(Monday, December 19th)
Final Score: San Francisco 20, Pittsburgh 3
San Francisco, CA (Sports Network) - The lights at Candlestick Park were erratic Monday night, but the San Francisco 49ers played steady, mistake-free football to win in a battle of playoff teams.
The same couldn't be said for the Pittsburgh Steelers, or more specifically, Ben Roethlisberger, who battled through a high ankle sprain but committed four turnovers in a 20-3 setback.
Alex Smith connected on 18-of-31 passes for 187 yards and a touchdown, while Frank Gore ran for 65 yards and a score on 18 carries for the NFC West- champion 49ers (11-3), who stayed in contention for a first-round bye.
"It was a great team win," 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh said. "I would like to recognize our defense for an NFL record for not allowing a rushing touchdown for 14 games."
The Steelers (10-4) had a chance to take control of their division with a fifth straight win, but fell back into a tie with the Baltimore Ravens atop the AFC North.
"We didn't do enough," Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said bluntly. "We had an opportunity and we didn't seize it."
Roethlisberger threw for a respectable 330 yards on 25-of-44 throws, but was picked off three times and lost a fumble.
The game was twice delayed because of power outages in the San Francisco area.
The first blackout occurred several minutes before the scheduled 8:40 p.m. (et) kickoff, which was pushed back 20 minutes after the lights slowly returned.
Roethlisberger, clearly limited due to the injury he suffered 10 days earlier in a win over Cleveland, started strong with a 36-yard completion to Mike Wallace, but was picked off by Carlos Rogers in the end zone two plays later.
The 49ers held the ball for the next seven minutes, and their 17-play drive resulted in David Akers' 22-yard field goal.
Another Roethlisberger interception led to Akers' 38-yarder early in the second quarter, and the lights briefly went out again during the change of possession.
The unusual circumstances ended any momentum for the hosts, but they still went into the break leading, 6-0, after time ran out on the Steelers deep in San Fran territory.
A series of punts began the third before Heath Miller caught a 39-yard pass on out-and-up down the right sideline to get Pittsburgh moving. The drive eventually stalled, and Shaun Suisham got just enough behind a season-long 51- yard field goal for a 6-3 game.
Vernon Davis helped the 49ers answer immediately with a 31-yard catch on the next snap, and the tight end extended the lead with an one-yard touchdown catch off a nice play-action fake from Smith.
Suisham missed a 48-yard field goal on the ensuing drive, Roethlisberger lost a fumble while taking a sack on Pittsburgh's next touch and Gore rumbled in for a four-yard TD less than six minutes into the fourth to make it a three- possession game.
The pivotal TD was made possible after Steelers linebacker Lawrence Timmons was flagged for illegally launching himself during Akers' 28-yard field goal attempt two plays earlier.
Tarell Brown picked off Roethlisberger's bomb intended for Wallace to seal the outcome.
The Steelers had won six straight games on Monday night...Steelers linebacker James Harrison served his one-game suspension for his illegal hit on Browns quarterback Colt McCoy last week...Four different Steelers had five catches. Jerricho Cotchery leading the way with 93 yards...Rashard Mendenhall gained 64 yards on 15 carries for Pittsburgh...Davis had team-highs of six catches for 72 yards...The 49ers were outgained, 389-287.
12/20 01:41:54 ET
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