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49ers Bested by Andrew Luck, Colts

Posted Sep 22, 2013

San Francisco dropped its record to 1-2 with a 27-7 defeat to quarterback Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts.

One way to become the class of the NFL is not let one loss turn into another. Since 2011, the 49ers had been one of three teams in the league to not drop consecutive games.

Had been, as San Francisco (1-2) fell for the second straight week on Sunday afternoon at Candlestick Park, 27-7, to Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts (2-1).

The 49ers were 7-0 in such scenarios since Jim Harbaugh took the helm. The organization has now dropped three straight games dating back to 2005 to the team Harbaugh once played for and the team his signal-caller at Stanford, Luck, now leads.

"It's tough," said veteran Frank Gore, who rushed for a season-high 82 yards on 11 carries. "We've got to look at ourselves. Everybody has to look at ourselves and see what we've got to do better."

The Colts, which lost at home against the Miami Dolphins in Week 2, grabbed a 7-0 lead on their first possession of the game. Running back Trent Richardson, whom the team acquired from the Cleveland Browns on Wednesday, scored on a one-yard run after Luck had gone 5-for-5 for 48 yards to push Indianapolis into San Francisco territory.

The 49ers tied the game at 7 on their second drive of the game: Kendall Hunter’s 13-yard touchdown run after ground gains of 14 yards and 22 yards by Kaepernick and Gore, respectively.

Two Adam Vinatieri field goals later – the vet connected from 43 yards in the second quarter and 41 in the third – and the Colts led their host, 13-7, entering the fourth quarter.

Kaepernick was 2-for-8 with 38 yards passing through two quarters, but those numbers didn’t tell the half of it. While his wideouts had trouble finding open space in the Colts secondary, two of his wideouts – Kyle Williams and rookie Quinton Patton – dropped passes for third-down conversions.

"We just got to back up our quarterback, point blank," said wideout Marlon Moore, who was targeted once. "No matter how frustrated he gets, his frustration falls upon us. We've got to get open, the offensive line has to block and the quarterback has to make the read to throw the ball. It's a collective unit. Everybody works as one, and if one piece is messed up, everything goes downhill."

On the other side of intermission, Kaepernick’s struggles continued. The third-year pro finished 13-of-26 for 150 yards and a fourth-quarter interception.

"I have to be better," Kaepernick said postgame.

The only wideout with a catch until the final drive of the fourth quarter: Anquan Boldin had five of them for 67 yards.

San Francisco was also without Pro Bowl tight end Vernon Davis (hamstring), who had played 98 straight games dating back to Oct. 7, 2007.

Colts wideouts, meanwhile, fared better. While veteran Reggie Wayne caught a 25-yard pass-and-catch from Luck on the first drive of the fourth quarter, inside linebacker Patrick Willis (groin) was injured trying to tackle Wayne. He was deemed out for the remainder of the game. No update was available on Willis' condition postgame.

The Wayne catch set up a third Vinatieri field goal attempt, but he missed from 51 yards, leaving the Colts lead at six points.

Luck made up for that. The quarterback led Indianapolis on an 11-play, 80-yard drive spanning seven minutes that culminated with his six-yard touchdown run on a bootleg play around the left side.

The Stanford product would finish the game with 164 yards passing, 25 yards on the ground.

"Stunned," 49ers safety Donte Whitner said of his feeling postgame. "We didn't play 49ers defense, and we'll go back to the drawing board."

To make matters worse, Kaepernick fumbled at the Colts eight-yard line with just under four minutes remaining. Three plays later, Colts running back Ahmad Bradshaw scored on a one-yard touchdown run to cement his team’s 20-point margin of victory.

Taking into account their Week 2 defeat to the Seattle Seahawks, the 49ers have scored 10 points over their last eight quarters of action.

The 49ers won’t have much time to review this performance, as they visit the Rams on Thursday night.