2014 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

Paul RichardsonMar 26 12:43a

Seattle Seahawks WR Paul Richardson (knee) might not be ready for the start of the season, head coach Pete Carroll indicated Wednesday, March 25. Carroll did say Richardson's rehab [ More ]

Blake BortlesMar 25 08:43p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles received an endorsement from head coach Gus Bradley Tuesday, March 24. Speaking at the AFC Coaches Breakfast at the NFL Annual Meetings Tuesday, Bradley [ More ]

Travis KelceMar 25 06:03p

Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce played at roughly 250 pounds in 2014, but head coach Andy Reid wants Kelce to report bigger in 2015, and Reid thinks Kelce [ More ]

Drew BreesMar 25 05:03p

Oregon QB Marcus Mariota isn't an option for the New Orleans Saints in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, according to head coach Sean Payton. Payton said [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMar 25 04:33p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is wanted back in Minnesota, but the question is if Peterson wants to come back. Head coach Mike Zimmer said he doesn't believe Peterson [ More ]

Ifeanyi MomahMar 25 03:13p

Free-agent TE Ifeanyi Momah (Lions) signed a one-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals Wednesday, March 25. Financial terms were undisclosed.

Terence NewmanMar 25 01:53p

Free-agent CB Terence Newman (Bengals) agreed to a one-year deal with the Minnesota Vikings Wednesday, March 25, according to a source. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Jordy NelsonMar 25 12:23p

Green Bay Packers WR Jordy Nelson (hip) underwent hip surgery this offseason and is expected to be sidelined for six to eight weeks.

Victor CruzMar 25 11:53a

New York Giants WR Victor Cruz (knee) could miss the start of the 2015 season with a torn patellar tendon in his knee, according to head coach Tom Coughlin. [ More ]

Josh HillMar 25 11:03a

New Orleans Saints TE Josh Hill is expected to have a bigger role in the offense in 2015. Head coach Sean Payton has mentioned him quite a bit since [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMar 25 10:53a

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is disgruntled and reportedly wants out of Minnesota, but head coach Mike Zimmer said the team has no plans to trade him.

Cody LatimerMar 24 09:33p

The Denver Broncos plan to use WR Cody Latimer as the third receiver behind WRs Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders in 2015. 'I think it's time for him to [ More ]

Casey MatthewsMar 24 06:32p

Free-agent LB Casey Matthews (Eagles) agreed to terms with the Minnesota Vikings Tuesday, March 24. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

R. Griffin IIIMar 24 04:42p

Washington Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan said that the team will go with the best player available in the 2015 NFL Draft with the No. 5 overall pick, which [ More ]

Michael CrabtreeMar 24 03:02p

Free-agent WR Michael Crabtree (49ers) is having a hard time being signed this offseason, reportedly due to concerns regarding lower-leg injuries and a negative perception about his attitude.

Ray McDonaldMar 24 02:02p

Free-agent DE Ray McDonald (49ers) is signing an undisclosed deal with the Chicago Bears Tuesday, March 24.

Stephen BowenMar 24 01:32p

Free-agent DE Stephen Bowen (Redskins) is signing an undisclosed deal with the New York Jets Tuesday, March 24.

Geno SmithMar 24 01:22p

New York Jets QB Geno Smith will be the starting quarterback ahead of QB Ryan Fitzpatrick entering training camp this summer, according to new head coach Todd Bowles. 'You [ More ]

Zach MettenbergerMar 24 01:12p

Oregon QB Marcus Mariota is a realistic option for the Tennessee Titans with the second overall selection in this year's NFL Draft, and head coach Ken Whisenhunt is impressed [ More ]

Jarvis JenkinsMar 24 10:42a

Free-agent DE Jarvis Jenkins (Redskins) agreed with the Chicago Bears Tuesday, March 24, on a one-year deal.

Johnny ManzielMar 24 08:52a

Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel is expected back with the team for offseason workouts April 20 after completing more than two months of treatment.

Adrian PetersonMar 23 07:52p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's agent, Ben Dogra, said Monday, March 23, that he doesn't think 'it's in Adrian's best interest to play in Minnesota' in 2015 and beyond. [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMar 23 06:02p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is expected to be part of the Vikings next season, according to general manager Rick Spielman. 'Adrian's a member of our football team,' Spielman [ More ]

Drew BreesMar 23 01:22p

New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees will not be traded, according to general manager Mickey Loomis. Recent speculation said that Brees may be on the trade block after his [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMar 23 12:52p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's preference is to play elsewhere than with the Vikings in 2015, according to a league source. He is under contract through the 2017 season [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMar 22 08:32p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's future remains unclear, but head coach Mike Zimmer recently said that the Vikings are 'excited' to have him back. Zimmer had previously said that [ More ]

James HarrisonMar 22 12:42p

Free-agent LB James Harrison (Steelers) signed a two-year deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday, March 22. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Branden OliverMar 21 03:52p

San Diego Chargers RB Branden Oliver is penciled in as the starting running back at this point.

EJ ManuelMar 21 12:52a

Buffalo Bills QB EJ Manuel is not locked in as the starting quarterback. Head coach Rex Ryan said Friday, March 20, that the quarterback competition will be open. 'It's [ More ]

Kevin VickersonMar 20 05:52p

Free-agent DT Kevin Vickerson (Chiefs) agreed to terms on an undisclosed deal with the New York Jets Friday, March 20.

Matt MooreMar 20 04:32p

Free-agent QB Matt Moore (Dolphins) re-signed with the Miami Dolphins Friday, March 20. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Adrian PetersonMar 20 02:42p

Updating an ongoing story, Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is clearly wanted back by the organization, and general manager Rick Spielman once again stressed that they will make every [ More ]

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