The San Francisco 49ers lost running back Kendall Hunter and wide receiver Kyle Williams to season-ending injuries on the same play during Sunday's win at New Orleans.
A pair of tough blows for the NFC West-leading Niners (8-2-1) as they prepare for a road game at St. Louis on Sunday three weeks after a 24-24 tie with the Rams on Nov. 11 at Candlestick Park.
Now, running back Anthony Dixon likely will take on a larger role backing up Frank Gore and rookie second-round draft pick LaMichael James is expected to be active, along with top draft pick wide receiver A.J. Jenkins.
"We pride ourselves on being a stacked team, on being deep, and we've just got to show up this week," Dixon said.
An announcement on who will start Sunday at quarterback is expected from coach Jim Harbaugh on Wednesday. Colin Kaepernick has won the last two games in his first two career NFL starts, while former Utah Ute Alex Smith is now fully healthy from a concussion suffered in the first half of the last meeting with the Rams.
Also Tuesday, the 49ers agreed with linebacker NaVorro Bowman on a five-year contract extension through the 2018 season. The contract is worth $45.25 million, with $25.5 million in guaranteed money, a person with knowledge of the details said.
Around the league
Chiefs • Running back Jamaal Charles caused a stir after asking for Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning's autograph following the Chiefs' 17-9 loss Sunday in Kansas City, Mo. In a tweet Tuesday, Charles called the exchange "just two warriors showing each other respect."
Eagles • Philadelphia placed receiver DeSean Jackson on injured reserve, and he will miss the rest of the season after suffering multiple rib fractures on a running play Monday against Carolina. The Eagles also released defensive end Jason Babin in the first major roster move for a team that's lost seven straight games. Babin had 5.5 sacks after recording 18 last year. He signed a five-year, $28 million deal last summer after going to his first Pro Bowl with Tennessee following the 2010 season. The move came Tuesday, a day after a 30-22 home loss to Carolina.
Coach Andy Reid says the Eagles cut Babin to give more playing time to younger players.
Philadelphia (3-8) plays at Dallas (5-6) on Sunday night.
Bears • Chicago signed former Pro Bowl offensive lineman Andre Gurode, hoping to boost a short-handed unit. A five-time Pro Bowl pick, Gurode made five starts at left guard and appeared in 13 games played for Baltimore last season after playing with Dallas from 2002 to 2010.
Buccaneers • Cornerback Eric Wright will miss the team's next four games after his appeal of a ban for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing drugs by using the prescription drug Adderall was denied. Wright, 27, said in a statement that the NFL suspension was the result of taking Adderall in July for "health issues."Adderall is a stimulant used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, and Wright said Monday he was extremely disappointed that the discipline was upheld
• New Orleans at Atlanta,6:20 p.m., NFL Network
• Seattle at Chicago, 11 a.m.
• Minnesota at Green Bay,11 a.m.
• San Francisco at St. Louis,11 a.m.
• Carolina at Kansas City,11 a.m.
• Houston at Tennessee,11 a.m.
• Arizona at N.Y. Jets, 11 a.m.
• Indianapolis at Detroit,11 a.m.
• Jacksonville at Buffalo,11 a.m.
• New England at Miami,11 a.m., Ch. 2
• Tampa Bay at Denver,2:05 p.m., Ch. 13
• Cleveland at Oakland,2:25 p.m.
• Cincinnati at San Diego,2:25 p.m.
• Pittsburgh at Baltimore,2:25 p.m., Ch. 2
• Philadelphia at Dallas,6:20 p.m., Ch. 5
• N.Y. Giants at Washington, 6:30 p.m., ESPN