CANDLESTICK PARK — The 49ers’ quest for six straight wins sputtered to an end Sunday afternoon.
San Francisco (6-3) also failed to put up at least 30 points — as they had the past five games — in a 10-9 to the Carolina Panthers (6-3) on Sunday.
Head coach Jim Harbaugh said post-game:
“Moving the ball wasn’t coming easy to us today. Not a good feeling when you don’t prevail.”
Though the 49ers couldn’t find the end zone, Phil Dawson made all three of his field goals attempts while the defense stifled Cam Newton in the first half allowing only a 27-yard touchdown run to DeAngelo Williams with less than two minutes left to make the score 9-7 at halftime.
Frank Gore carried 16 times for 82 yards to lead the offense, but Colin Kaepernick was sacked six times and later picked off by Drayton Florence with 40 seconds left in the game sealing the Panthers victory. Kaepernick was just 11-for-21 for 91 yards.
An unusual play occurred at the end of the first quarter when Andy Lee‘s punt was partially blocked, muffed by Florence on the return and the fumble was recovered by Reid.
Despite the lack of offense, the 49ers defense was stout. Ahmad Brooks recorded three sacks and Patrick Willis added another. Dan Skuta had three near-sacks and Tramaine Brock intercepted Newton for a 41-yard return.
The game itself was quite physical, as cornerback Tarell Brown told the media:
“Oh yeah, it was definitely a physical game. We understood that. Two great defenses, two good offenses. We understood it was going to be a battle.”
Multiple injuries to key players, bad protection and an inability to move the ball through the air cost the 49ers this one. San Francisco had won five consecutive games entering today’s game.
They travel to New Orleans to face the Saints next Sunday to which Harbaugh said:
“We’ll bounce back.”
Mario Manningham caught three passes in his first action since last December, while a rehabilitated Aldon Smith also checked in as a situational pass rusher. … LaMichael James handled returns instead of Kyle Williams with the exception of the opening kickoff which Anthony Dixon handled. … Former 49ers wide receiver Terrell Owens was an honorary captain for today’s game. … Military personnel were honored throughout the game in recognition of Veterans Day.