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49ers Beat up Rams, Sweep Season Series

Posted Dec 1, 2013

Thanks to its explosive offense and shutdown defense, San Francisco earned its eighth win of the season with a 23-13 win over visiting St. Louis.

Jim Harbaugh has told his 49ers that the story of their 2013 season is unique and unlike the tales of their playoff pushes the past two seasons. Harbaugh has told his players that they’re still writing this story.

A new chapter was closed on Sunday afternoon at The ‘Stick.

One year after going 0-1-1 in its annual matchups with St. Louis (5-7, 1-3), San Francisco (8-4, 3-1) has swept the teams' season series. The 49ers beat up on their divisional vistors, 23-13, and the postseason implications are worth considering even if it is the first day of December.

Photo Gallery: 49ers vs. Rams

Thanks to losses by both the Arizona Cardinals (7-5, 0-3) and the Chicago Bears (6-6) this weekend, San Francisco strengthened its position for a Wild Card berth should the Seattle Seahawks (10-1, 3-0) maintain the top spot in the NFC West standings.

Seattle faces the playoffs-bound New Orleans Saints on “Monday Night Football” before coming to Candlestick Park in Week 13.

The 49ers had already beaten the Rams, 35-11, to snap a two-game skid in Week 4. The story of their Week 12 win is worth recapping as well.

Despite losing All-Pro left tackle Joe Staley (right knee) on its first possession, the 49ers ended both of their first two drives with Phil Dawson field goals. Dawson connected from 32 yards and 43 yards.

Counting his 24-yard conversion late in the third quarter, the 15th-year veteran has executed 16 straight three-point tries, pushing him past predecessor David Akers, among others, for the third-longest such streak in franchise history.

San Francisco scored its first touchdown when Frank Gore found his way into the end zone from three yards out. Gore’s eighth touchdown of the season – and his first in four games – was set up by five completions from Colin Kaepernick to Anquan Boldin totaling 55 yards.

Kaepernick was a model of efficiency, going 19-of-28 passing for 275 yards and a touchdown. His completions and yards represented single-game season highs, discounting his 27-completion, 412-yard Week 1 showing.

And Boldin was his favorite target despite the much anticipated return of Michael Crabtree. Boldin, the source of St. Louis’s defensive backfield’s frustration, caught a season-high nine balls for 98 yards.

Kaepernick did find Crabtree, the team’s leading receiver in 2012, for a 60-yard catch-and-run late in the third quarter.

That gave the 49ers the ball at the Rams 20-yard line. Gore’s lost fumble there was quickly forgiven.

The Rams Kellen Clemens-led offense, which had been held to Greg Zeurlein’s 43-yard field goal with 54 seconds left in the first half and his 34-yarder less than five minutes into the second half, were forced to punt away the ensuing possession. It’s fake punt – a snap to up-man Matt Giordano, who had nowhere to go – was wildly unsuccessful, giving Kaepernick and Co. the ball back 17 yards from the goal-line.

On the very first play, Kaepernick rolled to his right and found tight end Vernon Davis, who reversed field at 10-yard line and leg-kicked his way into the end zone. The score – the 50th of Davis' career – gave San Francisco a 23-6 lead it would not relinquish.

Crabtree finished his first game back from rehabbing his torn Achilles with two receptions and 68 yards overall.

Cornerback Carlos Rogers picked off the Rams' Clements late in the fourth quarter, earning his second interception of the season. Clemens finished 19-of-37 passing for 218 yards and a late touchdown toss to wideout Brian Quick.

Rogers and the 49ers defense hadn't allowed an offensive touchdown since Week 11 at New Orleans.

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