A career game from Frank Gore aided the 49ers in defeating the Seattle Seahawks 23-10 Sunday afternoon in front of 69,732 fans at Candlestick Park.
The 49ers talented running back totaled a career-best 246 combined rushing and receiving yards, thanks to 79- and 80-yard touchdown runs.
And while Gore's work was certainly impressive, it was the performance of the rest of the 49ers offense that caught Mike Singletary's attention.
"We left too much on the table," the 49ers head coach said after the game. "We have to do a better job on third-and-long. We have to do a better job of overall cleaning it up, so that we can compete with anyone."
But Singletary didn't want his postgame comments to take away from his team's accomplishment.
"I don't want to come in here and make it sound like we should have beaten them by more. I don't want to do that," he said. "I am thankful that we won the game. I just think that we have to do a better job of finishing."
After struggling on the ground in the season opener in Arizona, the 49ers racked up 256 yards against their second consecutive NFC West opponent. The success in the running game also resulted in a nearly 10 minute gap in the teams' time of possession.
However, the 49ers only totaled 16 first downs, three less than Seattle. But with Gore cashing in with his two long scores, that didn't really matter.
"I don't think I've ever seen anything like that," quarterback Shaun Hill said. "Frank was running away
from people. That guy… he's impressive."
With Gore moving the offense almost single-handedly for most of the game, Hill completed 19-of-26 passes for 144 yards and improved to 6-0 as a starter home.
"I think our fans have a lot to do with that," Hill said. "Our fans and our players have the same mentality that this is a tough place to play for an opposing team. I think it's shown. It's nice to play in the 'Stick. We love our fans and they were rowdy for us today. It was a lot of fun."
The 49ers got up on the Seahawks after their first drive when Joe Nedney connected from 37 yards out. Nedney's field goal capped a 13-play drive, and the 49ers never relinquished the lead.
And on the first play of the next drive, the 49ers expanded their lead to double digits courtesy of Gore's 79-yard scamper.
At the time, it was Gore's longest touchdown run of his career and it put him over the 100-yard mark on the day.
"The first one was on a counter," Gore said of the play. "They brought their mike [linebacker] up in the A-gap and I knew that was the run hole. Chilo [Rachal] went down, [Dave] Baas came around and it was just me, the safety and the referee."
Gore's second score, on the 49ers first play of the second half, was eerily similar to his first and eclipsed his previous career-best by one yard.
"The second one, I have to give a lot of props to my boy Joe Staley and my boy Josh [Morgan], he did a great job sealing off the edge," Gore said. "Joe blocked the tackle down and I cut it off of him."
The Seahawks put together their own long drive at the start of the second quarter with quarterback Matt Hasselbeck completing a pair of third down passes to put the team in the red zone.
But despite the early success, that drive only resulted in three points.
Then after the teams traded punts, Seattle put together its best drive at the end of the first half scoring a touchdown.
However, Seattle had to finish the drive without it Hasselbeck.
On second-and-goal from the 49ers 4-yard line, Hasselbeck scrambled toward the goal line but was hit in the back by 49ers linebacker Joe Staley. The hit gave Hasselbeck instant discomfort and he was forced to leave the game with a rib injury.
"I wasn't worried about it being an illegal hit or anything like that," Willis said. "I knew he was hurting a little bit, but I hope that he's okay."
On the next play, Hasselbeck's backup, Seneca Wallace, came into the game and found running back Julius Jones wide open in the right flat for an easy 1-yard touchdown catch.
That scoring drive would end up being the Seahawks' last.
The 49ers shutout the Seahawks in the second half and allowed their divisional foes to cross their 50-yard line twice in the second half.
Free safety Dashon Goldson came up with his first career interception in the third quarter after Seattle crossed the 50-yard line with Wallace under center.
"I saw the quarterback look my way at first," Goldson recalled of his acrobatic interception. "I was on the right side of the field. I ran to the middle, read the quarterback and broke on the ball. Then I just came down with it."
After the turnover, the 49ers marched 67 yards on 16 plays to set up Nedney's final field goal and game's final points.
With the offense unable to put together scoring drives that last longer than one play, the players know there is plenty of work to be done.
"This league is about constantly improving," Hill said. "If we go out next week and play like we have the first two weeks, it's not going to be good. We have to continue to improve every week, 2-0 obviously that's the start we were looking for, but now it means we've got a long way to go and we have a good opponent this week."
The 49ers will hit the road next Sunday to take on the Minnesota Vikings at 1:00pm.
The 49ers public relations staff announced the following injuries after the game:
Gore left the game in the fourth quarter with an ankle sprain, backup running back Glen Coffee injured his right hip pointer, linebacker Marques Harris suffered a right toe contusion, and guard Dave Baas had an ankle sprain. All of the players will be evaluated in the morning and are listed as day-to-day.