Getting Physical- The 49ers and the Rams have had many physical battles of the last 42 years that they have met at Candlestick Park. Sunday was no different as the two teams met for the 129th time in the rivalry’s history and for the final time at Candlestick. In a game that the two teams showed no love loss for one another the 49ers passing game on offense and physical demeanor on defense led the way to a 23-13 victory over the visitors from St Louis. The 49ers with the win improved their season mark to 8-4 and retook second place in the NFC West. The 49ers also retook the sixth and final spot in the NFC playoff picture. Colin Kaepernick followed up his performance last Monday night in Washington with another strong passing day. The 49ers also welcomed back wide receiver Michael Crabtree who made his first appearance of the season after recovering from an ACL tear back in spring drills. The 49ers defense came away with another solid performance as they gave Rams starting QB Kellen Clemens a long afternoon under center. The game itself was a very physical one in nature as both teams combined for 13 penalties in the first quarter alone. The physicality of the contest would extend over the afternoon as each team took the other’s best shot all day long.
Passing Attack Sparks Offense- On the afternoon Kaepernick had a strong game completing 19 of 28 passes for 275 yards and one touchdown pass. With Crabtree in the line-up the 49ers passing game now has someone in the line up who can take some of the pressure off of both Anquan Boldin and Vernon Davis and throughout the afternoon it showed. Boldin caught nine passes for 98 yards including five catches for 55 yards in a 49ers touchdown drive in the second quarter. The 49ers offense did have some struggles early as they settled for two field goals after a pair of sustained drives in the first and second quarters. Frank Gore on the afternoon did not have his best day running as he was held to 42 yards rushing on 15 carries. However Gore also scored the 49ers first touchdown of the afternoon on a three yard run which capped a 12 play, 72 yard drive. During this series Kaepernick connected with Boldin for many pass plays which extended the drive. Vernon Davis had four catches on the day himself for 82 yards and a touchdown. Davis’ touchdown happened early in the fourth quarter and helped the 49ers to put the game away. After the Rams offense could not start a series following a Gore fumble deep in St Louis territory, the Rams attempted a fake punt. The attempt failed when 49ers running back and special teams player Anthony Dixon sniffed out the attempted trick play and tackled the Rams Matt Giordano before he could go anywhere with the football in hand. On the very next play from scrimmage Kaepernick rolling to his right found Davis open and hit him with a pass around the Rams eight yard line. Davis from there took off for the end zone and high jumped over two Rams defenders as he crossed into the end zone. It was also Davis’ second high jump over Rams defenders on the day after a pass completion. The first two 49ers scoring drives of the afternoon resulted in two Phil Dawson field goals. Dawson also added a field goal in the third quarter to cap another 49ers drive of ten plays and 72 yards. Crabtree on the afternoon caught just two passes for 68 yards. One of the two pass plays happened in the third quarter and went for 60 yards giving the 49ers a glimpse of what they have missed and hope to see more of over the next several weeks. On the downside the 49ers lost offensive tackle Joe Staley to a leg injury in the first quarter and he did not return to the game.
49ers Defense Presents "Silence of The Rams" - Not to be outdone the 49ers defense had a solid afternoon too as they held the Rams at bay for the majority of the early December afternoon. The 49ers defense kept the pressure on Clemens all afternoon forcing him in some cases to hurry his throws. Clemens would go on to complete 19 of 37 passes for 215 yards however the defense made sure the Rams earned every yard they got. In the first half the Rams were only able to mount 73 yards in total offense, most of which came on their last series of the first half which resulted in the first of two field goals on the day from Greg Zuerlein. The 49ers defense held wide receivers Tavon Austin, Chris Givens, Jared Cook and Stedman Bailey to 11 combined catches total. Zach Stacy was held to 72 yards on 19 carries. The Rams had a series in the fourth quarter that lasted 14 plays and picked up 58 yards from their own 24 to the 49ers 18 yard line. However the 49ers held strong when it mattered the most. On the drive’s final play the 49ers defense flushed Clemens out of the pocket and forced him to run out of bounds well short of a first down. NoVarro Bowman had a huge afternoon with 10 tackles and one assist. Donte Whitner also had a big afternoon with seven tackles and two assist. Glenn Dorsey had five tackles and one assist. Eric Reid, Michael Wilhoite and Eric Wright had three tackles each with Reid adding two assists. Patrick Willis, Aldon Smith, Tony Jerod-Eddie, CJ Spillman, Justin Smith and several others had at least two tackles or an assists amongst them. All and all the 49ers had a strong game on the defensive side of the ball. The only Rams touchdown of the game came with just 18 seconds left to play in the game when Clemens found Brian Quick in the end zone for a three yard TD pass in garbage time. When it was all said and done 49ers had taken care of their business with a victory they needed to pick up in order to gain ground in the NFC ahead of a visit from the arch rival Seahawks next Sunday.
Next Up: The Seahawks- The 49ers now turn their attention to their newest arch rival from the Northwest. The Seattle Seahawks at 10-1 are unfortunately in firm control of the NFC West and may see this game as an opportunity to clinch the division. The last time the Seahawks visited Candlestick Park was October 18th of last season on a Thursday Night game. The 49ers won a defensive struggle with the Seahawks 13-6. Since then the Seahawks have won the last two meeting in convincing fashion, 42-13 last December, and 29-3 in Week 2 of this season. The Seahawks have the look of a team that is drawing some comparisons to the Cowboys teams of the early 90's as a possibly dynasty team in the making. If the Seahawks capture the top seed in the NFC they will almost be a prohibitive favorite to reach the Super Bowl. For the 49ers it will be all hands on deck as this game will be the toughest home game they play this year. The 49ers should be more than motivated as the Seahawks have made a lot of noise about who they are and what they feel they can accomplish. The 49ers must draw on their experience and bring the wood to Candlestick next week as this will not be a game for white knuckle riders. Another good old fashioned slugfest awaits. The game will be next Sunday, December 8th at Candlestick Park and be the first of the final two home games ever at "The Stick". The game kicks off at 1:25pm (PT) and will be carried on television on FOX.
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