Gore, Kaepernick lead 49ers past Dolphins 27-13
- Article by: JANIE McCAULEY
- Associated Press
- December 10, 2012 - 6:53 AM
SAN FRANCISCO - Frank Gore made his way through San Francisco's winning locker room and offered a public shoutout to linebacker and NFL sacks leader Aldon Smith.
"Couple more, baby! Couple more, baby!" Gore hollered.
Gore is taking charge on the 49ers offense, with Smith wreaking havoc on opposing quarterbacks for the defense.
Gore ran for a 1-yard touchdown and reached 1,000 yards rushing for the sixth time in his career, and even took the fake on Colin Kaepernick's late 50-yard scoring run in the San Francisco 49ers' 27-13 victory against the Dolphins on Sunday.
Smith added two more sacks to bring his total for 19 1/2, passing Fred Dean's franchise-best single-season mark of 17 1/2 set in 1983. Smith also moved within three sacks of the single-season record Michael Strahan set in 2001 with the New York Giants.
"Guys really have a determination on this field and on this team," cornerback Tarell Brown said. "We were focused out there."
Gore finished with 63 yards rushing, caught two passes and also matched his mentor, Roger Craig, and late Hall of Famer Joe Perry for the franchise record in rushing touchdowns with 50. And, no, Gore didn't grow up a Dolphins fan in his native South Florida.
"It's a blessing. Everybody says when you turn 29 and 30, you can't do it anymore. When I got to 29, I told myself, `I'm going to overcome that,'" Gore said. "I've still got the explosiveness. When I see something, I go get it."
Anthony Dixon also had a 1-yard scoring run, while Kaepernick came through with the touchdown run and also passed for 185 yards in his fourth straight start since being promoted over Alex Smith.
Gore drew Miami's defense his way on that game-clinching play.
"Everybody came to me and Mr. Everything did his thing," Gore said of Kaepernick.
Afterward, Gore sported a gray hooded sweatshirt with an upside down dolphin in distress — a purchase from before the season once he found out the Dolphins were on the schedule. Gore was born in Miami, attended college at the University of Miami and still spends the offseasons right there in South Florida.
"I said, `We've got to turn him upside down,'" he said of the sweatshirt dolphin, Miami's mascot on its head with a first-aid symbol and each eye covered with an "X."
Crabtree matched his season high with nine catches for 93 yards and rookie LaMichael James ran for 30 yards in a solid NFL debut for the 49ers (9-3-1), who kept hold of the No. 2 seed in the NFC behind Atlanta.
"We did what it takes," Crabtree said.
Anthony Fasano made a diving 3-yard touchdown catch for Miami (5-8) midway through the fourth quarter on a pass from Ryan Tannehill. Fasano's right knee landed in the end zone as he fell out of bounds under pressure from safety Donte Whitner.
Miami went for it on fourth-and-10 from the 35 with 4:16 remaining and Tannehill overthrew Marlon Moore on the left sideline.
"In the fourth quarter, we had some opportunities to put some more points on the board. We didn't. We were too generous," Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said. "It's just a lack of playmaking at critical times. That's it."
The sold-out crowd at Candlestick Park was treated to a spectacular, clear Bay Area day. The football didn't quite live up to it until both teams performed down the stretch.
Harbaugh's NFC West-leading Niners hardly looked like a power for most of the afternoon against overmatched Miami — the team Harbaugh considered coaching before accepting a $25 million, five-year contract with San Francisco in January 2011.
"These games are really hard," Harbaugh said. "You've got to stay patient. We also took our shots."
The 49ers capitalized on a special teams blunder to end a stretch of five quarters and an overtime without a touchdown. Marcus Thigpen fumbled trying to catch Andy Lee's punt early in the third quarter, and C.J. Spillman recovered on the Dolphins 9 to set up Gore's short TD burst.
Cameron Wake had three first-half sacks to highlight a lackluster day by the Dolphins. On offense, Tannehill faced constant pressure and Miami was held to 227 total yards.
Dan Carpenter kicked a 53-yard field goal in the third quarter for the Dolphins and also an earlier 28-yarder.
"We just have to finish," Miami defensive tackle Paul Soliai said. "We just can't let this happen."
San Francisco went for it on fourth-and-1 on the 38 late in the third quarter and cornerback Sean Smith was called for pass interference against Crabtree. Dixon scored his second touchdown of the season five plays later.
Harbaugh stuck with Kaepernick a week after a 16-13 overtime loss at St. Louis, and the second-year pro delivered with an 18-for-23 day and 100.2 passer rating.
David Akers' 30-yard field goal in the second quarter tied the game at 3, then he kicked a 37-yarder as time expired before halftime to put his team ahead 6-3.
San Francisco lost defensive lineman and special teams standout Demarcus Dobbs to a right knee injury in the first half. He was carted off the field. Dobbs returned to the field after missing the trip to St. Louis a week earlier following his arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence and marijuana possession.
Aldon Smith lined up against rookie left tackle Jonathan Martin, a former Stanford star recruited by Harbaugh. Martin shifted to the left side in place of the injured Jake Long, placed on season-ending injured reserve Tuesday with an injured left triceps. Smith and Martin shoved each other all day, jawed and even butted helmets.
Smith plowed over Martin for the first sack.
"There were some words exchanged," Smith said. "Nobody wants to get knocked down."
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