Wednesday, April 16, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

49ers host Falcons in NFC title game rematch

SAN FRANCISCO — Two teams separated by just a few plays and all of four points for a berth to the Super Bowl last February now find themselves on opposite ends of the spectrum and standings.

The San Francisco 49ers (10-4) are riding a four-game winning streak and surging down the stretch with a playoff berth practically in hand. The Atlanta Falcons (4-10), meanwhile, sit in last place in the NFC South and soon will be headed into a longer offseason than they imagined less than a year after a loss to San Francisco on their home field.

“They’re a different team, we’re a different team,” San Francisco left tackle Joe Staley said. “New season.”

Now, the NFC champion Niners are more determined than ever to defend their home turf in the final game at Candlestick Park. Next season, San Francisco moves into new Levi’s Stadium at team headquarters in Santa Clara.

“It’s the last game in Candlestick,” coach Jim Harbaugh said. “We don’t want to be the guys who screw up the last game in Candlestick. These players will come back 20-25 years from now and they want to have a good memory of winning at Candlestick.”

Harbaugh’s players are treating it like any other important game on the schedule, not getting caught up in the fanfare and memories of the iconic stadium.

“For us, we want to leave Candlestick with a win,” quarterback Colin Kaepernick said. “That’s what we’re worried about.”

The way things have gone for Atlanta, the Falcons know how quickly things can turn.

“The dynamics of the team change each and every year,” coach Mike Smith said. “We’ve been a relevant team for the last five years. Unfortunately, we have not played up to our expectations. We are extremely disappointed in the way we’ve played in all three phases and the way we’ve coached.”

Here are five things to watch for Sunday:

GONZALEZ’S LAST BAY AREA HURRAH: Former Cal star Tony Gonzalez will make his last Bay Area trip before retirement after the season. Gonzalez just reached 15,000 yards receiving.

He will leave 20 tickets for family and friends, many making the trip from Southern California.

“I don’t know if there’s any added emotions,” Gonzalez said. “I’m taking everything with urgency, looking back going, ‘This is it, I’ll never have this opportunity again.’ You can’t take it for granted, because you don’t know when it can be over. It’s one of my last games.”

THE ‘STICK SAYS SO LONG: The 49ers have played at Candlestick since 1971, so this farewell season has been bittersweet for many of the players who produced their greatest moments there.

From Hall of Famers Jerry Rice, Joe Montana and Steve Young, to Dwight Clark and the famous “Catch” that made him a worldwide name, to the current players trying to do their part in the stadium’s legacy, this game means a little bit more.

“The guys who did great things before us, like Jerry Rice, Joe Montana and Steve Young, I’m glad I had the opportunity to play on the same field,” running back Frank Gore said.

DAWSON ON A ROLL: Phil Dawson has been on such a roll it affects Harbaugh’s play-calling knowing he has a spot-on kicker.

Dawson has converted a franchise-record 24 straight field-goal tries, and adjusted well to the wind and elements at Candlestick.

“Real football player in every sense of the word, which that always doesn’t get affixed to kickers and punters, but Phil is that kind of a teammate,” Harbaugh said. “It’s about accomplishing the mission and the goal of the team and him doing his job within that.”

Dawson realizes one missed kick can change a season, so he’s not thinking too far ahead — like about his chance to stay with the 49ers after his one-year deal is done.

“I’d love to be back,” he said. “We’ve got some exciting football down the chute that’s got my focus.”

STOPPING DAVIS: Vernon Davis needs one touchdown catch to match his career high of 13 set during the 2009 season.

The Falcons will have to try to stop the speedy, athletic tight end from making a touchdown reception for a sixth straight game. He became the first tight end in NFL history with more than one 12-touchdown season.

“He makes plays, that’s the biggest thing to say about Vernon,” Kaepernick said.

BLOCKING FOR GORE: With versatile fullback Bruce Miller lost for the season to a shoulder blade injury, the 49ers are calling on Anthony Dixon to take on a greater role in run-blocking for Gore as well as others.

Gore has credited Miller for much of his success given the holes created.

“It stinks that Bruce is out,” Staley said. “We’ve had guys all season that have stepped up. Whoever steps in that position is going to have big shoes to fill.”

Harbaugh is eager to see how Dixon does with greater responsibility.

“Anthony Dixon will step up and do a great job as he has been doing in that backup fullback role,” Harbaugh said. “Very confident in AD and how he’ll do.”

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

 
 
Supervisor candidates file conflict-of-interest forms

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1

 
Trial begins for teacher accused of abusing children

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A3

Suisun police ID shooting victim

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3, 2 Comments

 
Solano Jews gather for start of Passover

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
 
County discusses consolidated dispatch

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A4

 
Miner Slough Bridge to see repairs

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A4

 
‘Heaven is for Real’ opens Wednesday

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B5

 
Fiesta Days pageant organizers seek contestants

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5

 
Easter hunt set for Mare Island

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A5

 
Crews make quick work of vehicle fire

By Glen Faison | From Page: A6, 6 Comments | Gallery

 
Paper Clover Campaign supports Solano County 4-H

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A6

Coakley joins Solano fair board

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A6

 
Hundreds flock to Krispy Kreme as it opens doors

By Susan Winlow | From Page: B9 | Gallery

 
County to honor Solano educators

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A14, 1 Comment

.

US / World

Officials: Huge San Francisco blaze was accidental

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
‘Shrimp Boy’ pleads not guilty in corruption case

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Solemn tributes mark Boston Marathon bombing

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
Immigration activists urge Obama to act boldly

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

Supremacist faces murder charges in Kansas deaths

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Ukraine: Military secures airport from attack

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Democrats have outside money advantage – for now

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14, 2 Comments

 
First women move into Army platoon artillery jobs

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Final deadline arrives for health exchange sign-up

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
New LA newspaper embraces print in digital world

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Congress is giving states the transportation blues

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Police: Suspects in killings wore GPS devices

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14, 1 Comment

DNA alternative to Pap smear sparks medical debate

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Robot sub returns to water after 1st try cut short

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Hamas praises deadly West Bank shooting

By The Associated Press | From Page: A15

 
2 dead after ferry sinks off SKorean coast

By The Associated Press | From Page: A15

.

Opinion

 
Oh, for the days of Dr. Welby

By Dan K. Thomasson | From Page: A13, 12 Comments

Poor Judgement in Flight 370 column

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A13, 1 Comment

 
Senseless babble that hurts

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A13

 
Expand Red Top Road

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A13, 1 Comment

Editorial cartoons for April 16, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A13

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: April 16, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
What love gives you

By Barton Goldsmith | From Page: A2

Today in History for April 16, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
A matzo ball soup fit for a weeknight dinner

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Saving carrots from their usual sugary Easter fate

By Sara Moulton | From Page: B6

 
Sweet pairings for grown-up Easter treats

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

My husband still pays his 45-year-old unemployed son’s bills

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B7

 
Horoscopes for April 16, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B7

.

Entertainment

Boston Globe wins Pulitzer for bombing coverage

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Lindsay Lohan’s mom pleads guilty to DWI in NY

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

Strahan’s ‘GMA’ side job confirmed with his visit

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

.

Sports

Cal hires Tennessee’s Cuonzo Martin as coach

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Warriors trying to move on without Andrew Bogut

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Sharks’ Torres uncertain for playoff opener

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Indians shut out Mustangs

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Ex-Minnesota State, Mankato coach returning to job

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Panthers jump Sabres to win NHL draft lottery

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

More former players sue NHL regarding concussions

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
49ers sign WR Brandon Lloyd to 1-year deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

MLB marks 67th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s debut

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
.

Business

Twitter buys data analytics partner Gnip

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Yellen signals more aggressive stance toward banks

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

.

Obituaries

Carolyn McClelland

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Evonne Medina

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

.

Comics

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7