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What We Learned from 49ers vs. Ravens

Select images from the 49ers Week 6 matchup with the Baltimore Ravens.

Deep breaths, Faithful.

For the second straight week, the San Francisco 49ers held a one-score lead in the final minute of regulation.

This time around, however, there would be no heartbreak for the red and gold.

The 49ers held on to defeat the Baltimore Ravens, 25-20, on Sunday at Levi's Stadium to snap their four-game losing streak and move to 2-4 on the season.

San Francisco held a 12-point advantage midway through the fourth quarter, but after Baltimore scored a touchdown to close the gap, the 49ers defense had to hold on for the win. Joe Flacco fired a Hail Mary into the end zone with zero time left, but the secondary was able to knock the pass down.

Colin Kaepernick turned in another strong performance on Sunday by completing 16-of-27 passes for 340 yards, two touchdowns and a 128.2 passer rating. The quarterback did not turn the ball over for the second game in a row. 

Here's what we learned from San Francisco's thrilling Week 6 victory.

Clutch TD Gives 49ers Breathing Room

Leading by six points in the fourth quarter, Kaepernick led a 65-yard drive spanning five plays and nearly three minutes.

The 49ers moved into Baltimore territory thanks to a 51-yard catch by Anquan Boldin. On that play, Kaepernick rolled out to his right and flicked the pass without setting his feet. The ball perfectly found Boldin, who was guarded in tight coverage.

The veteran receiver, as he always seems to do, snatched away the pass and secured it for the huge gain.

A couple of plays later on third down, Kaepernick fired a rocket to Quinton Patton in the end zone for a 21-yard score. Patton's defender, former 49ers cornerback Shareece Wright, fell down on the play and allowed the wideout to get open. The touchdown gave Patton his first score of his career and put San Francisco ahead by two scores.

The 49ers offense has taken heat for its fourth-quarter production in the past. But with this score, Kaepernick and Co. put late touchdowns on the board for the second straight week. Unlike the last game, however, the defense was able to finish off the opponent.

Bruce Breaks Loose

Entering Sunday's contest, Bruce Miller had three catches for 30 yards on the season. The fullback changed that in what seemed like a blink of an eye against the Ravens.

As they did versus the New York Giants a week ago, the 49ers frequently used Kaepernick under center rather than in the shotgun formation. Miller became a huge beneficiary of this gameplan.

On three occasions in the first quarter, Kaepernick used play-action to connect with Miller. The first two were short passes in the flat, one for nine yards and another for 28 yards thanks to a nasty stiff arm Miller delivered.

The final play of Miller's sequence went for a field-flipping chunk gain. Kaepernick faked a handoff, had plenty of time to survey the field and found Miller down the right sideline for a 52-yard completion on third down.

The catch marked the longest reception of Miller's career. The fullback's 89 total yards on the day were also a career high – and he did it all in the first quarter.

Getting Kaepernick in a rhythm early with those throws from under center paid dividends the rest of the afternoon.

Smith Hits Home Run vs. Former Team

Throughout the build-up to Sunday's game, Torrey Smith downplayed the storyline of facing the club that selected him in the second round of the 2011 draft.

But after one huge reception, it was obvious that this matchup had a little extra meaning for Smith.

Early in the second quarter, Kaepernick hit Smith deep downfield for a 76-yard touchdown. Smith beat his defender, Wright, and hauled in the perfectly-thrown pass in stride en route to the end zone.

The highlight play came with San Francisco lined up in a power run formation. Kaepernick sold the play-action and found the open receiver for the long score.

The touchdown set a new career-long reception for Smith for the second time this season. The free-agent acquisition caught a 75-yard touchdown versus the Pittsburgh Steelers earlier this year.

After scoring, Smith motioned to the crowd and let out a roar in celebration. Smith was signed to be a deep threat for the 49ers, and this reception showed just how dangerous he can be in the open field.

Dawson Remains Ageless

He may be the most senior player on the roster, but Phil Dawson is still as good as ever.

The 40-year-old kicker was perfect for the 49ers on Sunday, connecting on 4-of-4 field-goal attempts. Moreover, none of them were ever really in doubt.

Dawson put San Francisco on the board first with a 53-yard field goal, his longest of the year. He went on to drill kicks from 31, 26 and 42 yards out as well.

A reliable kicker is a luxury in the NFL, and the 49ers have one of the best in Dawson.

Defense Creates Turnovers

After surrendering 525 yards in last week's loss to New York, the defense responded in a big way against Baltimore.

The defense forced only four turnovers in the first five games of the season. On Sunday, however, the unit created a pair of takeaways.

Michael Wilhoite and Kenneth Acker each intercepted Flacco. The picks resulted in a pair of field goals.

Also on the defensive front, Tramaine Brock broke up a pair of would-be touchdown passes to Steve Smith Sr. Aaron Lynch, usually a mainstay in opponents' backfield, had a good play in coverage as well, successfully defending a Ravens running back on a wheel route. The linebacker used his lanky arms to disrupt the pass into the end zone.

Gold Nuggets

At various points in Sunday's contest, Ian Williams, Pierre Garçon and Boldin had scary moments on the field. All three players were shaken up on different plays, but fortunately were able to run off under their own power. Boldin was the only player who did not return to the game.

Andrew Tiller and Jordan Devey continued their rotation at right guard. Devey got the start, but Tiller mixed in with the offense. As a unit, the offensive line allowed three sacks of Kaepernick.

The 49ers stopped the Ravens on 6-of-7 third downs in the first half.

San Francisco committed just four penalties in the game, the team's fewest total of the season.

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