Oakland, CA - A's manager Bob Melvin narrowly beat out Baltimore Oriels skipper Buck Showalter for AL manager of the year honors. Melvin guided the A's to a 20 game improvement and a playoff birth for the rookie infused team. The A's once again had the lowest payroll in all of baseball. He would receive 16 first place votes to Showalter's 12.
"Absolutely shocked, I mean Buck had such a great year," Melvin would tell the MLB Network.
The A's were a Major League best 72-38 after June 1st, win the AL West in which they battled all year with the Texas Ranger's becoming the first team in history to come back from at least 5 games back with just 10 games to play to win the division. The A's would ultimately lose to the Detroit Tiger's in the first round of the playoffs.
"We just tried to keep it day to day," Melvin said. "It's a credit to the guys each and every day going out there and just worrying about that particular day."
Melvin became a two-time winner, having previously been chosen in 2007 with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He joined Davey Johnson (this year's NL manager of the year with the National's), Jim Leyland, Bobby Cox, Tony La Russa and Lou Piniella as the only managers to win the award in both leagues.
San Francisco, Ca. - By the time the dust settled in San Francisco there were many fans asking themselves, "is this the second coming of Steve Young?'. Niners backup QB Colin Kaepernick sure did look like a future Hall of Famer Monday night against a very formidable Bears Defense. Kaepernick got the starting role as Alex Smith was ruled out with a concussion earlier in the day. He threw for 243 yards and 2 touchdowns. It was more then just his stats that impressed, his poise, decision making abilities, and calling audibles all night cemented him in what could only now be called a QB controversy in the city by the bay.
"It's everything I could've ever wished for," Kaepernick said. "It feels great just to be out there." "I think after the first drive I felt really comfortable with what they were doing and what we had in our game plan," he said. "I really wasn't too nervous. I've had a lot of time in this offense. My teammates were really supportive."
The 49ers defense proved to the prime time audience they and not the Bears are the best defensive squad in the NFL. Aldon Smith set a Monday Night Football record as he recorded 5.5 sacks, and at the same time took over the NFL lead with 15 on the year.
"We were playing our defense, stopping the run and then stopping the pass," Aldon Smith said. "I was just playing my game and getting after it."
Bears backup QB Jason Campbell was under immense pressure all night long, and the entire Chicago offense just looked extremely overmatched. Campbell was picked off twice, once by Tarell Brown and again by All Pro Dashon Goldson. The Bears finished the evening with just 143 total yards from scrimmage.
As the 49ers clicked on all cylinders last night, next weeks matchup against the New Orleans Saints may be even tougher. Drew Brees and company have been playing lights out as of late and the Niners will also be dealing with loud Superdome crowd.
The QB status will surely be watched with a close eye, as of now Coach Harbaugh has said they will go with "the hot hand". After Kaepernick's Monday night performance it's hard to get any hotter then that.
San Francisco, Ca. - For the first time since 2008 an NFL game ended in a tie. The good, the 49ers (6-2-1) battled their way back to earn the tie, the bad, the Niner's tied a team in the St. Louis Rams (3-5-1) who by all accounts should have been chalked up as a W.
Both teams missed overtime field goals by reliable kickers, and penalties played a huge role in the game's outcome.
"I don't know what to make of this," 49ers All Pro Linebacker Patrick Willis said. "We have one of the best kickers in the game, and it came down to him at the end and he misses it. That tells you right there something wasn't right."
QB Alex Smith took an extremely hard hit by Rams linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar during a scramble with just over a minute left in the first quarter. Smith left the game a few plays later with a possible concussion. Coach Harbaugh said Smith will be evaluated this week per NFL concussion protocol.
Niner's back-up QB Colin Kaepernick would take over for Smith and finish the game 11 of 17 for 117 yards and added eight carries for 66 yards including a 7 yard TD run. Kaepernick started off slow but once he found his rhythm played very well down the stretch.
It was a whacky game all around as evidence to the first play of overtime. Rams QB Sam Bradford completed an 80-yard bomb to WR Danny Amendola that took St. Louis to the 2 yard line. As 49er fans got up to leave, the sight of a yellow penalty flag quickly put them right back in their seats. The play was called back for illegal formation.
"I have to say, I've been doing this a while. I don't think I've ever been in a game like this," Rams coach Jeff Fisher said. "As I told our guys, we had a number of chances to put the game away. And, unfortunately, we didn't."
The 24-24 tie was the first since Philly and Cinci's 13-13 game over 4 years ago.
"It just feels like it's unfinished business," San Francisco cornerback Tarell Brown said.
"It feels weird," Niners safety Donte Whitner said. "We're about wins around here."
San Francisco will look to get back into the win column as they host the Chicago Bears next Monday night in Prime Time. The Bears (7-2) come in hungry after a 13-6 loss at the hands of the Houston Texans Sunday night. The Niners offense will need to be on point against a Chicago defense that is opportunistic, stingy, and among the very best units in football. The 49ers defense will contend with Wide-Out Brandon Marshal, RB Matt Forte and QB Jay Cutler among others.
Monday night's game will be touted as the "Game of the Week", and very well could live up to the hype.
Baltimore, MD - Just one week after giving up 251 yards on the ground to Tampa Bay rookie Doug Martin, the Raider's defense would once again be torched, this time by the arm of Baltimore QB Joe Flacco. Flacco threw for 341 yards and 3 touchdowns in just three quarters of work as the QB sat the entire fourth quarter in the 55-20 blowout of the Raiders.
"Obviously, we had success," said Flacco, who also ran for a score. "We ran the game plan and it worked well. We stuck with it. We scored points early and continued to score them."
The 55 points were not only a Raven's record for points scored in a game, but also tied an Oakland record for points allowed, set in 1961 and matched again in 1981.
"We had too many mental errors on defense, gave up too many big plays, we turned the ball over too many times and we didn't execute on special teams," Raiders coach Dennis Allen said. "When you do those things, it generally results in something like that."
Carson Palmer finished his day 29 of 45 for 368 yards and 2 touchdowns. Coach Allen pulled Palmer in the fourth quarter.
"Rough, rough, rough, rough game," Palmer said. "We didn't play any good in any facet of the game. Came in and got outplayed by a good football team. It's very frustrating. We got to put this one in our rear view mirror, because it's going to be a tough one to get past."
The Raiders (3-6) are dangerously close to completely falling out of any kind of playoff contention. The AFC West leading Denver Broncos (6-3) continue to play better and better as QB Peyton Manning asserts himself once again as a field general and future hall of famer.
Things don't get any easier for the Raiders as Drew Brees and the extremely hot New Orleans Saints march into oakland next week. I hate to say "must win" but if the Raider's lose again they could find themselves lost in space, stuck in their very own black hole.
Oakland, Ca. - The Warriors youth and inexperience showed as they would make runs and even take the lead a few times against the Denver Nuggets but just never showed that killer instinct, thus losing 107-101 on Saturday night. It was the Warriors third loss in four games.
"We had the lead a couple times in late-game situations and our inexperience showed," said Forward David Lee, who had 18 points and nine rebounds for the Warriors. "If we even play halfway decent it's not a game to begin with. It's very frustrating."
Warriors second-year Shooting Guard Klay Thompson led Golden State with 23 points, Carl Landry added 22 points and nine rebounds off the bench, but the Warriors went scoreless over the final 2:47 of the 2nd overtime.
"This is the worst I've felt after a game," Golden State coach Mark Jackson said. "We got outworked tonight. They dominated us on the boards (and) we made critical mistakes down the stretch that are simple basketball plays to make. It's just a bad feeling."
The Dubs will look to rebound from the tough loss on Wednesday November 14th as Josh Smith, Al Horford and the Atlanta Hawks make a visit to Oaktown.
Oakland, CA. - Oakland born Doug Martin made his return to the Bay Area a very memorable one against the Raiders as he rushed for 251 yards and 4 touchdowns. Martin was the 31st pick by the Buccaneers in last years draft, he grew up in Oakland and attended high school in Stockton. The Tampa Bay RB is having a stellar rookie campaign, but I don't think anybody saw this kind of game out of the 5-9, 215 pound Boise St. alumni.
"Everybody was there. It was awesome," Martin said. "It's surreal right now. I'm just doing my job out there. I'm honored."
"That was a great, great performance," Tampa Bay head coach Greg Schiano said. "After having a big outing in Minnesota on national TV and winning some awards you wonder how the young guys is going to handle the success. This test he stepped up and met the challenge for sure."
The Raiders held tight and made a game of it as they cut into the Bucs 18 point lead on the back of Carson Palmer who threw for 414 yards and three of his four touchdowns in the fourth quarter. The score was 35-32 with just 3:51 left in the game. The Raiders got the ball back with 2:42 but Palmer misfired on his throw to WR Rod Streeter and was picked off by the Bucs. Martin ran the ball three straight downs scoring his fourth TD of the day and putting Tampa Bay ahead for good.
"Mistakes like that you can't overcome and you can't make and me being the quarterback you can't do that," Palmer said. "I can't throw that ball. You just need to take a sack sometimes if things are off of the same page and come back the next play."
The Raiders lost star Running back Darren McFadden to the dreaded high ankle sprain and although X-rays came back negative, he still could miss some significant playing time. Top back-up, Mike Goodson, also went down Sunday with a high ankle sprain, so RB's Taiwan Jones and Marcel Reece will need to step up big time next week as the Raiders travel to Baltimore to face Ray Rice, Joe Flacco and the Ravens.
The Raiders (3-5) now sit 2 games back of the AFC West leading Denver Broncos (5-3). The road doesn't get any easier for Oakland, as the next three games will see the aforementioned Ravens, the New Orleans Saints and Cincinnati Bengals.
Sacramento, CA. - The battle of Northern Cali saw an emotional game between Golden State and the Kings, but ultimately it was the play of Center DeMarcus Cousins that sealed the deal for Sacramento in a 94-92 victory Monday night.
Sacramento avoided an 0-4 start on the back of Cousins who finished the game with 23 points and 15 rebounds.
"I've started the season off pretty rough," Cousins said. "I know the way I play affects this team in a lot of ways. I knew I had to step up tonight."
The Warriors shrunk the Kings 16 point lead and pulled to within 1 with just under a minute to play. Warriors Shooting Guard Klay Thompson, who had 22 points on the night, missed a potential tying jump shot and Point Guard Steph Curry missed a three as time expired. Warriors Power Forward David Lee added 20 points and 6 rebounds.
"The game was lost when the lead went from six or seven up to 16," Lee said. "From there, you pretty much have to play perfect basketball before you get back into it."
The Kings (1-3) will have the day off and host PG Brandon Knight and the Detroit Pistons (0-3) on Wednesday.
Golden State heads back down the road to Oakland to play PG Kyrie Irving and the Cleveland Cavaliers (2-2).