The Seattle Seahawks had a rough few days on the injury front, including fullback Derrick Coleman breaking his foot in warm-up drills Sunday at St. Louis. But several key players could return this week.

Starting cornerback Byron Maxwell, who has a strained calf, could be back, along with backup cornerback Tharold Simon, who suffered a sprained ankle in St. Louis is his first NFL start.

Unger
"It blew up, but it's not a bad sprain," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said of Simon. "He's popping around pretty good [Monday], so he has a chance, and Maxey has a chance to get back, too. We'll see."

Carroll also said starting center Max Unger, who has missed the last two games with a foot injury, could return, but starting tight end Zach Miller (ankle surgery) still is out.

"Max is working at it," Carroll said. "He's doing some stuff this week and we'll see as the week goes along. Zach is a little farther away. He's still in a boot right now, so he's not that close yet."

Carroll expects back-up tight end Luke Willson to return after suffering a groin strain in practice last Wednesday and missing Sunday's game.

"He almost made it back [for the Rams game]," Carroll said. "But we felt like it was better to hold him out with the chance to be back fully this week."

Carroll said back-up defensive tackle Jordan Hill who missed Sunday's game with a sprained ankle, will practice on Wednesday. But middle linebacker Bobby Wagner still is out. He is wearing a cast over a turf toe injury.

"It's going to be a while," Carroll said of Wagner's status.

Jeremy Lane, Seattle's starting nickel cornerback who was placed on injured reserve/designated to return at the start of the season with a groin injury, will return to practice this week. But Lane can't come off IR until the New York Giants game on Nov. 9.

The one area where the Seahawks may need to make a roster move is at fullback since Coleman is the only true fullback on the roster and will be out at least six weeks. Running back Robert Turbin filled in a fullback Sunday.

Carroll was asked if former Seattle fullback Michael Robinson was an option. When the Seahawks didn't re-sign him after last season, Robinson retired and now works as an analyst for the NFL Network.

"He's doing a really good job in the media right now and he's quite busy," Carroll said of Robinson. "He seems to be very well-grooved in his business."
San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh seemed just as perplexed as general manager Trent Baalke by talk that outside linebacker Aldon Smith’s nine-game suspension could be reduced.

Harbaugh
Smith
“I saw that report, and I don’t know anything about it,” Harbaugh said Monday in his weekly media conference.

ProFootballTalk reported before Sunday night’s 42-17 Niners loss to the Denver Broncos that Smith could return a game or two early. He has already missed seven games and the 49ers are entering their bye week playing playing host to the St. Louis Rams on Nov. 2.

Smith was hit by the league with the suspension, which would keep him out through the team’s Nov. 9 game at the New Orleans Saints, “for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse and the league's Personal Conduct Policy.”

The suspension broke down with four games for violations of the league’substance abuse policy, five games for violations of the Personal Conduct Policy.

Still, Smith has been allowed to work out at the team’s Santa Clara, California, facility as part of his suspension.

Harbaugh was asked if Smith had kept his nose clean and had been fulfilling his promises to the team.

“Very well,” Harbaugh said. “Settling his community service and when he’s around the facility, very well.”

An incredulous Baakle told reporters on press row Sunday night he knew nothing of the report.
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Darnell Dockett's mocking of Oakland's winless 0-6 record late in Sunday's game went viral quickly after the Cardinals won, 24-13.

But Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arian wasn't a fan of Dockett's antics.

"It won't happen again," Arians said Monday afternoon.

Dockett told ESPN.com he hasn't been fined by the team for the whiteboard message.

Here's a photo of the sign taken by a Cardinals fan in Oakland:



Recapping the rest of Arians' Monday news conference:
  • Arians said there's no structural damage to Andre Ellington's ribs. The running back is "just sore."
  • There's a possibility defensive end Calais Campbell could return to practice this week. He's been out with a strained MCL since suffering the injury against Denver in Week 5.
  • Arians said safety Rashad Johnson is being evaluated for a patellar tendon but it could be severe tendinitis.
  • Rookie tight end Troy Niklas is doubtful for the Eagles game, Arians said.
  • Second-year running back Stepfan Taylor lost weight to get quicker but lost some power at the same time, Arians said.
  • Arians explained how the Cardinals could be 31st about the pass but No. 1 against the run: "They can't run. They're going to throw." When he was asked if Arizona could win with the second-worst pass defense, Arians said "We have so far."
  • Arians said he won't push Ellington to practice on Wednesdays even though it's hindering the timing in Arizona's pass game: "He can't if he can't hardly walk."
  • Arians on the fake punts the St. Louis Rams pulled off against Seattle: "That was some big cojones as Good (offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin) would say."
The night belonged to Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, who established a record for most touchdown passes in a career in Denver’s 42-17 rout of the San Francisco 49ers Sunday night.

But where did the game truly get away from the Niners, whose 42 points allowed are tied for their most under fourth-year coach Jim Harbaugh?

Look no further than their offensive line, which was more makeshift line than front line by the time the game ended.

Consider that the 49ers were already without left guard Mike Iupati, who suffered a concussion six days earlier, and Anthony Davis was making just his second start of the season at right tackle thanks to injury.

The Niners then lost center Daniel Kilgore to a potentially season-ending broken left ankle/leg and his backup, undrafted rookie Dillon Farrell, rolled an ankle.

Colin Kaepernick was sacked a season-high six times and the resultant grades for offensive linemen were ugly.

Per Pro Football Focus, left tackle Joe Staley allowed three sacks and Joe Looney, who started at left guard in place of Iupati, surrendered six quarterback pressures and had a minus-5.7 grade.

Davis, who dealt with Von Miller, had an overall grade of minus-3.8 while right guard Alex Boone had his first positive grade as a starter this season at plus-3.8.

And when you look at how the 49ers attempted to attack the Broncos, PFF says they did not attempt one rushing play outside of Davis at right tackle while only using two-tight end personnel on 13.3 percent (10 of 75) of their plays, the same percentage as when they had two running backs on the field.

The bye week comes at a perfect time for the heart of the Niners’ offense -- the O-line -- to try and get right … and healthy.

Rams keep it clean on way to win

October, 20, 2014
Oct 20
1:00
PM ET
EARTH CITY, Mo. -- For all that goes into every game in the NFL on a weekly basis, there are always a few small things that can be done to greatly influence the outcome.

Those small things -- penalties and turnovers -- become amplified if a team doesn't perform up to par in those areas. The St. Louis Rams know all about the effect of failing in the small details, losing four of their first five games in part because of their continued failings there.

So it was no coincidence Sunday when the Rams pulled out a 28-26 victory against the Seattle Seahawks that they finally found a way not to make the continued critical errors that have cost them games in the first part of the season.

“Well, yeah, as long as we're not hurting ourselves and creating negative field position and things like that, we’re OK," coach Jeff Fisher said.

What the Rams offered Sunday was a surprising victory on many levels, including a closer examination of the details.

The Rams entered Sunday's game 20th in the league in penalties (43) and 28th in penalty yards (425). That trend has plagued them since Fisher's arrival in St. Louis in 2012, as they were the most penalized team in the league over the past two years.

After receiver Brian Quick appeared to throw a punch at Seahawks cornerback Tharold Simon early in Sunday's game to draw a 15-yard penalty deep in Seattle territory, it appeared the Rams were on their way to another sloppy, penalty-plagued performance.

But the Rams found a way to course correct, drawing just one more penalty the rest of the day, and even that was a delay of game penalty the team took on purpose. Seattle, meanwhile, drew costly penalty after costly penalty on its way to 10 flags for 89 yards. The plus-69-yard penalty margin was the Rams' first positive margin of the season and their best margin of the Fisher era in St. Louis.

Beyond that, the Rams did not turn the ball over for the first time in a game this season and did not allow a sack for just the second time in 2014. They even added three sacks of their own on defense and consistently generated pressure on Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.

There's nothing fancy about any of those numbers, but they're certainly part of a recipe for success -- a recipe the Rams know they must duplicate if they're going to build on Sunday's win.

“I think that’s how you win games in the NFL," quarterback Austin Davis said. "I think it’s something that we need to watch and figure out how to repeat week to week. The turnovers and the penalties and some of those things have been what’s holding us back. We feel like we’re a good team and keep progressing, but those things have really plagued us. We found a way to play a clean game tonight, and it gave us a chance to win and we ultimately pulled it out.”
video

DENVER -- Peyton Manning put on an absolute clinic Sunday night in the Denver Broncos' 42-17 beatdown of the San Francisco 49ers.

Sure, he set a new NFL record for career touchdown passes with Nos. 507, 508, 509 and 510, and he also had as many TD passes against the 49ers as he did incompletions -- four -- in completing 22 of 26 passes for 318 yards and a passer rating of 157.2.

[+] EnlargeColin Kaepernick
AP Photo/Jack DempseyIf you're keeping score, Colin Kaepernick is just 468 touchdown passes behind Peyton Manning on the all-time list. But Kaepernick would do well to learn from Manning's record-breaking night.
But perhaps the most important thing he accomplished on his record-setting night, at least as far as the 49ers are concerned, was setting an example for Colin Kaepernick to follow in his nascent career.

No doubt, they are two different quarterbacks with polar-opposite skill sets. But Kaepernick had a front-row seat to, well, the greatness that is Manning when he is firing on all cylinders.

That greatness includes touch passes, reading defenses and calling audibles in and out of plays depending upon what the defense shows him at the line.

"He's a great player," Kaepernick said. "He's able to put up a lot of points. He's proven that. We knew we were going to have to score points regardless."

Kaepernick actually had more passing yards than Manning at halftime, though the 49ers trailed 21-10 at intermission. And Kaepernick, who is only 468 touchdown passes behind Manning, flashed by leading the 49ers 80 yards in seven plays with no timeouts to close out that first half.

His 4-yard touchdown pass to Stevie Johnson with 11 seconds remaining in the half gave him a touchdown pass in 14 straight games, the third-longest such streak in franchise history behind Steve Young (17 games, from Oct. 9, 1994, through Oct. 15, 1995) and Jeff Garcia (15, from Dec. 3, 2000, through Dec. 2, 2001).

But with the 49ers playing catch-up and Kaepernick needing to pass, the Broncos merely pinned their ears back and dominated the Niners' decimated offensive line. Kaepernick was sacked a season-high six times and he passed for only 74 yards in the second half to finish with 263 yards on 24-of-39 passing with a touchdown and an interception.

Still, having a front-row seat to history should allow Kaepernick to glean something from Manning going forward, no? Well, so long as Kaepernick wants it.

It sounds like he does.

"He's a very smart player," Kaepernick said. "He knows where he wants to go with the ball, how he wants to attack different defenses."

So, you could add that your arsenal, your QB bag o' tricks, so to speak?

"Very much," Kaepernick said.

Niners coach Jim Harbaugh is not one to compare players, but on this night, the former quarterback seemed in awe of Manning. (A bit of trivia: The last QB to start a game for the Indianapolis Colts before Manning was the No. 1 overall pick of the 1998 draft? Harbaugh.)

"I'm sure there are some things [he can glean from Manning]," Harbaugh said. "He's one of the greats, and that certainly was on display tonight."

And then some.

"You're playing against a coordinator when you're out there," 49ers free safety Eric Reid said.

Whatever lessons Kaepernick took home from Denver will have to wait for a while. The only way he will see Manning this up close and personal again would be if the 49ers and Broncos meet in the Super Bowl.

"I hope we do," Kaepernick said.

He's not the only one who feels that way in the 49ers' locker room.
Observed and heard in the locker room after the San Francisco 49ers' 42-17 loss to the Denver Broncos:
    Reid
  • The 49ers’ top two centers entering the game both left with injuries. Starter Daniel Kilgore suffered what coach Jim Harbaugh said “might be a break” in his lower left leg while backup Dillon Farrell, who limped off the field after replacing Kilgore, was seen walking around without a noticeable limp.
  • It was a stunned locker room, one that was trying to process how efficiently Peyton Manning dissected the 49ers' defense. “You’re playing against a coordinator out there,” free safety Eric Reid said of Manning.
  • The 49ers are beat up, both emotionally and physically after being run over by the Broncos. So, can the bye week come at a better time? “This is perfect timing,” linebacker Ahmad Brooks said.
OAKLAND, Calif. -- When Arizona Cardinals left tackle Jared Veldheer woke up Sunday morning, he knew his return to the O.co Coliseum wouldn’t be just another game.

“It was kind of nostalgic -- more than I thought would even hit me being back,” the former Raiders third-round draft pick said. “Coming out pregame and running around back on the field, being back in the Coliseum and all the familiar things coming back from the last four years, it’s a lot of emotion.

“I knew it was going to be a special game.”

Leaving Oakland with a 24-13 win made it even more special.

Veldheer was one of three former Raiders on the field for Arizona. A lot was made last week about quarterback Carson Palmer’s return, but defensive tackle Tommy Kelly played the first nine years of his career with the Raiders.

He said he wanted to get a win for Palmer, who played half of 2011 and all of 2012 with Oakland before a trade landed him in Arizona, but Kelly wanted the win for himself.

“As a football player, I learned a lot,” he said. “I have a lot of love for this city and I wish the team nothing but the best. But on the football field, it’s not anything personal. It’s business. We just wanted to go out there, execute and win.”

While Kelly didn’t talk to any of his former Raiders teammates on the field -- “They kind of leave me alone. They know how I am,” he said -- he discussed playing a former team with his new head coach, Bruce Arians.

“You can see the smiles on their faces all week and [the] energy they brought to practice and meetings,” Arians said. “It was special for them, especially Tommy Kelly.”

Palmer and Kelly left the Raiders in 2013, and Veldheer in 2014. Veldheer, who was drafted by Oakland in 2010, returned with a chip on his shoulder because of how his departure went down.

“It was a big win for both of us,” Veldheer said.

“It meant a ton,” he added.

Palmer, who completed 70.9 percent of his passes for 253 yards, two touchdowns and his first interception of the season, downplayed having a chip on his shoulder. He did, however, make sure to get a box of favorite sandwiches delivered to the locker room after the game. He also talked about seeing his former Oakland teammates still on the roster.

“It was a great environment to play in,” Palmer said. “This place is awesome. It was great to play [here] when you’re wearing silver and black and it’s a fun place to play as an opponent. Great to get a win.”
videoOAKLAND, Calif. -- The way this season has gone for the Arizona Cardinals, coach Bruce Arians didn’t think Andre Ellington was coming back out of that locker room.

Ellington went in early, with a few seconds left in the second quarter to get his bruised ribs examined. It was going to be, in Arians' mind, another injury to add to the Cardinals’ weekly list report that seemingly grows by the day.

Ellington didn’t quell Arians’ concerns when the Cardinals returned to the field for the second half kickoff without him. By then, Arians was rewriting the game plan for Stepfan Taylor and Robert Hughes to carry Ellington’s load in the second half. But several minutes into the third quarter, Ellington jogged back on to the field, around the Raiderettes, around the end zone, and stood next to Arians.

“Then he tapped me on the back and said he was ready to go,” Arians said. “I said, ‘Oh good. I’m glad you made it.’”

Glad may be the understatement of the month.

Ellington was Arizona’s workhorse in Sunday’s 24-13 victory against winless Oakland, extending the Cardinals’ lead in the NFC West another week. Ellington finished with a career-high 30 touches for 160 total yards, which included a career-high 24 rushes for 88 yards while tying a career-high six receptions for 72 yards.

But more importantly, he led the revival of a running game that’s been weeks in the making.

“We want to come out every week and establish a run game,” Ellington said. “Coach challenged us this week, said we have to run the football better. Last week we didn’t run it well.”

After Ellington returned, Arians gave his featured back one play that first drive of the second half -- a pass from Carson Palmer, which Ellington dropped. But when Arizona took over following a field goal by Oakland to make the game 14-13 midway through the third quarter, Arians gave the ball back to Ellington.

And didn’t stop.

Ellington was responsible for 76 of the 80 yards on Arizona’s next drive -- 40 on the ground, 16 in the air and 20 through a defensive pass interference he drew. After doing all that work, he subbed himself out after getting winded and let Taylor get the glory. Taylor, who had 40 yards on 12 carries -- twice as many as his season total before Oakland -- scored on a four-yard touchdown run, his second score of the game.

“He earned it during the week,” Ellington said. “When I’m sitting resting, he’s out there working. My idea was just to get some fresh legs out there and we got the touchdown.”

Since he injured his left foot the week before the opener, Ellington hasn’t been practicing Wednesdays. It’s caused him to struggle with his wind early in games but he eventually catches his breath. The gauntlet of plays that Arians put Ellington through Sunday had been set since OTAs but Ellington hasn’t had many opportunities to practice them.

Arizona hadn’t cracked 100 yards rushing since Week 2 in New York, but if there was a game to do it, it was against the Raiders' 31st-ranked rushing defense. The Cardinals knew they had specific areas to focus on, and Sunday was an example of what happens when their minor corrections aremade.

“It’s something that we always knew we had,” said fullback Robert Hughes. “We were there the few past games but it’s always one block here, one block there. Today, we seemed to be able to get in more of a rhythm in the run game, but we got to definitely continue to work on it some more cause there’s big plays there we need to get out and get those toes big plays.”
video
ST. LOUIS -- After reviewing the film from last week's loss to the San Francisco 49ers, St. Louis Rams quarterback Austin Davis acknowledged he didn't do a good enough job of taking what the defense gives him.

Heading into Sunday's game against the Seattle Seahawks, Davis vowed to force the ball down the field less and take advantage of whatever the Seahawks were willing to cede. Late in the Rams' surprising 28-26 victory, Davis had done just that, almost to a fault.

[+] EnlargeAustin Davis
Michael B. Thomas/Getty ImagesQB Austin Davis had a career day on Sunday, leading the 2-4 Rams to a key division win against Seattle.
In the first three quarters, Davis completed 13-of-14 for 77 yards, an average of just 5.9 yards per completion. But as Seattle mounted a late comeback and put itself in position to win the game, Davis suddenly needed to come up big. He hadn't been able to in the past three weeks after leading a late victory in his first start against Tampa Bay. But he found a way to lead an impressive 80-yard drive to give the Rams the winning points.

On that drive, Davis completed 4-of-5 passes for 66 yards and a touchdown to tight end Lance Kendricks. None of those throws were bigger than a 30-yarder to receiver Chris Givens on third-and-6 at Seattle's 44.

"We thought we'd get man-to-man coverage," Davis said. "When they need a play, they trust their guys to cover man-to-man. Chris, with his speed, just ran across the field. I trusted it and obviously, we worked the play all week, and when we needed it, he made a big play. That's how you win games. You've got to make big plays when the game is on the line. You're going to have a chance to go down and win the game at the end or not. Today, we did it.”

Minutes later, Davis offered another big play when he evaded Seattle's pass rush on second-and-12 and somehow shoveled a pass to tight end Jared Cook for a 9-yard gain to put the Rams in position for the fake punt that helped seal the victory.

For the day, Davis was 18-of-21 for 152 yards and two touchdowns for a rating of 128.6. That completion percentage plus punter Johnny Hekker's completion on one attempt left the Rams converting 86.3 percent of their pass attempts, the highest allowed by the Seahawks in franchise history. The quarterback rating is the highest of Davis' young career.

The key to that success? Effectively using the middle of the field. Davis majored in risk management Sunday, throwing his 21 passes an average of just 5.5 yards down the field with 18 of those attempts coming in the middle of the field. That was a logical move considering Seattle is 20th in the league in completion percentage allowed over the middle the past two seasons and star cornerback Richard Sherman usually lurks on the outside.

It also allowed Davis to come up with big plays such as the ones to Givens. He attempted just four passes more than 10 yards down the field Sunday but he completed all of them.

Most important, Davis had no turnovers, eliminating the costly plays that have helped beat the Rams in recent weeks.

"You can't ask for more out of a guy who went from third string to now starting quarterback and playing great ball," defensive end Robert Quinn said. "We've got to be consistent week in and week out and prepare for teams and finish games."
OAKLAND, Calif. -- Observed and heard in the locker room after the Arizona Cardinals' 24-13 victory against the Oakland Raiders:

Veldheer reminisces: Cardinals left tackle Jared Veldheer said returning to Oakland on Sunday was “kind of nostalgic” for him. He was drafted by the Raiders in 2010 and returning for the first time after spending four years in Oakland was harder on him than he expected it to be.

Larry Fitzgerald
Fitzgerald
No scoreboard watching for Fitz: After the Cardinals' game, when wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald was told that Seattle had lost to St. Louis during the early games Sunday, he was legitimately surprised. He didn’t know the score of the game before Arizona took the field in Oakland.

Sack dance honors Bay Area: After Larry Foote’s sack in the second quarter, the veteran linebacker broke out into a sack dance that he named the “Tupac Dance.”
OAKLAND, Calif. -- If there’s one thing Darnell Dockett knows how to do well -- even when injured -- it’s trash talk.

It doesn’t matter if it’s on Twitter or in the Black Hole in Oakland, Dockett comes with his best stuff. Late in the Arizona Cardinals' 24-13 victory against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday, Dockett responded to taunting from Raiders fans with a message on a whiteboard that had to sting: “Worst team in the NFL” it read, with a big “0-6” under it.

The kicker was that Dockett wrote a smiley face in the zero.

Dockett told ESPN.com the Raiders fans behind Arizona’s bench were throwing coins and ice and talking their own smack during the game, specifically referencing mothers. It lasted all game, in addition to trash talking leading up to the game.

After he held up the sign, which was captured by fans with Dockett smiling and has since gone viral on Twitter, Dockett said more stuff was thrown.
ST LOUIS -- Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman says he had the football in his arms at the bottom of the pile.

The officials said he didn’t and the last chance for the Seahawks was over in the 28-26 loss to the St. Louis Rams.

Rams running back Tre Mason fumbled on the next to last play of the game. The ball was loose and several players had a shot at grabbing it, but Sherman said he got it.

“I had the ball,” Sherman said. “I was down. I thought they would have blown the whistle, but they stopped the ball and moved it back to the old spot. Obviously they didn’t give it to us. I wasn’t surprised. That’s kind of how the game went for us.”

Seattle free safety Earl Thomas was shocked.

“We won everything last year, but we’re battling the referees now,” Thomas said. “I don’t know what’s going on with that. Sherm had it. We’re playing more than out opponents. We’re playing the referees, too. I don’t care what anybody says. Something’s wrong and that needs to be brought up.”

Seattle coach Pete Carroll was surprised the play wasn’t reviewed. At first he thought maybe it wasn’t reviewable because there was no change of possession. He later said he learned it was reviewable.

Most of the Seahawks thought they recovered it.

“I thought we had the ball, but I guess not,” said Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. “I don’t know.”

 

 
video

ST LOUIS -- The St. Louis Rams entered Sunday's game with only one sack all season, the worst start in league history.

But the Rams sacked Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson three times in the first half Sunday in another bad performance by Seattle's offensive line. Wilson was hit seven times and under duress 14 in the 28-26 loss to the Rams at the Edward Jones Dome that dropped the Seahawks to 3-3.

[+] EnlargeRussell Wilson
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty ImagesIt doesn't bode well for the Seahawks when Russell Wilson tops 100 rushing yards.
The offensive line was the weak link on a Super Bowl team last year. It still is, but it's worse now.

ESPN Stats & Information research shows Wilson was sacked, hit while throwing or under duress on 32.6 percent of his dropbacks Sunday. That's actually lower than his season average of 37.3 percent, which remains the worst rate in the league among 33 qualified passers.

He has been pressured on at least 30 percent of his dropbacks in five of Seattle's six games, the most in the NFL.

The Seahawks were also flagged for holding three times and had a false start. One holding call brought back a 15-yard touchdown by Marshawn Lynch. And it was called on Alvin Bailey, who was in the game to help block as a third tackle.

The Seahawks had 171 yards rushing, but that's misleading. Wilson rushed for 106 yards, most of which came when he was forced to scramble. The three running backs -- Lynch, Robert Turbin and Christine Michael -- rushed for 65 yards on 22 carries, less than three yards a carry.

By the way, in two of the three games in his career in which Wilson rushed for 100 yards, the Seahawks have lost because if he's running that much he's under too much pressure.

The line has been whistled for 14 penalties in the past three games that resulted in four potential touchdowns being called back. It isn't just one or two guys. Everyone is making mistakes at key moments that are hurting the offense.

St. Louis Rams rookie defensive tackle Aaron Donald, making only his second NFL start, consistently blew through the interior of Seattle's line. Donald had a sack, another quarterback hit and two other tackles for losses.

Yes, the offensive line is banged up. For a few plays Sunday they were down to their third-team center in Patrick Lewis when backup Stephen Schilling left the game briefly in the second half. And left tackle Russell Okung is playing with a labrum tear in his left shoulder.

Even so, the offensive line isn't playing well when all the starters are on the field and healthy. It appears to be a problem that isn't going away anytime soon, but Wilson remains optimistic after another game in which he had to improvise to try to stay upright.

"I think adversity is opportunity," Wilson said. "We have a team full of fighters. You can't look back. I believe in what we'll do moving forward."
DENVER -- Three players who started for the San Francisco 49ers on Monday will not play tonight against the Denver Broncos due to injury as cornerback Chris Culliver, who missed practice on Friday due to an injured hamstring, joined linebacker Patrick Willis and left guard Mike Iupati on the inactive list.

Willis (toe) and Iupati (concussion) were ruled out on Friday.

The other 49ers inactives: WR Quinton Patton, DB Jimmie Ward, C Marcus Martin and DT Tank Carradine.

Rookie Chris Borland will start for Willis while Joe Looney will start at left guard.

Tramaine Brock, who has not played since injuring a toe on his right foot in the season opener at the Dallas Cowboys, will start at cornerback, alongside Perrish Cox.

With Culliver and Ward (quadriceps) out, Chris Cook and Dontae Johnson will provide depth as Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning needs three touchdown passes to set a NFL record for career TD passes.

Also, Anthony Davis, who has been nursing knee and ankle injuries, will make his second start of the season for the 49ers, taking the place of his backup, Jonathan Martin.

SPONSORED HEADLINES