SAN FRANCISCO - The Giants boasted a physical, intimidating defense with athletic linebackers and stout linemen capable of stifling the NFL's most productive offenses. San Francisco featured a high-powered passing attack led by an eventual Hall of Fame quarterback in his prime with receivers capable of turning short passes into big gains.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) - Tom Brady walks silently to the chair at his locker. He talks quietly with Deion Branch in the adjacent stall. Later, he puts on his jacket and heads for the exit.
MIAMI (AP) - LeBron James shook off flu-like symptoms to score 31 points, Chris Bosh scored 15 and the Miami Heat won their second straight, topping the Los Angeles Lakers 98-87 on Thursday night.
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) - Colin Greening and the Ottawa Senators are right at home on the road.
ST. LOUIS (AP) - Jaroslav Halak made 15 saves for his second straight shutout, and Alex Pietrangelo scored with 5:14 left in the St. Louis Blues' 1-0 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night.
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) - Roger Federer made the most of his rare opportunities Friday against the fastest serve in tennis, cashing in with some classic returns in a 7-6 (6), 7-5, 6-3 win over Ivo Karlovic to reach the fourth round of the Australian Open.
SANTA CLARA (AP) - The Giants' Eli Manning has been forced to escape the shadow of superstar big brother, Peyton. San Francisco's Alex Smith? He only has a pair of Hall of Famers in Joe Montana and Steve Young hanging over him in 49ers lore.
SANTA CLARA (AP) - San Francisco tight end Delanie Walker has returned to practice for the first time since breaking his left jaw in two places late in the regular season and hopes to be healthy enough to play in the NFC championship game.
By JOSH DUBOW
SEATTLE (AP) - For this year at least, Lorenzo Romar is a big fan of an odd scheduling quirk in the Pac-12.
MIAMI (AP) - Kobe Bryant is 33 years old, has spent nearly half his life in the NBA, is dealing with a significant wrist injury and has taken about 3,000 more shots in his career than any other active player.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning missed part of Wednesday's practice session with an illness that coach Tom Coughlin called "a stomach bug, hopefully a 24-hour deal."
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) - Serena Williams was only two points from her 500th career match win when she tumbled to the court in the second round of the Australian Open.
SANTA CLARA - When addressing his 49ers this week, Jim Harbaugh can point to the monumental miss in his 15-year NFL career: He came a Hail Mary short of making the Super Bowl. He still has an out-of-whack right pinkie and noticeable hitch in his step to show for his time in the league.
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - New Jersey Nets coach Avery Johnson had a sense that his team's home woes would come to an end against the Golden State Warriors.
OAKLAND (AP) - Derek Carr has followed the Houston Texans closely since their start as an NFL franchise.
SANTA CLARA (AP) - If somewhat unknown before as a backup, Colin Kaepernick's breakout performance against the Chicago Bears two years ago helped make him a star.
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) - Madrid awaits. Spain doesn't.
CHICAGO (AP) - It's been 11 weeks since Jimmie Johnson's last victory and he suffered through one of his typical summer swoons.
SANTA CLARA (AP) - As a fourth-round pick with nothing more than a fill-in performance on his NFL resume, San Francisco 49ers rookie Dontae Johnson knows what to expect when Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears see him matched up against a wide receiver Sunday night.
ALAMEDA (AP) - Oakland Raiders running back Maurice Jones-Drew missed his second straight practice with a right hand injury, putting his status for Sunday's home opener against Houston in doubt.
Three-time NASCAR champion Tony Stewart will find out no later than next week whether authorities will pursue charges in the death of a driver he struck during a sprint car race in upstate New York last month.
BALTIMORE (AP) - The dismissal of Ray Rice wasn't a distraction for the Baltimore Ravens.
LAS VEGAS (AP) - It didn't start out as the best of weeks for Floyd Mayweather Jr.
SANTA CLARA (AP) - Frank Gore wants those around him to notice just how hard he's running at age 31, seemingly as energetic as ever when everybody is beginning to question when he will slow down. Or break down.
SANTA CLARA (AP) - The San Francisco 49ers suspended veteran broadcaster Ted Robinson on Wednesday night for the next two games following comments this week on a San Francisco radio station about the Ray Rice domestic violence case that were deemed insensitive.
Maybe the NFL schedule makers did the Baltimore Ravens a big favor.
ALAMEDA AP) - Rookie Derek Carr's first NFL start as Oakland Raiders quarterback was a learning experience.
TORONTO (AP) - Former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson directed an expletive-filled rant at a Canadian television anchor in a live interview after the host brought up Tyson's conviction for sexual assault.
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) - A law enforcement official says he sent a video of Ray Rice punching his then-fiancee to an NFL executive five months ago, while Commissioner Roger Goodell has insisted the league didn't see the violent images until this week.