49ers silence Steelers amidst Candlestick blackouts, 20-3


49ers silence Steelers amidst Candlestick blackouts, 20-3

SAN FRANCISCO -- The anticipation for the 49ers' much-hyped Monday night matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers had a greater chance to build when when kickoff was delayed 20 minutes by a power outage at aptly named Candlestick Park.

The stadium lights went off again with 12:13 remaining in the second quarter, causing another 16-minute delay in the nationally televised game.

RELATED: Two blackouts hit Candlestick
Although the lights came on and 60 minutes of football were eventually logged, it was the 49ers' defense that played lights out in the 20-3 victory over the Steelers.The 49ers (11-3) are still in line for the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoff race behind the Green Bay Packers and ahead of the New Orleans Saints.

If the 49ers and Saints (11-3) finish with the same record, the 49ers would win the tie-breaker based on their better record in NFC games. The top two seeds earn first-round playoff byes and a home game in the divisional round.--The 49ers put the finishing touches on the victory on running back Frank Gore's 5-yard touchdown run behind blocks of left tackle Joe Staley, pulling right guard Adam Snyder, fullback Bruce Miller and receiver Michael Crabtree with 9:06 remaining.The drive was prolonged when Pittsburgh linebacker Lawrence Timmons was called for a leaping penalty while David Akers was making a 28-yard field goal. The 49ers took the points off the board and punched it into the end zone.--Rookie outside linebacker Aldon Smith, making a case for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, sacked Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, along with Ray McDonald. Justin Smith recovered the fumble to give the 49ers possession at the Pittsburgh 17-yard line. Smith recorded another two sacks, giving him 13 for the season and the 49ers' rookie sack record.NEWS: Smith earns 49ers' rookie sack record
--The 49ers finally solved their red-zone issues in the third quarter when quarterback Alex Smith executed a play-fake to running back Anthony Dixon (his only offensive snap of the game to that point) and found tight end Vernon Davis all alone for a 1-yard touchdown.The play was set up when Smith and Davis hooked up for a 21-yard pass to the 1-yard line. Coach Jim Harbaugh challenged the spot, but referee Walt Coleman upheld the ruling on the field.--Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, whose status was in doubt due to a left ankle sprain, was intercepted on the Steelers' first two possessions of the game to enable the 49ers to take a 6-0 lead at the half.--The 49ers converted two third downs on their opening drive, but they failed once again in the red zone -- even after having a first-and-goal from the 2.Quarterback Alex Smith missed a wide open Kyle Williams in the end zone on second down on the 49ers' best chance. The 49ers settled for another Akers field goal, from 22 yards out, to take a 3-0 lead.--Akers set the 49ers' all-time single-season record with his second field goal of the game, a 38-yarder, to give him 141 points for the season. Hall of Fame receiver Jerry Rice scored 138 points in 1987.
NEWS: Akers sets 49ers' single-season points mark
--Cornerback Carlos Rogers continues to make a bid for a nice free-agent payday at the end of the season with his first-quarter interception of Ben Roethlisberger. Rogers has a career-high six picks on the season. His 31-yard return out of the end zone set up the 49ers' first points of the game.--The same can be said for safety Dashon Goldson, who also intercepted his sixth pass of the season. Goldson's pick came on the Steelers' second drive of the game. Goldson and Rogers are both scheduled to be free agents at the end of the season.--The 49ers played without four-time Pro Bowl linebacker Patrick Willis, who missed his second game with a right hamstring strain. Willis took part in a rehab session before the game and appears to be making progress. It's still uncertain whether he'll be available Saturday against the Seattle Seahawks. Larry Grant filled in and played well in Willis' absence.--Receiverreturn man Ted Ginn left the game after sustaining an ankle injury on the kickoff to open the second half. And Staley sustained a leg injury on Gore's touchdown run. His status was not immediately known.--The Steelers got on the board when they exploited a couple favorable matchups against tight end Heath Miller. First, Miller beat outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks for a 39-yard pass. Then, he had an 11-yard reception against safety Donte Whitner. Kicker Shaun Suisham made a 51-yard field goal to cut the 49ers' lead to 6-3 with 6:08 remaining in the third quarter.

49ers receive early vindication on selection of Reuben Foster

49ers receive early vindication on selection of Reuben Foster

SANTA CLARA – General manager John Lynch received the text message Wednesday from Dr. Tim McAdams that might have come as a surprise to many of the teams that passed on linebacker Reuben Foster during the draft.

The 49ers’ team physician declared Foster’s surgically repaired right shoulder is ready to play football. The 49ers are scheduled for their first practice of training camp on Friday, and Foster will be a full participant.

“We feel great about our doctors, our medical program here,” Lynch said on Thursday, as the 49ers reported to training camp. “Our trainer, Jeff Ferguson, is as good as there is in the league. Dr. McAdams, world-renowned. He has the Stanford name behind him.

“We challenged him numerous times. From his observation, the shoulder was good.”

Foster’s tumble to the back end of the first round was widely blamed on his shoulder condition. The 49ers traded with the Seattle Seahawks to select Foster with the No. 31 overall pick. Almost immediately, the 49ers were scrutinized for making the selection.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported some teams did not even consider drafting Foster. One “well-placed source with knowledge of the injury” told Schefter that Foster’s surgery “didn’t take.”

The 49ers’ willingness to clear Foster for the first day of camp is a reality that appears to be in stark contrast to the opinions around the league that Foster’s shoulder would require additional surgery. The 49ers expect Foster to be ready Sunday for the first padded, contact practice of training camp.

“We pride ourselves in doing all of our due diligence, not afterward, but before we make the decisions,” Lynch said. “We’d done exhaustive research on Reuben Foster in a lot of different areas. Medically was one area.”

Coach Kyle Shanahan said he the nature of Foster’s injury convinced him that even the worst-case scenario, in the big picture, was not so bad. Foster sustained a torn rotator cuff in Alabama’s national semifinal game against Washington and played the championship game against Clemson with the injury.

“I was proud of our doctors for putting themselves out there and giving their honest opinion about what they felt,” Shanahan said. “They feel it is healed, and it’s going to be good. I respect them for doing that. They went against the norm on that, and that isn’t always easy.

“(I’m) pretty confident when it is a shoulder injury, if it doesn’t heal the right way or it’s done wrong, you have to re-do a surgery, yes, it’s time, but it’s not going to affect the guy we saw on tape.”

John Lynch concerned about 49ers' top pick Thomas


John Lynch concerned about 49ers' top pick Thomas

On April 27, the 49ers selected Solomon Thomas with the No. 3 overall pick in the NFL Draft.

As of Thursday afternoon, he remains unsigned.

49ers general manager John Lynch addressed the media on Thursday and was asked about the defensive lineman's status.

Thomas missed most of the 49ers' offseason program because NFL rules stipulate that rookies who have not completed their undergraduate degrees are ineligible to join on a full-time basis until after their schools' final classes of the spring semester.

Stanford's late schedule put Thomas a little behind schedule.

“We have our iPads, so I’ll be able to watch film from that,” Thomas said in mid-May. “I talk to Josh (Garnett) quite a bit, and he’ll give me advice on how to go through this process – how to stay in touch, just keep learning along the way and keep progressing along the way.”