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49ers Bounce Back in a Big Way

Posted Sep 30, 2012

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – There wasn’t any time to sulk or let a Week 3 slipup in Minnesota alter the goals previously set for the San Francisco 49ers.

On Sunday, Jim Harbaugh’s team got back to work and got back in the win column in glorious fashion.

San Francisco’s 34-0 rout of the New York Jets provided the team its first road shutout since a 38-0 blanking of the New Orleans Saints back on Jan. 6, 2002.

The dominance was way beyond the scoreboard, too.

The Jets didn’t get in the end zone, nor did they get inside of the red zone all game long. The furthest New York went down the field was to San Francisco’s 25-yard line, there, Aldon Smith sacked Mark Sanchez and Justin Smith recovered the ball, leading to a 36-yard field goal from David Akers.

At that point, the 49ers led 10-0 at the end of the first half. Things got even more one-sided in the remaining 30 minutes.

“The win felt amazing,” said linebacker Patrick Willis, who led the 49ers with 10 tackles. “Coming off the loss we had, everybody had that taste in their mouth of defeat and we just wanted to get it out. We knew we were going to do that today and we got a win.”

The Harbaugh-led 49ers have only suffered four regular-season defeats in 20 games. All four times, they have responded with a victory. The 49ers also moved their record to 3-0 in the second leg of back-to-back road games under Harbaugh’s watch.

When it was all said and done, New York crossed the 50-yard line three times, including just once in the second half.

Seven second-half possessions for the Jets yielded two turnovers and five three-and-outs.

“We’re a team that knows what we’re capable of (doing),” said linebacker Aldon Smith, who produced 2.0 sacks on the day and the aforementioned forced fumble, giving him his fifth-career game with 2.0 sacks or more.

Both Smith and Willis forced turnovers, with the inside linebacker picking off a Sanchez pass tipped at the line of scrimmage by unheralded defensive tackle Ray McDonald.

Carlos Rogers picked up two fumbles, one forced by safety Dashon Goldson on a well-timed hit on Jets tight end Dedrick Epps and another on a Santonio Holmes fumble, one he scooped and scored on from 51 yards out.

“He fell down and I was going to touch him down,” Rogers explained of the bizarre play that saw Holmes injure his foot and get carted off the field soon after. “Next thing, the ball popped out and I just tried to, I guess I surprised myself, it took two or three times to scoop the ball. Once I got it, there was a parade of defenders and I took it on in.”

Willis couldn’t pinpoint which turnover was most impressive, but he appreciated all of them to say the least.

“I enjoyed each one of them,” Willis said with a grin. “I’m going to say all of them, there was no one greater takeaway. All of them mean the same, it means our offense is getting another opportunity to go out there and put up points on the board.”

San Francisco capitalized off its defensive prowess, too. Alex Smith played an efficient game and the running game provided a whopping 245 yards, 200 more than their opponents.

Throw in Larry Grant’s one-man punt rush that resulted in a blocked kick – it’s safe to say the 49ers bounced back in a major way. Following the special teams contribution, Kendall Hunter scored the team’s third rushing touchdown of the day to seal a comfortable 34-point advantage.

By that point, red 49ers jerseys were all that could be seen in MetLife Stadium’s lower bowl.

Frank Gore loved the sight of it, too.

“It was great,” said the 49ers running back, who scored on a 2-yard touchdown run in the third quarter and added 62 rushing yards on the day. “Seeing how the fans out here made it like a home game, we kept playing hard throughout and it made it a great time.”

The 49ers averaged 5.6 yards per carry (44 carries for 245 yards and three rushing touchdowns).

Meanwhile, the Jets averaged 2.6 yards per carry (17 rushes for 45 yards and zero touchdowns).

Gore appreciated the support from the team’s Eastern fan base, but also raved about the play-calling from offensive mastermind Greg Roman.

“Coach G-Ro did a great job of putting us in situations to succeed,” Gore said of the team’s offensive coordinator who’s unafraid to give his players diverse play concepts in his second year working with the unit. “I’m happy for all of us. It was a great win.”

All 46 of San Francisco’s players saw playing time against the Jets, including undrafted tight end Garrett Celek, who was part of a three tight end formation, along with Vernon Davis and guard, turned additional blocker, Leonard Davis.

A team-wide win was certainly what the team needed coming off a disappointing result in Minnesota. It also made the team appreciate the week they spent in Youngstown, Ohio, which cut out two, cross-country flights in a five-day period.

“Most definitely, this was the best way to end the trip,” Willis said. “There’s no better way to end the trip than on a positive note and I think we did that today. Like Coach (Harbaugh) said, ‘We leave this place today with humble hearts.’ We’ll enjoy this victory but enjoy it with humble hearts and get ready for the next game.”

The 49ers will face a second consecutive AFC East foe when the Buffalo Bills visit Candlestick Park next week.

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