Week 11 in the NFL from now on shall be known as the week when participation became optional. There were some strange player opt-out decisions on Sunday, such as the San Francisco 49ers’ Ahmad Brooks taking off his cleats and benching himself and the Seattle Seahawks’ Marshawn Lynch deciding not to join his teammates in the locker room at halftime. That theme carried over to Monday night’s game, too, it appears. [ Join FanDuel.com's $2.5M Week 12 fantasy league: $25 to enter; top 21,840 teams paid ] Pittsburgh Steelers running back LeGarrette Blount might have been on the winning side in a 27-24 victory over the Tennessee Titans, but he reportedly was upset at receiving zero carries in the game. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Ed Bouchette reported that Blount left the field before the end of the game and suggested that at least one teammate felt the Steelers should have left Blount in Nashville. He might have made it back to Pittsburgh, but the Steelers decided enough was enough — they released Blount on Tuesday. “We believe the decision to release LeGarrette is in the best interest of the organization and wish him the best of luck,” Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said in a statement released by the team. One reason Blount was passed over was because No. 1 back Le’Veon Bell was having a career night , bashing his way through Titans defenders like bowling pins for 33 carries, 204 rush yards and a touchdown. But another, per the Bouchette report, might be more telling: It suggests that the Steelers have grown weary of Blount’s ways — that he has been “an internal problem for at least a month” — and that he might be dragging down Bell, although there clearly was no sign of that at LP Field. Releasing Blount certainly backs up those claims.  Both Bell and Blount were arrested for marijuana charges in the preseason, and it was Bell that time who was left behind — the Steelers forced him to make his own way to the team’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles. Although neither were suspended, Tomlin was upset with the news. For Blount, his NFL chances might be running out. After being suspended in college at Oregon for punching a player, he has led a wayward NFL existence, playing for four teams in five pro seasons. Blount had a resurgence at the end of the 2013 season with the New England Patriots but was allowed to walk in free agency to sign with the Steelers. Blount now has seen Bell and the Patriots’ Jonas Gray, who has emerged in the Blount power-back role in New England, carry the ball 33 and 38 times, respectively, and has to wonder where it all went wrong. – - – - – - – Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at edholm@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Eric_Edholm View full post on Yahoo Sports – NFL – San Francisco 49ers News

Post info: By 49ersGold on November 21st, 2014
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When they’re not cheering on their team, New England Patriots fans are most likely to go see One Direction concerts as their football-alternative form of musical entertainment. So says a study by StubHub, via the Wall Street Journal , which tracked ticket-purchasing habits of fans from each of the NFL’s fan bases. The online ticket broker studied data back to 2012 on the secondary market and cross-referenced it geographically with what musical acts each team’s fans were most likely to purchase. [ Join FanDuel.com's $2.5M Week 12 fantasy league: $25 to enter; top 21,840 teams paid ] Apparently, the British boy band is just huge in New England — the only NFL region where One Direction was the top-selling act. (What, was Creed not on tour the past three years?) The recent Beyoncé-Jay Z tour dominated in several NFL cities: tops among the fans of the San Francisco 49ers, Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers, Baltimore Ravens, Washington Redskins and New Orleans Saints. View full post on Yahoo Sports – NFL – San Francisco 49ers News

Post info: By 49ersGold on November 18th, 2014
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Maybe Peyton Manning needs to take a cue from Aaron Rodgers this week. Everyone might need to R-E-L-A-X on the Denver Broncos a bit.  In this violently changing NFL, it would be surprising if a team didn’t have a bad loss on their record. The Arizona Cardinals are 9-1 and even they have a 21-point loss, to Denver, on their resume (albeit when they played a decent part of that game with third-string quarterback Logan Thomas). The Broncos’ 22-7 loss to the St. Louis Rams wasn’t good. It’s quite possible we look back on it as the game that cost the Broncos a first-round bye, or the AFC West. But it’s also somewhat understandable. The Rams played well. It happens. And when the Broncos lost Emmanuel Sanders, Julius Thomas and Montee Ball during the game, it eliminated a big part of the game plan. Andre Caldwell and Jacob Tamme just can’t do the things Sanders and Thomas do. The Broncos still should probably score more than seven points, but one bad game doesn’t mean they’re not a good team. The Patriots have taken a couple bad losses. The Cardinals were blown out once. The Packers have a few uncompetitive losses. Now the Broncos have a couple, too. If the Broncos’ injuries linger longer than expected, maybe we will have to reevaluate them. And who knows, if the Kansas City Chiefs beat them in a couple weeks at Arrowhead Stadium (don’t discount that happening, with how well the Chiefs are playing), maybe the Broncos will just be one of those really good teams that has to settle for a wild-card spot. But we’ll see about all that. For right now, the Broncos are just fine, even with two losses in three games. A few teams might be playing better, but I wouldn’t rank many ahead of them. The talent on that roster is too good for them to be average. Relax. Here are the rest of the post-Week 11 NFL power rankings: 32. Oakland Raiders (0-10, Last Week: 32) Every week that Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew gets carries ahead of Latavius Murray, the Raiders are showing they don’t really get it. I don’t know if Murray, a big, physical second-year player, is any good. But neither do the Raiders, and that’s the problem. 31. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-9, LW: 30) The Jaguars went 4-12 in Gus Bradley’s first season. They’d have to go 3-3 the rest of the way to match that. I hope ownership doesn’t overreact if their record is worse, because I do think Bradley is the right guy there. 30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-8, LW: 31) Mike Evans was the first rookie receiver with 200 yards and two touchdowns in a game since Anquan Boldin in 2003. Even in a potentially historic receiver draft class, Evans might be the best one. It’s a debate that will be fun to track. 29. Tennessee Titans (2-8, LW: 29) We’re getting pretty close to a point where Zach Mettenberger has locked up the 2015 starting quarterback job. After what he has shown, is there any chance the Titans won’t use next season to give him a legitimate look? 28. New York Jets (2-8, LW: 28) Is there a number of wins in New York’s last six games that Rex Ryan could hit to save his job? I’d probably put it at a minimum of four. 27. Washington Redskins (3-7, LW: 26) Jay Gruden very specifically criticizing Robert Griffin III on Monday seemed like him saying, “Nothing else is getting through, let me try this approach.” 26. New York Giants (3-7, LW: 24) Sadly, the Giants probably would have won Sunday’s game against the 49ers had Eli Manning thrown just four interceptions. Alas, he threw five. 25. Carolina Panthers (3-7-1, LW: 23) A team that has lost five straight is a half-game out of first place. 24. Atlanta Falcons (4-6, LW: 27) There is, by the way, a scenario in which the NFC South could be won by a 5-11 team. That’s mathematically possible. In related news, I better not get one “How can you rank a first-place team so low???” emails or tweets this week. 23. Minnesota Vikings (4-6, LW: 21) Sunday’s loss to the Bears was the fifth time in six games the Vikings didn’t reach 20 points. And it was against the Bears, who give up 14 by the time the National Anthem is done. Lot of work to be done there. 22. Chicago Bears (4-6, LW: 25) Four of the Bears’ last six games are at home. If they can win those, and upset the Lions on the road on Thanksgiving, then go into Week 17 at Minnesota with nine wins … I’m sorry Bears fans, I don’t know why I just did that to you. 21. New Orleans Saints (4-6, LW: 19) Rookie receiver Brandin Cooks wasn’t dominating this season, but he was pretty good, and it’s going to be very hard for the Saints to replace what he does while he’s out four-to-six weeks with a broken thumb. 20. St. Louis Rams (4-6, LW: 22) They should be in so much better shape than 4-6. 19. Houston Texans (5-5, LW: 20) The first question of Bill O’Brien’s Monday press conference was why Ryan Mallett didn’t start before Week 11. His answer was basically that he wanted to make sure Mallett was ready. But he probably has (or will) wonder if things would be different if he pulled the trigger earlier. 18. Buffalo Bills (5-5, LW: 17) Nobody checked the expiration date on Kyle Orton. It has passed. 17. Cincinnati Bengals (6-3-1, LW: 18) How do you evaluate a team that looked so bad at home against the Browns and so good on the road at the Saints in an 11-day stretch? 16. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-4, LW: 16) it just shouldn’t be that hard against really bad teams. 15. Cleveland Browns (6-4, LW: 13) The good news is Josh Gordon is back. The bad news is they won’t get that loss to the Texans back. They really could have used that one. 14. San Diego Chargers (6-4, LW: 15) There were a few times on Sunday when it didn’t seem like Philip Rivers would be getting up. It’s no surprise to hear he has been playing through injuries. 13. San Francisco 49ers (6-4, LW: 12) NaVorro Bowman as cleared to return to practice. Hopefully he makes it back this season, because that would be a great story for a great player. 12. Miami Dolphins (6-4, LW: 14) Well, if you have to play Denver this might be a good time for it. The Dolphins could use an upset like that, too. 11. Baltimore Ravens (6-4, LW: 11) In the AFC North logjam, it seems like the Ravens have the best team. They could take a huge step by winning at New Orleans next Monday night. 10. Detroit Lions (7-3, LW: 9) It’s pretty clear they’re heading toward a wild-card berth , but I’ll say this: They’re going to be a tough out in the opening weekend (unless Matthew Stafford plays like he did at Arizona, of course). 9. Seattle Seahawks (6-4, LW: 8) A lot is being made of Marshawn Lynch , like he’s a reason for the Seahawks’ issues. Let’s think this through. Do we think Lynch debuted a new personality this year? No. And how were the Seahawks with all of Lynch’s “distractions” or whatever you’d like to call them the past few years? 8. Dallas Cowboys (7-3, LW: 7) They still have four road games left, but the good news is that three come against bad teams (Giants, Bears, Redskins). 7. Indianapolis Colts (6-4, LW: 5) You can’t discount Andrew Luck getting hot and carrying this team deep in the playoffs, but they’re just not one of the elite teams in the conference. 6. Kansas City Chiefs (7-3, LW: 10) They beat the defending champs with 11 completions and 108 yards. Old-school football fans, this is your squad. 5. Philadelphia Eagles (7-3, LW: 3) A close loss at Lambeau would have been no big deal. But that blowout loss? Not a good look. 4. Denver Broncos (7-3, LW: 2) The running back situation is an issue. Ronnie Hillman and Montee Ball are out a while. The Broncos can’t just ditch the run, like they did at St. Louis. 3. Arizona Cardinals (9-1, LW: 6) Maybe Drew Stanton is just one of those stories, where his NFL history doesn’t matter and he has a great season. He looked just fine against the Lions. 2. Green Bay Packers (7-3, LW: 4) I hear you Cardinals fans. But I pick Aaron Rodgers and this team over the Cardinals on a neutral field right now. Simple. 1. New England Patriots (8-2, LW: 1) The gap is pretty wide between No. 1 and No. 2 at this point. They could lose a game (and with that schedule, it’s likely) and I’m not sure I’d drop them from this spot. – - – - – - – Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdowncorner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab View full post on Yahoo Sports – NFL – San Francisco 49ers News

Post info: By 49ersGold on November 18th, 2014
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Sunday was not a good day to be wearing “Manning” on your back. The first family of football combined for seven interceptions and only two touchdowns as Peyton’s Broncos were upset in St. Louis by the Rams, and Eli threw five picks as his Giants lost at home to San Francisco. According to ESPN Stats and Info , that’s the second-highest interception total the two brothers have ever combined for on one day. The most is eight on November 11, 2007, and if you think Eli also pulled most of the weight in that one, you’d be wrong. Peyton took the bulk of blame that day, throwing six interceptions against the San Diego Chargers. Eli has thrown 11 interceptions this season, compared to Peyton’s nine.  We cover all that and more in this week’s NFL in 90.  Here’s some more great Week 11 coverage you may have missed Sunday on Shutdown Corner: • Frank Schwab says the Indianapolis Colts are good, but they’re still not ready for a Super Bowl run after being dismantled by Jonas Gray (who?) and the New England Patriots Sunday night.  • Frank also writes that we should just give the NFC North title to the Green Bay Packers right now. • Eric Edholm writes about the Arizona Cardinals’ impressive win over the Lions , which let Bruce Arians’ squad take a huge three-game lead in the NFC West.  • An unreal catch by Carolina’s Kelvin Benjamin highlighted our top 5 plays of the week.  • A San Francisco 49ers player reportedly benched himself because he’s unhappy over playing time. • RG3′s teammates? Meet the underside of the team bus, compliments of your quarterback. • Vikings coach Mike Zimmer thinks the broken clocks at Soldier Field were a not-so-nice word.     View full post on Yahoo Sports – NFL – San Francisco 49ers News

Post info: By 49ersGold on November 17th, 2014
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — The San Francisco 49ers have the defense to make a run at a Super Bowl. Colin Kaepernick and the offense just have to catch up. View full post on Yahoo Sports – NFL – San Francisco 49ers News

Post info: By 49ersGold on November 17th, 2014
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — New York Giants right tackle Justin Pugh left Sunday’s game with the San Francisco 49ers in the second quarter with a quadriceps injury. View full post on Yahoo Sports – NFL – San Francisco 49ers News

Post info: By 49ersGold on November 16th, 2014
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Bowman told ESPN that he was suffering pain in his knee, however, the source attributed that to standard aches of rehab. View full post on Yahoo Sports – NFL – San Francisco 49ers News

Post info: By 49ersGold on November 16th, 2014
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View full post on Yahoo Sports – NFL – San Francisco 49ers News

Post info: By 49ersGold on November 15th, 2014
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The San Francisco 49ers will have to claw their way back into the playoff race without the hope of getting back one of their defensive mainstays. Patrick Willis, whose toe injury has lingered for weeks, will undergo season-ending surgery, according to multiple reports . Third-round linebacker Chris Borland, who got off to a tough start in training camp, has taken Willis’ place the past three games. And he has been brilliant, racking up 50 tackles in those games and securing a key fumble late in the 49ers’ massive victory Sunday at the New Orleans Saints. [ Join FanDuel.com's $2.5m Week 11 fantasy league: $25 to enter; top 21,840 teams paid ] Willis suffered the toe injury, which appeared to be a week-to-week thing, on Oct. 13 against the St. Louis Rams. It hasn’t healed properly, and there were indications that it could linger. Now those reports appear to be true, as Willis has opted to correct the problem with an eye on returning next season fully healthy. The 49ers, however, appear to be receiving other defensive reinforcements. Aldon Smith has returned from his nine-game suspension, and NaVorro Bowman — who was badly injured in the NFC championship game in January — is expected to return to practice this month and could hit the field by the end of November. Still, losing Willis is a big blow for the 49ers, who continue to hang on by a thread in what has been a trying season. – - – - – - – Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at edholm@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Eric_Edholm View full post on Yahoo Sports – NFL – San Francisco 49ers News

Post info: By 49ersGold on November 15th, 2014
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There’s one NFL result this season that is so strange, it doesn’t seem like it actually happened this year. Tennessee Titans 26, Kansas City 10. It wasn’t even that close, and the game was in Kansas City. The Titans out-gained the Chiefs 405-245 and led 23-3 early in the fourth quarter. These days, the Titans are fielding questions about whether they’d be better off tanking the rest of the season. They’ve lost seven of eight since that Kansas City win, and the only win was a tight home win over a terrible Jacksonville Jaguars team. The Titans are a bad team, too. [ Join FanDuel.com's $2.5m Week 11 fantasy league: $25 to enter; top 21,840 teams paid ] The Chiefs haven’t gotten a ton of attention since Week 1, but it’s clear they are very good. Maybe even better than last year, when a 9-0 start was fueled by an impossibly easy schedule. The Chiefs have been very good to bettors. According to OddsShark.com , the Chiefs are 7-1 against the spread since Week 1. The only loss was a 5-point defeat against San Francisco, when OddsShark’s closing number was San Francisco minus-4.5. The line dropped during the week, so plenty of people had Kansas City at plus-6 or plus-5.5. To them, the Chiefs are a perfect 8-0 against the spread since Week 1. That’s fantastic. That leads us to one of the most interesting lines of the week: Seattle Seahawks as 2-point underdogs at Kansas City. The Seahawks (4-5 against the spread) haven’t looked like the 2013 Seahawks very often this season. But the fourth quarter against the Giants last week was one of those times. They looked dominant. Maybe the champs are starting to hit their stride. That’s what I’m going with this week. I’ll take the Seahawks, believing that their DNA as a championship team is going to show at some point. But I do think the Chiefs are a good team too, and if they win this one, they won’t be under the radar any more. Here are the rest of the Week 11 picks: Bills (+4.5) over Dolphins ( picked Thursday ): There’s a lot to like about the Bills. They need a quarterback though. Bears (-3) over Vikings: If the Bears can’t show any pride in this one and play hard, after Sunday night’s embarrassment, then heads need to start rolling now. Browns (-3) over Texans: I think the Browns are a pretty good team. And I’m not a big believer in Ryan Mallett. Rams (+9.5) over Broncos: I don’t trust these Jeff Fisher Rams. I just can’t bring myself to lay this much with a road favorite. Bengals (+7) over Saints: I assume the line crept up a bit because of how bad the Bengals looked last Thursday. The Saints didn’t look too hot last week either though. 49ers (-4) over Giants: I don’t think the 49ers are all that good this year. But, I know for sure the Giants aren’t good. Buccaneers (+7.5) over Redskins: I can’t stomach taking Washington giving more than a touchdown to anyone. Panthers (pick ‘em) over Falcons: I’m never going to feel good picking an NFC South team this season. But had to pick one in this game, unfortunately. Chargers (-10) over Raiders: The Raiders had their chance to surprise the Chargers earlier this year, and almost did. Oakland lost that one late in the fourth quarter. San Diego won’t sleep on them this time. Eagles (+6) over Packers: I think Philadelphia might win this one straight up. Lions (+1.5) over Cardinals: If Drew Stanton plays well against a heck of a defense like this, maybe we can start to reevaluate where the Cardinals might go from here. Colts (-3) over Patriots: Great game and a tough call. Just think the Colts’ home-field advantage is a little too much. Titans (+5.5) over Steelers: I pick all the games, so I have to pick a side here. But if you really think you can predict this Steelers team, you’re fooling yourself. Last week: 7-6 Season to date: 72-74 – - – - – - – Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdowncorner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab View full post on Yahoo Sports – NFL – San Francisco 49ers News

Post info: By 49ersGold on November 14th, 2014
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