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(Sunday, October 31st)
Final Score: San Francisco 24, Denver 16
London, England (Sports Network) - Frank Gore carried a heavy load, running 29 times for 118 yards and a touchdown, and the San Francisco 49ers scored 21 consecutive points in the fourth and held on for a 24-16 victory over the Denver Browns in the NFL's international game at Wembley Stadium.
Troy Smith started for the first time since 2007 for the 49ers (2-6) and completed 12-of-19 passes for 196 yards with a touchdown. Smith, who also recorded the team's first rushing score since Week 2, helped San Francisco win for the second time in three weeks.
"The butterflies were out pretty early. My offensive line did a tremendous job of helping me calm down a little bit and getting me into the flow of the game," Smith said.
Delanie Walker had five catches for a career-high 85 yards, while Michael Crabtree caught a touchdown pass for the 49ers, who did not turn the ball over.
Kyle Orton threw for 369 yards on 28-of-40 efficiency with a touchdown and an interception for the Broncos (2-6), who were coming off an embarrassing 59-14 to the Raiders and have allowed 20 or more points in three of their last eight quarters. Former 49er Brandon Lloyd caught seven passes for 169 yards and a touchdown in defeat.
"Nobody's happy in that locker room. Nobody's happy at all, including myself and our staff and our players," said Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels. "And it's not good enough for us, and it's something that we're all going to do everything we can within our power to make it better."
The Broncos appeared to score a touchdown inside two minutes to potentially tie the game with a two-point conversion, but Eddie Royal's punt return for a score was nullified because of a block in the back penalty. Orton eventually threw a game-ending interception on the ensuing series.
After the 49ers tied the game early in the fourth, Denver went three-and-out, and a 21-yard punt set up San Francisco at the Broncos' 48-yard line.
It took only four plays to find the end zone, with Crabtree grabbing a Smith pass around the five-yard line and dancing down the left sideline easily for the 28-yard score to give SF a 17-10 advantage with 7:23 to play.
On Denver's next play from scrimmage, Orton was hit from behind on a scramble and fumbled the ball away. The 49ers recovered on the opposing 18, and Gore extended the lead with a hard-fought three-yard touchdown run with 3:47 remaining.
The Broncos made a late rally, as Lloyd caught a one-yard touchdown pass with 2:19 left to cut the deficit to eight after Matt Prater shanked the extra point attempt. Denver elected to kick deep, and the defense was able to stop the 49ers.
On the punt, Royal ran down the ride sideline for an apparent touchdown, but a penalty nullified the play and pinned the Broncos at their 19 with just over 1 1/2 minutes to play. Orton was able to advance to the 49ers' 45 before he was intercepted on a soft pass to the left by Shawntae Spencer to end the game.
San Francisco scored the only points of the first half late in the first quarter when Joe Nedney kicked a 34-yard field goal to cap a 13-play, 65-yard drive.
Denver struggled on offense throughout the first 30 minutes, not getting across midfield until 1:05 to play in the second quarter. The Broncos didn't get past the San Francisco 47, however, and never scored on their final drive of the half.
In the first 30 minutes of play, the teams combined to go 2-for-11 on third downs and gained 247 total yards.
After a miserable first half on offense, Denver used a big play to take the lead on its first possession of the second half.
After Orton kept the drive alive on third down with an eight yard run -- aided by an illegal contact penalty -- the Broncos' signal-caller found a streaking Lloyd down the middle of the field. Orton threw the perfect pass just over Lloyd's shoulder, and Lloyd caught it in stride and rumbled down to the one- yard line for a 71-yard gain.
On the next play, Tim Tebow took a direct snap and ran into the end zone to give Denver a 7-3 lead with just over eight minutes left in the third.
San Francisco got in position for a 52-yard field goal attempt on its next series, but Nedney hit the goalpost.
The Broncos appeared to have a long touchdown pass on a flea-flicker late in the third, but the play was called back because of a chop block. Denver eventually settled for a 32-yard Prater field goal in the opening minute of the fourth.
The 49ers answered with the game-tying touchdown. Smith hit Walker over the middle for 27 yards on 2nd-and-20 to put San Francisco into Denver territory, then threw a prayer off his back foot that was answered by Walker for another 38-yard gain to the one-yard line.
Two plays later, Smith ran around the right end into the end zone for a 10-10 game with 11:51 remaining.
This was the fourth overseas NFL game...Lloyd has 878 receiving yards this season, a new career-high...The 49ers also played in the first international NFL game in Mexico City in 2005...San Francisco tight end Vernon Davis (ankle) left the game in the first half and did not return.
10/31 21:57:15 ET
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