SANTA CLARA, Calif. — San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith threw a 14-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter of Sunday's 24-24 tie against the Rams while playing with blurred vision before coming out with a concussion.
Coach Jim Harbaugh said Monday that Smith connected with Michael Crabtree six plays after he began experiencing blurred vision on a 1-yard keeper early in the second quarter. Earlier, he had taken a vicious hit from linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar.
Smith scrambled to his left and started to slide before turning when Dunbar got him in the back of the neck with 1:10 left in the first quarter.
Harbaugh said the QB improved overnight and would see a neurologist later Monday. His status is unclear for next Monday night's game against the Bears is uncertain.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Panthers coach Ron Rivera says he has fired special teams coordinator Brian Murphy after the team gave up a 76-yard punt return for a touchdown to Trindon Holliday in Sunday's 36-14 loss to the Denver Broncos.
Rivera has promoted assistant special teams coach Richard Rodgers to coordinator. Rodgers, in his first season in Carolina, was a college teammate of Rivera's at Cal.
Rivera says the decision was made because of philosophical differences and productivity.
The Panthers (2-7) gave up three punt returns for touchdowns last season but Murphy kept his job. The latest snafu, which gave the Broncos a 14-7 in the second quarter and turned the momentum of the game, proved to be his undoing.
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — The numbers and their recent level of performance indicate the New York Jets are done for 2012.
Their comments say otherwise.
Somehow, in the wake of two awful outings in losses to Miami and Seattle, the Jets talk about remaining confident, about turning things around, about eliminating the mistakes that are killing their chances.
Indeed, after coach Rex Ryan again emphasized that Mark Sanchez is the starting quarterback despite his sinking play, Sanchez mentioned Monday how once things go right, they turn around so fast it will make your head spin.
Others might call that spin. The Jets (3-6) describe it as staying optimistic.
ALAMEDA, Calif. — It's the run defense one game, the pass defense the next and the running game almost every week that is holding the Oakland Raiders back.
The problems keep mounting almost as fast as the point total for the opposition.
A week after being gashed on the ground by Doug Martin and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Raiders were taken apart through the air by Joe Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens in a 55-20 loss Sunday that matched a franchise worst for points allowed in a game.
Coach Dennis Allen called the performance unacceptable and said the entire defense should be on edge after Oakland (3-6) allowed 97 points the past two weeks
-- The Associated Press