For the Jets, this has to be rock bottom

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For the Jets, this has to be rock bottom

From Comcast SportsNetEAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- The San Francisco 49ers were coming off a stunning road loss, angry and missing home.They headed back with an impressive win and looked again as though they're one of the NFL's elite teams.Carlos Rogers returned a fumble 51 yards for a touchdown, and Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter and backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick -- on a wildcat-style option -- all ran for scores as the 49ers cruised to a 34-0 victory over the New York Jets on Sunday."After the last game," linebacker Aldon Smith said of San Francisco's 24-13 loss at Minnesota last week, "some people were questioning us and we knew what we were capable of."Rex Ryan's Jets, meanwhile, have plenty to answer for right now, which is why he sent his players home for two days to do some soul searching."I apologize for my language," said Ryan, so angry that he had trouble even getting started. "I was going to say we got our butt kicked, but really ... there's no two ways, in or outs about it."San Francisco (3-1) used a solid running game that gained 245 yards, a smothering defense, a little bit of the wildcat-style offense and even blocked a punt to improve to 4-0 following losses under coach Jim Harbaugh.Instead of heading back to the West Coast last Sunday, Harbaugh had his team stay in eastern Ohio and practice at Youngstown State all week. It worked last season, when they followed a win at Cincinnati with a victory at Philadelphia. Well, the 49ers might have a new home away from home."I think the whole week we had more edge," quarterback Alex Smith said. "We had a bad taste in our mouth the whole week. I don't think that goes away after a day. There's no 24-hour rule. The loss sits around and you talk about it."And, the 49ers figured out how to put it way behind them."This is more the way we are accustomed to playing," Harbaugh said.Ryan took no solace from the Jets (2-2) losing to one of the NFL's best. After all, San Francisco plays the way Ryan wishes his team did."It's obviously unacceptable," Ryan said. "It starts with the coaches. The players ... they've got to dig deep, look down at themselves."It was San Francisco's first shutout since beating the St. Louis Rams 26-0 last December. New York's last shutout loss was 9-0 to Green Bay on Oct. 31, 2010, and it was the Jets' biggest home shutout loss since falling 37-0 to Buffalo in 1989.Meanwhile, the Jets lost top wide receiver Santonio Holmes to what appeared to be a serious left foot injury. If Holmes misses significant time, the Jets would be without their two biggest playmakers after All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis was likely lost for the season with a torn ligament in his left knee last week at Miami."We've got to play with who we've got," quarterback Mark Sanchez said. "None of those guys are going to get better overnight."On the first play of the fourth quarter, Holmes caught a pass from Sanchez for 4 yards, but his left leg appeared to go out on him. The ball flew out of his hands, and Rogers picked it up and returned it for a score.Holmes left the stadium in a golf cart, holding crutches, his left foot in a boot.Ryan said Friday that the Jets would wait to put Revis on injured reserve until he has surgery in a few weeks, keeping him available in case New York goes to the Super Bowl. If the Jets play like this the rest of the way, getting to the playoffs will be a tall task.The struggles on offense have also started many to wonder if it's time to let Tebow play more at quarterback -- or maybe even start instead of Sanchez."I don't think that's the answer," Ryan said. "I think Mark's the answer at quarterback."But he added: "Again, time will tell."Sanchez had another poor game, going 13 of 29 for 103 yards and an interception. New York also finished with just 45 yards rushing. Tebow, meanwhile, had a limited role again, rushing twice for no yards, but completed his first pass with the Jets: a 9-yard toss to Dedrick Epps, who injured his right knee on the play."I'm ready to do whatever they ask me to," Tebow said.Alex Smith was efficient, going 12 of 21 for 143 yards and no touchdowns, but more importantly, no interceptions.The wildcat-style offense worked early -- but for the 49ers and not Tebow and the Jets.Instead, it was Kaepernick who put the 49ers up 7-0 early in the second quarter, taking a direct snap and running untouched off left end for a 7-yard touchdown. Kaepernick also had a 17-yard run earlier in the game, and a 30-yard scamper late.With just over a minute left in the first half, the 49ers were aggressive despite starting the drive at their 26. A 23-yard catch by Vernon Davis on first down got things rolling, and San Francisco ended the half on David Akers' 36-yard field goal.Boos and some chants of "Tee-boww! Tee-boww!" rang out as the Jets went three-and-out for the second straight possession in the second half. It never got any better for New York."Guys are just upset and frustrated," Sanchez said. "This is not the way we imagined this game going."NOTES:Mario Manningham, a Super Bowl hero with Giants before joining the Niners as free agent, returned to the Meadowlands and had three catches for 47 yards, plus a 28-yard gain on an end-around. ... Akers also missed from 55 and 40 yards wide right. ... New York lost fullback John Conner with a hamstring injury. ... San Francisco got 62 yards rushing from Gore, 56 from Hunter and 50 from Kaepernick.

Garoppolo: Get the little things corrected, or they'll bite us in the butt

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Garoppolo: Get the little things corrected, or they'll bite us in the butt

 

This felt like a step backward for Jimmy Garoppolo. 

The preseason had been shaping up so nicely for him, too. He'd be able to ride the wave of momentum following his strong performance last week against the Bears, and carry that into Carolina, where he would take on a very good defense on the road. What better way to simulate what he'll see in Week 1 of the regular season in Arizona?

Then something happened. Garoppolo, who looked cool last week at Gillette Stadium, seemed rattled by the Panthers defense. The quarterback who hadn't turned the ball over all preseason very nearly gave it away twice. Whereas he made calculated risks in the red zone last week, this week there were head-scratchers in the same area. 

"Ups and downs," said Garoppolo, who beat the Panthers, 19-17, and finished the game 9-for-15 for 57 yards. "Just little things here and there we need to get corrected. We’ll take care of it."

Garoppolo's first third-down throw foreshadowed what was to come for the Patriots on third down Friday night. He threw what should have been an easy interception for linebacker Luke Kuechly when there was a miscommunication between him and receiver Julian Edelman. 

Edelman stopped and turned for a pass a few yards off the line of scrimmage. Garoppolo targeted him as though he was still moving, hitting Kuechly between the numbers at the Carolina 12-yard line.

The team started the night 0-for-7 on third down.

"It’s my fault. I can’t put it in the linebacker’s hands like that," said Garoppolo, who insisted splitting reps in practice wasn't to his detriment. "It’s just bottom line. Just got to be smart. It’s tight windows, tight throws. Just got to finish with touchdowns."

Later in the game, Garoppolo didn't recognize a Panthers pressure, he took a glancing blow from a defender and escaped the pocket. Rather than throw the football away, he tried to make a positive play and was stripped from behind by linebacker Thomas Davis. 

Patriots running back James White was there to pounce on the ball, and Garoppolo was fortunate to escape with his turnover column clean.  

Still, Garoppolo knows there are adjustments to make. In order to give the Patriots a chance to beat the Cardinals in Week 1, he'll probably have to play better than he did on Friday. 

“We’ll do our best to get in there,” Garoppolo said. “We have two weeks until then and we’ll work. There’s little things here and there. Overall, there’s some good things that we did tonight. 

"We just have to get the little things corrected or they’re going to bite us in the butt. We’re going to work our tails off to get to that point. We’ll get there.”

Running back D.J. Foster making a late push for Patriots roster spot

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Running back D.J. Foster making a late push for Patriots roster spot

CHARLOTTE – D.J. Foster began making his case to stick on the Patriots’ 53-man roster Friday night against the Panthers.

An undrafted pass-catching back from Arizona State who’d missed almost all of training camp with an unknown injury was pretty persuasive. He caught three passes for 33 yards, showing nice burst, carried twice for 9 and returned a punt for 16. He saw his action late in the third with fellow rookie Jacoby Brissett in at quarterback.

Foster punctuated his first reception – an 11-yard screen that Brissett (9-for-9 for 85 yards and a touchdown) – by lowering his shoulder and delivering a blow that Foster said he wanted to “get that adrenaline going.”

“It felt great,” said Foster. “It had been a long time. I was telling some guys, that was the first time I’d gotten hit since college. It felt good to get back out there. The coaches gave me a chance to get out there and show what I could do.”

James White will be the Patriots sub-back (or third down back or pass-catching back or whatever you want to call him) until Dion Lewis returns from his knee malady. But Foster showed the acceleration and quickness that made him such a productive player for the Sun Devils. With 222 receptions for 2,458 yards and another 2,355 on the ground, Foster would fit nicely in an offense like the Patriots that uses the short and intermediate passing game so well.  

He hasn’t had much chance to make a case to stick and the Patriots – with White, LeGarrette Blount, Tyler Gaffney, Brandon Bolden and Joey Iosefa all in the mix – may have to take their chances with releasing Foster and hoping he goes unclaimed so New England can bring him back for their practice squad. It’s a risk, but other teams are encountering the same issues at cutdown time. Do they pluck a player they passed on in the draft and put him on their roster ahead of players they’ve been working with since the spring?

Bill Belichick wasn’t effusive in his praise for Foster but did indicate it was a good opportunity to at least see him in game action.

“We played a couple of guys that haven’t gotten much playing time so we got a chance to look at them,” he explained. “D.J. is one of those so we wanted to give him a few opportunities to handle the ball because he hasn’t done it this year. I thought he did some good things. There are a couple of things that he could do a little better but we’ll look at the film and see how it goes. He did a couple of things with his chances out there.”

To make the most of those chances, Foster said he avoided getting too hyped before getting on the field.  
 
“Just keeping my calm and hearing the playcall and just doing the mechanics and all the fundamentals of being in the backfield (was the focus),” said Foster. "Coach Ivan (Fears, running backs coach) did a great job of keeping me mellow. I felt healthy, I felt really good. I got some punt returns, some kick returns, some special teams. I was seeking contact to get that adrenaline going.

“It’s a long process,” he acknowledged. “Talking to the veteran guys, they said it’s a long process. I knew battling my injury and come back healthy, I came back strong and I felt ready.”

We’ll see if it’s enough to carve out a niche on the roster. The cutdown to 75 players comes Tuesday.