5 things to know after 49ers pass Rams 23-13
A passing game scrutinized for weeks suddenly is on a nice roll
for San Francisco. At the perfect time, too, with a playoff berth
For Colin Kaepernick, it sure helps to have his entire receiving
corps healthy at last.
First Mario Manningham returned, and now Michael Crabtree made
his season debut for the 49ers (8-4) in Sunday’s 23-13 victory
against the St. Louis Rams. Add Anquan Boldin and tight end Vernon
Davis to that group and Kaepernick has plenty of choices when it
comes to throwing the ball down field.
Boldin caught nine passes for his second-best performance of the
year behind a 13-reception season opener against Green Bay, while
Davis made a hurdling 17-yard touchdown grab among his four
catches. Crabtree delivered an impressive 60-yard catch and run in
his season debut six months after surgery on a torn right Achilles
That after a 27-6 win at Washington last Monday night.
”It feels great,” Kaepernick said. ”It’s always good to have
(Boldin and Crabtree) at your disposal on the field to make plays.
… We’ve just had more opportunities the last couple of games. It
was something we thought we could take advantage of.”
Here are five things to take from the 49ers’ win Sunday as St.
Louis (5-7) made its final visit to Candlestick Park in the
stadium’s farewell season:
HURDLING VERNON DAVIS: It’s just like Davis to show off some
San Francisco’s tight end has a new signature move to go with
his jump shot over the crossbar: A high hurdle over defenders.
While he has been doing the leap since his college days at
Maryland, it’s more recent in the NFL.
”It’s just instincts,” Davis said. ”I said, `Look, I won’t be
He did it not once but twice Sunday, including on a 17-yard
touchdown catch from Kaepernick in the fourth quarter.
”Very athletic,” Kaepernick said of the move.
Boldin just rolled his eyes and offered, ”Stay on the
Davis’ 50th career touchdown catch, No. 10 this season, moved
him into fourth place in franchise history behind Hall of Famer
Jerry Rice (176), Terrell Owens (81) and Gene Washington (59).
CRABTREE’S DEBUT: Crabtree just danced, he couldn’t help
After that 60-yard catch along the sideline in the third
quarter, he shimmied before throwing both arms into the air in
celebration. This was a long time coming for San Francisco’s top
2012 wideout after months of tireless rehab.
While he enjoyed the celebration, he wanted more out of that
play. Kaepernick teased him, and so did Boldin.
”I wish I would have scored,” Crabtree said. ”I was supposed
to take that to the house.”
Crabtree committed two early penalties – an illegal block and an
offensive pass interference – during San Francisco’s opening drive
that he chalked up to having to ”get those jitters out,” then
settled in nicely.
”Having him back is amazing, man, just his presence,” Davis
RAMS PENALTIES: Many times the Rams drove deep into San
Francisco territory only to thwart their chances with costly
From offensive pass interference to delay of game, St. Louis
struggled to sustain drives or find any kind of offensive rhythm
while being penalized 11 times for 105 lost yards.
”I look at it like we could have helped ourselves out a lot,”
Rams wide receiver Chris Givens said. ”If we played cleaner
football or better football, we would have been in a better
position to win the game.”
The 49ers had their own miscues, winding up with nine penalties
for 85 yards.
ST. LOUIS MISMATCH: When 49ers left tackle Joe Staley went down
with a right knee injury in the first quarter, Robert Quinn had a
nice opening to try for increased pressure on Kaepernick.
Yet the 49ers offensive line held its ground, even with
little-used Joe Looney thrown into the mix after making his NFL
debut last Monday night in a win at Washington.
While the Rams sacked Kaepernick four times, they failed to get
the game-breaking plays they have had of late. The defensive line
had scored a touchdown in the previous two games.
”We had a real rough day today,” linebacker Alec Ogletree
said. ”We didn’t make enough plays to get the win.”
DEFENSIVE BREAK: San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh and defensive
coordinator Vic Fangio got an extended look at the second-team
defense down the stretch once the game was decided.
Not only did the first unit earn a much-deserved breather, the
backups made some nice plays, too. The group did surrender a late
St. Louis touchdown, Brian Quick’s 3-yard touchdown catch with 18
”We didn’t want to give up a touchdown,” safety Donte Whitner
said, also appreciative the first team got a rest late in the game.
”We understand we can’t lose a guy in garbage time.”
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