49ers cruise past Rams in WR Michael Crabtree’s season debut
Michael Crabtree’s return opened up the field all the more for Anquan Boldin.
Not to mention Vernon Davis and his high-hurdle show.
Boldin caught nine passes from Colin Kaepernick, Crabtree made his long-awaited season debut six months after Achilles tendon surgery, and the San Francisco 49ers beat the St. Louis Rams 23-13 on Sunday.
Kaepernick went 19 of 28 for 275 yards and Frank Gore ran for a 3-yard touchdown as the reigning NFC champion Niners (8-4) boosted their position in the playoff picture. Crabtree had a 60-yard catch, while Vernon Davis hurdled into the end zone on a 17-yard touchdown reception.
With Hall of Famer Jerry Rice in the house, Boldin had six receptions in the first half on the way to his second-most productive game of the year behind his 13-catch performance in the season opener against Green Bay.
Phil Dawson kicked three field goals, and San Francisco’s swarming defense made things tough on Kellen Clemens all day. The Rams managed only 73 total yards in the first half.
Crabtree, San Francisco’s leading wide receiver during last season’s Super Bowl run, had two catches just more than six months after he tore his right Achilles tendon and had surgery. Just having him on the field kept the St. Louis defense from focusing all its attention on Boldin and Davis.
Davis displayed his athleticism with a new signature move, and did so not once but twice: a high hurdle over defenders. He led with his right foot while leaping over safety Rodney McLeod in the first half, then again to reach the end zone on his team-leading 10th touchdown catch.
Clemens went 19 of 37 for 218 yards with a late TD pass in a dismal afternoon by the Rams (5-7), who were trying for their first three-game winning streak of the season.
A year after the teams left Candlestick with a 24-24 tie, the 49ers methodically took care that it didn’t happen again and snapped a two-game skid. Next up is a visit from the first-place Seahawks next Sunday.
While Kaepernick was sacked four times, Robert Quinn and the opportunistic Rams defense failed to make the game-changing plays it had the past two weeks — even when 49ers left tackle Joe Staley was lost to a right knee injury early in the game. The St. Louis defensive line had scored touchdowns in each of the past two games.
The Rams thwarted drives with costly penalties, settling for a 43-yard field goal by Greg Zuerlein just before halftime in their best drive of the half. Zuerlein kicked a 34-yarder in the third quarter.
After a debated 15-yard personal foul penalty on Jo-Lonn Dunbar when he ran into a sliding Kaepernick, the quarterback completed a 23-yard pass to Davis. Dawson kicked a 32-yard field goal. He added a 43-yarder early in the second period, then a 24-yard field goal in the third.
The Rams managed 11 total yards in the first quarter and 73 in the first half. The 49ers held the Rams in check before the second-team defense surrendered Brian Quick’s 3-yard touchdown catch with 18 seconds remaining.
St. Louis lost left tackle Jake Long late in the third quarter to a possible head injury after he collided into running back Zac Stacy, who played after dealing with concussion-like symptoms following a win against the Bears.