2014 DRAFT GUIDE
49ers guard against becoming 'soft' after big win

By ANTONIO GONZALEZ - AP Sports Writer
    2012-10-03 17:27

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) - Jim Harbaugh had to go out of his way last season to keep his San Francisco 49ers focused following big wins, even inventing a fictional character to get the message across to players.

Now Freddie P. Soft is back.

Only this time, players are on the lookout.

Coming off a 34-0 victory at the New York Jets, the 49ers (3-1) are taking a more active approach to guard against complacency heading into Sunday's game against the Buffalo Bills (2-2) at Candlestick Park. Or, as San Francisco prefers, a 4-inch character who tries to sneak into team headquarters and disrupt preparation.

Harbaugh joked Wednesday that Soft showed up a few weeks ago before practice but ``other people noticed it first.'' He said experience with winning, which is no longer a surprise for a team that went 13-3 and finished a field goal shy of the Super Bowl last year, has taught his players Soft ``might be lurking'' at all times.

``We want to prevent that,'' said safety Donte Whitner, who played for Buffalo from 2006-10. ``Even coming off a win like we did last week, we pretty much erased all that. We understand that coming forward that he'll continue to come in here.''

Maybe no more so than this week.

San Francisco starts a stretch of three straight and five of six games at home against the embarrassed Bills, who make the cross-country trip after giving up 45 second-half points in a 52-28 loss to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in Buffalo. The matchup also comes after the 49ers played one of their most complete games of the Harbaugh Era, too.

The dominating defensive performance kept the Jets out of the red zone all day and re-established the 49ers as one of the NFL's elite, erasing memories of that 24-13 loss at Minnesota in Week 3 that is suddenly looking like a blip. If San Francisco wants to stay among the league's best, especially with NFC West rival Arizona winning its first four games, players understand they need to stay focused.

And with a rare warm week bringing temperatures into the mid-90s at the team's Santa Clara headquarters, an already demanding practice schedule has taken on a different tone.

``A lot of guys really don't like Wednesday practice,'' Whitner said. ``You're still sore from the previous game. There's a lot of clutter and information from the previous game we have to get cleaned up. But even on a day like today, we have to make sure we're ready.''

After all, it was last October when Harbaugh first introduced Soft to San Francisco.

Now Fredrick P. Soft, as his full name goes, has multiple handles on Twitter. Players are familiar with the nickname, and even the usually closed-off Harbaugh had a laugh about his novel nemesis, later sitting in a chair during the open locker room period eating a hot dog and talking baseball.

``There was a day, one day, I remember that there was a sighting,'' Harbaugh said of Soft. ``I just noticed like pre-practice before we got out there. He might be lurking.''

Helping the 49ers focus this week is looking at the missed opportunities in New York. And even in such a lopsided victory, there were still noticeable miscues.

Chief among them: the still stagnant passing game.

Alex Smith completed 12 of 21 passes for 143 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions. But he only completed 2 of 6 attempts beyond 20 yards, and the deep-threat some thought Randy Moss could be has remained absent.

Meaning once again, Soft could be present.

``You only seem to be as happy as your last game,'' Smith said. ``As a quarterback, it's always, `I could've done better' or `What are the throws I could've made' or `What could I've done differently?'

``The bottom line is getting the win. Obviously, it was a great win. Looking to get better and move on toward the Bills.''

---

Notes: RB Brandon Jacobs could make his season debut Sunday against Buffalo. Jacobs, who has declared himself healthy enough to play, practiced Wednesday with a brace around his left knee. ... LB Patrick Willis was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week. He had 10 tackles, one interception and two passes defensed against the Jets. ``Anytime one of us gets an award, the mindset we have with this team is when we win, we all win,'' Willis said. ``When one person does good, we all do good.''

---

Antonio Gonzalez can be reached at: www.twitter.com/agonzalezAP

---

Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Alfred MorrisNov 23 11:52p

Washington Redskins RB Alfred Morris averaged 6.0 yards per attempt on 21 carries in the Week 12 game against the San Francisco 49ers. It was his first 100-yard game [ More ]

Larry FitzgeraldNov 23 10:32p

Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald's (knee) sprained knee did not respond as hoped before the Week 12 game against the Seattle Seahawks, so he was inactive. He could well miss more games.

Doug MartinNov 23 10:23p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Doug Martin (ankle) returned to the lineup in Week 12 against the Chicago Bears. He carried 11 times for 27 yards. He was sidelined for [ More ]

Michael FloydNov 23 10:22p

Arizona Cardinals WR Michael Floyd was targeted twice in the Week 12 game against the Seattle Seahawks, but he did not record any catches or offensive statistics.

DeAndre HopkinsNov 23 09:33p

Houston Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins posted five receptions for 39 yards in Week 12 against the Cincinnati Bengals. He is now over 100 receptions for the first time in his career.

Jorvorskie LaneNov 23 09:33p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers FB Jorvorskie Lane (ankle) was carted off in the second quarter of the Week 12 game against the Chicago Bears due to what head coach Lovie [ More ]

Mike EvansNov 23 09:33p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Mike Evans had three receptions for 47 yards and a touchdown in the Week 12 game against the Chicago Bears. He has now scored at [ More ]

Ryan MallettNov 23 09:33p

Houston Texans QB Ryan Mallett (pectoral) suffered a pectoral injury in the Week 12 game against the Cincinnati Bengals, and he will go for an MRI. He might miss [ More ]

A.J. GreenNov 23 09:22p

Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green posted a career-high 12 receptions for 121 yards in Week 12 against the Houston Texans. 'It's just one of those days when you just [ More ]

Andre SmithNov 23 09:22p

Cincinnati Bengals OT Andre Smith (triceps) suffered a partially torn triceps muscle in the Week 12 against the Houston Texans. He will go for an MRI Monday, Nov. 24.

T Y HiltonNov 23 08:02p

Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton was up early Sunday, Nov. 23, for the birth of his daughter, and he promised a touchdown. After his wife delivered their child, he [ More ]

Eddie LacyNov 23 08:02p

Green Bay Packers RB Eddie Lacy (illness) ran 25 times for 125 yards and a touchdown in the Week 12 game against the Minnesota Vikings, and he added two [ More ]

Andrew LuckNov 23 08:02p

Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck completed 21 of his 32 passes for 253 yards and a touchdown in Week 12 against the Jacksonville Jaguars. He also ran eight times [ More ]

Charles JohnsonNov 23 08:02p

Minnesota Vikings WR Charles X. Johnson had three receptions for a team-high 52 yards and a touchdown in the Week 12 game against the Green Bay Packers.

Greg JenningsNov 23 08:02p

Minnesota Vikings WR Greg Jennings (rib) had four receptions for 38 yards and a touchdown in the Week 12 game against the Green Bay Packers, his former team. It [ More ]

C. PattersonNov 23 08:02p

Minnesota Vikings WR Cordarrelle Patterson (ankle, knee) left the Week 12 game against the Green Bay Packers due to ankle and knee injuries.

LeGarrette BlountNov 23 06:52p

New England Patriots RB LeGarrette Blount carried 12 times for a team-high 78 yards and two touchdowns in the Week 12 game against the Detroit Lions after re-signing with the team this week.

Golden TateNov 23 06:52p

Detroit Lions WR Golden Tate had four receptions for 97 yards in Week 12 against the New England Patriots. He went over 1,000 yards receiving for the first time in his career.

Jonas GrayNov 23 06:52p

New England Patriots RB Jonas Gray did not play in the Week 12 game against the Detroit Lions after he did not report to the team's facility Friday, Nov. [ More ]

Timothy WrightNov 23 06:52p

New England Patriots TE Tim Wright played a season-high 60 snaps in Week 12 against the Detroit Lions, which shattered his previous best of 21 snaps, which he hit [ More ]

Kendall WrightNov 23 06:23p

Tennessee Titans WR Kendall Wright was limited to just one catch for 28 yards in Week 12 against the Philadelphia Eagles. That catch did not come until 10 minutes remaining in the game.

Isaiah CrowellNov 23 06:12p

The Cleveland Browns have 14 rushing touchdowns this season, which is the most by the franchise since it had 14 in the 1989 season. The team had just four [ More ]

Zach MettenbergerNov 23 06:12p

Tennessee Titans QB Zach Mettenberger completed 20 of his 39 pass attempts for a career-high 345 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in the Week 12 game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Brian HoyerNov 23 05:02p

Cleveland Browns QB Brian Hoyer completed 23 of his 40 pass attempts for 322 yards, no touchdowns and three interceptions in the Week 12 win against the Atlanta Falcons.

Josh GordonNov 23 05:02p

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon posted eight receptions for 120 yards in his regular season debut in Week 12 against the Atlanta Falcons. He was targeted a game-high 16 times in the win.

Isaiah CrowellNov 23 05:02p

Cleveland Browns RB Isaiah Crowell carried 12 times for game-high 88 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the Week 12 game against the Atlanta Falcons.

LeSean McCoyNov 23 05:02p

Philadelphia Eagles RB LeSean McCoy carried 21 times for 130 yards and a rushing touchdown in Week 12 against the Tennessee Titans, and he added one reception for just one yard.

Mark SanchezNov 23 05:02p

Philadelphia Eagles QB Mark Sanchez completed 30 of his 43 pass attempts for 307 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions in the Week 12 win against the Tennessee Titans.

Darren SprolesNov 23 05:02p

Philadelphia Eagles RB Darren Sproles carried six times for 25 yards and a touchdown in Week 12 against the Tennessee Titans, and he added three receptions for 14 yards.

Dwayne AllenNov 23 12:42p

Indianapolis Colts TE Dwayne Allen (ankle) is inactive Sunday, Nov. 23, for Week 12.

Trent WilliamsNov 23 12:32p

Washington Redskins OT Trent Williams (ankle, knee) is not expected to play in Week 12 because of his injuries.

Danny LansanahNov 23 12:22p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB Danny Lansanah is moving from strongside linebacker to weakside linebacker in place of LB Lavonte David (hamstring). LB Orie Lemon will start at strongside linebacker.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group