<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - Bay Area Sports News, Sports Teams, and Scores for the Sharks, 49ers, Raiders,Giants, Bears and More]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/nbc_bayarea_blue.png NBC Bay Area http://www.nbcbayarea.com en-us Wed, 22 Oct 2014 06:48:33 -0700 Wed, 22 Oct 2014 06:48:33 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Twittersphere: Game 1 of the World Series]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 18:47:29 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/457619978.jpg

Game 1 of the World Series is here! And we're tracking reaction to the San Francisco Giants' performance from around the Twittersphere in the Storify below.

Photo Credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cowboys Waive Michael Sam]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 13:37:30 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GERRY_MCCARTHY__1409761483_39578161-620x503.jpg

The Dallas Cowboys have waived defensive end Michael Sam, the NFL's first openly-gay player, from the team's practice squad.

Sam, 24, joined the Cowboys on Sept. 3 after being cut from the Rams. He was drafted by St. Louis in the 7th round and totaled nine tackles and three sacks in three preseason games before being cut by the Rams. 

He never played in a game for the Cowboys and the team has not released a statement on his departure.

After the announcement, Sam tweeted thanks to team owner Jerry Jones for the opportunity, as well as friends, family, teammates and fans.  He added he was disappointed, but looked forward to fight for an opportunity to play every Sunday in the NFL.

According to DallasCowboys.com, the release of Sam makes room for linebacker Troy Davis who worked out with the team Monday.

Sam is a Texas native who played high school football at Hitchcock High School before playing for Missouri.  While at Missouri, he was named SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year and had 11 1/2 sacks in the 2013 season.

The 6-1 Cowboys are off to their best start since 2007 when then finished the regular season at 13-3.  Monday night they'll face an NFC East rival, the 2-5 Washington Redskins, in Arlington.

Photo Credit: Gerry McCarthy / Dallas Morning News Staff Photographer
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<![CDATA["Polite" Librarians Talk World Series Smack]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 14:59:38 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/lib-th.jpg

You know things are getting intense when public librarians start talking smack about the World Series.

In a series of back-and-forth tweets, the city librarians in San Francisco and Kansas City began taunting each other – with book titles, of course – over which team is going to win Game 1 of the World Series Tuesday, the Giants or the Royals.

"We're polite but fierce!" the San Francisco library tweeted. "Get ready to cry some blue tears for @Royals when @SFGiants take the win tonight."

Michelle Jeffers, the social media guru for the San Francisco library and the mastermind of the tweets, had an obvious answer for why she was dissing the Kansas City library 1,500 miles away.

"Well, they started it," she said with a laugh.

In fact, they did. At 11 a.m., the Kansas City Public Library, tweeted: "Hey @SFPublicLibrary we have a book for you!" The link showed this title: "So, You Think You Know Baseball? A Fan's Guide to the Offical Rules," by Peter E. Meltzer.

"What? They think we don't know the rules?" Jeffers joked.

Liesl Christman, the digital contest specialist at the Kansas City library, happily admitted to "starting it." And she said she chose the baseball rules book while flipping through the catalog, trying decide what bibliophile zinger to fling.

"Yeah, I was hoping to get a response," Christman said from Kansas City by phone. "I just didn't realize it was going to go on so long."

The Twitter tete-a-tete went on for so long, partly, because Jeffers wasn't going to take it lying down.

She shot back: "Thanks, but maybe you should read this." And she sent them a link to Dan Fost's book, "The Giants Baseball Experience: A Year-by-Year Chronicle from New York to San Francisco."

Kansas City took aim again, pointing out that the Giants haven't always been in San Francisco - the team was once a favorite in the Big Apple. Christman tweeted a stack of "fairy tale" books with the hashtag #TaketheCrown.

Jeffers fired off another dig, albeit a courteous one, simply stating that the Giants history has been amazing "coast to coast."

"I didn't want to diss them too bad," Jeffers said. "I was trying to be polite because we're librarians here."

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<![CDATA[Raiders' Safety Net at Safety is Ross]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 09:01:43 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/brrossssoak.jpg

At the end of this summer’s training camp, the Raiders cut Brandian Ross.

There was a logjam at safety and Ross was odd man out.

Ross then signed with the Dolphins, but in September he was waived by Miami. Suddenly, he was back in silver and black when Oakland re-signed him for backup depth after starting safety Tyvon Branch was injured.

Now Ross will be back in the starting lineup this Sunday in Cleveland when the 0-6 Raiders try to get their first victory, just as he was last year.

In 2013, Ross stepped in for Branch. Now he’s stepping in for Usama Young – lost for the season when injured in this past Sunday’s loss to the Cardinals – who had replaced Branch.

It’s been musical chairs at the safety spot next to veteran Charles Woodson this season, and now it’s Ross’ turn to help turn the troubled Raiders defense around.

“It’s not the scenario I want to be in because I don’t like seeing my boys hurt, with Tyvon and U, but I’m better prepared,” Ross told a reporter this week, comparing 2014 with 2013. “A year under my belt definitely helped, and the things I’ve been able to go through this offseason and during training camp actually helped, so I’m ready to step up.”

Last season, Ross started 13 games and contributed 101 tackles and two sacks.

When the Raiders signed Ross in September, head coach Dennis Allen (since fired) figured Ross would be a solid addition because of his experience.

“What we’re doing defensively isn’t a ton different than what we’ve done,” said Allen, at the time.

Ross, a 6-foot-1, 190-pounder from Youngstown State, will try to do his part to make the Raiders defense more effective, particularly on third down, where they rank dead last in the NFL in stopping opponents.

He says one inspiration he has is Woodson, the 39-year-old future Hall of Famer who’s still flying all over the field making plays. Against the Cardinals, Woodson had a terrific game that included an interception.

Ross told reporters that Woodson is “almost 100,” yet is playing with energy, fire and intelligence.

“If he can do it at this stage, why can’t I,” said Ross. “That’s what I really learned from him last year and then having the opportunity to watch him when I was in Miami, watching him play, I’m like, he’s still doing it, so make sure that when my opportunity comes that I’m playing the same way.”

For Ross, that opportunity has arrived. He gets his chance Sunday against the Browns.


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Niners Usually Suffer in Miler's Absence]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 08:10:06 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/171*120/broosmylllar.jpg

While running behind fullback Bruce Miller, Frank Gore has put up three consecutive 1,000-yard-plus seasons.

The former defensive lineman in college has made the transition to NFL fullback in a big way, becoming one of the best in the business as a lead blocker, receiver out of the backfield and ballcarrier when needed.

When No. 49 is blocking for Gore, the Niners have a physical, run-oriented offense unlike most any other in the league, an old-fashioned, power-blocking attack.

But in San Francisco’s lopsided loss to the Broncos in Denver Sunday night, Miller disappeared in the mile-high air.

The 49ers often went with four- and five-receiver sets, keeping Miller on the sideline. As Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee noted, Miller plays just 12 snaps vs. Denver. In fact, the 49ers – who are 4-3 entering their bye week – have kept Miller on the sidelines for much of two other games this season, vs. the Cardinals (just nine snaps) and Bears (24 snaps).

Those represent the 49es’three losses this season. Coincidence? Probably not, says Barrows.

“Right now you’re probably arguing that the 49ers fell behind by such a wide margin in those games that they had no choice but pass the ball,” wrote Barrows. “That’s incorrect. They were up at the half against Chicago and Arizona. And while they fell behind against the Broncos, it was clear that the game plan was to lean heavily on multiple wide-receiver sets and not so much on the running game.”

Barrows points out that Miller was in on just four of the offense’s first 11 plays Sunday night, and only two of those plays were runs, and they trailed just 7-0 at the time.

At 1-2, the 49ers went back to their roots after the Arizona game and reeled off three straight victories. In wins over the Eagles and Chiefs, Gore ran for 119 and 107 yards and had averages of 5.0 and 5.9 yards per carry. The 49ers beat the Rams the following week, but had to come back from an early 14-0 deficit.

Obviously, the Niners are at their best when they run the ball and stay true to their personality of playing physical football.

And Miller gives them that dynamic.

As Rams linebacker James Laurinaitis said before the 49ers game with St. Louis, Miller is a big part of the offense.

“Bruce Miller, the ball follows him a lot,” he said. “They have very good blocking schemes. They change them week to week depending on the looks that they get.”

The 49ers missed Miller big time late last year when a shoulder injury sidelined him. But he worked hard over the offseason and came back strong.

“He’s better than ever,” said offensive coordinator Greg Roman earlier this season.

And yet, against the Broncos he was just an extra, unused piece of the offense instead of being part of the point of attack.

It seems whenever the 49ers stumble, they get back to their roots and run the football.

So, expect to see a lot of No. 49 on the field, blocking defenders, when the 49ers return to action at Levi’s Stadium against the Rams on Sunday, Nov. 2.


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Giants vs. Royals in World Series "Dynasty vs. Destiny"]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 15:49:29 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/giants-royals-AP75242332121.jpg

The series is being billed as Dynasty vs. Destiny.

The "dynasty" label goes to the San Francisco Giants, who have already won two World Series championships since 2010. A third win would cement their team as a "genuine dynasty" because they would become the first National League team in nearly 70 years to pull off the historic feat.

Destiny is slotted for the Kansas City Royals, who haven't won a World Series championship – or even played in the postseason – since 1985.

Hours before Game 1 in Kansas City, the experts and pundits had all weighed in. SB Nation  offered four reasons why the Giants will win, including the fact that the team has more experience and can hit better fastballs. But Time said the Royals are the "slight favorite," even though the Giants' payroll is 50 percent higher than the Royals.

But it seems like everyone – not just the betting experts – wanted to cash in on the fun, too. Everyone from amusement park operators to mayors began betting on the game.

Mayor Ed Lee told "Murph and Mac" on KNBR radio station, if the Royals lose, Kansas City Mayor Sly James will sing and pass out food at Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco. If for some "farfetched" reason the Giants lose, Lee promised on the radio show that he would read to third graders in Kansas City.

He didn't think he'd be making that trip though.

"We're such a lucky city," Lee told KNBR. "I'm such a lucky mayor. Go Giants."

And then, in a nod to Hunter Pence's famous pep chant at the Pittsburgh Pirates game, Lee quipped, "Yes, yes, yes!"

An amusement park bet was in the works, as well. If the Giants win, Frank Wilburn, general manager of Worlds of Fun amusement park in Kansas City said he'd pose in a Giants jersey and send digital proof to Great America in Santa Clara. If the Royals win, Great America general manager Raul Rehnborg will have to do the same in a Royals jersey.

Educators wanted in, too.

University of California at San Francisco chancellor Sam Hawgood  is so sure the Giants will win, he's giving up a selection of Napa Valley wines, Sonoma artisanal cheeses and a gift basket if they don't. And University of Missouri-Kansas City Leo Morton is standing behind his Royals. He'll donate a rack of Kansas City barbequed ribs and an album of the Gates BBQ Suite with saxophone player Bobby  Watson, head of the jazz studies program at the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance, if they lose.

And just to make sure the Giants have the upper hand, at least two Bay Area radio stations have banned Lorde's "Royals," the 2013 pop hit from being heard through the World Series. In response, a Kansas City station is playing the song over and over again.

Game 1 of the World Series between the Giants and Royals is scheduled for 5:07 p.m. Tuesday at Ewing M. Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. The game will be broadcast on Fox.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Kaepernick's Birth Mom Watched Denver Debacle]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 18:12:01 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/beats1.jpg

Heidi Russo is a mom of two, and persona non grata with one.

Russo gave birth to a boy named Colin on Nov. 3, 1987. Five weeks later, she gave that child to a family who raised him in Turlock with the last name of Kaepernick.

Now, almost 20 years after asking the family to stop sending her updates about the boy's path through life without her, Russo has a second son and is also a co-founder of Three Strands, a nonprofit for birth moms – that is, women who surrender their kids for adoption, the Denver Post reported.

This isn't necessarily sitting well with Kaepernick. The quarterback sees his mother as Teresa Kaepernick, and so devoted is local media to Colin's wishes that the San Francisco Chronicle didn't even see fit to print Russo's name.

According to the Chron, Kap is "angry and offended" when Russo speaks out, and "wants nothing to do with her."

Meanwhile, he has at least two fans in the Denver area,  including a half-brother named Michael, who's also a football player.

Photo Credit: CSN Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[2015 Amgen Tour of California Host Cities Announced]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 06:12:44 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AMGEN_RACE_HEAT_web_1200x675_258122819579.jpg

The largest professional cycling event in the United States is returning next year for its 10th anniversary, but this time only one Bay Area city will be on the route.

The Amgen Tour of California begins May 10, 2015, in Sacramento. Stage 2 will take racers to Nevada City in the Sierra Foothills, then Lodi, before heading to San Jose.

Next year's race marks the first time in four years the East Bay and Mount Diablo won't have a major role in the event.

It also marks the expansion of the women's race to a four-day event.

"We had the women do their finals last year around the downtown,” the Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau’s Steve Hammond said. “It was one of the most exciting aspects of the entire day."

The men's race concludes in Pasadena on May 17.

More information about the race is available at www.amgentourofcalifornia.com.

<![CDATA[Martin Back to 49ers Just in Time]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 09:57:37 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/Kyllgohrr.jpg

In August, 49ers rookie center Marcus Martin was injured in an exhibition victory over the Chargers.

It was the second setback for the former USC standout, who lost time early in training camp to an ankle injury and had been playing “catch up,” according to offensive coordinator Greg Roman.

But the dislocated kneecap Martin suffered against the Chargers – forcing him to be carted from the field – turned out not to be season-ending. He returned to practice last week.

His return was just in time.

Martin, the 6-foot-3, 321-pounder taken in the third round, now is in line to step in to replace starting center Daniel Kilgore, who was hurt in Sunday night’s wipeout loss to the Denver Broncos. Kilgore reportedly suffered a broken leg and is likely out for the rest of the season.

Dillon Farrell, an undrafted rookie from New Mexico, finished the game at center for San Francisco, but Martin certainly would seem to have more upside than Farrell – if he can get back to speed quickly. Fortunatley for the 4-3 49ers, they have a bye this coming weekend and don’t play until Sunday, Nov. 2, when the Rams come to Levi’s Stadium.

The 49ers liked Martin for what he did at USC, where he played both center and guard and was an outstanding, physical blocker.

Despite his injury in the preseason, he stayed positive. Just after leaving the Chargers game with his knee injury, he tweeted: “What don’t kill me, will only make me stronger. I’ll be back better than ever before, thank you everyone for the well wishes! Love y’all.”

Martin participated fully in practices last week but wasn’t on the team’s active roster for the Broncos game.

Now, his season begins in earnest, with a chance to start against the Rams after the bye week.

Niners running back Frank Gore says somebody – Farrell or Martin – will be good to go in Kilgore’s spot.

“We wish that (Kilgore) was here, but these things happen,” Gore told Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee.

For the 49ers, a lot of “these things” have been happening, with key players dropping every week with injuries. The bye week has come at a perfect time for the wounded to heal.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[LA Kings' Slava Voynov Suspended by NHL]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 20:16:50 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/191*120/10-20-2014-kings-voynov.jpg

The National Hockey League took swift action Monday in response to the arrest of Los Angeles King Slava Voynov, suspending the 24-year-old defenseman indefinitely pending a domestic violence investigation.

Voynov was suspended "indefinitely from all club activities pending a formal investigation by the National Hockey League of an arrest this morning on charges of domestic violence," according to a statement from the NHL.

The league's collective bargaining agreement allows for the suspension of a player during a criminal investigation. Details regarding the arrest and investigation were not immediately available, but the league's action came just hours after Voynov's arrest, which occurred Monday at about 2 a.m. in Redondo Beach, Los Angeles County Jail records show.

Police told NBC4 they arrested Voynov at Little Company of St. Mary Hospital in Torrance after medical personnel contacted authorities regarding a victim who was the subject of a domestic violence call.

"The injury was severe enough that it did require treatment," said Lt Joe Hoffman, of the Redondo Beach Police Department.

Redondo Beach officers intially responded to the neighborhood where Voynov and his family live after a caller reported that a female "could be heard screaming for the past 20 minutes," according to a police department statement. The caller directed officers to the house from which the sounds were heard, but police received no response after attempting to contact the home's occupants.

Torrance police later contacted Redondo Beach police regarding the hospitalized woman.

Voynov posted $50,000 bail around 8 a.m. and his first court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 1 in Torrance.

"We're still investigating with the police," Voynov attorney Craig Renetzky told the Associated Press. "It's very early on in the proceedings. We're just asking everybody to be patient, because arrests don't always lead to charges and convictions."

Voynov, named to the 2014 Russian Olympic hockey team, was drafted by the Kings in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. He is in the second of a six-year contract with the 2014 Stanley Cup champions and one of four Kings to play in all 82 games last season.

The team issued a statement Monday morning: "These developments are of great concern to our organization.  We support the NHL's decision to suspend Slava Voynov indefinitely during this process, and we will continue to take appropriate action as the legal proceedings and the investigation by the NHL take their course."

The case follows other recent domestic violence investigations that involved high-profile professional athletes, including NFL running back Ray Rice. The Rice case and video of the assault in a casino elevator led to a new NFL policy regarding domestic violence offenders.

Unlike the NFL and NBA, the NHL and Major League Baseball do not have policies specific to domestic violence. Penalties are usually handed out at the discretion of the commissioner on a case-by-case basis.

The NHL's immediate action in the Voynov case stands in contrast to its handling last season of a domestic violence investigation involving Colorado Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov, who was not suspended and continued playing with the team during the investigation.

Charges in that case were eventually dropped.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly addressed the two cases in an email Monday to The Hockey News.

"I think the landscape has changed for all of us over the past six months," Daly said in the email. "But that's not the only reason for the difference in treatment. Circumstances were different in Varlamov. I can’t get more specific than that."

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman was asked about the league's response to domestic violence issues in a USA Today article published at the start of this season.

"(Domestic violence prevention) is something we've been doing with the Players' Association for more than a decade," Bettman told USA Today in the Oct. 8 article. "As a league, we have more than enough mechanism and authority to punish if necessary in the appropriate case. We haven't seen too many though. We focus on counseling and education with the Players Association. The NHL’s Security Department does that each year in its meetings with each team."

Under Section 18-A.5 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the NHL can suspend a player "pending the League's formal review and disposition of the matter where the failure to suspend the Player during this period would create a substantial risk of material harm to the legitimate interests and/or reputation of the League."

Voynov had an assist in the Kings' win Sunday at Staples Center over the Minnesota Wild. The Kings' next game is Thursday at Staples Center against Buffalo.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Now Comes the Hard Part for Winless Raiders]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 06:13:09 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/178*120/oakochsprno.jpg

Late in Sunday’s Raiders game against Arizona, the Cardinals’ Darnell Dockett held up a sign to the Oakland fans who’d been taunting him. 

“Worst team in NFL,” it said. “0-6.” 

Unfortunately, 0-6 might just be the start of the pain for Raiders fans this season. Except for the team’s next opponent, Cleveland – which lost to the previously winless Jaguars this past weekend – there doesn’t seem to be a winnable game on the Raiders’ entire schedule. 

In essence, the Raiders have gotten through the “easy” part of their season. They couldn’t beat the Jets, the Texans or the Dolphins, all of whom appeared vulnerable. And they let two good teams, the Patriots and Chargers, escape with victories when they were on the ropes. 

Now, after the 3-3 Browns this Sunday in Cleveland, come (in order): the Super Bowl champion Seahawks, the 5-1 Broncos who tore apart the 49ers Sunday night, the Chargers in San Diego, the Chiefs, the Rams (who just toppled Seattle), the 49ers, the Chiefs again, the 4-3 Bills and, finally, the Broncos in Denver.

Under new head coach Tony Sparano, the Raiders appear to be playing with more zest than they did under the now-fired Dennis Allen. But how much does zest count for when the defense is often overmatched and can’t come up with big plays in key late-game situations? 

“This is as bad as you’re going to et through the first part of the season,” veteran Raiders safety Charles Woodson told reporters after Sunday’s 24-13 loss to Arizona at O.co Coliseum. “We haven’t won a game. How much worse can it get than that, than not winning a game?” 

After the Raiders started 0-4, one number-crunching website, numberFire.com, gave the Raiders just a 2.14 percent chance of going 0-16. After all, it’s hard to go 0-16. Only the Detroit Lions of 2008 have been able to do it. At that time, the Jaguars (6 percent) were made the more likely winless team. 

But now the Jags are on the winning track and the Raiders are still searching. The website pointed to the Week 13 game in St. Louis as Oakland’s best chance for a win, giving it a 40.5 percent chance of victory.

For now, however, it looks like the Raiders are going to need some huge breaks to get that first victory. 

After watching his team lose for the 12th consecutive week, dating to the 2013 season, Sparano is staying positive. The schedule doesn’t look optimistic, but he is. 

“I’m going to work as long as I have to work to get this thing done the right way,” he said at his postgame news conference. “The team we play next week (Browns) got beat by a team today, to the best of my knowledge, that is in a similar situation. So we just have to work our tails off right now.” 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Niners Buried by Broncos' Scoring Avalanche]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 20:57:56 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/ManningRecTD.jpg

It was still early in the second quarter Sunday night in Denver when the Broncos, already up 14-3, were driving for another touchdown.

“Wow,” said analyst Cris Collinsworth on the NBC TV coverage. “We’re in Colorado, and this has the feel of an avalanche.

He was right.

The Broncos then scored on Peyton Manning’s third touchdown pass of the night – the 509th of his career, breaking Brett Favre’s NFL record – and Denver had a 21-3 lead en route to a Rocky Mountain massacre.

The Broncos won, 42-17 , to break San Francisco’s three-game winning streak and drop San Francisco back to 4-3.

On this night on a nationally televised stage, the 49ers defense was no match for Manning’s mastery. Playing without linebackers Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman and Aldon Smith and missing defensive backs Chris Culliver and Jimmie Ward, Manning and his excellent receiving corps had a field day. It was the most points allowed by the 49ers defense since Jim Harbaugh became head coach.

Before being relieved after three quarters, Manning was 22-of-26 for 318 yards, four TDs and no interceptions. Eight of those throws went to Demaryius Thomas, who caught eight passes for 171 yards and two scores. The Broncos running game, too, slashed one of the NFL’s best rush defenses.

This was an across-the-board wipeout.

From the start, the 49ers offense couldn’t generate any consistency, meaning Manning and Co. kept getting the ball back quickly, then adding points.

The Niners went three-and-out on their first possession, had a drive stall before missing a field goal and went three-and-out again before finally getting a Phil Dawson field goal when a long drive from their own 13 stalled at the Broncos’ 4. That’s when the Broncos drove for their third score on Manning’s record-breaking TD pass.

In addition to the 49ers’ bad night on both sides of the ball, San Francisco lost cornerback Chris Cook (hamstring) and center Daniel Kilgore. Kilgore had to be carted off the field – so his loss could be long-term.

Fortunately, the beatdown in Denver only counts as one loss. In the NFC West, the 49ers are still in the hunt (behind the 5-1 Cardinals and ahead of the 3-3 Seahawks) and now have a bye week to get a bit healthier and regroup before their next game on Sunday, Nov. 2 against the visiting Rams.

As former NFL scout and ESPN analyst Matt Williamson tweeted late in the game, “Brutal night for the #49ers, but like I said on Friday’s Podcast: Just stay alive and make your run in December when it matters most.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Aldon Smith Could Have Suspension Reduced: Report]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 20:02:41 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/tlmd_aldon_smith.jpg

A report out Sunday night said San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith could have his nine-game suspension reduced.

South Bay 49ers fans watched the game against the Denver Broncos Sunday night at the San Jose Bar & Grill--and saw the team could have used him.

According to Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, the league may reduce his suspension by a game or two due to good behavior. If it is reduced two games, the suspension would be over.

As it stands, he would come back for the game on Nov. 16.

The NFL suspended him last August for violating conduct and substance abuse policies.

But according to Comcast SportsNet Bay Area's Matt Maiocco, 49ers General Manager Trent Baalke said he has no knowledge of any suspension reduction.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Raiders Have Hope, But No Victories]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 17:34:21 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/178*120/StepfanTayy.jpg

After watching his Raiders almost topple the Chargers last week, new head coach Tony Sparano went into Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals with hope.

“If those guys can give me that kind of effort going forward here, this thing is going to turn,” he said.

Well, not this week.

The Raiders lost again, this time by a 24-13 score to visiting Arizona, dropping to 0-6 this season, their 12th consecutive loss. And, after Jacksonville’s victory over Cleveland earlier Sunday, the Raiders now rank as the NFL’s only winless team.

The Raiders spotted Arizona a 14-0 lead, and it proved too much to overcome.

With just over four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, down by just eight points, the Raiders still had a chance to get the ball back if they could make a third-down stop. But on a third-and-8 from their own 41, Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer hit a wide-open John Brown for 22 yards to the Raiders’ 37. Then, just over three minutes left, the Cardinals converted another third-and-8, with Palmer hitting Andre Ellington for 10 yards.

The Cardinals held onto the ball long enough tack on a 41-yard field goal to increase their lead to 24-13 and lock up the game with just 33 seconds remaining.

As the San Francisco Chronicle’s Vic Tafur noted, the Raiders had come in dead last in the NFL in third-down defense, with successful stops just 51 percent of the time. Those two conversions by Arizona made them successful on 9-of-14 Sunday. With the game still in reach, the defense didn’t get the job done when it needed to.

After the Cardinals built their 14-0 lead, Oakland came back to make it a game on a short touchdown run by Darren McFadden and two Sebastian Janikowski field goals.

For the second straight game, rookie quarterback Derek Carr showed promise, completed 16-of-28 for 173 yards, including a 55-yard completion to a streaking Brice Butler. But Oakland couldn’t come up with key third-down conversions on the drives that ended in field goals, and the defense couldn’t contain Palmer (22-of-31 for 253 yards and two TDs), or the 1-2 running back duo of Ellington and Stepfan Taylor (128 yards rushing).

As the hopeful Sparano had said before the game, “this thing is a marathon.” He knows it may take time. But, he said, “We’re going to get it right.”

Until then, the 0-6 Raiders are now in the lead for the No. 1 pick in the 2015 draft. But, opportunity awaits.

Next Sunday, the Raiders travel to face the Browns – who lost to the Jaguars this week.

If there’s a winnable game on the schedule, this is it.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Best of NFL: Week 7]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 20:38:23 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/457509990.jpg Don't miss the most dramatic images from the seventh week of the 2014 NFL season.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bay Area Kansas City Royals Fans: "We Just Want Them to Win"]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 16:19:22 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/royalsfans.JPG

Meet the Johnsons — possibly the bravest people in San Francisco right now.

Ron and Kimberly Johnson, who live in Lafayette but are supporting the Kansas City Royals, decided to dress up in Royals gear and pose for TV crews and passers-by in front of AT&T Park in San Francisco Saturday.

They brought their three children along as well, who held a "KC Loyal" sign. "Our kids made the sign at school," Kimberly Johnson said smiling.

When asked what kind of reaction they were getting from San Francisco Giants fans walking by them, Ron Johnson said: "People have been mostly civil, except this one guy who got kinda angry."

The last time the Royals were in a World Series was in 1985, when they won the championship. Giants fans are going to extreme lengths to show support for their team — which won two of the last four World Series — with at least two local radio stations pulling Lorde's "Royals" from their playlist. Turns out, Lorde herself was inspired by an old photo of Royals third baseman and Hall of Famer George Brett, which prompted her to write the song.

As for what could have possibly motivated the Johnsons to do something like this — just a few days before the Giants face off against the Royals for Game 1 of the World Series — Ron said it was "our way to show support for our team."

"I've been a Royals fan for a long time and idolized George Brett as a kid," he said.

"We just want them to win," his wife chimed in. "And we'd really really love to get some tickets to the game."

<![CDATA[Giants World Series Tickets Start at Around $550 on StubHub]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 16:11:22 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/457329374_8.jpg

San Francisco Giants fans wanting to attend World Series games at AT&T Park will have to pay a pretty penny to see the game -- even just to stand and watch.

Ticket prices on StubHub for Game 3 in San Francisco, as of Saturday night, were starting at $550, just for standing room only. For fans wanting to sit down, the cheapest seats were going for about $700.

The most expensive Game 3 seat costs about $27,500 in the Premium Field Club section.

And for those wanting to buy parking passes for Game 3 on StubHub, the cheapest rate is $222, as of Sunday morning.

For those trying to buy tickets on the Giants' official web site, it says, "There is limited or no ticket availability left for this game. Click the Buy link below to continue to search for tickets."

The average ticket prices for World Series games in Kansas City are even higher, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Here's another option:

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[SJ Earthquakes Fans Say Goodbye to Buck Shaw Stadium]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 01:04:44 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sj_earthquakes_final_game.jpg

Over 10,000 San Jose Earthquakes fans packed Buck Shaw Stadium to capacity for the professional soccer team’s final home game on the Santa Clara University campus.

The Earthquakes marked the end of seven seasons at Buck Shaw Stadium with a 0-0 draw against the Vancouver Whitecaps.

Die-hard fans, calling themselves the Casbah, held a funeral, complete with tombstones and a corpse. But they're ready for a fresh start.

"We’re in last place, you know. And there’s no way but up," Earthquakes fan Luis Cuellar said. "And I was just thinking without death, there’s no resurrection. So that gave me the idea for a funeral.”

The Earthquake’s new stadium near San Jose International Airport is expected to be finished in March and can seat almost double their last home. It opens just a few months after Levi’s Stadium debuted as the San Francisco 49ers' new venue.

The Earthquakes and 49ers join the long-time established San Jose Sharks as making the South Bay a sports destination with appealing stands.

“Silicon Valley has a lot of wealth and innovation and ideas," Earthquakes President Dave Kaval said. "I think the active lifestyle that sports has I think is a good connection with what people do in Silicon Valley.”

Lily Mae’s restaurant has already seen a boost in customers because of the 49ers' new stadium.

Adding the Earthquake’s new place will just extend the flow of big-spending sports fans another few months after football season.

“We’re like ‘Come on. Come on!’ So we can offer you all these drinks," Lily Mae's owner Rhonda Manning said. "We got a great Kool-Aid mimosa. We’re ready to go!”

Just this week, the Earthquakes fired their coach after an awful 2014 season. So, this is truly new beginnings for the team.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Don't Forget: Giants' Ishikawa Nearly Retired]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 16:53:26 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/457343240_8.jpg

Before he retired the Cardinals with his now-legendary 9th inning blast, Travis Ishikawa almost retired himself.

Earlier this season, at the ripe old age of 31, the journeyman first baseman was four years removed from his last regular job in the Major Leagues, with the 2010 World Series-winning San Francisco Giants, and struggling to stick with a team, any team.

An April job with the Pirates ended quickly, and Ishikawa was faced with a harsh reality: accept a minor league contract, or accept the fact that he might be done.

He picked the former, from his old boss, Brian Sabean and the Giants.

That meant trekking down to Fresno, where his family drove to watch him toil in the minors. That was when he thought about quitting, his wife, Rochelle, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

That is, until injuries to the Giants' normal lineup led to a July callup.

Ishikawa was back, and he stuck around and played his way onto the postseason roster and into the starting left fielders' position, a job he'd only performed three times in the regular season.

He was there Thursday for his bat, despite a poor play earlier in the game, and was left there by manager Bruce Bochy even in the late innings, when other skippers might have gone with the defensive replacement.

The Giants travel to Kansas City for Game 1 against the Royals on Tuesday night.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ishikawa's Walk Off Special to Internment Camp Survivors]]> Sat, 18 Oct 2014 19:09:08 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/457340162_8.jpg

Travis Ishikawa will live on forever in San Francisco Giants history after his walk-off, three-run home run clinched the National League pennant and sent the team to its third World Series in five seasons

"It's a dream come true -- with all that I've been through in the past five years," he said after the game. "To not even know if I was going to be playing anymore or even be here this season, to be here right now -- it's special."

It's no secret that Ishikawa has had a tough year, but he hung on to baseball -- just like his ancestors did.

Ishikawa is in a small club of Japanese Americans in the Major Leagues, honing a sport that they once played to survive.

"I can remember playing baseball in camp quite a bit and traveling from one corner of the camp to another to play other teams in the camp," said Joe Yasutake, an internment camp survivor.

It was baseball that helped keep spirits up after Japanese Americans were ordered in 1942 by the U.S. government to be moved into internment camps.

Ishikawa's own paternal grandparents were sent to internment camps in Colorado.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Will Clark, Matt Williams Reflect on 1989 Quake]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 11:54:00 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/216*120/2014-10-17_17-14-32.jpg

Decades later, San Francisco Giants players and coaches still have vivid and indellible memories of the 6.9-magnitude Oct. 17, 1989 quake that rocked the Bay Area.

In this video (in the player above) produced by Giants Clubhouse back in 2009, former Giants stars Matt Williams and Will Clark, skipper Roger Craig and broadcasters Joe Morgan and Mike Krukow revisit the moment the World Series stopped.

“The asphalt was just rolling under your feet,” recalled Criag.

“Willie {Mays) and I were just looking at each other, and Willie in his high-pitched voice says, ‘Let’s get out of here!’” said Morgan.

“I looked into the outfield down the left field line and down the right field line and saw the dust falling from the upper deck,” said Williams. “And then I got scared. Not for me, but for my family.”

“As soon as I looked up I could see the light towers going 'wham,'" recalled Clark. "I was like this is not good."

You can watch the full story in the video player at the top of this page.

Photo Credit: Giants Clubhouse]]>
<![CDATA["War Machine" Attempts Suicide: PD]]> Sat, 18 Oct 2014 10:54:24 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/War-Machine-vegas-MMA.jpg

A professional mixed martial arts fighter accused of beating his porn star ex-girlfriend and one of her male friends tried to commit suicide in a Las Vegas jail, authorities said.

Jonathan "War Machine" Koppenhaver, 32, was found Tuesday in a cell at the Clark County Detention Center sitting on the floor with his feet resting on the bunk, Las Vegas Metropolitan police said in a statement.

The officer noticed what appeared to be a torn piece of linen around his neck that was tied to the leg of his bunk, police said.

The officer called to Koppenhaver several times, but he did not respond, according to police. When the officer went inside the cell he noticed that Koppenhaver was struggling to breathe, police said.

The officer cut the ligature from Koppenhaver’s neck and his breathing became less strained and he started to speak, police said.

Koppenhaver was moved to a medical isolation cell, where he was placed on suicide watch.

Police said they found a suicide note inside Koppenhaver’s cell.

Koppenhaver, a former porn actor, was booked into Clark County jail in August.

He's accused of beating adult film actress Christy Mack and her male friend at a Las Vegas home on Aug. 8 before fleeing to the Los Angeles suburb of Simi Valley, where he was arrested a week later.

Koppenhaver faces charges including attempted murder and dozens of assault counts.

Koppenhaver made his Ultimate Fighting Championship debut in 2007 and legally changed his name in 2008. He lost his only pay-per-view bout that same year.

He fought out of San Diego for a variety of promotions and had a 14-5 record as a welterweight. He lost his last fight, in Iowa, last October.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Simi Valley Police/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Raiders May See Holes in Cardinals' Coverage]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 09:42:19 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/176*120/JhayJonesTD.jpg

The Arizona Cardinals come to Oakland Saturday as the surprising No. 1 team in the NFC West.

The Cardinals are 4-1, are the third-ranked defense in the NFL against the run and have some dynamic playmakers, such as wide receivers Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd and defensive end Calais Campbell.

At 0-5 and with an 11-game losing streak, the Raiders hardly seem like a team that could pull an upset Sunday at O.co Coliseum. Oakland, after all, hasn’t beaten a team with a winning record in 42 games, dating to Nov. 27, 2011. NFL oddsmakers have made the Cards 4-point favorites.

But there are a couple of silver linings for the Raiders, who are coming off their most explosive game of the season offensively.

First, the Raiders passing game may be able to take advantage of a Cardinals secondary that has been suspect through its first five games. And second, Oakland’s offensive line has been giving rookie quarterback Derek Carr time to throw. That combination may allow the Raiders to score, stay in the game – and perhaps pull out an upset late in the game if Arizona makes a mistake or two.

Carr, coming off a four-touchdown game against the Chargers, may be able to make some plays against the Arizona secondary, especially with receivers such as Andre Holmes, James Jones and Brice Butler playing well. According to NFL.com, Cardinals cornerbacks Patrick Peterson and Antonio Cromartie have been very beatable this season. Quarterbacks have a 132.4 rating when targeting Peterson, who’s allowed four TD receptions; Cromartie has allowed a QB rating of 103.2.

And the Oakland blockers have been very protective of Carr.  He's been sacked just three times. That, combined with his quick release, may give Carr time to go after Peterson and Cromartie for big gains.

Oakland offensive coordinator Greg Olson told reporters this week the protection, avoiding sacks and getting the ball out quickly have been points of emphasis for the offense.

“It’s everybody together,” he said. “Running backs, offensive line, the qurterback getting the ball out, wide receivers knowing when to break off the route and sight adjust or look hot. I think everyone’s involved in that and it’s encouraging. I think that’s one of the encouraging things that we’ve seen and it’s really encouraging when you have a young quarterback.”

The Raiders may be forced to throw, because running against Arizona has been very tough. Arizona is giving up just 75.8 yards per game on the ground.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Niners Face Toughest Test vs. Broncos]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 16:28:56 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/kaeppieramz.jpg

The 49ers have won three straight games, including a comeback performance on the road Monday night against the St. Louis Rams.

San Francisco is playing tough defense, and quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been as effective as he’s ever been since winning the starting job.

Yet going into Sunday night’s nationally televised game against the defending AFC champion Broncos in Denver, the 49ers are decided underdogs. The Broncos are 7-point favorites of oddsmakers, while NFL pundits and analysts all have jumped on the Denver bandwagon in this one.

At NFL.com, for instance, all five writers picking games this weekend are going with the Broncos.

Of course, there are good reasons for the Niners to be the underdog. They’re on the road at altitude in a short preparation week; standout inside linebacker Patrick Willis is out, and so, too, should be guard Mike Iupati and defensive back Jimmie Ward; the 49ers’ pass rush – a must against Broncos QB Peyton Manning -- has been inconsistent; and the Denver defense has been solid against the run, allowing just 3.3 yards per carry, fifth best in the NFL.

Still, the 49ers have been a resilient group that has rebounded from a 1-2 start and injuries and absences of key players to regain momentum. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio is very familiar with Manning, and may be able to come up with a scheme to help slow him down. San Francisco’s defense has been a surprising unit, coming up with big plays at unexpected times from unexpected players.

Plus, Kaepernick and the 49ers offense have been scoring points. The run game was dominant in wins over the Eagles and Chiefs, and then the passing game took the lead role in the win over the Rams.

Denver head coach John Fox told reporters this week that the 49ers balance – as well as Kaepernick’s ability to break down defenses with his running ability – makes it very difficult to defend them.

“They have both ways to come at you,” Fox said. “You try to create balance in this league because people can lean on one dimension or the other, so I think it’s a very good roster offensively. You have a very good offensive line; a Pro Bowl tight end; you’ve added receivers with 1,000-yard seasons; you’ve got a couple of capable backs; and Colin is a guy who can hurt you with his legs as well as arm.”

To run their winning streak to four, the 49ers will have to play their best game to date.


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Giants "We Own the Pennant" T-Shirts Flying Off Shelves]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 14:11:03 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/pennant2.jpg

Get your orange on while you still can.

"We Own the Pennant" t-shirts were flying off store shelves within minutes of the San Francisco Giants winning the NL Championship series — a dramatic 6-3 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals in game 5 Thursday night.

The World Series is not only good news for the Giants and their fans, but Bay Area businesses as well.

Official San Francisco Giants NL pennant shirts were coming off the presses at Graphic Sportswear late Thursday night, with 25,000 to be printed by Friday morning. Todd Wong was one of the first to get his hands on a pennant t-shirt, dropping $70 for two shirts as soon as the Dugout store opened at AT&T Park Friday morning.

"I'm a big fan, I've been a big fan since I was a kid — my dad and I would always go to the games," Wong said.

Tickets to watch the Giants face off the Kansas City Royals at AT&T Park next week are even more expensive, starting at $500 on StubHub. Crews are working around the clock to update the post-season paint on the field with the World Series logo.

Giants fan Lauren Wang said she spent $2,700 on three tickets for her family.

"It was an arm and a leg — but how many times do you get to go to the World Series?" she said.

Photo Credit: MCT via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Levi's Stadium Assault Witnesses Urged to Step Forward]]> Thu, 16 Oct 2014 16:27:04 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/722-triple-gore.jpg

Police investigating the beating of two men inside a crowded Levi’s Stadium restroom that left one of the victims in serious condition are asking for more witnesses to come forward.

The alleged Oct. 5 attack by Amador Rebollero, 27, and his brother, 34-year-old Dario Rebollero, both from the town of Traver in Tulare County, injured one man and put his cousin in the hospital. Prosecutors said Thursday the victim in more serious condition is “partially paralyzed” 11 days after the attack.

Authorities have not identified the victims.

“The investigation is on-going and anyone with information is being asked to come forward and speak with investigators,” Santa Clara Police Lt. Kurt Clarke said in a release.

Prosecutors say the attack happened when the possibly-paralyzed victim was in line in the men’s room behind Amador Rebollero and “nudged” him on the shoulder to point out an available urinal.

A video posted on YouTube, which was confirmed by police as showing the fight in question, shows a stocky man with a goatee wearing a No. 21 Frank Gore shirt punching a thinner man in a Colin Kaepernick No. 7 shirt. The thinner man falls flat on the floor. The video camera stays with this man for a while, showing him motionless.

The witness told police he started filming "because he could sense an attack," and then Amador Rebellero threw punches at the man without warning.

After the assault, both defendants, who prosecutors say have gang tattoos, fled from the bathroom, but were soon tracked down and arrested by officers.

The Rebollero brothers were arraigned last week on felony assault charges.

Anyone with information on the case is asked to call Santa Clara PD Sgt. Carreira at (408) 615-4849 or Sgt. Parker at (408) 615-4813. A message can also be left on the police department’s tip-line at (408) 241-9495.

<![CDATA[Limping but Effective 49ers Defense Will be Challenged]]> Thu, 16 Oct 2014 08:47:30 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/peyvsnynerz.jpg

Even if the 49ers defense were at full strength, Sunday night’s game against the Broncos in Denver would be a challenge.

The 4-1 Broncos and quarterback Peyton Manning are averaging 389 yards per game and rank No. 3 in the NFL by scoring 29.4 points per game.

Now the 4-2 49ers – already without standout linebackers NaVorro Bowman and Aldon Smith – go into this Sunday night clash likely without All-Pro inside linebacker Patrick Willis and defensive back Jimmie Ward, both injured in the victory over the Rams on Monday night.

The Niners defense has been terrific of late, as young players and backups have stepped in, learned and prospered. San Francisco ranks No. 2 in the NFL in total defense, giving up just 287.2 yards per game. But how long can the 49ers continue to patch holes and stay afloat? Especially against Manning, who is so adept at studying film and picking apart weaknesses.

San Francisco defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, however, has been a miracle worker, adjusting for absences and getting the most out of players such as cornerback Perrish Cox, nose takle Ian Williams and linebackers Michael Wilhoite, Aaron Lynch, Dan Skuta and Chris Borland, who would play for Willis Sunday if his toe injury doesn’t come around quickly.

In speaking with Bay Area reporters Wednesday on a conference call, Manning says the 49ers will be strong defensively, even without some of their best players.

“They have excellent players, well coached,” he said. “Tough against the run. They do a great job of first down. That’s where they get a lot of their stops. Everybody think it’s all about third down, but they stop teams on first down and make third down awfully tough.”

Manning also knows all about Fangio, having played in Indianapolis when Fangio was defensive coordinator with the Colts four seasons.

“I used to enjoy talking ball with him and competing against his defenses in practice,” said Manning. “It was always competitive, and the different places he’s been, his teams have always been very well coached.”

One thing that might bode well for the 49ers is that they finally got a pass rush in the victory over the Rams, getting five Monday night to match their total for the previous five games.

If the 49ers can get some pressure on Manning Sunday night – just as they did in St. Louis – they might be able to stop the Broncos, even with all their spare parts. But as 49es head coach Jim Harbaugh noted, it will be a challenge. Perhaps the biggest so far this season.

“Big challenge. Huge task,” Harbaugh told reporters Wednesday. “Great quarterback, capital ‘G’ at the highest level. And that competitive challenge is something that I think our team, our defense, will be up for.”


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Carr Gets Chance to Show He's For Real]]> Thu, 16 Oct 2014 08:33:57 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/sdvskahr.jpg

After his big game against the Chargers this past weekend, Derek Carr is getting some national notice.

The rookie quarterback may be 0-5 as a starter for Oakland this season, but observers aren’t putting that on Carr. Certainly, the team has been woeful in many other areas, including on defense, on the line and in the running game.

As Carr gets ready for his next test, leading the 0-5 Raiders against the NFC West-leading Arizona Cardinals this Sunday afternoon at O.co Coliseum, people are seeing big growth in a player who just might be the guy to lead a franchise turnaround.

Current NFL.com analyst and former longtime Dallas Cowboys executive Gil Brandt, for one, is a big believer in the first-year QB from Fresno State who had his best day in the 31-28 loss to San Diego, throwing for 282 yards and four TDs while positing a quarterback rating that was his best by far this season (107.7).

“That performance – which included touchdown passes of 77 and 47 yards – showed this Oakland team is not like its predecessors in terms of downfield ability,” wrote Brandt this week. “And it demonstrated Carr’s promise. He has great touch on the ball and outstanding competitiveness. He’s a mature guy, but he’s also a fighter, and I see plenty of big days ahead for him.”

For the season now, Carr is 102-of-167 (61.1 percent) for 1,016 yards, eight TDs and five interceptions, with an 81.8 quarterback rating.

Carr posted his numbers despite playing with a knee and ankle injuries suffered in the loss to the Dolphins in London on Sept. 28. Those injuries are still bothering him, but not enough to keep him off the field.

As Bill Williamson of ESPN.com reported, Carr was reported limited in practice Wednesday for the fourth straight practice because of those problems, but it’s not going to keep him from playing Sunday against Arizona.

At this point, Carr is settling in and taking command. When Dennis Allen was fired as head coach and replaced by Tony Sparano, Carr was given the go-ahead to play more aggressively, and the result was a breakout game against a solid Chargers team.

“I’m the same person,” Carr told reporters this week. “I didn’t change who I was. But instead of sitting back and not stepping on toes, he (Sparano) said, ‘It’s your team. It’s your team, take it over. That means you can demand more now. We’re past the rookie step. There’s no more rookie. You’re the leader of this football team. The franchise, here, now go.’ Now I can demand things from guys.”

So, what Raiders fans may now see for the remaining 11 games is a more wide-open offense and a more gunslinging Carr. He showed in the game against the Chargers that he’s got a strong, accurate arm and he’s not afraid to use it.

Oakland still may not come away with very many victories in 2014 – just one would be different – but if Carr can develop and show this franchise that he can be a playmaker this season, the Raiders can be comfortable in building around him and not having to worry if they need a quarterback.

A key test comes Sunday against a talented Arizona defense. Carr had one terrific game. Can he put together two in a row?

If he can, it will appear even to people outside the organization that the Raiders have found their guy, and it’s Derek Carr.


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Giants Fans Happy to Pay $100 to Park]]> Thu, 16 Oct 2014 14:06:28 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/150-parking.jpg

Talk about green-collar baseball.

Some San Francisco Giants fans are shelling out stacks of greenbacks for the pleasure of parking their cars around AT&T Park, according to reports.

A parking spot around the ballpark is now fetching $100 or more, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Emphasis on "more." 

And for the most part, Giants fans appear to be paying the piper cheerfully. One fan, 50-year-old Steve Ladrech, of Martinez, told the paper that $70 to park "isn't horrible," nothing "it's the playoffs."

Giants-owned lots, which can accomodate as many as 3,000 cars, are charging $45 to park instead of the normal $30 during the regular season.

For once, the on-street parking with meters charging as much as $7 an hour seemed to be the best bargain. Those spots were long gone before the first pitch, however.

Photo Credit: Brodie Brazil]]>
<![CDATA[Giants Win Game 4, Lead NLCS 3-1]]> Thu, 16 Oct 2014 06:20:53 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/457282342_8.jpg

The San Francisco Giants took Game 4 of the National League Championship Series against the St. Louis Cardinals with a 6-4 win.

Wednesday night's win at AT&T Park gives the Giants a 3-1 series lead over the Cardinals.

Game 5 is scheduled for 5 p.m. Thursday at AT&T Park and will feature a rematch of Game 1 starters Madison Bumgarner of the Giants and Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals.

Visit NBC Bay Area's San Francisco Giants page for more coverage.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Kamara James, U.S. Fencing Olympian, Dies in Modesto]]> Thu, 16 Oct 2014 08:52:48 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/KamaraJames.jpg

Kamara James, a former U.S. fencing Olympian, died suddenly in Modesto this month, USA Fencing announced.

James, a New York City native, was 29. The cause of death was not announced, but friends and former teammates noted that the Princeton graduate had battled mental illness.

James was an outstanding scholar, using near-perfect SAT scores to secure an academic scholarship to Princeton. She took a year off from college to qualify for the Olympics, and raised more than $50,000 to pay her own way there, according to USFencing.org.

She had retired from fencing after the 2004 Games.

According to friends, James had just settled down into a "stable drug regimen" to soothe her mental illness before her death.

Details of a memorial service are pending.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story used an incorrect photo to identify Kamara James.

Photo Credit: Photo Credit: Keeth Smart via www.usfencing.org]]>
<![CDATA[Giants Take Game 3, Lead NLCS 2-1]]> Tue, 14 Oct 2014 18:40:51 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/walk-off-win-sf-giants.jpg

The San Francisco Giants took Game 3 of the National League Championship Series in dramatic fashion by defeating the St. Louis Cardinals 5-4 in the bottom of the 10th inning.

Tuesday's win at AT&T Park gives the Giants a 2-1 lead over the Cardinals in the NLCS.

Game 4 is scheduled for 5 p.m. Wednesday at AT&T Park and will feature a pitching match up between Ryan Vogelsong of the Giants and Shelby Miller of the Cardinals.

Visit NBC Bay Area's San Francisco Giants page for more coverage.

Photo Credit: Getty]]>
<![CDATA[Randle Faces Shoplifting Charge]]> Tue, 14 Oct 2014 17:31:13 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/joseph-randle-mugshot-inset.jpg

Frisco police say they arrested Dallas Cowboys running back Joseph Randle for allegedly shoplifting $123 in underwear and cologne Monday night at Stonebriar Centre Mall.

According to police, Randle, 22, was stopped by Dillards loss prevention employees and detained at about 8:15 p.m. after they saw him make a purchase at a counter and then walk to another part of the store where he allegedly put a tester bottle of Gucci Guilty Black cologne ($84) and a 2-pack of black Polo underwear ($39.50) into his Dillards bag.

When he left the store and into the parking lot, he was stopped by store employees.

After Frisco police compared the contents of Randle's Dillards bag with his receipt and watched surveillance footage of him in the store, he was placed under arrest on a Class B misdemeanor for theft between $50 and $500 and put into a Frisco police car.

While there, the officer said Randle said if he knew he was going to be arrested he would have just kept walking to his car.

According to the police report, Randle told officers that he didn't pay for the merchandise because he did not want to take the time to do it.

After being booked into jail, Randle posted $350 bond and was released at about 1:20 a.m. Tuesday.

Randle, a second-year player out of Oklahoma State who was drafted by the Cowboys in the fifth round of the 2013 NFL Draft, is a backup running back for the team. In six games this season, Randle has carried the ball 16 times for 113 yards. In 2013, the back carried the ball 54 times in 13 games for a total of 164 yards.

According to RotoWorld, in 2013 Randle signed a four-year $2.39 million contract that included a $188,820 signing bonus.  His base salary in 2014 is $495,000. He is set to make $585,000 in 2015, $675,000 in 2016 and is a free agent in 2017.

At this time, there has been no statement from the Dallas Cowboys.

NBC 5's Catherine Ross contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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<![CDATA[Giants Fans Psyched About Game 3 in Playoff Push]]> Tue, 14 Oct 2014 09:56:10 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/1013-2014-ATTPark.jpg This afternoon, more than 40,000 fans will pack AT&T Park to watch the Giants square off against the Cardinals in Game 3 of the NLCS. Stephanie Chuang reports.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>