Looks like the red and gold are playing hard coming down the stretch.
The San Francisco 49ers welcomed the Miami Dolphins in week 14 and were able to get the victory in a hard fought game 27-13. It was a rough game focusing on defense for most part. The 49ers were able to get 3 touchdowns in the 2nd half thanks to some good drives and a muffed punt by Miami. The 49ers (9-3-1) are able keep their 1.5 game lead over Seattle (8-5) in the NFC West while the Dolphins (5-8) are now 1-5 in their last 6 games.
“These games are really hard,” 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh said. “You’ve got to stay patient. We also took our shots.”
The game was neck and neck as David Akers hit a 37 yard field goal to give the San Francisco the lead 6-3 as the 1st0 half ended. The 49ers were able to get separation after a muffed punt early in the 3rd quarter by Marcus Thigpen of Miami gets recovered by San Francisco’s C.J. Spillman. Frank Gore scored a 1 yard TD run a couple plays later to make it 13-3.
After a 53 yard field goal by Dan Carpenter of the Dolphins, the 49ers are able to put together a drive lasting 7:26 going 83 yards that results in a 1 yard TD run by Anthony Dixon scored early in the 4th quarter.
The Dolphins were trying to make a late surge scoring a 3 yard TD pass on a 4th and goal to Anthony Fasano with 8:01 left in regulation. An amazing catch by Fasano as he managed to get his right knee down to make it count. That brought the game within 7 points with SF leading 20-13.
After each side had the ball another time, the 49ers got the ball and ran it so Miami had to use their last two time outs. Then Colin Kaepernick ran a 50 yard TD run with just over two minutes left to seal the victory. The Dolphins would get it once more that lead to a 2nd straight turnover on downs.
“In the fourth quarter, we had some opportunities to put some more points on the board. We didn’t. We were too generous,” Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin said. “It’s just a lack of playmaking at critical times. That’s it.”
Colin Kaepernick finished the day without a passing TD going 18/23 for 185 passing yards. He almost had a TD pass on a deep throw to Randy Moss on a flea flicker play late in the 3rd quarter but it was dropped by Moss after possibly being interfered with by a Dolphin defender. That drive still ended in a TD for the 49ers scored by Anthony Dixon on the ground.
Ryan Tannehill did not have as fortunate of a game going 17/33 for 150 passing yards and the one TD pass to Anthony Fasano.
A momentous day for the 49ers ground game as Frank Gore was able to get to over 1,000 rushing yards in a season for the 6th time in his career. Gore would finish with that one TD run mentioned earlier along with 63 rushing yards on 12 carries.
“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.”
Making his NFL debut was the rookie RB LaMichael James for the 49ers. James had a 10 yard run in his first carry in the NFL and finished the game with 30 rushing yards in 8 carries along with 1 catch for 15 yards that help continue the drive that set up David Akers for his 2nd field goal of the day.
“I thought he was fantastic,” Harbaugh said of James’ performance. “Did a great job running the football.”
Save for the big 50 yard TD run by Kaepernick, both teams were fairly close in running the ball. The 49ers had 155 total rushing yards (102 without Kaepernick’s runs) on the day while the Dolphins had 94 rushing yards. Reggie Bush was the brunt of that ground game for Miami carrying it 14 times for 65 yards.
Michael Crabtree was Kaepernick’s #1 target getting 9 catches for 93 yards. No one else on the team had more than 2 catches and Randy Moss had the second most receiving yards for the 49ers with 30 yards on 2 receptions.
A huge reason why the scoring came late were both pass defenses suffocating the QB all game long. Cameron Wake sacked Colin Kaepernick 3 times in this game, all in the first half. That gives Wake 14 sacks on the season. Kaepernick was sacked one more time in the third quarter by Jared Odrick for his 4th sacks of the year.
Meanwhile, Ryan Tannehill was sacked twice in this game, both times by Aldon Smith. The first sack came early in the 2nd quarter and helped forced the Dolphins settle for a field goal. These two sacks gives Aldon Smith 19.5 sacks this season.
Overall stats had the 49ers with 321 total yards in the game while the Dolphins had just 227 total yards. Miami was a bit more efficient on 3rd down converting 5/13 while the 49ers were just 2/10. San Francisco was 0/4 on 3rd down in the first half.
With this game finished, only 3 more remain for the 49ers. They managed to stop a comeback from Miami but the 49ers still have to hold off a late season rally by the Seahawks as they look stronger than ever after shooting down the Cardinals 58-0.
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Written by Daniel Trucios