For the defense, plenty of 'F's' to go around

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For the defense, plenty of 'F's' to go around

SAN FRANCISCO The 49ers put 10 points squarely on the defense in the first two possessions and six minutes, more points than any opponent has scored in a first quarter all season and this with a quarterback making a first NFL start.

With three minutes to play in the second quarter the Bears already had allowed more yards (241) to Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers than they gave the St. Louis Rams (160), Jacksonville Jaguars (189) and Houston Texans (215) for their entire games.

One player said that the defense expected Kaepernick to throw an interception or two. That points to perhaps taking a virtual rookie too lightly, which appeared the case at times judging from the results. It was a complete whipping in all areas.

DEFENSIVE LINE: F

No lineman had more than Julius Peppers two tackles and Kaepernick was hit just four times, two of those by linebackers. Corey Wootton started for Israel Idonije and shared a sack with Idonije, but the Bears got next to no pressure throughout and that exposed a secondary that had its own problems giving up big plays.

The 49ers ran for 123 yards, down from their league-leading 170 per game, and Frank Gore finished with 78. But while Gore and Kendall Hunter had no gain longer than 14 yards, the linemen were consistently out of their gaps and allowing blockers and backs to reach the second level. Some was the result of missed tackles but too often there was only one Bear at the point of contact.

LINEBACKERS: D-

Like the linemen, backers were not fast enough with run fills after when the front four were being handled. Scheme may have placed individuals in difficult spots, and tight end Vernon Davis caught six of the eight passes thrown to him, although not all on linebackers.

Lance Briggs had six tackles and Brian Urlacher seven, and each had a tackle for loss. Briggs and Nick Roach each had a hit on Kaepernick. But 49ers running backs Gore and Hunter averaged nearly five yards per carry, too often getting yards after first contact.

SECONDARY: F-

One of the worst performances in some time by virtually the entire defensive backfield.

Chris Conte got the Bears off to a dismal start by committing a stupid late-hit personal foul on the games first play. That was just the beginning.

Kelvin Hayden was beaten badly for a 57-yard gain on the 49ers second series, setting up a TD pass to Davis, who was completely lost by Major Wright. When the 49ers missed on a second-quarter pass to set up a third-and-long, Wright was holding to give away the red-zone first down.

Wright, who led the Bears with eight solo tackles, missed a third-down tackle of Michael Crabtree to allow a conversion on a second-quarter drive.

Tim Jennings was credited with five solo tackles but he whiffed on a tackle for a 37-yard completion on a drive that ended with Charles Tillman losing Crabtree for 10-yard TD pass in the third quarter.

COACHING: F

The 49ers came out with formations and play designs they had not shown previously and the Bears were completely outplayed as well as unable to adjust. San Francisco used jumbo packages and had man advantages repeatedly at points of attack, then isolated Davis on linebackers and safeties in single coverages they couldnt execute.

Whether the problems were because of what San Francisco was showing or exactly what was difficult to discern. The 49ers appeared to use some of the Houston scheme for stretching the front seven, which lost gaps repeatedly and appeared to take a young quarterback lightly.

SPECIAL TEAMS

What was expected by many to be a close and low-scoring game that might turn on a special-teams play turned out to be a blowout with special-teams figuring into virtually none of the outcome.

KICKING: B

Adam Podlesh put some questions about his punting to rest with an average of 46.8 yards on five kicks. One was dropped inside the San Francisco 5-yard line.

COVERAGE: C

Ted Ginn Jr. averaged 21 yards on three kickoff returns with a long of 23. Ginn ran back four punts for an average of five yards per return.

RETURNS: D

Devin Hester averaged 25.2 yards on five kickoff returns, consistently getting up the field, just against solid coverage units that maintained their lanes. But returning punts was another matter. Hester had several respectable returns but his minus-9 on a late punt in the third quarter was a small shot of wrong-way for an offense that was doing enough of it on its own. He took a fourth-quarter punt inside the 5, ran sideways and barely made the 10.

COACHING: C

The Bears did so little scoring that kickoff-coverage units were seldom used but punt coverage was well schooled.

Carlos Rodon sets White Sox, AL record with seven straight strikeouts to open game

Carlos Rodon sets White Sox, AL record with seven straight strikeouts to open game

White Sox pitcher Carlos Rodon tied an American League and a team record when he started Friday night’s contest with seven consecutive strikeouts against the Minnesota Twins.

Rodon, who struck out 11 in his previous turn on Sunday, matched the mark set by White Sox hurler Joe Cowley on May 28, 1986 in a loss at the Texas Rangers.

Of Rodon’s seven strikeouts, two were on called third strikes by plate umpire Tripp Gibson. Twins outfielder Logan Schafer snapped the streak with a one-out double in the top of the third inning.

Houston’s Jim Deshaies (1986) and the New York Mets’ Jacob de Grom (2014) hold the major league record with eight straight strikeouts to start a game.

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

Doug Fister set the AL record with nine consecutive strikeouts in 2012 and Tom Seaver holds the MLB record with 10 straight in 1970.

Combined with Sunday’s start, when he struck out the side in the eighth at the Cleveland Indians, Rodon whiffed 10 straight batters. Rodon’s run is the longest consecutive strikeout streak in the majors since Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Eric Gagne struck out 10 in a row in May 2003.

American sweep and European rally at Ryder Cup

American sweep and European rally at Ryder Cup

CHASKA, Minn. (AP) -- Even with the first opening-session sweep in four decades, the Americans were reminded anew Friday that no lead is safe in the Ryder Cup.

Not after one session. Not after one day.

And based on the last Ryder Cup on American soil, not until it's over.

Europe battled back from a 4-0 deficit behind its best tandem, Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose, and capped off a long and rowdy day at Hazeltine when its best player, Rory McIlroy, holed a 20-foot eagle putt and then mocked the crowd by taking a bow.

The American celebration turned into a consolation.

They had a 5-3 lead, the margin after the first day at Medinah four years ago that ended in another European victory. They lost a chance to really put Europe in a hole.

"It's frustrating not to come out a little bit more ahead," U.S. captain Davis Love III said.

Love could not have scripted a better start - a symbolic one, too.

To honor Arnold Palmer, who died Sunday night, Ryder Cup officials placed on the first tee Palmer's golf bag from when he was captain of the 1975 Ryder Cup team. Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed then set the tone with a 3-and-2 foursomes victory over Stenson and Rose, and the Americans delivered the first sweep of the opening session since that 1975 team at Laurel Valley.

Phil Mickelson, feeling more pressure than usual because of his influence on changes and on this team, also produced big shots. His wedge into 5 feet that Rickie Fowler converted was key in the Americans winning three straight holes for a 1-up victory over McIlroy and Andy Sullivan.

"With everything going on - me not having a point and Phil being a big part of getting the players a lot more involved to Arnie passing and him being a huge part of the week, this is big for us," Fowler said.

It just didn't last.

"The guys were disappointed with the way they played this morning and the way they performed," European captain Darren Clarke said. "But they showed tremendous bravery and heart and desire to go out and play the way they have done this afternoon."

Beaten for the first time, Rose and Stenson went right back out against Spieth and Reed and handed the American duo its first Ryder Cup loss. The Europeans made nine birdies in 13 holes for a 5-and-4 victory in an afternoon session in which the board was filled with European blue.

Sergio Garcia, who along with Martin Kaymer made only one birdie in a foursomes loss, teamed with fellow Spaniard Rafa Cabrera Bello to dismantle J.B. Holmes and Ryan Moore. McIlroy and Pieters never trailed against Johnson and Kuchar, handing them their first loss in four Ryder Cup matches.

The lone American point in the afternoon came from Brandt Snedeker and Brooks Koepka, who had no trouble against Kaymer and Danny Willett.

Willett had a little trouble with the crowd, especially when they lampooned him around Hazeltine with references to hot dogs and his brother, Pete, who had written a column in a British publication disparaging American galleries.

"It was anticipated," Willett said. "Coming to America is a tough one, just like when the Americans come to Europe. They gave me a little bit more. I think it was exactly what we thought it was going to be."

It wasn't just directed at Willett, however.

The crowd was loud and boisterous from the opening tee shot in misty conditions. There were a few rude comments, not unusual in America for a Ryder Cup. McIlroy had a 20-foot birdie putt to halve the morning foursomes match against Mickelson and Fowler when a fan from across 100 yards away shouted, "Get an American to putt it for you." That was a reference to McIlroy and Rose losing a playful $100 bet to an American fan who made a putt in Thursday's practice session.

Most striking was how quickly the crowd cheered bad shots for Europe. Typically, there is the slightest delay. Not on Friday. Sullivan, one of six rookies for Europe, hit his tee shot into the water on the 17th that put Europe 1 down and effectively ended the match. The crowd cheered before there was a ripple.

That's what inspired McIlroy in the final match of the day. He and Pieters were 2 up on the 16th hole, with Kuchar already in for a birdie, when the four-time major champion drained his 20-foot putt. Turning to the crowd, he bowed twice and screamed out, "C'mon!"

"I wanted to put an exclamation on that session for us," McIlroy said. "I thought about that celebration before I hit the putt."

More than a celebration, it was a message from McIlroy to what he felt was a hostile crowd.

"I'm not fazed by anything said by the crowd," McIlroy said. "And I'm not fazed by anything the U.S. throws at us."