2015 DRAFT GUIDE
Panthers' 5th straight win, beat 49ers 10-9

By JANIE McCAULEY - AP Sports Writer
    2013-11-11 02:56

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Carolina coach Ron Rivera has heard all the skeptics questioning whether his Panthers were really as good as their record.

They had beaten the Giants, Minnesota, Tampa Bay, St. Louis and Atlanta.

He will let Sunday's 10-9 road win at San Francisco speak for itself. Rivera has more to worry about than justifying the Panthers' impressive unbeaten run right now, even if they have now won five in a row.

This team is determined to sustain something special, and a victory against the NFC champion Niners (6-3) goes a long way in that effort.

''It's huge. It kind of talks about where we're headed and the direction we're going,'' Rivera said, calling it the marquee win of his three-year tenure. ''It was 10-9. It was about as tough a football game as it gets.''

So much so that the 49ers lost a pair of star players to concussions - tight end Vernon Davis and safety Eric Reid.

San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh didn't know much about either one yet.

''Just saw them in the locker room and they seemed as good as could be expected,'' Harbaugh said.

Here are five things to take from Sunday's game:

SAN FRANCISCO INJURIES: First, Davis went down with a concussion late in the first half, then rookie first-round draft pick safety Reid was injured with 8:29 left in the third quarter.

Just when the 49ers got some reinforcements back - linebacker Aldon Smith and wideout Mario Manningham - more players were hurt.

San Francisco tight end Garrett Celek was lost in the first half to a hamstring injury, while defensive tackle Ray McDonald hurt an ankle.

Whether these players can make it back in time for next Sunday's game at New Orleans is uncertain.

''Hate to see that. It's part of the game, when you play this game it's a possibility,'' center Jonathan Goodwin said. ''You just hope it's not too bad and those guys are able to be all right.''

TIGHT NFC WEST RACE: At 6-3, San Francisco's two-year reign as NFC West champions is in jeopardy.

Not only do the 49ers still have to face first-place Seattle at home on Dec. 8, Arizona is right in the chase at 5-4 and San Francisco ends the year in the desert on Dec. 29.

The 49ers understand the stakes and playoff implications.

''We're always going to bounce back, that's the team we have,'' linebacker NaVorro Bowman said. ''We just can't keep giving wins away. They didn't beat us, we gave it to them, and I'm going to leave it at that.''

PANTHERS' DROPPED PASSES: On several crisp passes by Cam Newton, his wide receivers had the ball in their grasp only to drop it.

That didn't help Newton's line. Not that he was overly concerned. Leaving Candlestick Park on top meant so much more.

Steve Smith caught six passes among his 11 targets, while Brandon LaFell added four receptions.

Newton wound up 16 for 32 for 169 yards, an interception and four sacks for a 52.7 passer rating.

DeAngelo Williams broke two tackles for a 27-yard touchdown run late in the first half that pulled Carolina within 9-7, then Graham Gano kicked a go-ahead 53-yard field goal with 10:05 remaining that held up for the Panthers.

''With us scoring right before half, it kind of shattered their momentum,'' Newton said. ''It's fun to get these kind of wins, in a hostile environment where you could cut through the tension with a knife at most points of this game.''

DEFENSIVE DAY: Two teams that came in scoring 30 or more points in their last five wins were held in check.

And, this time, it was Carolina's swarming, play-making defense that came through with big sacks of Kaepernick with the game on the line.

''We have to execute better, all around,'' Kaepernick said.

Linebacker Luke Kuechly had 11 tackles - two for loss - one of six sacks on Kaepernick, and a pass deflection. San Francisco was limited to 151 yards of total offense, with Frank Gore getting 82 of those yards on 16 carries.

''This has to be one of the biggest wins I've ever had,'' Kuechly said. ''Our D-line has been playing great all year. They played physical, they're playing their gaps, they play strong and they penetrate.''

MANNINGHAM AND ALDON SMITH: Manningham had three catches for 30 yards with a 14-yard reception in his season debut, nearly 11 months after a serious left knee injury ended his season and sent him to surgery - leaving him to watch a three-point Super Bowl loss.

Smith, a 2012 All-Pro and pass-rushing specialist, played about a dozen snaps in his first game since a 27-7 loss to the Colts on Sept. 22.

''I'm a competitor and I want to be on the field, but whatever works,'' he said. ''The season is long so we'll see how it goes.''

Everybody knows Smith will still make an impact.

''Oh, it's special to see a dominant player like that back,'' cornerback Tarell Brown said of Smith. ''We welcomed him back. Had limited snaps but I think his snaps will increase a lot more this week.''

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Richard RodgersJul 1 05:03p

Green Bay Packers TE Richard Rodgers could see more playing time in 2015, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. Rodgers played 528 snaps, while fellow TE Andrew Quarless played [ More ]

Rob HouslerJun 30 03:13p

Cleveland Browns TEs Gary Barnidge, Rob Housler and Jim Dray could all end up taking over for TE Jordan Cameron, who is now with the Miami Dolphins. Head coach [ More ]

Sam BradfordJun 29 05:22p

Philadelphia Eagles QB Sam Bradford (knee) is expected to be in the final phase of his rehabilitation from a torn anterior cruciate ligament once training camp begins. Bradford's second [ More ]

Charles JohnsonJun 29 02:02p

Minnesota Vikings WR Charles X. Johnson appears to have everything it takes to produce in the NFL, according to offensive coordinator Norv Turner. 'He's got great work ethic, and [ More ]

C.J. SpillerJun 28 09:02p

New Orleans Saints RB C.J. Spiller has a perfect skill-set for head coach Sean Payton's system, which relies on getting the ball to players in space, according Chris Wesseling [ More ]

Tony MoeakiJun 25 07:12p

Atlanta Falcons TE Tony Moeaki will compete with TE Jacob Tamme for the Falcons' starting tight end job during training camp. QB Matt Ryan praised both tight ends for [ More ]

Kelvin BenjaminJun 25 03:52p

Carolina Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin's reported weight gain this offseason is being overblown, according to general manager Dave Gettleman. Gettleman expects Benjamin to be ready to go for training [ More ]

Antoine CasonJun 25 03:03a

Free-agent CB Antoine Cason (foot) will miss the 2015 season due to surgery he underwent on Tuesday, June 23. Cason (Ravens) did not specify what type of surgery he [ More ]

Marvin JonesJun 24 09:13p

Cincinnati Bengals WR Marvin Jones (ankle, foot) did not play in 2014 due to multiple foot and ankle issues, but he is healthy and was impressive in organized team activities (OTAs) and minicamp.

Keith WenningJun 24 02:43p

Free-agent QB Keith Wenning (Ravens) signed with the Cincinnati Bengals Wednesday, June 24. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Pierre GarconJun 24 02:23p

Washington Redskins WR Pierre Garcon could be featured more often in the passing game this season based on the offseason workouts. Garcon often lined up to the right of [ More ]

Martavis BryantJun 24 01:43p

Pittsburgh Steelers WRs Markus Wheaton and Martavis Bryant are expected to compete for the No. 2 wide receiver job during training camp. Both players performed well during offseason workouts.

Peyton ManningJun 24 11:53a

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning was the subject of preliminary trade discussions with the Houston Texans, according to a source. The talks occurred before Manning restructured his deal and [ More ]

Rueben RandleJun 24 10:53a

New York Giants WR Rueben Randle was the best receiver on the field by a wide margin during spring practices, in the opinion of beat writer Jordan Ranaan. Randle [ More ]

Chris IvoryJun 24 10:43a

New York Jets RB Chris Ivory is listed as the starting running back entering training camp, according to beat writer Rich Cimini's unofficial depth chart. RB Bilal Powell is [ More ]

Devonta FreemanJun 23 10:22a

Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman enters training camp ahead of RB Tevin Coleman on the depth chart.

Joseph RandleJun 23 10:02a

Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle appears to be the clear leader at running back, and it's his job to lose in training camp.

Ahmad BradshawJun 22 11:32p

Free-agent RB Ahmad Bradshaw (Colts) has been suspended one game for violation of the league's substance abuse policy. If he signs with a team he must sit out for the first week.

Terrelle PryorJun 22 04:33p

Cincinnati Bengals WR Terrelle Pryor was claimed off waivers by the Cleveland Browns Monday, June 22, according to a source.

Fred DavisJun 19 06:02p

New England Patriots TE Fred Davis was released Friday, June 19.

Dennis PittaJun 19 02:22p

Baltimore Ravens TE Dennis Pitta (hip) was not medically cleared to practice in minicamp as he continues to recover from his second dislocated and fractured hip in as many [ More ]

Isaiah CrowellJun 19 01:22p

Cleveland Browns RB Isaiah Crowell could be the workhorse back if his ball security improves, according to offensive coordinator John DeFilippo.

Devonta FreemanJun 19 01:12p

Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman will be used in a lot of different ways, including as a receiver, according to head coach Dan Quinn. 'I knew Devonta had terrific [ More ]

Chris OgbonnayaJun 19 11:32a

Free-agent RB Chris Ogbonnaya (Giants) announced his retirement Friday, June 19.

John MoffittJun 18 11:02p

Free-agent OG John Moffitt unretired Wednesday, June 17, and cleared waivers Thursday, June 18. He is free to sign with a team of his choosing. The Philadelphia Eagles, Miami [ More ]

Terrelle PryorJun 18 09:32p

Free-agent QB Terrelle Pryor is going to give it a shot at playing wide receiver in the NFL. Some teams have already expressed an interest.

Allen RobinsonJun 18 09:22p

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Allen Robinson was described as 'unbelievable' by QB Blake Bortles Thursday, June 18. 'He's definitely a threat now in the red zone. ... He's physical. He [ More ]

Terrelle PryorJun 18 05:32p

Cincinnati Bengals QB Terrelle Pryor was waived Thursday, June 18.

Taylor ThompsonJun 18 05:32p

Tennesse Titans TE Taylor Thompson was waived Thursday, June 18.

Matthew MulliganJun 18 04:32p

Free-agent TE Matthew Mulligan (Titans) signed an undisclosed contract with the Buffalo Bills Thursday, June 18.

Carlton MitchellJun 18 04:22p

Free-agent WR Carlton Mitchell (Buccaneers) signed an undisclosed contract with the Atlanta Falcons Thursday, June 18. WR Shane Wynn was waived.

Daniel ThomasJun 18 04:12p

Free-agent RB Daniel Thomas (Dolphins) signed a one-year contract with the Chicago Bears Thursday, June 18. Financial terms were not disclosed.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group