49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

December 3, 2013
49ers notes: Why LaMichael James had no pop on Sunday


LaMichael James said his shaky performance returning punts on Sunday had nothing to do with the Candlestick wind or the St. Louis Rams. Instead, he was battling food poisoning, something he is just now getting over.

"I was throwing up all night before the game," James said Tuesday. "I felt really fatigued. I don't think I've ever played a game like that."

James took over punt-return duties from Kyle Williams on Nov. 10 and immediately brought a more aggressive attitude to the job. Williams was leading the NFL in fair catches - 20 - when he was replaced. Prior to Sunday's game, James had had only two fair catches.

Against the Rams, however, he only returned two punts for five yards and fair-caught the other three. James said that as the game went on, he knew he'd be better off safely handling the ball than risking a return. "I don't like to fair catch," he said. "I really don't. I want to change the game."

He muffed one of his punt-return chances in the first quarter but recovered the loose ball. James also muffed a return last week against the Redskins and was able to retrieve that one as well. Like Williams, he has not turned the ball over the year.

James, the 49ers' second-round pick in 2012, also did not get into the game on offense, the first time this season he's been in uniform but has not gotten a chance to line up in the backfield. "I was feeling it pre-game," he said of his flu-like symptoms. "Just wrong. I felt that my legs were heavy, my feet were tired."

James said he received a bag of intravenous fluid before the game. He was feeling better on Tuesday but said he still hadn't had any solid food. "I'm a little scared to," he said.

Et cetera - Michel Crabtree played 42 snaps - and had a 60-yard catch and run - in his first game back Sunday following Achilles' surgery in May. He seems to have emerged from the game without any issues. "I feel good," he said while passing through the locker room. "I'm good."

* Left guard Mike Iupati was seen walking through the locker room with a slight limp. He's missed the last two starts with a sprained MCL. If Iupati misses Sunday's game against the Seahawks, Adam Snyder will start at left guard.

* Left tackle Joe Staley is walking without crutches after he suffered his own MCL sprain Sunday. Staley is not expected to play against Seattle, which means Alex Boone will start in his place.

-- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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