<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - Bay Area Sports News, Sports Teams, and Scores for the Sharks, 49ers, Raiders,Giants, Bears and More]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/nbc_bayarea_blue.png NBC Bay Area http://www.nbcbayarea.com en-us Tue, 24 Nov 2015 22:12:19 -0800 Tue, 24 Nov 2015 22:12:19 -0800 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Warriors Improve to 16-0, Set NBA Record for Best Season Start]]> Tue, 24 Nov 2015 22:11:53 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/178*120/GettyImages-498642458.jpg

The Golden State Warriors now hold the NBA record for best start to a season.

Tuesday's 111-77 win over the Los Angeles Lakers at Oracle Arena in Oakland launched the Warriors into the history books as the first team to open a season with 16 consecutive wins.

With Stephen Curry leading the way with a game-high 24 points and nine assists, the Warriors also became the fifth NBA team to win 20 in a row (including four at the end of last season) while also recording their 27th consecutive victory at Oracle.

The reigning NBA champs will look to continue its win streak on Friday when they face the Phoenix Suns.

Visit NBC Bay Area’s Warriors page for full team coverage.

CSN Bay Area's Monte Poole contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Stephen Curry Buys $3.2M House in East Bay]]> Tue, 24 Nov 2015 16:42:34 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/199*120/stephcurryhouse16.PNG Stephen Curry Buys $3.2M House in East Bay

Photo Credit: Realtor.com]]>
<![CDATA[Heeney Showing Raiders He Can Contribute]]> Tue, 24 Nov 2015 09:06:49 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/177*120/daoakkoch.jpg

Before Sunday, Raiders rookie linebacker Ben Heeney hadn’t made much of an impact.

The former Kansas Jayhawk, taken in the fifth round this spring, mostly had played special teams and had recorded just one tackle in eight previous games.

But in Sunday’s 18-13 loss to the Detroit Lions, Heeney was thrown into the defensive mix, playing a large role as a linebacker with pass-coverage responsibilities on throwing downs.  It was a similar role to that played by fellow rookie linebacker Neiron Ball earlier this season. Ball, currently sidelined by injury, provided solid coverage on opposing tight ends and he figures to regain that role when he’s again healthy.

But against the Lions, Heeney showed that he has potential to play well in the NFL and could be in the team’s long-term mix on defense for head coach Jack Del Rio and defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr.

Heeney played a career-high 38 snaps – 53 percent of all defensive plays – and was in on seven tackles plus had a sack.

Judging by Del Rio’s evaluation to reporters Monday, Raiders fans could see more of Heeney this Sunday when the 4-6 Raiders travel to Tennessee to play the 2-8 Titans (10 a.m. kickoff).

“He plays hard. He makes a lot of tackles,” Del Rio said. “He’s a productive guy. A cople times where he overran the ball, over pursued the ball and allowed some cutbacks, it was effort-filled performance. That’s what we know about Ben. He’s going to fly around. He’s going to be on plays.

“He made a heck of a move to get that sack. For his first extended action, I thought he did pretty well.”

Heeney’s performance is just one more indication that Reggie McKenzie’s draft class of 2015 could be providing benefits for years to come.

No. 1 pick, receiver Amari Cooper, already is a star. No. 2 choice Mario Edwards Jr. is starting at defensive end. Third pick, tight end Clive Walford, is playing a bigger role almost every game. Heeney and Ball have shown quickness and coverage skills as linebackers. Offensive lineman Jon Feliciano, cornerback Dexter McDonald, defensive end Max Valles and return specialist Andre DeBose are on the roster, practice squad or injured reserve and may contribute down the line.

Heeney, a middle linebacker at Kansas who led the Big 12 in tackles as a senior, said earlier this season that he knows he can contribute and play at this level, but knows he has to keep working and learn from his mistakes.

Said Heeney: “I just have to be the type of player that I know I am.”


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[With Dorsey Out, Armstead to Get Bigger Role]]> Tue, 24 Nov 2015 08:30:51 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/172*120/arikmotohr.jpg

Glenn Dorsey’s time as a San Francisco 49er hasn’t been easy.

The former first-round draft pick of the Kansas City Chiefs signed with San Francisco in 2013 and played all 16 games that season, becoming the starting nose tackle when Ian Williams was lost early in the season.

But Dorsey missed all of 2014 with injury and now has been lost for the remainder of this season when he suffered a ligament tear in his right knee in Sunday’s loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

Dorsey, who is signed through 2016, should be able to return to contribute next season. In 10 games this season as part of a rotation on the defensive line, he was in on 18 tackles.

It’s a tough break for Dorsey and the 49ers, who need all the help they can get defensively. The Niners defense has struggled in 2015 and did again Sunday, giving up more than 200 yards rushing to undrafted rookie Thomas Rawls. The analytics website Pro Football Focus, in fact, reported the 49ers missed 10 tackles Sunday.

The only plus for the 49ers concerning Dorsey’s loss may be the extra opportunities for No. 1 draft pick Arik Armstead.

When the 3-7 49ers host the 8-2 Arizona Cardinals Sunday (1:05 p.m. kickoff), Armstead – the team’s top pick in 2015 out of Oregon – figures to get extended playing time. For a team that’s going nowhere, it’s a chance for the 49ers to accelerate Armstead’s playing time to get him better prepared for 2016.

After Dorsey’s injury against the Seahawks, Armstead played a career-best 46 snaps and was in on six tackles and a quarterback hit. In 10 games, Armstead has a sack and has been in on 13 tackles.

Recently, 49ers defensive coordinator Eric Mangini said he believes Armstead has “made a good push” and has made big strides. Now, he’ll get more reps and the 49ers will be better able to see what they have for next season.

Mangini said Armstead should improve at a rapid pace because of his smarts and energy.

“It’s the motor. It’s the motor,” said Mangini. “As he grows into, not just his role, but just in the NFL, he’ll continue to make jumps because of how he’s wired and who he is.”


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Warriors Tickets Sold Out, As Team Hopes to Set 16-0 Starting Record]]> Tue, 24 Nov 2015 07:58:36 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/212*120/Lakers-Warriors-preview-11-24-2015.jpg Warriors tickets at o.Co Coliseum are sold out Tuesday, as the Oakland team hopes to beat the LA Lakers and set a 16-0 starting record. Bob Redell reports.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Warriors Coach Luke Walton's Car Stolen in Oakland: DA]]> Mon, 23 Nov 2015 20:05:00 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/luke-walton-crop_11_10.jpg

One of the cars stolen during an Oakland Hills crime spree belongs to Golden State Warriors coach Luke Walton, Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley said late Monday.

Walton's Mercedes Benz was stolen Tuesday by two suspects, who police believe are also responsible for a violent attack on a 75-year-old woman outside her home on Thursday. The suspects also took the woman's car during the attack, according to police.

One of the suspects identified in charging documents is Lamonte Campbell.

The series of brazen crimes reported in the city's Montclair neighborhood have left residents rattled.

Officers arrested two people on Friday, but the crimes on the street did not stop. Residents said another family's home was burglarized later that night as they slept.

In the late Friday incident, police said it started with someone breaking into the family's car and stealing their garage door opener.

Another neighbor had her Mercedes stolen from her driveway Friday night. Her surveillance cameras were not activated because her home is being painted.

"I'm angry people feel they can come into the hills and take what's not theirs," said Carolyn Winter, a resident and auto theft victim. "We've had three this week in a period of a few days and so clearly they are surveying the neighborhood, which is also disturbing,"

Meanwhile, police continue to investigate the incidents and are working with area captains, patrol officers and witnesses to help capture the suspects. Police are also looking at any video surveillance in the area as part of the investigation.

<![CDATA[Golden State Warriors Look to Break NBA Record, Ticket Prices Skyrocket]]> Mon, 23 Nov 2015 17:51:28 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/N5P+WARRIORS+WIN+STREAK+PKG+-+00010021.jpg Golden State Warriors player Jason Thompson, not satisfied with his team about to be the first to start a season 16-0, delivered turkeys to low-income families in Oakland. Scott Budman reports.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Niners' Lost Season Could Produce Exceptional Draft Position]]> Mon, 23 Nov 2015 10:26:03 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/182*120/paxlinchqb.jpg

In recent seasons, the 49ers have had to wait a while to make their first pick in the NFL Draft. Thanks to a resurgence in the Jim Harbaugh era – in which the Niners went to three straight NFC Championship Games and a Super Bowl – San Francisco had the 30th overall pick in both 2012 and 2014 and was due to pick 31st in 2013 until it moved up to 18th via trade.

Last season, following a fall to 8-8, the 49ers moved all the way up to 17th.

The upshot, of course, is that it can be hard to come away with a major impact player down low in the draft, and the 49ers’ No. 1 picks since 2012 – A.J. Jenkins, Eric Reid, Jimmie Ward and Arik Armstead – reflect that. Reid has been a terrific safety, but Jenkins was a bust and the jury is still out on Ward and Armstead.

But with failure can come success – or, at least, a small dose of optimism.

At 3-7 following their loss to the Seahawks Sunday, the 49ers rank among the worst teams in the NFL in 2015. That, of course, puts them in the running to earn one of the top picks in the 2016 draft.

As David Fucillo of SB Nation noted Monday, the 49ers moved up to No. 6 overall with Sunday’s loss, based on record and strength of schedule. Only three teams have fewer wins (Browns, Chargers and Titans all at 2-8).

With six games remaining, it’s possible the 49ers could stumble their way up the draft order.

With Colin Kaepernick benched and now out for the remainder of the season and the quarterback duties in the hands of Blaine Gabbert – who will have to prove he deserves a chance to start again next season – that could put the 49ers in position to draft a young quarterback to rebuild the franchise this spring.

There could be a number of potential franchise QBs available (should they choose to enter the draft), including juniors Jared Goff of Cal, Paxton Lynch of Memphis and Christian Hackenberg of Penn State.

Lynch, a 6-foot-6, 230-pounder, may be the best of the bunch, say many evaluators, because of his arm strength, accuracy, ability to throw a variety of passes and his mobility. This season, Lynch has 21 TD passes vs. just three interceptions, has completed 69 percent of his throws and has a 159.2 quarterback rating.

Will the 49ers be high enough in the draft to get a quarterback they believe they can build around? That may be difficult. Over the final six games, the Niners face the 2-8 Browns, 3-7 Lions and 4-6 Bears and Rams. Two or three victories could knock them right out of next year’s top 10 in the draft order.


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Janikowski Keeps Kicking His Way Into Record Book]]> Mon, 23 Nov 2015 09:28:31 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/163*120/daseabassz.jpg

Earlier this season, Sebastian Janikowski surpassed Tim Brown to become the all-time leader for the Raiders in games played.

Now the longtime Oakland place-kicker and career franchise scoring leader is on the verge of setting a league career record for field goals of 50 yards or more.

In Sunday’s disappointing 18-13 loss to the Lions, Janikowski did his part, making both of his field-goal attempts, including one from 56 yards.

That gives Janikowski, in his 16th NFL season, 51 field goals of 50 or more yards, just one behind all-time NFL leader Jason Hanson, who made 52 over 21 pro seasons.

This season, Janikowski has made 3-of-4 from 50 yards or more, and has converted 51-of-91 (56 percent) for his career.

Overall this season, Janikowski has shown no signs of age or regression.  Only four NFL kickers have made more field goals from long range than Janikowski (Brandon McManus with five and Robbie Gould, Stephen Gostkowski and Steven Hauschka with four), and his overall accuracy rate of 83.3 (15-of-18) ranks 21st in the league and is higher than his career rate of 80.3 percent.

At age 37, Janikowski remains one of the NFL’s most accurate and strong-legged kickers and a key part of the Raiders’ offense.

Though he was a controversial first-round pick of Oakland in the 2000 draft, Janikowski – who is signed through 2017 -- long ago proved to be a wise investment.

Plus, he and holder/punter Marquette King are working well together now after their rough 2013 season. Then, in King’s first year as Janikowski’s holder following the departure of Shane Lechler, Janikowski made just 70 percent of his field-goal attempts. Last season that improved to 86.4 percent. With a strong final six games, Janikowski could beat that figure in 2015.

Janikowski, who has missed only four games since coming into the league in 2000, says he’s improved his conditioning and weightlifting program over the years and doesn’t believe he’s taken a step back in any sense.

“I feel great,” he told Jerry McDonald of the Bay Area News Group earlier this season. “I’m just going to keep going as long as I can.”

Janikowski and the 4-6 Raiders will take on the 2-8 Titans in Tennessee this Sunday (10 a.m. kickoff).


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Warriors Improve to 15-0, Tie NBA Record]]> Mon, 23 Nov 2015 06:24:40 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-498353780_594_screen.jpg

The Golden State Warriors tied an NBA record for best start to a season with a win Sunday against the Denver Nuggets.

Sunday’s victory improved the team to 15-0 on the season. The 1949 Washington Capitols and 1994 Houston Rockets are the other teams to begin a season 15-0.

The Warriors will look to continue its win streak and break the record against the Los Angeles Lakers, who visit Oracle Arena in Oakland on Tuesday.

Visit NBC Bay Area’s Warriors page for full team coverage.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[New 49ers Quarterback, Same Result in Seattle]]> Sun, 22 Nov 2015 17:57:50 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/seahawks1.jpg

In the week leading up to Sunday’s game against the Seahawks, 49ers head coach Jim Tomsula was asked if he viewed Seattle as a team in decline.

“I do not,” he said. “I think Seattle is really good.”

On Sunday – in a battle of two struggling franchises that recently were the elite of the NFC – the Seahawks certainly showed they have declined far less than the 49ers.

Even without injured running back Marshawn Lynch, the Seahawks were an efficient team on offense and defense, beating the 49ers 29-13 to drop San Francisco to 3-7. Seattle gets back to .500 at 5-5.

Russell Wilson completed 24-of-29 throws for 260 yards and three touchdowns and undrafted backup running back Thomas Rawls did a great Beast Mode impersonation, running for a team rookie-record 209 yards and a TD to continue Seattle’s recent dominance of its NFC West rival.

It was just more bad news for a 49ers franchise awash in bad tidings.

But on the same weekend the team announced former starting quarterback Colin Kaepernick is now out for the season because of an injury to his left shoulder that will require surgery, his successor, Blaine Gabbert, gave the franchise a glimmer of hope that perhaps he still has potential to play in the NFL at a high level.

Gabbert, a first-round bust in Jacksonville, completed 22-of-34 throws for 264 yards, a TD and no interceptions and posted a quarterback rating of 98.2. The performance in Seattle – where Kaepernick never played well – follows his first start against the Falcons last week in which he completed 15-of-25 for 185 yards, two TDs and a 76.3 rating in an upset victory.

Though the 49ers never really were in the game at CenturyLink Field Sunday – they trailed 20-0 at one point in the second quarter – Gabbert at times looked sharp. At the end of the second quarter, he led a 92-yard TD drive that ended with tight end Vance McDonald’s 19-yard scoring catch, the first of his pro career. Gabbert later made some nice throws in drives that ended with Phil Dawson field goals of 27 and 25 yards in the third quarter.

After one particularly good stretch, Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee tweeted, “Oh, so thhhiiiiisssss is why the Jaguars traded up to draft Blaine Gabbert.”

But Gabbert also nearly threw two interceptions (both dropped by defenders) and has a long track record of coming up short.

Still, Gabbert showed a nice pocket presence Sunday against a strong Seattle front seven that sacked him just twice (Kaepernick was sacked six times in the teams’ previous meeting in October) and at times looked off pirmary targets and threw lasers to secondary receivers.

With all hope of a winning record or playoffs long gone, the 49ers will be looking for any positive rays of sunshine, and that will include Gabbert. If he can play well over the final six games – beginning with next Sunday’s game against the division-leading Cardinals – perhaps he’ll be in the mix for a starting job in 2016.

Then again, this roster and coaching staff may more likely be just playing out the string, waiting for a giant offseason upheaval. 

But for two consecutive weeks, at least, Gabbert has shown flashes of the talent that led him to once be a coveted prospect out of Missouri. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Raiders Run Out of Gas in the Motor City]]> Sun, 22 Nov 2015 13:26:27 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/lions5.jpg

On paper, Sunday’s Raiders vs. Lions game favored Oakland.

Detroit was just 2-7, struggling on both sides of the ball and banged up in the secondary. Oddsmakers made the 4-5 Raiders slim favorites to rebound after consecutive losses and get back in the hunt for the AFC wild card.

Yet Raiders quarterback Derek Carr was wary.

“I expect them to come out fired up, playing their tail off,” he told the media this past week. “… They run around, they make plays and they’re passionate about it. Like I said, we have our work cut out for us.”

Unfortunately for the Raiders, Carr was right.

On Sunday in Michigan, the Lions surprised the Raiders, dropping them 18-13 in what was a must-win game for an Oakland team that needed to get back on track. Now 4-6 with six games remaining, it now appears the Raiders’ hopes for breaking their decade-plus playoff drought may be dead.

The Oakland offense, which had turned into an explosive unit in late October/early November – scoring 37, 34 and 35 points in consecutive weeks – again was as flat as it was in last week’s loss to Minnesota.

Against the Lions, Carr completed just 13-of-25 throws for 169 yards and no touchdowns.  As a team, Oakland could muster just 214 total yards on a defense that looked vulnerable coming into the game.

A patchwork Lions secondary – missing two of its top three cornerbacks – allowed super rookie Amari Cooper just one catch for 4 yards (though Carr also dropped at least three throws) and Michael Crabtree six for 50. The Oakland running game, meanwhile, was sluggish, with Latavius Murray getting just 28 yards on 13 carries.

The Lions took a 9-0 lead into halftime on three Matt Prater field goals, but Oakland responded well in the third quarter, driving 80 yards for a TD on Murray’s 1-yard run, then getting two long Sebastian Janikowski field goals of 48 and 56 yards.

But up 13-9, the Raiders couldn’t hold the lead. Detroit went up on Matthew Stafford’s 5-yard run on a quarterback draw, then added a safety for the final margin of victory on tackle Donald Penn’s holding infraction in the end zone.

The Raiders will try to get back on the winning track in Tennessee this coming Sunday against the Titans.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Top NFL Photos: Week 11]]> Mon, 23 Nov 2015 21:17:01 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP_386456190580.jpg Get an up-close look at all the best NFL plays and players from Week 11.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Depleted Lions May Have Trouble Stopping Carr and Co.]]> Fri, 20 Nov 2015 09:20:39 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/170*120/oakkwwrrdduo.jpg

The Detroit Lions’ pass defense has been shaky all season, and now it goes into Sunday’s game against the Raiders with a depleted secondary.

Two of the Lions’ top three cornerbacks have been lost to injury in recent weeks, forcing the team to “dig deeper into its shallow talent pool,” according to one Lions beat reporter.

What does it all mean? Probably very good news for the Raiders, who go into Sunday’s game in Michigan (10 a.m. kickoff) hoping to break a two-game losing streak.

The 4-5 Raiders can get back into the race for a postseason slot in the AFC with a victory over the 2-7 Lions, and it appears Oakland has just what it needs: a potent passing offense.

Quarterback Derek Carr and his receivers have been clicking in recent weeks. Carr comes into Sunday’s game averaging 306 yards over his past four games with 13 touchdown passes against just three interceptions. And his receiving corps of rookie Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree and rookie tight end Clive Walford is becoming a force to be reckoned with by opposing secondaries – and may be too much for a Lions pass defense that ranks 23rd in the NFL.

Oddsmakers have made the Raiders one-point favorites.

One of the key matchups to watch will be Cooper vs. Lions cornerback Darius Slay. Though the Lions secondary as a whole is depleted, Slay has developed into one of the NFL’s top corners and generally is matched against an opponent’s No. 1 pass catcher. That could mean dueling with Cooper for most of Sunday’s game.

According to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, Slay is ranked as the NFL’s 10th-best pass defender by the analytics website Pro Football Focus and did an outstanding job last week against top Packers receiver Randall Cobb in the Lions upset of Green Bay.

If Slay takes Cooper, that means Carr may be able to target wide receivers such as Crabtree, Andre Holmes and Seth Roberts. Walford, who's come on in recent weeks, could also be a factor, especially in the red zone. 

To Lions coach Jim Caldwell, stopping the Raiders offense – the eighth-ranked unit in the league – will be a challenge.

“Carr is having an unbelievable year,” said Caldwell. “But they can run the ball, too. They’ve got a big and physical offensive line. So yeah, it’s … going to take the entire unit to play well against this group because they can score points on you a number of different ways.”


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Gabbert Leads 49ers Into House of Pain]]> Fri, 20 Nov 2015 09:18:36 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/167*120/blainevshawkz.jpg

A week ago the 49ers pulled an upset, beating the Atlanta Falcons 17-16.

Upsetting the Seahawks in Seattle on Sunday (1:25 p.m. kickoff), however, will be a much more difficult task.

Though the 4-5 Seahawks have struggled more than they have in recent years, oddsmakers still make them a whopping 11-point favorite over the 3-6 49ers – and for good reason.

The 49ers offense has been abysmal, ranking last in the NFL in scoring, total offense and yards per play and now the team comes into one of the most hostile environments in the NFL against a defense that ranks No. 2 in the league.

Seattle has won four straight games against the Niners, including a 20-3 victory at Levi’s Stadium in October when the ‘Hawks defense sacked Colin Kaepernick six times. Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson also is 4-0 against San Francisco at CenturyLink Field. And, in their past eight regular-season games against the Seahawks, the 49ers have scored no more than a single touchdown, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Now the 49ers must face the Seahawks with quarterback Blaine Gabbert, who has never before played against Seattle.

Gabbert led the 49ers to the win over the Falcons last week, throwing two touchdown passes, but was that just good fortune or a sign that Gabbert – who’s now taken over for Kaepernick – has turned his career around? Never has Gabbert won back-to-back starts in his NFL career.

Plus it doesn’t appear as if Gabbert will have Carlos Hyde back at running back (he has a stress fracture in his left foot), so establishing a running game with Shaun Draughn and Co. may be a tough task.

But this week Gabbert said it will be important for the 49ers to play smart and take what the Seattle defense will allow and not worry about trying to beat individual stars such as cornerback Richard Sherman, safety Kam Chancellor and linebacker Bobby Wagner.

“The thing that we do is we look at the defense as a whole,” Gabbert told the media this week. “You can’t focus on a certain guy. You know who their personnel is, and you know what you have to do to execute vs. that personnel. But at the same time, you can’t let one guy kind of deter or knock your focus off of the big scheme of things.”

Gabbert said he learned some things, too, from watching film of the Arizona Cardinals’ recent victory over Seattle in which they put together two long touchdown drives for a comeback victory.

He knows the key in the passing game will be to get the ball out fast to counter the Seattle pass rush and be patient and content with making steady progress down the field, just as the Cardinals did. He said a quarterback can’t “start pressing and trying to push the ball downfield.”

Said Gabbert: “You just take what the defense is giving you and that way you can string drives together and execute at a higher efficiency.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Levi's Stadium to Host South American Soccer Tournament]]> Thu, 19 Nov 2015 17:11:16 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Sports-Chile-Argentina-Copa-America-4-July-2015.jpg

Levi's Stadium will host the South American soccer tournament Copa America Centenario in 2016.

The competition will take place in venues throughout the United States from June 3-26, 2016. It will be the first time it has been held in the U.S. in its 100-year history, according to SFGate.

statement by U.S. Soccer reveals that the U.S. team has automatically qualified to compete. Among the South American contingent is Uruguay, a 15-time winner of Copa America.

Register on the event website to receive an alert for when tickets will go on sale, which could be as soon as in a few weeks.

Photo Credit: AP/file]]>
<![CDATA[So Far, Torrey Smith Hasn't Made Big Impact on 49ers]]> Thu, 19 Nov 2015 09:09:47 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/175*120/smytheteee.jpg

When the 49ers signed wide receiver Torrey Smith to a reported five-year, $40 million deal this offseason, it seemed a perfect match.

The 49ers needed a fast, field-stretching wideout and Smith wanted to come to an organization capable of winning. Finally, strong-armed quarterback Colin Kaepernick would have a pass catcher fast enough to haul in some of his long, downfield bullets.

It was an encouraging move after months of bad news for the franchise.

Wrote NFL.com analyst Marc Sessler in March, at the time of the signing: “Smith will add an element of excitement to an offense and organization suddenly riddled with more questions than answers.”

Yet just past the halfway point of this season – with the 3-6 49ers getting ready to take on the 4-5 Seahawks in Seattle Sunday afternoon – the Torrey Smith signing has mostly been a dud. Smith has just 18 catches for 386 yards and two touchdowns.

Of course, his lack of production isn’t necessarily his fault. Kaepernick was so ineffective he lost his starting job. In a recent game against the Rams, there was Smith, wide open and frantically waving his arms trying to get Kaepernick’s attention, yet he was ignored. A pass his way would have resulted in a long TD.

And the offensive line has protected so poorly that the passing game has been under constant duress, with little time to throw deep balls.

In some games, Smith rarely has been a target. Against the Seahawks in Week 7, only one pass was thrown his way. In three other games he was targeted three times or less. When he has been a part of the offense, he’s made plays. Against the Steelers in Week 2, he caught six of seven balls thrown in his direction for 120 yards. Against the Ravens in Week 6 he had 96 yards on just three catches. His average of 21.4 yards per catch leads the NFL.

Yet this week, Smith was included on NFL.com’s list of the league’s “top 10 free-agent flops” for 2015, at No. 7. Analyst Chris Wesseling wrote that Smith’s signing hasn’t been a benefit to both his old team, the Ravens (who miss his big-play threat) and new team.

“Smith’s field-stretching skills have gone to waste at the wrong end of Colin Kaepernick’s scattershot arm,” he wrote. “At least 50 receivers and tight ends have produced more plays of 20-plus yards than Smith this season.”

Against the Seahawks on Sunday, that’s not likely to improve, with former backup QB Blaine Gabbert now starting against an aggressive Seahawks defense that ranks No. 2 in the league in pass defense. The Seahawks give up just 202.8 yards in the air per game.

Still, the 49ers have to hope that Smith will be valuable in the long term. If quarterback and offensive line problems can be improved in 2016, Smith again will be a valuable contributor. But at this point, that seems like a long way away. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Raiders Are Riding Carr Into a New Era]]> Thu, 19 Nov 2015 09:07:45 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/Kahrhr.jpg

The Raiders have lost two straight games, but they remain optimistic that this is the season they can finally get into the playoffs.

Though the consecutive losses have dropped Oakland’s record to 4-5, the Raiders have reasons to be hopeful.

Perhaps the biggest is second-year quarterback Derek Carr, who’s proving to be as good a leader as he is a passer.

This week, coming off losses to the Steelers and Vikings, Carr told the media his team would work its way through the setbacks.

“We can play good football,” he said. “It’s not always going to be pretty. … It’s not always going to be flashy and big plays and all those things. Sometimes we’re going to have to grind them out. …

“There is not a lack of confidence from player to play, player to coach. None of that. That’s how I know we’re a good football team.”

Carr’s outspoken confidence is backed up by his actions. Carr ranks tied for third in the NFL in touchdown passes with 21, behind only Tom Brady and Carson Palmer, and he’s thrown just six interceptions. As Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press wrote this week in previewing the Raiders-Lions matchup, Carr gives the Raiders the young franchise quarterback every team dreams of getting. He is on pace to break the Raiders' single-season marks for TD passes and quarterback rating.

Carr is “keeping the Raiders in the game even when they’ve lost,” wrote Monarrez.

In fact, many NFL observers believe Carr is the best young QB to come out of the past two drafts – above the likes of Marcus Mariotta, Blake Bortles, Jameis Winston and Teddy Bridgewater.

This week Carr was picked by three of six NFL Network evaluators to be the league’s best “young QB to build a franchise around.”

Wrote former NFL scout Daniel Jeremiah: “He has elite arm talent, but I’ve been even more impressed with his decision making and poise.”

Added Lance Zierlein: “Carr faced a good deal of adversity last season with limited weapons inside that offense, and he still played with poise and showed improvement as the season progressed. That is a sign of a mentally tough, confident player. He’s got the physical tools and has proven that he knows how to get the ball in the hands of the best receiver this year with Amari Cooper.”

This Sunday’s matchup against the Lions, too, appears to favor the Raiders’ passing game. Detroit, 2-7, ranks 23rd in the NFL in pass defense, allowing just over 260 yards per game. The Lions also have given up 16 TD passes while intercepting just four passes.

Carr, however, says he isn’t interested in any numbers but the number of victories the Raiders have. He says he tunes out both the applause and criticism that come with being a quarterback in the NFL.

“I just continue to stay the same person,” he said this week. “You’re never going to see me too high or too low in my attitude and how I go about my business day to day. I’ll just always stay levelheaded and keep working.”


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[NFL's Doug Flutie Loses Both Parents on Same Day]]> Wed, 18 Nov 2015 14:02:51 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/flutie-AP_05060901526.jpg

Legendary Boston College quarterback and longtime NFL player Doug Flutie lost both his parents Wednesday morning.

Flutie said his father, Dick, died of a heart attack in the hospital following an illness. Less than an hour later, his mother, Joan, also suffered a heart attack, Flutie wrote in a social media post Wednesday.

"They say you can die from a broken heart and I believe it," Flutie said on Facebook. "The most important part of their 56 years of marriage was providing opportunities to their children. They were incredible parents and grandparents and my family and I will miss them both."

Flutie's NFL career was sporadic, withhin playing 92 games and starting 66 between 1986 and 2005. During that time, he played with the Bears, Patriots, Bills and, finally, the Chargers, from 2001 through 2004. During a long NFL hiatus, he played in the Canadian Football League from 1990-97, being inducted into both the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame and the College Football Hall of Fame.

The quarterback is best known for his time at Boston College, during which he received the Heisman Trophy and other accolades. He threw for an astounding 10,759 yard sand 70 touchdowns in four years.

Photo Credit: AP/File
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<![CDATA['Big Papi' Plans to Retire]]> Wed, 18 Nov 2015 10:04:35 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/TLMD-Boston-medias-rojas-david-ortiz-red-sox-getty-images-470371776.jpg

One of Boston's most beloved athletes has announced he will be retiring after the 2016 season.

Red Sox slugger David Ortiz, on his 40th birthday, confirmed what many people were already talking about in a video posted to YouTube Wednesday, courtesy of The Players' Tribune.

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"I thought a lot about it and, you know, for every single one of us, athletes-wise... we run out of time at some point and life is based on different chapter and I think I'm ready to experience the next one in my life," Ortiz said in the video. "I picked this day to announce that after the next season, I'm going to be done with my career."

Nicknamed "Big Papi," Ortiz will leave the game a three-time World Series champion, at least, and holder of the Red Sox single-season record for home runs. The Red Sox designated hitter is also a nine-time All-Star.

"I would like people to remember me as a guy that was just part of the family, you know?" he said. "A guy that was trying to do the best, not only on the field, but with everyone around him."

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"It is difficult to adequately convey what David Ortiz has meant to the Boston Red Sox," says Principal Owner John Henry. 

"David's first home run in a Red Sox uniform set the tone for the rest of his career," says Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner. It was a go-ahead pinch-hit home run in the top of the 14th inning against the Angels. In that summer of 2003, David became the best slugger in all of baseball and carried the team on his back for the last three months of the season - a trend we would come to see time and again throughout his career. He has been in a Red Sox uniform nearly as long as we have been here, and he has been integral in all of the successes that we have all experienced."

"David Ortiz transcends numbers, home runs, and wins," says Red Sox President Sam Kennedy. He is one of the game's greatest players - and greatest champions - and he has been there for the city of Boston through thick and thin every step of the way. He has been a pillar of our team and a pillar of our city."

Photo Credit: FILE - Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Raiders' Smith Suspended for 1 Year]]> Tue, 17 Nov 2015 20:00:17 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/185*120/aldonsmith4.jpg

Aldon Smith's season is over.

The NFL is suspending the Oakland Raiders linebacker for one calendar year, the league announced Tuesday.

A league spokesperson said Smith has been suspended by the NFL for one calendar year for violations of the league's substance-abuse policy.

Smith, 26, was released by the San Francisco 49ers in August after a list of run-ins with the law before landing across the bay with the Raiders. Smith went through the locker room and told teammates goodbye Tuesday.

The Raiders had no official word on Smith's status, and agent Doug Hendrickson didn't immediately respond to phone or text messages.

It's unclear for which infraction Smith is being suspended. The Niners released him Aug. 7 following his fifth run-in with the law a night earlier on an off day from training camp.

The franchise parted ways with one of football's most menacing pass-rushers after Santa Clara police accused him of drunken driving, hit and run and vandalism.

Smith was in a contract year. He started seven games and played in nine for the Raiders, finishing his second straight suspension-shortened season with 28 tackles and 3.5 sacks.

He missed the first nine games of the 2014 season while serving an NFL suspension for violations of the league's substance-abuse and personal-conduct policies.

Police said in the August incident that Smith collided with a parked vehicle while parking his car, then caused further damage to the parked vehicle with his car door. The scene was only a couple of miles from 49ers team headquarters, at or on the street of Smith's former luxury apartment complex.

Authorities said Smith left without reporting the collision or providing any identifying information. He later returned and was contacted by officers. Smith displayed "objective symptoms of being under the influence of an alcoholic beverage" and officers conducted a field sobriety test, police said.

Smith was drafted seventh overall in the first round by San Francisco in 2011 out of Missouri. He emerged as one of the NFL's top defenders in 2012 with a franchise-record 19 1/2 sacks during the team's run to the Super Bowl. Smith finished with 8 1/2 sacks and 34 tackles in 11 games in 2013.

ESPN first reported the suspension.

Get more on CSN Bay Area.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[German Stadium Evacuated After Bomb Threat]]> Tue, 17 Nov 2015 18:59:45 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP_554879857092.jpg

A soccer stadium in Germany packed with thousands of fans was abruptly evacuated Tuesday night because of a "potential threat to spectators," police said, NBC News reported.

Authorities, however, cautioned that no explosives were found and no arrests were made as people streamed out of a Germany vs. Netherlands match — the setting of the latest scare to grip Europe following Friday's wave of attacks in Paris.

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière declined to detail the threat during a news conference, adding that police "had good reasons" in shutting down the friendly game in the northern German city of Hanover.

"It would have been irresponsible to let the game proceed," added Boris Pistorius, the interior minister of the German state of Lower Saxony.

Earlier, Germany's Lower Saxony Police Chief Volker Kluwe told the nation's public broadcaster that there was "concrete evidence" that someone planned to set off explosives at the game.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Niners Still Limping After Bye Week]]> Tue, 17 Nov 2015 07:57:03 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/KarlysHiyd.jpg

Though the 49ers are coming off a bye week, even the extra rest may not have helped some key players.

As the Niners began practice Monday in preparation for Sunday’s game at Seattle, running back Carlos Hyde, wide receiver Anquan Boldin and cornerback Tramaine Brock – who all missed the team’s last game against Atlanta – still seem iffy.

San Francisco head coach Jim Tomsula told the media Monday, “None of those guys have gone full speed. Nobody has done anything full tilt yet.”

Hyde still is dealing with a stress fracture in his left foot and has missed the past two games. Boldin has a strained hamstring and Brock hurt his shin.

If Hyde can’t play Sunday, the offense can turn to journeyman Shaun Draughn, who had a nice debut for the Niners vs. the Falcons. But certainly, Tomsula and his staff would rather have Hyde, who started out fast this season, showing everyone what he’s capable of doing when healthy, with a 168-yard rushing game vs. the Vikings in Week 1.

Against the rugged Seahawks, the 49ers would love to have a capable Hyde to help take some of the pressure of quarterback Blaine Gabbert, who will be making his second start. But stress fractures can linger for weeks – or longer.

“We’re going to see where he’s at and see how it’s going,” Tomsula told reporters Monday. “He’s obviously been doing things for conditioning. He’s not running a ton, but we’ll see where he’s at this week. Yeah, he’s feeling better with all those things. But again, he’s not, you don’t know until you play. You know, you’ve got to make some cuts and get moving on it.”

Boldin, too, would be nice to have in the lineup as a sure target for Gabbert. But he’s missed two straight games.

Other key players with injuries, including outside linebacker Aaron Lynch and defensive backs Marcus Cromartie, Jimmie Ward, Keith Reaser and Kenneth Acker were reported by Tomsula to be ready to play against the Seahawks.


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Raiders' Edwards Growing Into a Defensive Force]]> Tue, 17 Nov 2015 07:53:56 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/MarioVikes.jpg

Six months after being taken by the Raiders in the second round of the draft, Mario Edwards Jr. is silencing all his doubters.

Though the Raiders lost this past weekend to the Vikings, Edwards – the No. 35 overall pick from Florida State – had another big game. The defensive end played 48 snaps, led his team with 11 tackles and had a sack, a tackle for loss and two quarterback hits.

His coaches and teammates are seeing him grow almost every game, and especially since stepping in for the injured Justin Tuck.

Edwards has been solid against the run, is putting better pressure on opposing quarterbacks and living up to the potential seen by Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie. Edwards has been in on 28 tackles, has 1½ sacks and a fumble recovery.

“I just think he’s becoming everything that the front office and the coaches thought he could be,” teammate Dan Williams, who plays next to him on the defensive line, told the media after the game. “Every day Mario is just trying to get better. I definitely appreciate it, especially playing alongside him, but it’s good to see him grow each week and the more he can do, the more he’s helping us.”

On draft day, it was uncertain how much Edwards would be able to help as a rookie. Many draft evaluators had big doubts about Edwards, the son of former Dallas Cowboys cornerback Mario Edwards. Edwards, listed at 6-foot-3 and 279 pounds by the time of the draft, had only eight sacks in his college career, and at times let his weight climb beyond 300 pounds.

Before the Raiders selected him, NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said he was “a polarizing conversation in draft circles.”

“He was 272 as his Pro Day but 310 in August,” he said. “Do you get him when he’s sloppy or in shape?”

Jerry McDonald of the Bay Area News Group wrote that another NFL scout cited concerns about Edwards’ “conditioning and desire.” McDonald also said a draft preview by one analyst called Edwards a “classic underachiever.”

Yet nine games into his rookie season, Edwards has been a prize. He’ll be a key part of the defense for the 4-5 Raiders when they take on the 2-7 Lions Sunday in Michigan. He’s in shape and worked hard. Along with receiver Amari Cooper (Round 1) and tight end Clive Walford (Round 3), Edwards has been part of a terrific trio for McKenzie at the top of the 2015 draft class.

“If you’re a Raider fan, you have to be a Mario Edwards fan,” defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. said recently. “After picking (him) up in the draft where we did, and what he’s been able to do has been great. The improvement that he’s had each and every week, how hard he’s playing, how violent he’s playing, how fun it is to watch him work. I’m really, really impressed with his development.”


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[French Train Heroes Honored at Lakers Game]]> Tue, 17 Nov 2015 07:20:22 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/train-heroes.jpg

Lakers fans were on their feet Sunday night for three American heroes honored for foiling a terrorist attack on a train in Paris in August.

Spencer Stone, Alek Skarlatos and Anthony Sadler, all friends since childhood, made an appearance at Staples Center during Sunday's Laker game against the Detroit Pistons.

The crowd went wild for the three who stopped a suspected terrorist from carrying out an attack on a train headed from Amsterdam to Paris on Aug. 21. Spencer Stone was stabbed while he fought off the man who was armed with an AK-47.

"It was super obvious what he planned to do, so there wasn't a lot of thinking," Stone said. "I just got up and went, and we fought. Alek and Anthony helped me subdue him."

The celebration was preceded by a dark moment of silence before the game to honor those lost during Friday’s terror attacks in Paris.

"You have to be ready at all times because you never know when something life changing, for better or worse, is going to happen," Skarlatos said.

Friday's deadly terror attacks in Paris were not lost on anyone at the game, least of all the three men.

Sadler wore the same Lakers shirt that he wore the day he helped stop the attack.

"It feels very personal because of what we went through," Sadler said. "To see it happen again and the people we've connected with since, our hearts go out to France, and Paris specifically."

Fans also expressed gratitude for the bravery of the three men. 

"For them to do what they did speaks volumes to their character and they're absolutely heroes for what they've done for our country and the world," Henry Wang, Lakers fan at the game, said. 

Skarlatos is competing on "Dancing with the Stars."

Photo Credit: Getty]]>
<![CDATA[Son of Patriots Player Has Cancer]]> Wed, 18 Nov 2015 06:22:26 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/461911932.jpg

New England Patriots left tackle Nate Solder shared the sad news Monday that his infant son is battling kidney cancer.

Solder, himself a cancer survivor, made the announcement Monday night while speaking at the Above & Beyond the Gratitude Gala benefitting the Joe Andruzzi Foundation, according to the Boston Herald. The foundation is named for a Patriots player who died of non-Hodgkin’s Burkitt’s lymphoma in 2007.

Solder's son, Hudson, who was born in July, was diagnosed with a kidney tumor last month and has already begun chemotherapy, the Herald reports.

Solder thanked fans on Twitter Monday night and asked them to support the Joe Andruzzi Foundation.

Solder himself beat testicular cancer in 2014 and remains on injured reserve. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Willie Mays to Receive Presidential Medal of Freedom]]> Mon, 16 Nov 2015 14:41:34 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Willie_Mays_pp2.jpg

President Barack Obama will award the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, to Giants legend Willie Mays this month.

The Giants legend is among 17 medal recipients named by the White House on Monday, along with late Yankees icon Yogi Berra, composer Stephen Sondheim and director Steven Spielberg.

Recipients will receive the medals from President Obama in a Nov. 24 at the White House.

Mays spent most of his 22 Major League seasons playing center field with the Giants, in New York and then San Francisco.

"Known as 'The Say Hey Kid,' Mays was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1979 and landed on MLB's All-Time team," the White House said in a statement. "In 1951, Mays became one of the first African-American players in Major League Baseball history and won the Rookie of the Year award. Mays also served his country in the United States Army."

Mays returned from his military service and was named MVP of the 1954 World Series. He remains close the franchise: When President Obama lauded the 2014 World Champions at the White House earlier this year, "The Say Hey Kid" was one of the first to be introduced.

"On behalf of the entire Giants organization and our fans, we congratulate Willie Mays on being recognized for the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which honors his accomplishments, values and military service," Giants President and CEO Larry Baer said in a statement. "As everyone knows, Willie is a national treasure and one of the greatest players in the history of baseball. I cannot think of a more fitting tribute to recognize Willie for his endless contributions to our national pastime."

The following individuals will be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom:

Willie Mays
Yogi Berra (posthumous)
Bonnie Carroll
Shirley Chisholm (posthumous)
Emilio Estefan
Gloria Estefan
Billy Frank, Jr. (posthumous)
Lee Hamilton
Katherine G. Johnson
Barbara Mikulski
Itzhak Perlman
William Ruckelshaus
Stephen Sondheim
Steven Spielberg
Barbra Streisand
James Taylor
Minoru Yasui (posthumous)

<![CDATA[Fantasy Sports Conflict Continues]]> Mon, 16 Nov 2015 12:19:25 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/draftkings-AP_312823411334.jpg

Fantasy sports site DraftKings has filed a motion seeking a temporary restraining order preventing New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman from enforcing the order to shut down because he said its operations constituted illegal gambling.

The cease-and-desist letter was also sent to FanDuel, another major daily fantasy sports site.

In a statement Monday, DraftKings said it believes the temporary restraining order is necessary "and warranted to protect DraftKings' business while we pursue our legal action to prevent the New York Attorney General from denying New Yorkers the right to continue playing the daily fantasy sports games they love."

The move comes days after DraftKings and FanDuel filed court papers in state Supreme Court in Manhattan askiing a judge to rule on the legality of their businesses.

Earlier this month, Schneiderman ordered the fantasy sites to stop taking bets in New York, calling the companies illegal gambling sites.

But in court papers, both companies argue the opposite. They say daily fantasy sports are actually more skill-based than season-long fantasy sports, which are legal in New York. They also claim Schneiderman threatened their business partners and payment processors.

DraftKings' suit calls the cease-and-desist order "unconstitutional" and alleges Schneiderman is "misreading" New York's gambling laws, and attempting to "bully" DraftKings and its vendors into immediately shutting down its New York operations before it has a chance to defend itself.

The company says New York is home to more than 7 percent of its customers.

"The Attorney General's actions constitute a shocking overreach," the suit reads. "He has unleashed an irresponsible, irrational, and illegal campaign to destroy a legitimate industry, intending to deprive hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers of the use and enjoyment of these services."

Schneiderman's office didn't immediately respond to an email request for comment on the temporary restraining order motion filed Monday. Previously, a spokesman said the companies are operating illegally.

Fantasy sports has been a popular U.S. pastime for years, but daily contests, where winners and losers are decided in one night, rather than over the course of a season, have exploded in popularity recently. DraftKings and FanDuel have advertised heavily on the Internet and TV ahead of and during the 2015 NFL season.

The sites have come under increased scrutiny since it was revealed last month that a midlevel DraftKings employee playing fantasy football beat more than 200,000 other players, winning $350,000 on rival FanDuel. The case raised questions about insider trading after game data not publicly accessible was inadvertently posted online.

NBC's parent company, Comcast Corp., and NBC Sports are among the investors in FanDuel.

Photo Credit: AP/File]]>
<![CDATA[Raiders' Run Defense Has Been Torn Apart]]> Mon, 16 Nov 2015 08:55:15 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/raydyrsrunzdeefn.jpg

First, the good news: The Detroit Lions have the worst running game in the NFL.

When the 4-5 Raiders travel to Michigan this coming Sunday to take on the 2-7 Lions, they’ll face a team that is averaging just 66.9 yards per game on the ground and only 3.4 yards per attempt.

Rookie Ameer Abdullah is the Lions’ No. 1 back, with only 240 yards and a 3.5-yards per carry average.

Finally, after a two-game spiral, the Raiders’ defense may catch a break. Because over the past two games, Oakland’s run defenders – once ranked among the best in the NFL – have been torn apart.

In Sunday’s loss to the Minnesota Vikings, it was All-Pro Adrian Peterson who did the damage, running for 203 yards, 80 of those coming on a late sprint for a touchdown. The week before, the Raiders’ defense was trampled by DeAngelo Williams, who ran for 170 yards.

It’s been a frustrating time for Oakland’s defense, which finally got reinforcements this past weekend with the return of starting safety Nate Allen and cornerback TJ Carrie, yet couldn’t stop Minnesota from running the football. The Vikes ran for 263 yards as a team.

“Every week we come in, we emphasize something that we need to work on,” veteran Raiders safety Charles Woodson told Levi Damien of SB Nation. “This week was the passing game, and we did well (against) passing, but we allowed them to run all over us for 200-plus yards or whatever it was. You put your finger over one leak and something else pops up, so we’ve got to find a way to eliminate more than just one phase of the game.”

Raiders linebacker Malcolm Smith told reporters that he and his defensive mates still need to focus on their fundamentals to stop opposing running games. And, with Peterson perhaps the best back in the league, one mistake can lead to a disaster.

“You have to be sharp the whole game with him,” said Smith. “Obviously, he made us pay. We just have to be sharper, more detailed and just finish better. Obviously, that’s been kind of our downfall.”

As Oakland prepares this week for the Lions, the Raiders have fallen from the No. 2 run defense in the NFL just weeks ago to the 23rd-ranked run defense. Opponents now are averaging 115 yards per game and 4.7 yards per carry. If the Raiders hope to make a push for the playoffs, the defense is going to have to find some answers to stopping the run.


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Return of Kilgore Could Provide a Nice Boost for Offense]]> Mon, 16 Nov 2015 08:53:12 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/Kylgohrbak.jpg

The 49ers offensive line has been one of the team’s weakest links in 2015, but help is on the way.

Center Daniel Kilgore, who was lost with a broken leg midway through the 2014 season, can begin practicing with the Niners Monday. Though it’s not likely that he would be ready to play this Sunday against the Seahawks in Seattle, Kilgore – who is coming off the physically-unable-to-perform list – can be activated at any time over the next three weeks.

Kilgore had surgery after his injury that occurred last October, and then had to have a followup surgery this summer that caused him to miss the start of this season. He’s been going through rehabilitation and work on a side field while the team practices, reports Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee.

Kilgore, who was in his first season as a starting center for the 49ers last year, likely would be an improvement over second-year man Marcus Martin, who is graded by the analytics website Pro Football Focus as the NFL’s least effective starting center.

Kilgore, meanwhile, was ranked the No. 14 center in the league at the time of his injury.

Martin has been part of a struggling offensive line that has allowed 28 sacks. It also has been inconsistent in a running attack that ranks 18th in the league.

Kilgore told Barrows he’s been running, pushing sleds and getting ready to rejoin his teammates on the main practice field.

“We’re offensive linemen, we’ve got to push things,” Kilgore told Barrows. “The sled work is huge for my conditioning and getting ready for practice.”

Recently, head coach Jim Tomsula told the media that Kilgore is “progressing really well.”

The return of Kilgore and the insertion of Andrew Tiller at right guard over Jordan Devey could raise the level of play on a line that especially has struggled at center, right guard and right tackle.

Kilgore had been a question mark going into 2014. He’d earned the job after starter Jonathan Goodwin was not re-signed. But he played surprisingly well and seemed to be growing into a strong performer when he was injured.

Said then-head coach Jim Harbaugh at the time of the injury: “He’s been playing really well, better and better each week.”

If he can return this season and regain his form, the 49ers will have a chance to see if Kilgore can be part of the team’s long-term solution on the offensive line and count on him for 2016. He is signed through next season.


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Aaron Rodgers Condemns 'Prejudicial' Comment During Moment of Silence]]> Mon, 16 Nov 2015 07:21:15 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/packers-comment-prejudice.jpg

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers spoke out against prejudice after hearing an inappropriate comment during a moment of silence held to honor the Paris terror attack victims at Sunday's NFL game.

In an interview with ESPN after the Packers' loss to Detroit, Rodgers said he heard a fan make a prejudiced comment and "was very disappointed with whoever the fan was."

There were several social media accounts of fans in Green Bay saying things like "Death to Muslims" and "Muslims suck," but it is unclear if those were the comments Rodgers heard.

"It’s that kind of prejudicial ideology that I think puts us in the position that we’re in today as a world," Rodgers told ESPN.

The remarks weren't the only disruptors during Sunday's game. One group of fans attempted to start a "Go Pack Go" chant during the moment of silence, prompting another fan to yell for them to "have some respect," NBC Sports reports.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[NFL Beefs Up Security at Oakland Coliseum After Paris Attacks ]]> Sun, 15 Nov 2015 18:07:47 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/N8P+STADIUM+SECURITY+PKG+-+00000402.jpg

NFL stadiums around the country are beefing up security in light of Friday's devastating terrorist attacks in Paris.

Fans took notice of the uptick in law enforcement officials during Sunday’s Raiders game at the Oakland Coliseum.

"I think it’s great,” Matt Kenny said. “Fifty thousand people in one stadium are sitting ducks.”

Others, however, were unsure if an increase in security would translate to an increase in safety.

"I’m not sure if I’d pull the trigger [on allocating funds for extra security]," Jay Bond said. "But I think they’re making the best decision they can."

In a statement, NFL officials said they instructed the league's teams to bolster security provisions as a precaution, emphasizing that the FBI and Department of Homeland Security have not detected any specific threats at football venues.

Once inside the Coliseum, football fans were quickly informed that they would see extra security officers on standby.

Attendees also were limited in terms of items they could carry inside the venue -- even seemingly innocent plastic bags had to meet size and safety criteria. 

Still, most saw the limitations as a small price to pay for peace of mind.

"It could happen anywhere,” said Raiders fan Gina Hilderbrand, when asked if what happened in Paris could happen on Bay Area soil.

Safety has long been a concern of the NFL, which has mandated metal detectors and limits to items allowed inside venues. But there has been a noteable increase in the precautions after the Paris gun-and-bomb attacks with even the Oakaldn Police Department beefing up its security presence.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Raiders Suffer Second Straight Loss]]> Sun, 15 Nov 2015 17:29:46 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/APtackled.jpg

Two weeks ago the Raiders were coming off a big victory over the Jets and stood at 4-3.

Optimism on the team and in the stands was sky high.

Would this be the year the Raiders finally broke their long playoff drought?

Even a loss to the Steelers last week didn’t dampen that enthusiasm. One Bay Area poll of fans this past week revealed that 79 percent believed this would be the year Oakland advanced to the postseason for the first time since 2002.

But on Sunday at O.co Coliseum some of that optimism no doubt took a bruising as the Minnesota Vikings came west to beat the Raiders 30-14 and drop the silver and black to 4-5.

The game certainly was there for the Raiders' taking.

Though the Vikings jumped up early, 13-0, the Raiders rallied in the second quarter, coming back on Derek Carr touchdown passes of 10 yards to Clive Walford and 34 yards to Andre Holmes to take the lead 14-13.

Just moments later, however, Cordarelle Patterson returned the kickoff 93 yards for a score. The touchdown put Minnesota up 20-14, and it was a lead the Raiders could never overcome.

When Oakland entered the fourth quarter trailing by the same score, it wasn’t a good sign. Though this 2015 version of the Raiders offense is significantly better than recent versions, Oakland went into Sunday’s final quarter having lost 36 straight when tied or trailing after three periods.

In the fourth quarter – with the game on the line – it was the Vikings who made the big plays.

First, the Vikes drove from their own 21 to the Oakland 16 – powered by the running of Adrian Peterson – to get a 34-yard field goal by Blair Walsh. That made it a two-score game, with the Vikes up 23-14.

The Raiders went to their hurry-up offense and drove from their 21 to the Vikings 11, but Carr’s pass intended for Holmes in the end zone was batted into the air and picked off by Terrance Newman. When the Vikings took over at their own 20, Peterson broke loose on Minnesota’s first play, galloping 80 yards for a TD that officially put the game away.

Carr finished 29-of-43 for 302 yards and two TDs, but was picked off twice.

For the Vikings, Peterson was his All-Pro self, carrying 20 times for 203 yards.

The Raiders’ next chance to regain some momentum will be this coming Sunday on the road at the Detroit Lions.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>