49ers vs. Giants 2015 final score: Three things we learned from New York’s 30-27 win

Eli Manning hit Larry Donnell for a 12-yard touchdown with 21 seconds to play as the New York Giants stunned the San Francisco 49ers Sunday night, 30-27.
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The Giants have now won three straight to take over first place in the NFC East, while the 49ers have lost four straight.

Carlos Hyde gave the 49ers a 27-23 lead with 1:45 left, but they couldn’t finish the game.

The Giants had all three timeouts, but Manning faced the last drive with a banged-up receiver corps. Victor Cruz was in street clothes, while Rueben Randle and Odell Beckham were on the sidelines with hamstring problems.

San Diego is in a bit better shape at this point. Philip Rivers is playing well, and the Chargers picked up a win over the Cleveland Browns in their last outing. Bad losses to the Cincinnati Bengals and Minnesota Vikings preceded that win, but they have an opportunity to get a streak started on Monday.

Rivers will be getting his favorite target throughout his entire tenure in San Diego back on Monday as well. Tight end Antonio Gates was suspended four games for performance-enhancing drugs but that suspension is now up and he’ll join a Chargers offense that is already playing fairly well for the most part. Rivers has completed 70.7 percent of his passes for 1,248 yards with eight touchdowns and four interceptions on the season.

Game Ben Bishop Jersey Keenan Allen is having a breakout year, with 33 catches for 387 yards and three touchdowns, and Ladarius Green has filled in well for Gates through four games. Green has 14 catches for 174 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Gates will be expected to hit the ground running and immediately be a contributor on offense, while Green may actually benefit with some of the top coverage off of him.

Miami Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake (91) and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh

Leonard Williams Game Jersey Miami Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake (91) and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, wait to enter the field during the first half of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2016, in Miami Gardens, Fla.

Miami Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake (91) and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, wait to enter the field during the first half of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2016, in Miami Gardens, Fla.
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No doubt. With every game he plays, Wake is a reminder to the rest of the NFL. Getting it done on the field is the best way to stick it to ¡¯em. For some, though, that wouldn¡¯t be enough. Wake could be one of those dudes who walks around with a chip on his shoulder. Definitely could be. But he¡¯s not. At least not these days. ¡°Well, if you would have asked me back in 2006, ¡¯07, maybe I would have been a little chippy about it and still had some thoughts¡± to share publicly, Wake said. ¡°But that has come and gone. It¡¯s been a while now. I¡¯ve been in the league. I¡¯ve been playing. You move on.¡±

The cornerback position is a mess; it has been all season, really. They finished the regular season ranked 31st — second to last — in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game (269.3), and they have more questions about the health of their cornerbacks.

Quinten Rollins appears unlikely to play because of a neck injury and a concussion, and Damarious Randall couldn’t finish last Sunday’s game at Detroit because of a knee injury. They held Odell Beckham Jr. in check (five catches for 56 yards and one touchdown) during the regular-season meeting but might struggle to do that well again.

Jordy Nelson had one of his worst games (four catches for 38 yards and one touchdown plus a dropped pass that turned into an interception) in the first meeting against the Giants, but he has been on fire of late. During the six-game winning streak, Rodgers has completed 83 percent of his passes to Nelson, compared with 55.9 percent in the first 10 games. The Rodgers-Nelson connection could be what sends the Packers into the second round.

Tom Savage suffered a concussion, returned for a kneel down and left again in Texans vs. Jaguars

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David Savard Youth Jersey Officials determined a hit to the head of Tom Savage required further examination on the sideline, and the Houston Texans starter was sent out of the game against the Tennessee Titans in Week 17.

After meeting with trainers on the sideline, Savage went to the locker room for further evaluation, leaving Brock Osweiler under center for the team. Later in the second quarter, Savage was cleared to return, and finished the first half by taking a knee to send the game into the half. However, Osweiler would re-enter upon the start of the second half, as Savage was reevaluated at the half, and ruled out.

These are pretty damning accusations and would show more justification than necessary for firing Baalke as the team looks for its fourth head coach in as many years.

But with both the GM and head coach given the boot and a team with personnel issues at nearly every position, it¡¯s not shocking to see so much finger-pointing heading into the offseason. Especially for someone like Kelly, who was one of the hottest coaching prospects a few years ago.

It¡¯s also a bit suspect to pin a disaster of a season on not selecting a quarterback who ended up as the 135th pick. And there¡¯s no saying Prescott would¡¯ve been as successful without all the talent around him in Dallas. That¡¯s to say nothing of the fact that Colin Kaepernick threw for 16 touchdowns and four interceptions.

Still, the number of different narratives coming out of San Francisco today shows just how many problems the organization has. All of which the Niners will need to prove have been solved by firing Baalke and Kelly.

Brate suffered a back injury late in the third quarter of Saturday’s game against the New Orleans Saints

The breakout season for Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Cameron Brate has come to an end. The Bucs announced Tuesday afternoon that he has been placed on injured reserve.

Brate suffered a back injury late in the third quarter of Saturday’s game against the New Orleans Saints. He walked off the field slowly and kept grabbing his lower back region on the sideline. He had originally been announced as questionable to return but was then downgraded to doubtful and never reentered the game.

The Browns aren’t sure if Robert Griffin III will play after the quarterback left the victory over the Chargers with a concussion. As the Browns evaluate him, the reality is that he has started four games and left two with significant injuries after being hit while running.

Needs remain all over the roster.

Authentic Youth Khari Lee Jersey Terrelle Pryor and Jamie Collins can be free agents.

The draft remains paramount, especially as the Browns likely will have the first overall pick, a selection they cannot afford to botch.?

Removing that Jenga piece might have let the emotions loose for a few days. But now the Browns must turn to building something more permanent. Because they need to figure a way to put the blocks back so they can’t be dismantled.

Authentic Youth Kevon Looney Jersey With that in mind, the Pegulas and team president Russ Brandon have often cited the need for continuity within an organization that has undergone six head-coaching changes and run through 11 offensive coordinators and eight defensive coordinators since its last playoff appearance.

Bears vs. Buccaneers 2015 live stream: Start time, TV schedule and how to watch online

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The Chicago Bears have won four of their last five meetings with Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but when they visit Raymond James Stadium on Sunday, they’re facing a team that has dramatically improved over the last couple of seasons.

Two years ago, the Bucs finished 4-12 and ranked dead last in the NFL in total offense. The 2014 season was even less kind to Tampa Bay, and the Bucs finished with the worst record in the league, earning the top pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. They used it to select quarterback Jameis Winston, and an offense that averaged fewer than 300 yards per game a season ago is now putting up 374.2 yards per game, good for seventh in the league.

What I would expect is that the Cardinals will now do a lot more substituting to make sure they matchup well with opposing offenses and also maximize the various skill sets of the players set to try to fill in for Mathieu over the next few weeks.

Will that work? I have no idea. Ultimately we all just kind of have to wait and see. I do know that this is a huge blow to a defense which had been playing pretty well of late, even as their offense overwhelmingly garnered most of the attention. I still see the Cardinals as one of the teams to beat in the NFC as we get closer and closer to the playoffs, but I’d be lying if I said I thought for sure they would win their first postseason game this year.

But the Rams hold a 6-8 record, good for third place in the NFC West but not particularly impressive. At one point, they had a five-game losing skid derailing their season, but strong play in the past two games has resulted in a pair of wins. With Case Keenum starting at quarterback, the Rams beat the Detroit Lions, 21-14 and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 31-23. They downed the Buccaneers last week.

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Bradley’s efforts were a reminder of why he earned All-Defense first team honors last season

Twice Memphis Grizzlies guard Mike Conley tried to set a final sequence into motion, and twice Boston Celtics guard Avery Bradley wouldn’t let him get within 30 feet of the hoop. Conley had no choice but to give up the ball in the final seconds of regulation in a tied game Tuesday, and Conley never got inside the 3-point arc while watching teammate Marc Gasol miss a chance at a game winner.
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But Thomas’ jersey number reflects his favorite quarter. After Tuesday’s win, Stevens said of Thomas, “He makes big [shots]. And he likes to take big ones.”

Despite his individual success this season, Thomas has been frustrated that it hasn’t translated to team victories. Boston has now won three straight to shuffle to 16-12 overall. The Celtics sit third in the East but have nine teams lingering within four games behind them. Boston had struggled to close out wins over quality opponents this season, dropping recent heartbreakers to the Rockets, Thunder and Spurs.

Authentic Kids Kevin Zeitler Jersey Tuesday’s win came over a Grizzlies team that started the year 12-0 in games in which the score was within one possession in the final minute.

“[The Grizzlies] were punking us in the first half,” Thomas said during his on-court interview with CSN. “This might turn the season around [for Boston], for real.”

Bradley’s efforts were a reminder of why he earned All-Defense first team honors last season and why he was the top vote-getting guard, finishing third in total votes behind only San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard and Golden State’s Draymond Green.

Bradley, who said before the season that he believes he deserves Defensive Player of the Year consideration, hasn’t exactly had a dominant defensive season.

Vikings’ lopsided loss to Colts raises plenty of questions

Here are the most significant NFL players who got banged up in Week 15:

Tyrell Williams, WR, San Diego Chargers: Williams, who got hit hard on a third-down catch in the fourth quarter, was taken to the locker room to be evaluated for a concussion.

The key play came with 11:35 left in the game. Oakland linebacker Perry Riley Jr. stripped running back Kenneth Farrow of the ball on first-and-10 from San Diego’s 16-yard line, with fellow linebacker Malcolm Smith recovering the loose ball.
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Youth Damon Severson Jersey San Diego’s defense held tough, forcing the Raiders to settle for a Sebastian Janikowski 20-yard field goal, tying the game at 16.

After forcing the Chargers to punt on the ensuing possession, the Raiders marched down the field and took the lead for good on a Janikowski 44-yard field goal.

The Chargers had one last shot late, but Philip Rivers threw his league-high 18th interception to Oakland safety Reggie Nelson attempting to get the ball to Dontrelle Inman on fourth down from his own territory.

Janikowski finished with four field goals.

San Diego has lost six games this season after leading in the fourth quarter, most in the NFL.

At 5-9 on the year, the Chargers are officially eliminated from playoff contention.

Oakland defeated the Chargers for the fourth straight time. The Chargers dropped to 1-12 in the AFC West since November 2014 and 7-16 in the division during Mike McCoy’s tenure as head coach.

Roughly 80 percent of the announced crowd of 68,352 — the largest crowd at Qualcomm this season — appeared to be clad in silver and black. The Chargers were enthusiastically booed when they took the field before kickoff.

The crowd was so tilted in Oakland’s favor that the Chargers did not announce the team’s starting lineup.

Mack should have more shots at Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers with San Diego’s banged-up offensive line

Limited Manti Te’o Jersey “He’s probably old enough to be a lot of our fathers, but he does an amazing job of being a big part of the fabric of our locker room. I don’t think I truly appreciate him enough. I don’t think any of us will truly appreciate how special he is until after he’s done playing.”

And the only NFL player ever to score at least 1,000 points for two franchises still has some work to do. To his records of 44 consecutive made field goals (ended last month against Tennessee) and 234 career postseason points, he wants to add the league’s all-time regular-season scoring record — he needs 188 points to pass Morten Andersen’s total of 2,544.

“If I’m fortunate enough to play two more years after this,” Vinatieri says, “and I could potentially get the record, I think I’ll bow out at that point. I don’t have any aspirations to play until I’m 50 years old.”

Mack should have more shots at Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers with San Diego’s banged-up offensive line and Rivers’ declaration earlier this season that he wanted to take deep shots against the Raiders.

“We pride ourselves on that, not letting guys throw the ball over the top,” Mack said. “We’ve given up a few here and there, but it’s all about getting better. Learning from your mistakes and learning from the week before, the game before.”

Elite Bobby Portis Jersey Indeed, Oakland’s defense has improved as well, moving from the 32nd and last-ranked total defense in the league to No. 30. Not a huge leap by any stretch, but the unit is getting stops late in games.

“We’re making strides, man,” Mack said. “We’re making strides. I wouldn’t say ‘proud.’ But we’re making strides. Just looking forward to this next challenge.”

As in, win and they’re in.

If the Raiders (10-3) beat the Chargers (5-8) at Qualcomm Stadium, they will clinch their first playoff spot since 2002, which ended with a Super Bowl loss at … Qualcomm Stadium.

“It’s always in your mind, because that’s the goal — you want to definitely be in the playoffs,” Mack said. “But at the same time, it’s not easy to do. It’s no easy task, and the challenge is to go out and try to clinch that, by any means.”

Bosa surely would agree with that sentiment.

Somebody rearranged the Super Bowl 50 statues to say ‘OOPS’ and ‘UP R BOWEL’

When we last checked in with the Super Bowl 50 statue in San Francisco’s Alamo Square, the letters had been rearranged to say “SUPERB OWL.” Overnight, it appears things escalated, with the Painted Ladies looking on.

Meanwhile, via Hoodline, the sign at Twin Peaks has been changed to “UP R BOWEL.”

This is just the latest in a string of vandalism against the giant “50” statues that have been popping up across San Francisco. This week, City Hall’s statue was changed to say “SUP BRO.” Alamo Square’s was vandalized the night it went up, cleaned up and then tagged again with the words “F*** ED LEE” shortly afterwards.

The people of San Francisco do not appear to be happy to have these statues going up, and with the Super Bowl more than a week away, expect more to come.

North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz was the headline player of this year’s Senior Bowl. Physically, Wentz has all the tools you want in a franchise quarterback. The week for Wentz began with an impressive weigh-in where he came in at just under 6’5 1/4 and 233 pounds. Senior Bowl Executive Director Phil Savage said Wentz could be a top-10 pick this year.

“Physically I’ve got a lot to offer with being able to make all of the throws and then some athleticism that people probably wouldn’t expect from a big 6’5 kid like me,” Wentz said. “Then, obviously the system we ran at North Dakota State was very pro-style, multiple, so I’m looking forward to that transitioning and helping me going forward.”

The system helps Wentz. The size and athleticism helps Wentz. He’s worth discussing as a high first-round pick because of those things. But Wentz didn’t exactly dazzle with his accuracy during the week. He missed several easy passes on Tuesday and looked best throwing short over the middle and on slants the rest of the week. Did Wentz have some good red zone completions? He did, particularly on one red zone pass placed on the back shoulder of Michigan State wide receiver Aaron Burbridge.

The week for Wentz was good. It was not great. From a player who some in the NFL expect to be the first quarterback taken in the draft, it’s not unreasonable to expect much more.

Michael Sam invited to NFL Veteran Combine

Michael Sam is going to get another look from NFL scouts and executives March 22 in the NFL Veteran Combine, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. The report was confirmed by Cyd Zeigler at Outsports.

Sam, who was drafted by the St. Louis Rams as a seventh-round draft pick in 2014, was cut in training camp and signed to the Dallas Cowboys’ practice squad. He was released without playing in a game.

This is the first Veteran’s Combine and will be held in Tempe, Ariz. Approximately 100 players will be chosen to take part in the proceedings, helping a few guys enjoy another opportunity. In the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine, Sam struggled with a slow 40-yard dash time of 4.91. Going into the event, Sam was projected to be a third- to fifth-round selection, but dropped in the draft.

Sam is the first openly gay player to attempt to make a career in the NFL. The 2013 SEC Defensive Player of the Year is now on the outside looking in and earlier this week, signed on to be a contestant in ABC’s Dancing with the Stars. Sam has maintained throughout that he wants to continue playing football.

While McShay notes that the Rams’ biggest needs are probably quarterback and offensive line, neither of those positions will have highly ranked prospects available this late in the draft, so the best bet is for St. Louis to take a wide receiver at No. 10. Cooper should be a nice value pick here for the Rams. He is considered the most complete receiver and the most polished route runner in the draft.

With the Giants leaning heavily toward franchising defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, help on the offensive line becomes their biggest need here in the first round. Scherff is McShay’s highest-rated offensive lineman, and his combination of athleticism and versatility (he can line up at either guard or tackle) should provide a big upgrade up front for the Giants.