minnesota’s defense and burst into the end zone. “Pretty impressive year,” Boley said. Coughlin cited Washington's 38 points against the Vikings as reason enough to remain focused, but he also celebrated his defense’s performance against a 49ers team that had Continue Reading

Rolling Baltimore Ravens out to halt San Francisco 49ers on their quest for six Super Bowl titles

NEW ORLEANS — The signs were all over the 49ers hotel on Canal Street right around the corner from the French Quarter. “Quest For Six.” It may not be as catchy as “The Last Ride,” the so-tired theme concocted by Ray Lewis as he embarked on his month-long retirement tour, but it still means a lot to the 49ers. San Francisco was the first team to win five Super Bowls as its period of excellence started with the first title in 1981 and ended with the last in 1994. Joe Montana teamed up with Bill Walsh for the first three, Montana won his fourth with George Seifert as the coach, and then Seifert won his second with Steve Young as his quarterback. Young finally beat the Cowboys in the NFC title game in his third shot at taking down America’s Team after losing to them the previous two seasons and he then threw a Super Bowl-record six touchdown passes in the landslide victory over the Chargers. Even though the 49ers were a powerhouse team and it looked for sure like Young had another championship in him, San Francisco is finally back in the Super Bowl — 18 years later. That’s a longer stretch than it took the 49ers to get into their first Super Bowl. While the Niners were away on their Super Bowl hiatus, the Cowboys tied them with five titles in 1995 and then the Steelers, who had four championships in the ’70s, made it to five when they won the Super Bowl following the 2005 season. Pittsburgh then took the lead with its sixth title in the Super Bowl that followed the 2008 season. Now the 49ers are trying to move ahead of Dallas and back into a tie with the Steelers. San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh was the Bears’ first-round pick in 1987 and was the third-string quarterback behind Jim McMahon and Mike Tomczak when Chicago lost to San Francisco, 28-3, in minus-26 wind chill in the 1988 NFC Championship Game. “I played against some of those teams and they were dominant,” Continue Reading

NY Giants WR Mario Manningham hoping to have Super bounce back vs. San Francisco 49ers

He does not dance the salsa after each touchdown. He has not been offered a spot on "Dancing With the Stars." He does not have king-sized hands that make impossible catches, or a big frame to shrug of cornerbacks with ease. It is no wonder Mario Manningham gets lost easily in the Giants wide receiving corps when so few things about the 25-year-old receiver stand out — especially when he is compared to Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks. The oft-forgotten wideout — whose drop in the end zone in Week 10 helped sink the Giants against the Niners — could play a key role on in Sunday's NFC Championship Game. As Nicks and Cruz have drawn increased attention from opposing defenses, Manningham has quietly reemerged with three TD catches in the last five games. His four-yard TD catch with 6:48 left in last week helped seal the Giants' upset over the Packers. "Mario has done a great job (lately)," says Giants wide receivers coach Sean Ryan. "He's made some huge plays on the outside." That's partly because Manningham's more celebrated teammates are drawing consistent double-coverage, and partly because he is finally healthy and playing to his potential. Now in his fourth year, Manningham opened the season as the starter opposite Hakeem Nicks, seeking to solidify his standing as one of the league's top deep threats, and possibly earn a big payday. His contract expires after this season, and while he rarely talks about his future, he understands that suitors are watching. "I need to make plays," he said last month. "I know that." But the gamebreaking plays that Manningham made last season — when he accumulated 944 receiving yards and nine TDs — have come sporadically during an injury-plagued 2011. In the second game of the season, a win over the Rams, he suffered a concussion, an injury that caused him to miss a pivotal win over the Eagles — and paved the way for Cruz's two-touchdown breakout in Philadelphia. Manningham Continue Reading

NY Giants and Justin Tuck confident for playoffs after close calls against Green Bay Packers, San Francisco 49ers

They were a fingertip away from beating the 49ers and they took the then-undefeated Packers all the way down to the final seconds. Those are the top two seeds in the NFC playoffs. No wonder the Giants will open in the postseason Sunday thinking: Why not us? “When we play like we played in those games? Yeah,” said Giants defensive end Justin Tuck. “It’s encouraging to know we did take the top two seeds to the wire and had great opportunities to beat them. It didn’t happen for us, but if history tells you anything about that, maybe we get another shot at them.” Of course, as Tuck pointed out, the Giants “also got routed by the No. 3 seed” — a 49-24 hammering in New Orleans on Nov. 28 — but even that hasn’t dampened the confidence of a team that feels “battle-tested” after a difficult final nine games. Along the way they lost to the 49ers in San Francisco, 27-20, on Nov. 13, when defensive tackle Justin Smith batted down a possible game-tying touchdown pass in the final seconds. They then lost to the Packers, 38-35, on Dec. 4, on a field goal with no time left on the clock. Pushing those two teams down to the wire made the Giants feel like they did after their infamous regular-season finale in 2007 when they nearly beat the 15-0 New England Patriots and left feeling they were as good as any team in the NFL. If the Packers and 49ers are the best the NFC has to offer, the Giants won’t be afraid of a rematch with either one. “I feel like we have played the best of the best opponents throughout this season,” said safety Antrel Rolle. “We haven’t always played up to our standards in most of those games and we had a lot of ups and downs. I think we all know that if we focus on what we need to do, the sky is the limit for us.” Tuck feels that way, too. It’s why after the Giants wrapped up the NFC East title with a 31-14 win over the Dallas Continue Reading

San Francisco 49ers hand Eagles another loss; Lions stun Cowboys and Bengals end Bills’ streak

PHILADELPHIA - Nobody is calling them the Dream Team any longer, not after Sunday's Nightmare on Broad Street. It was stunning how the Eagles gave this one away, 24-23, to the 49ers, losing a fourth-quarter lead for the third straight week after being up by 20 early in the third period. At 1-3, the season has reached crisis mode to where perplexed players are questioning their desire, their mental toughness and essentially their own manhood. "That whole Dream Team label, all that attention we got early... I didn't like it," said DT Cullen Jenkins, who was one of the Eagles' prize offseason acquisitions after he won last year's Super Bowl with the Packers. "We were setting ourselves up. Maybe people are expecting someone else to do it. Everyone doesn't have a sense of urgency. No one's going out there and making it happen. "The biggest thing we're missing here is attitude," Jenkins said bluntly. "You look around when things are going bad, there's not that fire that you're going to make it happen. At some point, the man in you has to come out. At the end of the day, it's the game of football. It's you and the person across from you. Are you going to get it done? "Do I really have to explain how I'm feeling right now, sitting 1-3?" Michael Vick asked. "It's frustrating. You can't put it in words." The worst part is that the Eagles (1-3), who used to protect late leads like Mariano Rivera, have now been outscored 36-0 in the fourth quarter of their last three games. In fact at the end of the last three games, the Eagles have allowed a total of 50 unanswered points in all. Meanwhile, their defense, with holes across the middle of the field, continues to give up big plays, this time to an offense that came into the game ranked last in the NFL. Their offense continues to flop around in the red zone, scoring just two TDs on seven visits Sunday, while committing the most hideous of turnovers. And Sunday, their rookie kicker Alex Henery missed fourth-quarter field Continue Reading

NY Giants, Eli Manning, can’t complete comeback, fall to San Francisco 49ers

49ERS 27, GIANTS 20 So when the Giants fell into a two-touchdown hole early in the fourth quarter on Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers, even Tom Coughlin said he thought they were in “perfect control” in Candlestick Park. “We had done it a couple times this year,” defensive end Justin Tuck said. “Eli (Manning) has done a great job of rallying the troops and putting us in the position to win it there.”PHOTOS: BIG BLUE COMEBACK FALLS SHORT Except there was no stunning victory. Another fourth-quarter comeback fell just short, and the Giants couldn’t shake off their typical series of early mistakes in an eventual 27-20 loss to the Niners. Big Blue (6-3) saw its three-game winning streak snapped, and it watched its NFC East cushion shrink to just a game ahead of the surging Dallas Cowboys. “I was thinking we’re going to win,” Coughlin said, “and so was everybody else ... I thought we were in perfect control.” That’s because Eli Manning had the ball at his own 20 with 6:35 left to drive for a game-tying TD, and the Giants seemed poised to shake off an afternoon of inconsistency. Manning would lead a 16-play drive to the Niners’ 10, converting a pair of fourth-down plays along the way. There was an 18-yard completion to Mario Manningham on fourth-and 6 from the Giants 35, and on the next play, Manning scrambled and chucked a two-handed shovel pass to tailback D.J. Ware for five yards. On the ensuing play, Manningham streaked down the field and had a clear path to the end zone. But Manning lofted the kind of pass that he said “you hate yourself for,” just out of Manningham’s reach. The ball bounced off Manningham’s hands for an incompletion. “A little bit too far of a throw,” Manning said. “And he couldn’t hold onto it. It’s unfortunate.” Still, the Giants fought to the Niners 10 with 1:24 to play. After back-to-back Continue Reading

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo two-over par at U.S. Open sectional qualifier

THE WOODLANDS, Texas - Tony Romo's bid to qualify for the U.S. Open has run into a weather delay.Dallas Cowboys quarterback is one of 36 players vying for two spots in Monday's 36-hole sectional qualifier at The Club at Carlton Woods, just north of Houston. Romo was 2-over par after five holes when air horns halted play about 10:30 a.m. local time. Thomas Hagler and Dustin Wiginton on Monday. The field also includes former PGA champion Steve Elkington and PGA Tour pro Bob Estes.Byron Nelson Championship that week because it conflicted with a Cowboys practice. The NFL team resumes offseason training activities Tuesday.Tony Rodriguez, 61, a season ticket holder who lives in the Houston suburbs, planned to walk with Romo all day.Josh Friedman, 11, wore a blue Romo jersey as he watched the quarterback with his father, Dan.Dan Friedman said. "He's a pretty good athlete. Football is such a commitment, so you wouldn't think he'd be able to practice golf, at least not to the extent of other pro golfers." The United States Golf Association says Romo would become the fourth athlete from a professional team sport to qualify for the U.S. Open. He would join a group that includes former San Francisco 49ers quarterback John Brodie (1959, '81), former New York Yankees outfielder Sam Byrd (1938-41, 46-47, 1949-51) and former NHL player Bill Ezinicki (1947, '52, '56, '60-61, 63-64, 67-68).kickers Ryan Longwell and Josh Scobee and former major-league pitcher John Smoltz failed to advance out of local qualifying this year, according to the USGA. Former NHL goalkeeper Grant Fuhr, retired tennis players Ivan Lendl and Michael Chang and former Miami tight end Brian Kinchen have also fallen short in qualifying in recent years. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Giants quiet San Francisco in 29-17 win, but not Plaxico Burress

They were embarrassed after what had happened to them last week in Cleveland. They were angry and could still hear the chants of "overrated." The last thing they needed, heading into the toughest part of their schedule, was a repeat performance. So the Giants' defense made sure it wouldn't happen again. On a day when the biggest fireworks on offense came out of Plaxico Burress' mouth, the Giants' defense battered the San Francisco 49ers into submission, forcing three turnovers and picking up six sacks. They defense set up 10 points, saved a touchdown and even recorded a safety in powering the Giants to an otherwise-ugly 29-17 win at the Meadowlands. "We knew the way we played last week was not indicative of how this team can perform," said defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka. "Monday night was still fresh in our minds." PHOTO GALLERY: GIANTS STAY 'PERFECT' AT HOME"It was us being more aggressive and playing more physical football - that's what we usually do," added linebacker Danny Clark. "I'm glad we got back to our style of play. It was an objective of ours to get that bad taste out of our mouth." By doing that, they tightened their grip on the NFC East thanks to the Dallas Cowboys' shocking 34-14 loss to the St. Louis Rams - a result many of the Giants confessed to peeking at as it flashed on the scoreboard. And building their record to 5-1 before beginning what guard Chris Snee described as a "brutal" stretch in their schedule certainly left the Giants feeling good. But there was an aftertaste to the victory. Eli Manning was just 16-of-31 for 161 yards and a touchdown and came dangerously close to throwing at least three interceptions. And the NFL's best rushing attack was held to 112 yards, though Brandon Jacobs (69 yards) did set the pace with two touchdowns in the first half. And then there was Burress, two weeks removed from his suspension, having what he described as a "heat of the moment" exchange with Tom Coughlin Continue Reading