Curran: 49ers' Davis, Crabtree give it their all in loss

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Curran: 49ers' Davis, Crabtree give it their all in loss

NEW ORLEANS When the Niners needed it on Sunday and man, did they need it they looked to get the ball to two players: Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree.

They almost helped lead the Niners out of the darkness and into the greatest comeback win in Super Bowl history.

On the Niners final offensive play of season it was Crabtree, attempting to fight through an apparent hold by Ravens corner Jimmy Smith, trying in vain to catch a Colin Kaepernick throw that fell just out of reach. And the Niners title hopes fell with it.

But it wasnt for lack of effort and it wasnt for lack of guts. The Ravens just got in the way.

"We knew we could come back," said Davis. "That's just the way to be, you have to believe and just attack it and that's what we did. And I think we did a terrific job as far as trying to stay under composure and keep under control and make plays."

The two players combined for 11 catches and 213 yards. Eighteen of Kaepernicks 28 attempts went to either the fourth-year wideout or the seventh-year tight end.

Crabtree kickstarted the post-outage comeback with a 31-yard touchdown catch that highlighted his receiving ability and post-catch toughness as he ran out of a Cary Williams tackle for the score. On the play preceding the touchdown, Davis went 18 yards with a Kaepernick throw to put the Niners at the Baltimore 31.

On the next Niners drive, it was Davis putting the hammer down on the Baltimore secondary, mashing down to the Baltimore 6 with a 14-yard reception.

If San Francisco was going to come back, it needed singularly brilliant efforts. And Davis and Crabtree had begun delivering them.

And they did until the very end.

"They probably changed their scheme up a little bit and some holes opened. We took advantage of them," said Davis. "I know one play, I had to run up the seam and Crab came out and turned up, we call it a stick route and he made the play. On other plays, I would get open, then Crab would get open. Then we found Randy Moss and Delanie Walker."

On the Niners final drive, when they were trying to finally erase the Ravens lead, Davis just missed hauling in a tough throw from Kaepernick down the right sideline.

On the next play, Crabtree went where the best receivers go over the middle to pull in a 24-yard reception and get the Niners into Ravens territory with 2:39 left.

A 33-yard burst by Frank Gore put the Niners in business at the Baltimore 7. But after a run by LaMichael James, the Niners called three seemingly low-percentage plays to Crabtree.

All three failed, and the final one, where Smith had Crabtree in a bear hug, will be discussed at length for a long time.

There was a time four seasons ago when Davis was singled out for as symbolic of what was wrong with the 49ers.

I want winners! ranted Mike Singletary and the implication was that Davis at that time was not.

Within a year of Singletarys rant, Crabtree was in the midst of a rookie holdout that helped derail his rookie season and make him a bit performer. Pain in the posterior was a possibility.

Sunday night in New Orleans, Davis and Crabtree along with the indescribable Kaepernick were the central figures for a 49ers offense that came so close to a win for the ages.

They lost Sunday night. But nobodys looking at Davis or Crabtree and wondering if theyre winners.

Patriots release camp dates; open practices begin July 27

Patriots release camp dates; open practices begin July 27

Football is coming.

The Patriots announced on Thursday that veterans will report to training camp on Wednesday, July 26 and that the first public practice will take place the following day.

Each of the team's first four practices -- from July 27-30 -- are scheduled to take place on the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium "in the nine o'clock hour," according to the Patriots. Updates to the training camp schedule, including more specific start times for practices, can be found at patriots.com/trainingcamp.

The Patriots Hall of Fame will hold its induction ceremony for former corner Raymond Clayborn on Saturday, July 29 around midday following that morning's training camp practice. Held on the plaza outside the Hall at Patriot Place, the ceremony will be free and open to the public.

The Patriots will host the Jaguars for two days of joint practices open to the public on Monday, Aug. 7 and Tuesday, Aug. 8. The preseason opener for both clubs will take place at Gillette Stadium on Aug. 10.

Tom Brady adds sumo wrestling to offseason training regimen

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Tom Brady adds sumo wrestling to offseason training regimen

Tom Brady's off-the-field workout habits are the subject of serious curiosity for those in New England and beyond. Thanks to Under Armour's Instagram account, followers got a brief glimpse of what Brady does to stay in shape. 

OK. It was more like a glimpse at what he did one day in Tokyo.

@tombrady always fighting for that extra yard. 😂😂 #TBAsiaTour #IWILL

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The video of Brady in the dohyo ring was shot at the Sakaigawa sumo stable in Tokyo on Thursday. According to Kyodo News, leading the training session was ozeki Goeido, who won last year's Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament.

"For them to welcome me means very much to me. It's hard to describe in words how special that was," Brady said.

Brady bounced around China before heading to Japan to continue to help promote Under Armour and in particular its "recovery sleepwear" line. He threw a pass on the Great Wall, and he explained that it was his "dream" to play a game on the continent. 

Arigatōgozaimashita 🇯🇵🙏

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Brady vs Brady #therecanonlybeone 🏆

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