Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The 49ers Are Hoping to Improve Their Form at 'Home' in London; Two Former NFL Big Guns Search for a Much-Needed Win at Wembley on Sunday. Ken Elliott Reports; I Can See Your City Getting Its Own Franchise One Day, Says Gridiron Legend Rice

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The 49ers Are Hoping to Improve Their Form at 'Home' in London; Two Former NFL Big Guns Search for a Much-Needed Win at Wembley on Sunday. Ken Elliott Reports; I Can See Your City Getting Its Own Franchise One Day, Says Gridiron Legend Rice

Article excerpt

Byline: Ken Elliott

IF IT was a Premier League fixture, it would be Liverpool v West Ham right now. But it's not, it's an NFL match-up between the San Francisco 49ers and the Denver Broncos. Two teams with a glittering past and a forgettable present.

The future is Sunday at Wembley Stadium where the 49ers, who are bottom of their NFL division with a won one and lost six record this season, are 'at home' to the propping-up-their-division Broncos, who are two and five. Head coach Mike Singletary will be looking for only his second home win of the season, in London, if not in front of disgruntled fans back in Frisco but certainly watched by British gridiron aficionados who know teams with a combined three and 11 record when they see them!

At least one of the two teams will emerge with a win but how does the NFL win from this? Wembley will be full, Brit fans will be watching two teams desperately trying to win a game of football and London gets to host its fourth successive NFL 'League' game, much more meaningful than those exhibition games at the old stadium back in the 1980s. However, the two teams have more chance of performing on the X Factor than reaching February's Super Bowl in Dallas but Sunday offers the capital its own little taste of Super Bowl showtime.

The 49ers arrived in London with a fresh problem after quarterback Alex Smith injured his non-throwing arm on a third-quarter sack in Sunday's 23-20 defeat by the Carolina Panthers. The team will have to look to No2 passer Troy Smith on Sunday.

And Broncos cornerback Perrish Cox will have to pass a compulsory NFL post-concussion test before he can take part on Sunday.

Shortly after playing in the Oakland Raiders' 59-14 rout of Denver last Sunday, Cox went home and watched the game again, not to learn what went wrong but simply to find out what went on after a blow to the head wiped out his memory of the game.

Can Denver recover too? Broncos player Renaldo Hill said: "We're going to have to do some real soul searching here in the next couple of days because if we don't stop the bleeding now, San Francisco is sitting there licking their chops. …

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