CANDLESTICK PARK — Arizona’s loss to Philadelphia gave the 49ers a chance to take sole possession of second place in the NFC West Sunday afternoon with a victory over the visiting Rams.
Colin Kaepernick was solid, completing 19-of-28 passes for 275 yards and one touchdown while rushing four times for 21 yards to lead San Francisco to a 23-13 win over St. Louis.
An intense Anquan Boldin was notably Kaepernick’s top target catching nine balls for 98 yards while Michael Crabtree saw his first action of the year catching two passes for 68 yards.
Head coach Jim Harbaugh was impressed with his quarterback’s performance:
“I thought it was one of Colin’s better games.”
Kap and Co. struck first with a Phil Dawson field goal, but also lost left tackle Joe Staley for the game with a right knee injury in the first quarter. Alex Boone and Joe Looney filled in admirably.
Dawson then tacked on another three points less than a minute into the second quarter, which the 49ers followed up with a six minute, 12-play, 72-yard drive capped by a Frank Gore rushing touchdown to make it 13-0.
Greg Zuerlein nailed a 43-yarder before halftime to put St. Louis on the board 13-3.
Zuerlein then hit a 34-yarder on the Rams first possession of the second half to cut the 49ers lead to seven, but Dawson answered with a 24-yarder to make it 16-6.
A Frank Gore fumble with five seconds left in the third gave St. Louis their best chance to stage a comeback, but the Rams couldn’t capitalize.
A botched fake punt from the Rams resulted in a turnover on downs after Anthony Dixon tackled Matt Giordano for a loss. The sequence led to a 17-yard touchdown strike on the next play from Kaepernick to a hurdling Vernon Davis.
The Rams’ only touchdown came with 18 seconds left in the game on a three-yard pass from Kellen Clemens to Brian Quick.
Overall, Harbaugh was happy with his team’s output:
“We played well in all three phases.”
NaVorro Bowman led the defense with 11 tackles and notched one of the 49ers’ three sacks. Patrick Willis and Ray McDonald also got to Clemens, and the unit held the Rams offense to 312 yards, much of which were gained in garbage time.
The 49ers improve to 8-4 and move into second place in the division while the Rams drop to 5-7. San Francisco faces a tough test next Sunday when the division-leading Seahawks come to town.
Donte Whitner commented on the upcoming Seattle game:
“We’re very eager. We feel like we’ll be ready for the test.”