Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Sports

49ers' win puts them atop West

SAN FRANCISCO — Delanie Walker 12-yard catch put the 49ers ahead. From there, they held on to beat the Seahawks 13-6 Thursday and move into first place in the NFC West.

The 49ers, Seahawks and Cardinals entered 4-2. Arizona plays at Minnesota on Sunday.

Down 6-3, San Francisco drove 86 yards in 10 plays on their first series of the third. It converted its only third down, third and 9, when Alex Smith hit Michael Crabtree for 10 yards.

Two plays later, Walker ran over the middle, took a pass and scampered just inside the pylon. It represented the 49ers' first touchdown in six quarters.

The score had extra meaning for Walker. The tight end broke his jaw Dec. 24 at Seattle when he took a knee from linebacker Leroy Hill. He didn't return until the NFC title game.

Safety Dashon Goldson intercepted a deep pass by Russell Wilson on Seattle's next drive, linebacker NaVorro Bowman clobbering Wilson as he threw.

But Smith gave the ball back with an interception in the end zone. His fifth interception of the season matched his total from all of 2011.

Seattle's final chance came when it took over at its 11 with 1:36 left and no timeouts. On fourth and 17 from its 4, Wilson hit Ben Obomanu, who came up just shy of a first down.

Wilson was 9-for-23 for 122 yards. The rookie completed only one pass in the second half — for minus-2 yards — before the final drive. For the half, he completed three for 19 yards.

Meanwhile, Frank Gore ran for 131 yards, the first to surpass 100 against Seattle since Dallas' DeMarco Murray on Nov. 6, a span of 14 games.

Union: NFL allowed bounty program in '96

NEW ORLEANS — The players union filed papers in federal court noting the NFL permitted a 1996 incentive program for big hits funded by ex-Packers defensive lineman Reggie White.

The filing, part of an attempt to strike down the punishments handed down by commissioner Roger Goodell in the Saints bounty scandal, includes an ESPN report about White's "smash-for-cash" program. It paid $500 for big plays, including big hits.

In that report, Eagles cornerback Troy Vincent (currently working in the league's front office) says his team has a similar program. Other reports cite programs around the league.

In an Associated Press story in 1996, White said he handed out his entire $13,000 playoff bonus for a win over the 49ers.

At the time, according to the filing, the league said the program was okay "as long as players use their own money, amounts are not exorbitant and payments aren't for illegal hits." It likened it to a quarterback buying gifts for his linemen.

The existence of the program most likely affects Scott Fujita. Goodell suspended the linebacker, now with the Browns, for three games (since reduced to one) despite saying he couldn't verify he took part in the bounty program. Instead, Goodell said Fujita offered his own incentives for big plays. The union said it is unfair to punish players for behavior it previously permitted without formally changing bylaws.

The league said it would defer comment until it gives its arguments during the hearing.

'Take a chill pill'

SAN DIEGO — Three days after blowing a 24-0 lead in losing to the Broncos, the Chargers told their fans to relax.

A headline on chargers.com on Thursday read, "Take a Chill Pill." Bill Johnston, the team's director of public relations, acknowledged the loss was "bad," "horrible" and "embarrassing," but he took fans to task for their negativity.

"No one knows what will happen this season yet alone the next game," he wrote. "That's the beauty of the National Football League. If you want these players and coaches to succeed, then support them. Don't tear them down. What you want and what we all want, including your team, is to know people believe in them."

Heroin killed Reid's son: A heroin overdose killed Garrett Reid, son of Eagles coach Andy Reid, a coroner said. Reid was found in his dorm room Aug. 5 at Lehigh University, where he was assisting the team's strength and conditioning coach during training camp.

Roethlisberger scare: Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger left practice after turning his right ankle but expects to play Sunday. He said he stepped on a teammate's foot while dropping back to pass.

Pierre-Paul warning: Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul said not to expect Redskins rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III to have a big day Sunday. Griffin ran for 138 yards and two touchdowns last week. But the ex-USF star has a warning: "Don't bring it to my side. Go the other way. We've got guys, all 11 guys that can run to the ball very quick. You'd be surprised; very surprised."

Browns: Running back Trent Richardson will wear extra padding to protect his bruised ribs Sunday. He took a helmet to his right side last week.

Packers: Defensive tackle B.J. Raji, who missed last week's game and Wednesday's practice with an undisclosed ankle injury, returned on a limited basis. His status for Sunday hasn't been determined.

Ravens: Linebacker Terrell Suggs, who tore his right Achilles tendon in May and returned to practice Wednesday, did not rule out playing Sunday. "I've got to take it day by day," last season's defensive player of the year said. "I'm going to take it down to the last minute." Coach John Harbaugh was unavailable for comment.

Saints: Tight end Jimmy Graham, dealing with an undisclosed ankle injury, practiced on a limited basis. Interim coach Aaron Fromer said he likely will be a game-time decision Sunday against the Bucs.

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