NFL Nation: San Francisco 49ers

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- While Frank Gore said he was open to returning to the San Francisco 49ers next season, another pending free agent on offense was not quite so, well, expansive.

Asked if he wanted to come back, receiver Michael Crabtree said, “Depends. I mean, I don’t even want to talk about it right now.”

Crabtree is averaging a career-low 10.3 yards per catch on his 64 catches in which he also has four touchdowns. He appeared in only five games last year while recovering from a torn Achilles.

“I feel I’ve contributed a lot to the team,” Crabtree said. “I can’t wait to see what’s next, the next chapter of my career, to maximize my talent.

“I’ve grown a lot.”

Gore, meanwhile, was taking a wait-and-see approach.

“I’ve got to see what changes we do,” he said. “Hopefully all the key guys can be back. If they are, we’ve got a shot.”

Gore mentioned Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman, Vernon Davis, Anquan Boldin and Justin Smith as guys he’s like to return.

Gore also was asked his thoughts on Jim Harbaugh, who may also be on the Niners' sidelines for the final time this Sunday.

"He's my best coach," Gore said. "I didn't enjoy here until we started winning. Since he's been here, I've been winning."

And Harbaugh's take on Gore?

"A trusted friend and a known ally," Harbaugh said. "A known agent."
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Jim Harbaugh may not return as coach of the San Francisco 49ers next season, but he is all for Colin Kaepernick seeking outside help from a quarterback guru, so to speak, this offseason.

“There’s value there,” Harbaugh said Wednesday. “Quarterbacks are always trying to improve their play and find something, find one thing, find two things to help them, to get better. And Colin’s always been that type of player that is looking for improvement.

“That’s the kind of guy he is.”

Kaepernick, who many see as having regressed in this, just his second full season as the Niners’ starter, acknowledged Tuesday that the idea of working with an independent QB coach was “still in the works.”

Tom House, whose revolutionary methods have been sought by the likes of Carson Palmer and Drew Brees, as well as Tim Tebow and Terrelle Pryor, could be a likely tutor for Kaepernick, whose mechanics have also come under scrutiny this season.

House has become a household name in NFL circles thanks in part to rules forbidding players from associating with NFL coaches in the early part of the offseason.

“There’s always things you can tighten up,” Kaepernick said.

“It’s hard to break habits in season. You don’t want to completely try to change something because it can throw off everything else you’re doing.”

Kaepernick, who has passed for 3,165 yards, 22 yards shy of his career high, is four touchdowns behind the 21 he had last season. He's also thrown a career-high 10 interceptions and has a passer rating of 85.1. His career QB rating is 90.2.
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Joe Staley, LT, fourth Pro Bowl selection: The cornerstone of the Niners’ offensive line since being selected 28th overall in the 2007 draft, Staley is coming off his best run-blocking performance of the season in which he received a plus-4.9 grade from Pro Football Focus. The Niners have the sixth-ranked rushing attack in the NFL (131.3 yards per game, 4.51 yards per carry). Still, QB Colin Kaepernick has been sacked an NFL-high 51 times. Staley has not missed a game since 2010 and has started all 113 games he’s played in his career.

Who he beat out: New York Jets' D’Brickashaw Ferguson, a three-time Pro Bowler; Houston TexansDuane Brown, a two-time Pro Bowler; Oakland Raiders' Donald Penn, a one-time selection.

Mike Iupati, LG, third Pro Bowl selection: The fractured left fibula Iupati suffered in last season's NFC title game didn't slow him down in 2014. He's missed one game this season due to injury -- a concussion -- to garner his third straight Pro Bowl selection.

Who he beat out: The Cleveland BrownsJoel Bitonio, a standout rookie, and the Philadelphia EaglesEvan Mathis, a Pro Bowler last year who has made his mark in just eight games this season.


Antoine Bethea, SS: A likely candidate for 49ers team MVP, Bethea has 82 tackles, a sack, a forced fumble and four interceptions, including his first career pick-six.

Who he should have beaten out: The Denver Broncos' T.J. Ward, who has fewer tackles (74), forced fumbles (0) and interceptions (2).

QB snapshot: Colin Kaepernick

December, 23, 2014
Dec 23
A quick observation of quarterback Colin Kaepernick and how he played in the San Francisco 49ers' 38-35 overtime loss to the San Diego Chargers in Week 16:

Rather than show flashes of his dual-threat self, Kaepernick put his running skills on full display against the Chargers. His 90-yard scoring burst in the third quarter was the second-longest scoring run by a quarterback in NFL history, behind Terrelle Pryor's 93-yard sprint of a year ago.

Alas, Kaepernick also lost a fumble on a strip-sack a few plays earlier that was recovered by the Chargers for a score. And Kaepernick actually had more rushing yards (151) than passing yards (114). Plus, he ran out of bounds on a designed run in the fourth that gave the Chargers precious time to force the game into overtime after being down 28-7 at the half.

“We were trying to pick up the first down,” said coach Jim Harbaugh. “That was the intent of the play.”

Kaepernick again struggled with downfield passing, going 0-for-3 on passes of at least 10 yards, per Pro Football Focus, though a 21-yard TD pass to Anquan Boldin was waved off due to holding on Joe Staley, as was a 63-yard catch-and-run score by Vernon Davis due to a chop block on Frank Gore.

PFF had Kaepernick’s depth of target against the Chargers at a mere 4.5 yards, after he came into the game with a DOT of 9.9 yards.

“We have to be able to finish these games,” Kaepernick said.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- If that was Frank Gore's grand finale for the San Francisco 49ers on Saturday night, what a way for the war horse running back to go out.

Individually speaking, of course.

Because to the 10-year veteran who has designs on wearing a gold jacket and seeing his bust in Canton one day, losing in such heartbreaking fashion to the San Diego Chargers trumped any individual accomplishment. Gore surging past the Chargers early and often in an eventual 38-35 overtime loss was a flashback for the ages and he resembled the Gore of old, rather than an old Gore.

[+] EnlargeFrank Gore
AP Photo/Marcio Jose SanchezFrank Gore finished with 26 carries for 158 yards and a TD run in Saturday's loss against San Diego.
"Frank was energized," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said. "He was playing very well. Our offensive line was doing an extremely good job. We rushed the ball very well. Weren’t able to finish."

Gore, 31, credited the big uglies, who were as healthy as they have been since the middle of the season with left tackle Joe Staley, left guard Mike Iupati, center Marcus Martin, right guard Alex Boone, and right tackle Anthony Davis in the starting lineup.

It was Davis’ first game since suffering a concussion on Nov. 16, and Martin was back after missing last week with a knee injury.

"My whole offensive line was there," Gore said. "All year, we missed one guy here, one guy there. I think that is what the problem has been. My O-line dominated their D-line tonight."

Especially in the first half.

On the fourth snap of the game, Gore found a hole on the right side of the line, leaped through the seal created by a pulling Iupati and receiver Anquan Boldin, bounced off cornerback Brandon Flowers and linebacker Melvin Ingram, stiff-armed safety Eric Weddle, followed downfield blocks of receiver Quinton Patton and Staley and, 52 yards later, had a breathtaking touchdown run.

It was vintage Gore.

It was his fourth rushing TD of the season, his longest run since he had a 55-yarder at Detroit on Oct. 16, 2011, and his longest TD run since his 64-yarder at Indianapolis on Nov. 1, 2009.

And to think, Gore suffered a concussion six days earlier in Seattle, did not practice on Wednesday and was limited Thursday and Friday.

"That’s a grown-man performance right there," quarterback Colin Kaepernick said. "Coming off a concussion, we weren’t sure if he was going to play or not.

"He said, 'I want to go out and fight with y’all. I’m not going to leave y’all out there by yourselves.' And to come out and play the way he did and give this offense that lift was huge. That was a huge performance by him."

Gore, who entered the game averaging a career-low 3.9 yards per carry in the final year of his contract, had 129 yards rushing before halftime. But the Chargers adjusted and Gore had just 29 yards on 12 carries after intermission.

"They put their whole team in the box to stop the run," said Gore, whose 158 yards for the game was the fifth-most of his career.

"They did a good job in the second half. I just think we didn’t make enough plays in the second half to win this game."

Gore, though, did enough overall to harken memories of his former self.

"All the things that have been said [about him] and he comes out and plays like that," fullback Bruce Miller said. "You don’t see anything slowing down. The guy plays his tail off the whole game and is one of the best runners that has ever been."
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- It does not get any closer to a microcosm of the San Francisco 49ers' season than this: a back-breaking 38-35 loss in overtime to the San Diego Chargers.

The Niners jumped out to a big lead, then hit a speed bump. They stood up, dusted themselves off and seemed to right themselves for the stretch run but then collapsed miserably.

Yes, the 49ers' story against San Diego was also the tale of woe for their season.

"Right now, not much to say," said a stunned Jim Harbaugh, who purportedly has only one game left in his Niners' tenure and whose team has lost four straight games to fall to 7-8.

"That's a tough one. Everybody feels it."

Especially when the 49ers jumped the Chargers at the outset, using a bruising ground game to score the first 21 points of the game and held a commanding 28-7 halftime lead.

The Niners still led by two touchdowns, 35-21, after Colin Kaepernick's 90-yard touchdown run, the second-longest run by an NFL quarterback since 2001, late in the third quarter.

"I thought it was over," running back Frank Gore said.

Instead, that's when the wheels came off.

Philip Rivers found an uncovered Antonio Gates for a 21-yard touchdown reception with 5:15 to play and then, after a three-and-out by the Niners offense, Rivers took the Chargers 80 yards in 14 plays, including converting a fourth-and-8 and a fourth-and-10. He hit Malcom Floyd with an 11-yard touchdown pass with 29 seconds remaining in regulation to tie the game.

But even when things were going well for the Niners -- they won the coin toss to start OT and began driving -- there was an undercurrent of dread ... just like this entire season.

Because even if it seemed like 15 weeks of controversy, unbearable pressure and sky-high expectations were a thing of the past in a carefree first half, it really felt like the other shoe was about to drop in Santa Clara.

And it did on Quinton Patton's game-changing 20-yard end-around run that had the Niners in San Diego territory. That's when San Diego's Eric Weddle popped the ball out of Patton's hands and into the waiting arms of teammate Sean Lissemore.

Rivers was in business once more with the 49ers about to close shop.

Nick Novak's 40-yard field goal did more than end the game; it kept the Chargers' playoff hopes alive and put the 49ers out of their misery on this night, one in which they lost Eric Reid (concussion), Bruce Ellington (hamstring), Bubba Ventrone (groin) and Leon McFadden (concusion) to injury.

Consider these pearls from ESPN Stats & Info: the Niners rushed for 355 yards, the third-highest single-game total in franchise history and their most since 1948.

Gore, who rushed for 158 yards, had 93 yards after contact, his most in the last five seasons, and the Niners' 243 rushing yards inside the tackles were also their most in the last five years.

And Gore and Kaepernick, who rushed for 151 yards and passed for 114, were the first 49ers teammates to rush for at least 100 yards since Wilbur Jackson and Delvin Williams ... on Nov. 13, 1977.

"It's been a tough year for our team," Gore said. "Even starting in camp, it has just been injury after injury. It's hard to win when you don't have your top guys, but I am happy for the guys who stepped up."

The 49ers are only 3-4 in their first season at Levi's Stadium. They were 21-4-1 in their last 26 games at Candlestick Park.

"We have had losing seasons before," left tackle Joe Staley said. "But with the success we have had in the past, it has been weird."

Staley was talking about this season as a whole; he could have just as easily been referring to this game.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Observed in the locker room after the San Francisco 49ers38-35 overtime loss to the San Diego Chargers at Levi’s Stadium:
  • Skuta
    It was silent as a wake in the 49ers’ locker room, players milling about and mumbling to no one in particular after inexplicably blowing a 28-7 halftime lead. The sense of finality to a lost season was evident at the locker of linebacker Dan Skuta, who took pictures with a young boy while holding his jersey and helmet aloft.
  • General manager Trent Baalke appeared in the locker room, patting the shoulders of Skuta, rookie center Marcus Martin, running back Frank Gore and linebacker Aldon Smith, who left the game with a head injury but returned. Baalke asked Smith how he was doing, and Smith said he would be fine.
  • Gore, as always, took the loss especially hard and milled about the locker room longer than usual. He went outside for a while and posed for pictures with Hall of Fame running back Franco Harris. And while New York Yankees third baseman/designated hitter Alex Rodriguez was on the sideline pregame, rocking a Gore jersey, he was not in the postgame locker room. Gore played his college ball at Miami, and Rodriguez is from Miami and works out in the Hurricanes’ facilities.

Rapid Reaction: San Francisco 49ers

December, 21, 2014
Dec 21

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – A few thoughts on the San Francisco 49ers’ 38-35 overtime loss to the San Diego Chargers at Levi’s Stadium Saturday night:

What it means: Looking for a microcosm of the 49ers’ season? Look no further than the Niners' blowing leads of 21-0 and 28-7 at halftime to fall in overtime. With 15 weeks of drama, pressure and sky-high expectations gone along with their playoff chances, the 49ers started off loose and dominated the Chargers early, but Philip Rivers forced overtime with an 11-yard TD pass to Malcom Floyd with 29 seconds remaining in regulation after converting a pair of fourth-and-longs in the 80-yard drive.

The Niners, who have lost four straight, had possession first in overtime, and Quinton Patton had a 20-yard run to get them to the Chargers’ 38-yard line where he was hit by Eric Weddle and fumbled. Sean Lissemore recovered.

The Chargers drove, and Nick Novak’s 40-yard field goal ended the game 4:54 into OT.

Early, the Niners utilized a power-running attack -- more on Frank Gore below -- to jump out to that 21-0 lead en route to scoring their most points since dropping 31 on the St. Louis Rams on Oct. 13.

Yes, the 35 points scored were a season high, as were the 355 rushing yards.

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick broke off a 90-yard touchdown run, the second longest by an NFL quarterback since 2001, behind Terrelle Pryor’s 93-yard run last season for the Oakland Raiders. It was Kaepernick’s first rushing touchdown of the season. With 3:30 to play, Kaepernick had more rushing yards (131) than passing yards (99).

Strong safety Antoine Bethea had a pick-six for his first career touchdown, and the 49ers intercepted Philip Rivers three times.

Free safety Eric Reid, meanwhile, suffered a first-half concussion, the third concussion of his 31-game career, and his replacement, Bubba Ventrone, left with a groin injury.

It is the first time the 49ers have lost a game they led by at least 21 points at halftime since 1965, per the Associated Press.

Stock watch: Rising – Rookie receiver/returner Bruce Ellington. Playing in his third game after missing three with an ankle injury, Ellington became the first Niners rookie since Amp Lee in 1992 to have both a rushing and receiving touchdown in the same game. Ellington’s 8-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter gave the Niners a 14-0 lead before his 1-yard scamper on a fly sweep put the Niners up 28-7 with six seconds to go before the half. It is Ellington’s first multi-TD game. Ellington, however, injured a hamstring in the third quarter and did not return.

A crazy turn of events: Vernon Davis appeared to have a 63-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter, only to have it called back by a chop-block penalty on Gore. One play later, Kaepernick was strip-sacked, and the Chargers recovered in the end zone for the TD to get back to 28-21. Two plays after the San Diego score, Kaepernick ran into the history books to put the Niners up by 14.

And the game ball goes to …: Gore, and there should be no debate. The Niners’ workhorse running back suffered what was described as a concussion six days earlier, sat out practice completely Wednesday and was only able to go in a limited fashion Thursday and Friday. Yet there he was, shredding the Chargers’ defense to the tune of a season-high 129 yards on 14 carries ... in the first half. He had a 52-yard touchdown run less than two minutes into the game and is the lone player in the league this season with TD runs and receptions of 50-plus yards, as he had a 55-yard catch and run Sept. 28 against Philadelphia. Gore finished with 158 yards on 26 carries and is 38 from a 1,000-yard rushing season.

What's next: The 49ers (7-8) close the season -- and the Jim Harbaugh era? -- with a home game against the playoff-bound Arizona Cardinals (11-3), who upended the Niners 23-14 in Week 3. Arizona can win the NFC West and the conference’s No. 1 seed by beating the Seattle Seahawks (10-4) on Sunday.
Chris Borland's standout rookie season has come to an end as the inside linebacker was placed on injured reserve before the San Francisco 49ers' home game against the San Diego Chargers on Saturday.

Linebacker Chase Thomas was promoted from the practice squad and he will wear No. 58.

Borland injured his left ankle on the final play of the first half in last week's loss at the Seattle Seahawks. He replaced the injured Patrick Willis in the starting lineup and has a team-leading 107 tackles in 14 games, eight starts. The two-time Pepsi rookie of the week and the NFC's defensive player of the Week for Week 11 was also the NFL defensive rookie of the month for November after being the first player in 20 years to have 70 tackles and two intercepotions in a calendar month.

He also had two interceptions, five passes defensed, a sack and a fumble recovery on the season. Nick Moody will replace Borland in the starting lineup.
While four players were ruled out by the San Francisco 49ers for Saturday’s game against the San Diego Chargers, 10-year veteran running back Frank Gore, who suffered a concussion Sunday in Seattle, was not among them. In fact, Gore, who is in the final year of his contract, is expected to play in the season’s penultimate game.

Gore is officially listed as questionable, as are four other staters in receiver Michael Crabtree, right tackle Anthony Davis and linebackers Ahmad Brooks and Michael Wilhoite.

Rookie running back Carlos Hyde is out, so third-stringer Alfonso Smith figures to spell Gore, so long as Gore, who was limited in practice Thursday and Friday after sitting out Wednesday, is able to play. Otherwise, Smith is the Niners’ starting running back.

And with rookie inside linebacker Chris Borland out, Nick Moody will start in his place.

The following is the 49ers’ status report for the Chargers game:

OUT: LB Chris Borland (ankle), CB Tramaine Brock (hamstring), RB Carlos Hyde (ankle), WR Stevie Johnson (knee)

QUESTIONABLE: LB Ahmad Brooks (thumb), WR Michael Crabtree (knee), RT Anthony Davis (concussion), RB Frank Gore (concussion), S Raymond Vetrone (groin), LB Michael Wilhoite (hip)

PROBABLE: CB Perrish Cox (ankle), CB Chris Culliver (knee), DT Quinton Dial (knee), DE Tony Jerod-Eddie (foot), RT Jonathan Martin (illness), C Marcus Martin (knee), LS Kyle Nelson (back), DE Justin Smith (back)
Frank Gore continues to work through the NFL’s concussion protocol after suffering the injury Sunday in Seattle and San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said Thursday he anticipates the running back suiting up Saturday.

It is a short work week for the 49ers as they play Saturday night at home against the San Diego Chargers. Gore, who did not practice Wednesday, was able to go in a limited fashion on Thursday.

Rookie backup Carlos Hyde, though, remained out and Alfonso Smith would get the majority of carries should neither Gore nor Hyde play.

Also, receiver Michael Crabtree and linebackers Ahmad Brooks and Michael Wilhoite practiced after sitting out Wednesday.

Starting cornerbacks Perrish Cox and Chris Culliver were both full participants after being limited a day earlier.

Following is the 49ers’ injury report for Thursday:

Did not participate: LB Chris Borland (ankle), CB Tramaine Brock (hamstring), RB Carlos Hyde (ankle), WR Stevie Johnson (knee), RT Jonathan Martin (illness)

Limited participation: LB Ahmad Brooks (thumb), WR Michael Crabtree (knee), RT Anthony Davis (concussion), RB Frank Gore (concussion), S Raymond Ventrone (groin), LB Michael Wilhoite (hip)

Full participation: CB Perrish Cox (ankle), CB Chris Culliver (knee), DT Quinton Dial (knee), DE Tony Jerod-Eddie (foot), C Marcus Martin (knee), LS Kyle Nelson (back), DE Justin Smith (back)

QB snapshot: Colin Kaepernick

December, 16, 2014
Dec 16
A quick observation of quarterback Colin Kaepernick and how he played in the San Francisco 49ers' 17-7 loss to the Seattle Seahawks in Week 15:

Early on against the Seahawks, the suddenly happy-go-lucky-with-the-media Kaepernick looked like his old self. He was an actual running threat and his legs were keeping Seattle’s ferocious defense honest. But then the Seahawks’ front seven wore down the Niners’ offensive line, and Kaepernick was neutralized.

And not only as a runner.

Kaepernick, who completed 11 of 19 passes for 141 yards without a touchdown or interception, attempted only four passes of at least 10 yards, per Pro Football Focus.

He was also sacked on five of the Seahawks’ nine blitzes, and five of his designed runs -- he had nine carries total -- went for 30 yards.

“I really thought he played valiantly yesterday,” Niners coach Jim Harbaugh said Monday in his weekly news conference. “I thought he really was playing well, doing his job extremely well. He was a live player.

“We talked about, maybe there was a patch there [earlier in the season] that he went through, but I really felt like he came out of that yesterday and played extremely well.”

With the defeat, Kaepernick’s record in Seattle fell to 0-4, including the playoffs, and his overall record against the Seahawks is 1-5.
The NFL's vice president of officiating admitting Monday morning that referee Ed Hochuli was wrong on a personal foul call against the San Francisco 49ers in their 17-7 loss to the Seattle Seahawks did nothing to soothe sore feelings in Santa Clara.

In fact, Niners coach Jim Harbaugh intimated it may have had the opposite effect.

"Is it worse to hear (the acknowledgement) after the fact?" Harbaugh said, repeating the question Monday in his weekly media conference. "It's worse to get the penalty at the time."

To recap: the Seahawks were facing third-and-5 at the 49ers' 15-yard line early in the fourth quarter when Russell Wilson threw an incompletion into the end zone. The incompletion would have forced the Seahawks to attempt a field goal to go up 13-7, but Hochuli flagged linebacker Nick Moody for roughing the passer because, in Hochuli's opinion, Moody hit Wilson in the chest with the "hairline" of his helmet. Two plays later, Wilson found Paul Richardson for a 10-yard touchdown pass that put Seattle up 17-7.

On the NFL Network's "NFL AM" show, the league's vice president of officiating said the call was wrong.

"In looking at it, it was not (the correct call)," said Dean Blandino. "The rule protects a passer from two types of hits: Hits to the head or neck, or hits with the crown or forehead, which is just below the crown part of the helmet, and that's what the referee called.

"It's close, but when you look at it on tape, Moody's head is up, he hits with more of the side and the facemask to the body of the quarterback, and in our review, with the ability to look at it in slow motion, it's not a foul."

Blandino also said if Hochuli did not see the play clearly -- replays show him behind and to the right of Wilson -- he should not have thrown a flag.

"Ed was getting into position and he saw him, or what he thought he saw ducking the head and making the contact," Blandino said. "So he wouldn't throw the flag if he didn't see it. But it obviously happens quick -- it's full-speed -- and (Hochuli) doesn't have the benefit of the slow motion replays that we all do after the fact."

Had the foul not been called and assuming the Seahawks make the short field goal, the Niners would have had the ball needing only a touchdown and extra-point to take the lead. But keep this in mind: the 49ers' first-string offense has only one fourth-quarter TD drive this season, and Colin Kaepernick is the only qualified QB in the NFL without a TD pass in the fourth quarter this season.

So pulling off a late score against the Seahawks' top-ranked defense would have been a chore in itself. Still, the Niners would have loved to at least have had the opportunity.

"I mean, I thought it was a clean hit," Moody said after the game. "Gotta check the film, but it felt clean to me."
SEATTLE -- Just throwing this out there, but if the San Francisco 49ers are not going to bring Jim Harbaugh back as head coach next season, why not pull the plug now and let, say, defensive line coach Jim Tomsula finish things out, as he did for one game in 2010?

The 49ers, at 7-7 and officially eliminated from the NFC playoff race with Sunday’s 17-7 loss in Seattle, have nothing to play for but pride their final two games, home contests against the San Diego Chargers and Arizona Cardinals.

Because if Harbaugh will not be back to finish his five-year, $25 million contract in 2015 and he is seen as a lame duck the last two weeks, might that be even more of a distraction in the 49ers’ locker room?

"We’ve got two games left against two very good teams and we could worry about [Harbaugh] and get blown out the next two games and end the season on a sad note," said linebacker Michael Wilhoite. "Or we can not worry about it and just keep playing good football and fight and see what comes.

"We’ve got to ignore everything you guys say and everything the outsiders are saying. Keep it in-house and just keep fighting."

Easier said than done.

Harbaugh himself said he expects to have a conversation with Jed York and Trent Baalke about his future with the 49ers.

"I’m always available to sit down with the owner or general manager, absolutely," Harbaugh said.

The 49ers announced Sunday night that Harbaugh’s regular Monday media conference would occur as normal, at 12 noon PT.

The uncertainty surrounding Harbaugh has his quarterback flummoxed.

"It is not something I can fully wrap my mind around, why that would be the situation," Colin Kaepernick said of Harbaugh potentially being shown the door in Santa Clara. "But he has my full support, no matter if he is here or somewhere else.

"I hope he is back here, and I think he is a great coach."
SEATTLE -- While the San Francisco 49ers took umbrage with the controversial roughing-the-passer penalty that extended a game-clinching Seattle Seahawks touchdown drive, referee Ed Hochuli explained his rationale for throwing the flag at Niners linebacker Nick Moody.

“I felt that he hit the quarterback in the chest with the hairline,” Hochuli told ESPN Seahawks reporter Terry Blount, “and that’s a foul unless he has his face completely up and would hit it face on with the face mask. It’s a foul, and that’s why I called it.

“The first thing that hit (Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson) was the hairline of the helmet.”

Moody hit Wilson on an incompletion on third-and-5 from the Niners’ 15-yard line. No flag, and the Seahawks attempt a 33-yard field goal to take a 13-7 lead. Instead, given a fresh set of downs, Wilson hit Paul Richardson for a 10-yard touchdown pass two plays later and the Seahawks were up by two scores, 17-7.

“No, I don’t agree with the call,” Niners coach Jim Harbaugh said. “I did not get an explanation on that one. All three personal foul calls I did not agree with.”

Free safety Eric Reid was also flagged twice in the same first-quarter series, once for hitting Doug Baldwin out of bounds and again for hitting a defenseless receiver in Richardson across the middle.

The 30 yards in penalties enabled the Seahawks to drive down and kick a field goal to take a 3-0 lead.

But it was Moody’s penalty that had the 49ers steaming, especially considering when and where it happened.

“I mean, I thought it was a clean hit,” Moody said. “Got to check the film, but it felt clean to me.”

Since Moody did not hit Wilson with the crown of his helmet, many in the Niners' locker room wondered why it was a penalty.

“I’m differentiating between the crown,” Hochuli said. “The crown is the top of the helmet; the hairline is up at the top of the forehead. That is still a foul when you hit the quarterback with that part of your head.”


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