Sun Dec 5 9:35pm ET
By TIM BOOTH
AP Sports Writer
Seattle Seahawks defensive tackle Al Woods, right, reacts with cornerback D.J. Reed (2) after a play against the San Francisco 49ers during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson looks to pass against the San Francisco 49ers during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
San Francisco 49ers Kyle Shanahan, left, stands on the sideline during the first half of an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021, in Seattle. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)
Seattle Seahawks free safety Quandre Diggs runs with the ball after he intercepted a pass against the San Francisco 49ers during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett reacts after he scored a touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021, in Seattle. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)
Seattle Seahawks defensive end Carlos Dunlap (8) sacks San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) in the end zone for a safety to tie the game during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021, in Seattle. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)
San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle, right, runs ahead of Seattle Seahawks middle linebacker Bobby Wagner (54) and defensive back Ryan Neal (26) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021, in Seattle. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)
San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle (85) celebrates after he scored a touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle (85) celebrates with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) after scoring a touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo looks to pass against the Seattle Seahawks during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll looks toward the scoreboard during the first half of an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
SEATTLE (AP) For all the late-game mistakes and missed opportunities throughout their disappointing season, the Seattle Seahawks continue to believe there is something worth playing for.
They showed the San Francisco 49ers exactly that Sunday.
''No matter how people bash us and say we're done and all this we always believe,'' Seattle safety Quandre Diggs said.
Russell Wilson played his best game since returning from finger surgery, throwing for 231 yards and two touchdowns, and the Seattle Seahawks made a late goal-line stand to beat the 49ers 30-23 on Sunday.
Seattle (4-8) snapped a three-game losing streak but it wasn't easy as a number of mistakes gave the 49ers a chance for a tying touchdown in the final moments.
With the playoffs still a mathematical possibility, the Seahawks are refusing to fall into the mode of playing out the final weeks. This week, it came at the expense of the Niners' playoff chase.
''I have some amazing teammates, guys who were super supportive this week, just giving me some good energy, too, and vice versa,'' Wilson said. ''And let's just go for it. Let's just have fun while we do it. And we were able to do that tonight.''
It was far from a clean game for Seattle, though. Gerald Everett was responsible for three turnovers, capped by fumbling at the San Francisco 2 with 4:03 remaining and Seattle on the cusp of a clinching score. Jimmy Garoppolo led the 49ers 95 yards to the Seattle 3. But his third-down pass for Trent Sherfield was broken up by Sidney Jones, and his fourth- down pass was deflected at the line of scrimmage by Carlos Dunlap.
It was the second big play by Dunlap, who sacked Garoppolo for a safety early in the third quarter.
''When given the opportunity to go straight and impact the game in those situations, I like my odds and I'm betting with me every time,'' Dunlap said.
Newly signed running back Adrian Peterson moved into a tie with Jim Brown for 10th all-time with 126 career touchdowns, scoring on a 1-yard run in the second quarter for Seattle.
Wilson threw a 7-yard touchdown to Dee Eskridge in the second quarter and his 12-yard touchdown to Tyler Lockett late in the third quarter provided the winning points.
Travis Homer also ran 73 yards for a touchdown on a fake punt on the opening possession of the game for Seattle.
''It's a pretty cool call to go for that,'' Seattle coach Pete Carroll said.
San Francisco (6-6) saw its three-game win streak snapped and was swept by Seattle this season. The 49ers were unable to get their run game going as in recent weeks, with Elijah Mitchell rushing for 66 yards on 22 carries. San Francisco had averaged 178.3 yards rushing per game during its three-game win streak but finished with 71 yards against the Seahawks.
Garoppolo threw for 299 yards and two TDs, but also had a pair of interceptions, the second grabbed by Diggs and setting up Seattle's go-ahead touchdown.
George Kittle had nine catches for 181 yards and two touchdowns, but was shut down in the second half until the final drive.
''Our offense we didn't really do anything in the second half. And it's hard to win in Seattle if you don't do anything the second half,'' Kittle said.
On that final drive it took San Francisco five plays to reach the Seattle 30, including completions to Kittle of 29 and 14 yards. Brandon Aiyuk's 11-yard catch got the 49ers to the Seattle 7, two runs by Mitchell yielded only 4 yards and Garoppolo couldn't connect on his last two throws.
San Francisco reserve running back Trenton Cannon was taken off the field on a backboard after a scary collision on the opening kickoff against Seattle. Cannon was attempting to make a tackle on DeeJay Dallas when his head hit the leg of a teammate. The 49ers said Cannon had a concussion, was in stable condition at a Seattle area hospital, and would remain overnight for observation.
Kittle was just the second tight end in the past five seasons with at least 100 yards receiving and two touchdowns in the first half. Darren Waller also did it last season against the Jets. Kittle had five catches for 121 yards and two TDs in the first half.
The 49ers didn't have starting wide receiver Deebo Samuel due to a groin injury, starting linebacker Fred Warner (hamstring) and LB Marcell Harris (concussion). CB Emmanuel Moseley suffered an ankle injury in the first quarter and did not return.
Seattle was without starting RB Alex Collins, who had been dealing with an abdominal/core injury for several weeks, and left guard Damien Lewis. Seattle lost safety Jamal Adams to a sprained shoulder injury late in the first half. Adams returned to the sideline in the third quarter in sweats and Carroll said he did not know the extent of the injury. RT Brandon Shell also left in the second half due to a lingering shoulder injury.
49ers: San Francisco is at Cincinnati next Sunday.
Seahawks: Seattle is at Houston next Sunday.
On Thursday, the Chicago Bears hired former Colts Defensive Coordinator Matt Eberflus to be their head coach. Eberflus took a Colts defense that was ranked 26th and 27th in total defense before he arrived and made them a top-10 unit. The Colts never featured tremendous pass rush rates and blitzed at one of the lowest rates in the league, but the Bears defensive scheme only blitzed 2.4% more and both teams ran a variation of a 4-3 base defense, so it's possible there won't be much change in philosophy. However, the biggest question will be who Eberflus hires as offensive coordinator and what that means for Justin Fields. Since Eberflus spent four years coaching under former NFL quarterback Frank Reich, it wouldn't be a stretch to assume that he soaked up some knowledge in that relationship and will use it to make a hire that's in the best interest of his quarterback's development.
After earlier reports that Byron Leftwich was set to be the next head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, reports surfaced early on Wednesday that the negotiations were held up because Leftwich wanted Jacksonville to get rid of General Manager Trent Baalke to hire Adrian Wilson, who is Vice President of Pro Scouting for the Arizona Cardinals. Not long after that, Adam Schefter reported that the Jaguars interviewed former Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio for their head coaching position. While we don't know where this will end up, Fangio has been a far more run-heavy coach in his career than we'd expect Leftwich to be since Leftwich has learned under Bruce Arians. It's possible that if Fangio were to be hired in Jacksonville, we could see a running back committee of Travis Etienne and James Robinson in the same way Denver deployed Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon this year. It would also potentially sap the upside of Trevor Lawrence, Laviska Shenault Jr., and D.J. Chark, so let's hope Jacksonville does the right thing here.
Dallas Cowboys Defensive Coordinator Dan Quinn has told teams that he will remain with the Cowboys next year and not pursue any more head coaching positions. Six teams had requested interviews with Quinn, but he decided to return in pursuit of a Super Bowl. The Dallas defense under Quinn this year finished as the number one fantasy defense thanks to their propensity for turnovers., so Quinn's return should be good news for the Cowboys DST next year as well. Also, fantasy managers in IDP leagues don't have to worry about new schemes for studs like Micah Parsons and Trevon Diggs
Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger announced his retirement Thursday, Jan. 27.
Fantasy Spin: Big Ben will be remembered for this size, athletic ability and big arm. He was different and will surely be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. The Steelers will pivot to Mason Rudolph, for now, but there will be a number of options in free agency. Rudolph will be a QB2 in fantasy if he's the starter.
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (knee) popped up on the injury report with a knee issue. Despite showing up on the latest injury report, the 25-year-old was a full participant in Wednesday's practice. He is expected to be all systems go for the AFC Championship Game against the Kansas City Chiefs. The former No.1 overall pick completed 28-of-37 passes for 348 yards, no touchdowns, and one interception in Saturday's 19-16 Divisional-Round win over the Tennessee Titans. He's been on absolute fire recently, throwing for 1,563 yards, 10 touchdowns, and one pick over his last four games. Burrow is an excellent QB option with a $7,500 price on FanDuel for Sunday's main DFS slate.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins (thumb) popped up on the injury report with a thumb issue. He was a full participant in Wednesday's practice despite showing up on the latest injury report. In last week's Divisional-Round win over the Tennessee Titans, the 23-year-old hauled in seven receptions on nine targets for 96 yards. He is expected to be all systems go for the AFC Championship Game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Higgins caught three passes for 62 yards in the Week 17 win over the Chiefs and is an excellent mid-tier option at his $6,400 price tag on FanDuel for Sunday's main DFS slate.
Kansas City Chiefs running back Darrel Williams (toe) participated fully in Wednesday's practice. Last week, the 26-year-old was limited with a toe injury and was inactive for the Divisional -Round game against the Buffalo Bills. He is expected to be available for Sunday's AFC Championship Game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Williams will split touches out of Kansas City's backfield with Clyde-Edwards Helaire and Jerick McKinnon. Due to the uncertainty of his role, Williams is more of a GPP option in Sunday's main DFS slate.
Green Bay Packers PK Mason Crosby is likely to be released during the offseason as a cap casualty, according to The Green Bay Press-Gazette's Pete Dougherty.
Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers indicated he should have made a decision about his future by late February during an appearance on The Pat McAfee Show, which coincides with when the Packers would potentially utilize the franchise tag on WR Davante Adams, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent.
Fantasy Spin: If Rodgers and Adams return to Green Bay in 2022, or reunite elsewhere, both would be No. 1 options at their respective positions. Rodgers' decision as to whether he'll play in 2022 figures to be the first domino to fall.
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (thumb) practiced fully on Wednesday. The 49ers have removed his sprained shoulder from the injury report, but his sprained right thumb remains. The 30-year-old has somehow led the 49ers to the NFC Championship despite throwing for 303 yards, no touchdowns, and two interceptions over both playoff games. He threw for 316 yards, one touchdown, and two picks in the Week 18 win over the Rams. Garoppolo should be all systems go against the Los Angeles Rams and is the only value option at quarterback for Sunday's main DFS slate with a $6,200 price tag on FanDuel.
San Francisco 49ers running back Jeff Wilson Jr. (knee) did not participate in Wednesday's practice. Teammate Elijah Mitchell also missed Wednesday's session with an ongoing knee issue. Wilson suffered a low-ankle sprain during the first quarter of Saturday's Divisional-Round game over the Green Packers and did not return. According to head coach Kyle Shanahan, he could play in the NFC Championship Game against the Los Angeles Rams. The 26-year-old has two more chances to practice in some capacity and will most likely be questionable for Sunday's game. If active, Wilson could have an expanded role if Mitchell (knee) cannot suit up. Stay tuned.
Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Van Jefferson (knee) did not practice on Wednesday due to a knee injury. The 25-year-old did not participate in the Rams walkthrough session and was listed as a non-participant. He's considered day-to-day, and it's unclear if Van Jefferson will miss the NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers. He caught two passes for 31 yards in the Week 18 loss to the 49ers. Fantasy managers should continue to monitor his status throughout the week. If active, Van Jefferson provides salary relief with his $5,200 price tag and is a solid option against the 49ers in Sunday's main DFS slate. Stay tuned.
San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle isn't listed on the injury report ahead of Sunday's NFC Championship Game against the Los Angeles Rams. He was seen limping at the end of the Divisional-Round win over the Green Bay Packers but is expected to be all systems go for Sunday. The 28-year-old logged a full practice Wednesday and was removed from the injury report. He caught five of seven targets for 10 yards in his previous contest against the Rams. Despite the dud against Los Angeles in Week 18, Kittle provides excellent value at his $5,800 price tag on FanDuel for Sunday's main DFS slate.
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel (knee) isn't listed on Wednesday's injury report ahead of the NFC Championship Game against the Los Angeles Rams. The 26-year-old said he was sore after taking a helmet to the knee in last Saturday's Divisional Round win over the Green Bay Packers. On Wednesday, he logged a full practice and was removed from the injury report. Samuel caught four passes for 95 yards and rushed for 45 yards on eight carries and a score in his previous game against the Rams. Deebo will have a vital role in the NFC Championship Game and is a strong option with his $8,400 price tag on FanDuel for Sunday's DFS slate.
San Francisco 49ers DE Nick Bosa (non-injury), C Alex Mack (non-injury), RB Elijah Mitchell (knee), OT Trent Williams (ankle) and RB Jeff Wilson Jr. (ankle) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Jan. 26. CB Ambry Thomas (knee) was limited during practice, while QB Jimmy Garoppolo (thumb) fully participated in practice.
Atlanta Falcons TE Lee Smith announced his retirement from professional football Tuesday, Jan. 25.
Free-agent WR Josh Gordon was signed to the Kansas City Chiefs practice squad Wednesday, Jan. 26.
Kansas City Chiefs S Tyrann Mathieu (concussion) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Jan. 26. RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire (shoulder), CB Rashad Fenton (back), WR Mecole Hardman (hip), WR Tyreek Hill (heel), LB Anthony Hitchens (back), DT Chris D. Jones (groin), CB L'Jarius Sneed (knee), CB Charvarius Ward (neck), RB Darrel Williams (toe) and OG Andrew Wylie (elbow) fully participated in practice.
Buffalo Bills OG Ike Boettger (Achilles) and CB Tre'Davious White (knee) are on schedule in their recoveries, according to head coach Sean McDermott.