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Old 11-23-2008, 09:02 AM   #1
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Default OFFICIAL GDT - COWBOYS vs 49ers!!!

49ers vs. Cowboys
There Can Be No Overlooking The Resurgent 49ers


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GAME SET
WHAT: San Francisco 49ers (3-7) vs. Dallas Cowboys (6-4.)
WHEN: Sunday, Noon (CST)
WHERE: Texas Stadium, Irving, Texas
TELEVISION: Fox (Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, and Pam Oliver)


BIG ISSUE: Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips has repeated one thing to his team all week: "Remember St. Louis." While many "experts" have the Cowboys penciled in at 8-4 by Thanksgiving's end, Phillips knows his team cannot afford to take the 49ers lightly if they want to sneak into the playoffs. Catching New York (9-1) for the division lead is unlikely at this point, and even though they beat Washington last week, the Cowboys will need to keep pace with the Redskins (who play the lowly Seahawks on Sunday) in order to maintain hopes of a wild-card berth. The Eagles at 5-4-1 aren't yet out of the picture, and don't forget Tampa Bay still sitting 7-3 and Atlanta at 6-4 among the other non-division leaders, while Green Bay, Chicago, Minnesota and New Orleans aren't exactly out of the wild-card sweepstakes either at 5-5.

Playoffs are not really in the picture for the 49ers. The Arizona Cardinals already hold a four-game lead in the division at 7-3, although if they lose to the Giants Sunday and the 49ers win, that lead will shrink to three. Right now, San Francisco is concerned more with solidifying the future of its franchise. Mike Singletary replaced Mike Nolan on Oct. 20 as interim head coach, and with Singletary also came a quarterback switch from J.T. O'Sullivan to Shaun Hill. San Francisco is hoping the Singletary-Hill experiment works out in order to have something to build around for the future. One way to see if it's working - beat the Dallas Cowboys.

NUMBERS, PLEASE: Been wondering where those big, explosive offensive gains have been for the Cowboys? They might be flying into DFW along with the 49ers, who have allowed eight plays of 40 yards or more on defense, second most in the league behind Seattle and Jacksonville. The Cowboys offense has had seven plays of 40 yards or more this season. As 49ers running back Frank Gore goes, so goes the Niners. Since Gore became the fulltime starter in 2006, the 49ers generally win when Gore rushes for more than 100 yards. When Gore passes the century mark, San Francisco is 10-4. When he doesn't, the 49ers are 4-22.

ONE-ON-ONE: If the Cowboys want to stop the 49ers offense, they'll need to stop running back Frank Gore. Gore is a threat both running and catching the ball, averaging 115 total yards per game this season. In order to stop him from being successful on the ground, Cowboys nose tackle Jay Ratliff will have to do a good job causing havoc on the line of scrimmage. When Gore runs routes as a receiver, Cowboys inside linebacker Zach Thomas will likely find himself in Gore's vicinity most of the time.

When the Cowboys are on offense, they'll make sure they know where 49ers outside linebacker Patrick Willis is at all times. Willis, who ranks second in the league in tackles with 90, is quick and able to fly all over the field at 6-1, 240 pounds. The Cowboys will have to be especially careful when throwing out in the flat to running back Marion Barber, since Willis is adept at defending the pass, having returned his only interception this season 86 yards for a touchdown.

SUPPORTING ROLE: If starting cornerback Terence Newman can't go Sunday (he's listed as questionable), the Cowboys will once again rely on their two rookies - Mike Jenkins and Orlando Scandrick to fill the void. Because of the recent depletion on the Cowboys secondary, with recently-reinstated Adam Jones out for the past four games and Newman missing more than a month after undergoing abdominal surgery, both Jenkins and Scandrick have undergone trial by fire. Scandrick has been the more impressive of the two, although head coach Wade Phillips is likely unwilling to move the fifth-round draft choice from his normal position in the slot on the change-up defenses to starting left corner. That means Jenkins, whom has faced criticism for his lack of aggressiveness, will likely start on the left side if Newman can't play. Jenkins does have one of the Cowboys secondary's two interceptions, returning the pick for a touchdown against the Giants three weeks ago.

The 49ers don't have many injury issues right now, but they are hurting at wide receiver. Rookie starter Josh Morgan (groin) and key backup Arnaz Battle (foot) have been ruled out for the game, so San Francisco will likely rely on a combination of Jason Hill and Bryant Johnson opposite veteran starter Isaac Bruce. Hill has only had significant snaps in the 49ers' last three games, although he was a key force in San Francisco's near comeback against the Cardinals, catching six balls for 82 yards. Johnson, who defected from the Cardinals in the off-season, has been a more consistent contributor, lining up at receiver in eight games this season and catching a total of 23 balls for 281 yards and two touchdowns.

HEADSET GAMES: The biggest concern for the Cowboys defense last game was stopping the run, and so it will remain this week. Quarterback Shaun Hill may have earned NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors last week for his 213-yard, two-touchdown passing performance (he ran for another score) against the Rams, but as Adam Jones would say, that was the Rams, dude. Hill carrying the 49ers on his back is the least of the Cowboys' worries - in fact, they'd love to make him try. Stopping Gore and the San Francisco run game will force pass-happy offensive coordinator Mike Martz to throw more often. Then, to make life more difficult on Hill, who has started only four games in his seven-year NFL career (the past two, and then two last year), the Cowboys will dial up the blitz, trying to force the quarterback into hasty, and incorrect, decisions.

Looking at the Cowboys offense, the 49ers would probably rather die by the pass than by the run. Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo still seemed a little shaky coming off his finger injury, and has yet to get fully in sync with his top three receiving options - wide receivers Terrell Owens and Roy Williams, and tight end Jason Witten. As is evident by last week's win over the Redskins, though, the Cowboys run game spearheaded by Marion Barber is in full swing. So the 49ers defense will likely concentrate on stopping Barber first, and hope to cause some discord in a passing game that's yet to gel fully.

HEALTH WATCH:

Cowboys
The two players listed as out for the Cowboys should come as no surprise for those who have been paying attention to the news coming out of Valley Ranch this week. Backup wide receiver Miles Austin is out for at least two weeks with a sprained knee (LCL) and Cowboys rookie running back Felix Jones was scheduled to undergo season-ending surgery Saturday to repair the torn ligament under his left big toe. More alarming, and more surprising for Cowboys fans, is the status of starting cornerback Terence Newman, listed as questionable and likely a game-time decision. Newman, who seems to becoming injury-prone after four relatively injury-free seasons from 2003-2006, missed Friday's practice with a slight groin pull that is not a re-aggravation of the muscle surgically repaired back on Oct. 10. Also listed as questionable is backup linebacker and special teamer Justin Rogers (back). Starting quarterback Tony Romo (broken finger) and starting tight end Jason Witten (broken rib) are both listed as probable as they continue to play while recovering from injury. Also probable are backup wide receiver Isaiah Stanback (shoulder) and backup linebacker Bobby Carpenter (groin). Carpenter will resume his duties on special teams and Stanback will take over kickoff return duties with Austin out.

49ers
Three players are listed as out for the 49ers - starting rookie wide receiver Josh Morgan (groin), backup wide receiver Arnaz Battle (foot) and backup free safety Dashon Goldson (knee). Everyone else on the report - backup corner Tarell Brown (neck), backup right tackle Barry Sims (ankle), starting fullback Michael Robinson (stinger), starting free safety Mark Roman (groin), backup tight end Delanie Walker (shoulder) and starting outside linebacker Patrick Willis (hip strain/illness) - are all listed as probable.
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Old 11-23-2008, 09:04 AM   #2
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Here Are The San Francisco 49ers

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IRVING, Texas - Whether it was the right thing to say or just plain football-player jargon, Tony Romo's Redskins postgame comment, "We have a tough one next week" should not be taken with a grain of salt. Even though the 49ers boast a 3-7 record, their performances the past two weeks have shown they are a team capable of winning football games. Plus, if the Cowboys should lose to the 49ers at Noon (CST) Sunday at Texas Stadium, it would be a significant setback for a team trying to make a second-half run at the playoffs.

What's Up?
Despite a 1-2 record, there's no doubt the 49ers are playing better under interim head coach Mike Singletary. San Francisco came within a yard of beating the Arizona Cardinals on the road on Monday Night Football on Nov. 9 and knocked off the St. Louis Rams, 35-16, on Sunday. Singletary's fiery antics and decision to promote Shaun Hill to starting quarterback have the 49ers in second place in the hapless NFC West.

Meanwhile, the Cowboys are coming off unquestionably their biggest victory of the season. On the road and in the cold weather of FedExField, the Cowboys avoided a season sweep and beat the rival Redskins, 14-10, on Sunday. The return of starters Tony Romo, Kyle Kosier and Terence Newman propelled the Cowboys to their third NFC East victory of the season. This week the Cowboys may get another key player back in running back Felix Jones, who has missed the past four games with a hamstring injury. If Jones can indeed make it back to the playing field, it will mark the first time since Week 4 that Jones, Romo, Kosier and Newman have all played in a game this season.

Statistical View

* Cowboys outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware, who is tied for the most sacks in the NFC with 11, recorded his first career sack against the 49ers in a 34-31 victory in September of 2005 at Candlestick Park. The two-time Pro Bowler has compiled 43.5 more sacks since that game.

* The 49ers are one of only a handful of teams to own a series advantage against the Cowboys, holding a record of 16-14-1 all-time. San Francisco has even won two out of the last three meetings played at Texas Stadium, although those games were played between 2000 and 2002.

* While their records may be drastically different, the 49ers and Cowboys have a couple notable similarities. The two teams come into this Sunday's matchup averaging 23 points per game - tied for 13th most in the league - and they both rank near the bottom of the NFL in turnover differential. The Cowboys are tied for 27th in the NFL with a minus-7, while the 49ers rank 31st with a minus-12.

Chalk Talk
Singletary's decision to start quarterback Shaun Hill the past two weeks has given the 49ers a spark they seemed to be lacking in the first half of the season. In the two games Hill has started, the team is averaging nearly 30 points and 335 total yards.

But even with the team's improved play with Hill under center, the seventh-year quarterback has shown he can still make critical mistakes. In six career games in San Francisco, Hill has been sacked 10 times, fumbled the ball five times and thrown three picks. Against Arizona last week on MNF, he turned the ball over three times and had two more interceptions called back because of penalty. That means the Cowboys defense, which has recorded a sack in 30 straight games, will need to pressure Hill into making bad decisions that lead to big turnovers.

When the Cowboys and 49ers faced off in Texas Stadium in September of 2000, Terrell Owens ran all over Dallas' defense, compiling 51 yards and two scores on five catches. He even found a way to get himself suspended from the 49ers for a week by infamously running onto the midfield star after a touchdown.

While the Cowboys could certainly do without the celebrations, they would love to have that play-making Terrell Owens of old back. Since catching a 57-yard touchdown pass from Romo against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week Five, Owens has caught only one pass for more than 20 yards and is averaging just 8.3 yards per catch - a far cry from last season's 16.7 yards per reception. The Cowboys should get a big game from Owens this week, though, since the 49ers are allowing the 25th most passing yards per game in the NFL with 234.9.

Connections
Cowboys wide receiver Terrell Owens was an All-Pro and a Pro Bowler four times in his seven-year stint (1996-03) with the 49ers . . . Owens' current wide receivers coach, Ray Sherman, was on the 49ers coaching staff from 1991-93 . . . The offensive line's missing piece for eight games this year, Kyle Kosier, started his career in San Francisco from 2002-04 . . . San Francisco tight end Sean Ryan was originally drafted by the Cowboys in 2004 in the fifth round . . . San Francisco offensive line coach George Warhop was on the Cowboys coaching staff from 2003-04 . . . Cowboys assistant secondary coach Brett Maxie not only coached for the 49ers from 1999-03, he also played for them in 1997.

Miscellaneous
As a 49er, Terrell Owens played the Cowboys five times and recorded 26 catches for 329 yards and four touchdowns . . . The 49ers are tied for first with the New Orleans Saints when it comes to plays of 20-plus yards, both teams owning 47. The Cowboys aren't that far behind wioth 38 of their own . . . The Cowboys just faced Clinton Portis, who leads the league in yards from scrimmage with 1,219, and now they got to face the third-place guy, Niners running back Frank Gore, who has 1,159. Marion Barber is fifth with 1,082 . . . The Cowboys and 49ers have met seven times in the playoffs, matching the most for a Cowboys opponent with the L.A. Rams . . . Of those seven postseason meetings, six have been in the NFC title game, the Cowboys holding a 4-2 advantage . . . If the Cowboys should beat San Francisco, it will be the first time since beating the Niners three straight times in 1993-94 they have won consecutive games over them.
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Old 11-23-2008, 10:04 AM   #3
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I expect to win by three touchdowns.
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Old 11-23-2008, 11:10 AM   #4
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I expect to win by three touchdowns.
I hope you're right - a victory like that against a team like this would say a lot about our playoff chances (it's time to start beating mediocre opponents in the first half like Super Bowl-bound teams do!)


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Old 11-23-2008, 12:54 PM   #5
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I like grinding it out ala Super Bowl Giants, Super Bowl Steelers, Superbowl Bucs, Superbowl Ravens, and Superbowl Patriots teams.
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Old 11-23-2008, 01:01 PM   #6
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Go cowboys!!!!
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Old 11-23-2008, 01:02 PM   #7
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San Francisco seems to be a team that is starting to get its act together so they could pose a bigger challenge than their record indicates. But we should still be able to pull this one out and push our record to 7-4

Let's get 'em Boys!
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Old 11-23-2008, 01:03 PM   #8
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I'll give horse credit, at least he seems to pull for the right teams
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Old 11-23-2008, 01:09 PM   #9
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I'm a little surprised that the 49ers attempted that 53 yarder, but I'll take the good field position.
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Old 11-23-2008, 01:13 PM   #10
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Holy crap...what hands witten has.
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Old 11-23-2008, 01:16 PM   #11
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They better not have taken the 49ers lightly...you won with Romo back, just don't get all high and mighty. This team is starting to click and could easily shock you at home. Just play your game and don't do anything stupid.
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Old 11-23-2008, 01:17 PM   #12
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I was wondering if Tony should be wearing gloves like Kurt Warner is now. He's had "issues" with a slick ball and now he would also seem to have a better grip if he were wearing them.

Warner certainly hasn't had any issues with accuracy.
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Old 11-23-2008, 01:18 PM   #13
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Yuck that dude got 12 staples or something. Ouch..
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Old 11-23-2008, 01:20 PM   #14
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The 49ers don't seem to be having a ton of trouble moving the ball against our defense in the early going.
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Old 11-23-2008, 01:22 PM   #15
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Good god terrence....got catch it, not hit him after he catches it.
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Old 11-23-2008, 01:22 PM   #16
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Seriously, how did we not defend that pass better considering how long it was hanging in the air? Maybe Newman's groin is bothering him again after all...
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Old 11-23-2008, 01:22 PM   #17
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Good god terrence....got catch it, not hit him after he catches it.
Heck I thought even the safety had a chance to defend it too considering how long it was hanging there.
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Old 11-23-2008, 01:23 PM   #18
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C'mon D, whatever you do, do NOT let Gore score. My fantasy team would appreciate it. Thank you.
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Old 11-23-2008, 01:27 PM   #19
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Damn...they got lucky that the ref didn't see henry's left arm.
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Old 11-23-2008, 01:29 PM   #20
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C'mon D, whatever you do, do NOT let Gore score. My fantasy team would appreciate it. Thank you.
bite your tongue...unless he gets 300 yards.
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Old 11-23-2008, 01:29 PM   #21
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Yeah, we definitely got away with one there.
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Old 11-23-2008, 01:33 PM   #22
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textbook pass interference. wow.
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Old 11-23-2008, 01:35 PM   #23
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Are we going to play defense today?

Our offense better get it in gear because we can't afford to score 14 points today.
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Old 11-23-2008, 01:36 PM   #24
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Good grief Tony/Garrett...are we trying to force-feed TO because of his whining last week? Has anything been thrown at Roy Williams.
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Old 11-23-2008, 01:36 PM   #25
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lol at the 49ers. They won't score here either. THey should be up 17-0
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Old 11-23-2008, 01:37 PM   #26
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Yeah good thing San Fransisco sucks.
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Old 11-23-2008, 01:37 PM   #27
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Good grief...Martz is right...bad coverage...and what a nice throw...crap.
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Old 11-23-2008, 01:38 PM   #28
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Big play by Ratliff.
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Old 11-23-2008, 01:38 PM   #29
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Definitely a case of bend but don't break. Sheesh.
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Old 11-23-2008, 01:38 PM   #30
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I think henry might have interfered there also.
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Old 11-23-2008, 01:38 PM   #31
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Definitely a case of bend but don't break. Sheesh.
Bend?? More like bubble but not break. Bend hints at some resistance.
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Old 11-23-2008, 01:39 PM   #32
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Damn...they got lucky that the ref didn't see henry's left arm.
Definite PI.
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Old 11-23-2008, 01:39 PM   #33
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I think henry might have interfered there also.
Yeah apparently he should just keep doing it bc they don't care.
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Old 11-23-2008, 01:39 PM   #34
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I think henry might have interfered there also.
If you are talking about the first down pass, I'd have to agree with you there. He's playing bad right now.
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Old 11-23-2008, 01:39 PM   #35
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Helly Jay Ratliff.
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Old 11-23-2008, 01:40 PM   #36
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Well, they're stopping them deep in the red zone. Are they getting some breaks in that area, yeah...but they haven't score two TDs yet from that spot.
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Old 11-23-2008, 01:40 PM   #37
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Good grief...Martz is right...bad coverage...and what a nice throw...crap.
Well Keith DAvis is even worse in coverage than Roy is so that's not surprising. I'm actually shocked that teams haven't went at him more. But it really makes things difficult when you have a tight end just as fast as a receiver.

The announcers say the 9ers suck in the red zone btu I thought I saw a stat that says they're 7th in the league? Better than the Cowboys so I feel pretty good about only allowing them 6 points at the goal line. RATLIFF IS A ANIMAL. I remember seeing fans wanting to put him on the outside and get another nose tackle in here. Why? What else can you ask for? He's just a BEAST.
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Old 11-23-2008, 01:41 PM   #38
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How do you get hurt rehabbing? Isn't that like getting fired from work on your day off?
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Old 11-23-2008, 01:41 PM   #39
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Jerry Jones is confident in Choice? Well at least someone on the team is.
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Old 11-23-2008, 01:42 PM   #40
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Wait? That wasn't a catch by Witten?
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