After losing two of their last three, the 49ers Monday night got back to doing what they do best – play takeaway and go lights out on defense.
Monday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Candlestick Park, the Niners defense laid a whipping on the Steelers offense, holding them to three points in a 20-3 win to get them to 11-3 on the year.
The game was delayed twice, once at the start and again for about 20 minutes into the game when the lights went out when a transformer blew. It didn’t phase the Niners D one bit.
Led by a relentless pass rush by rookie Aldon Smith, the D got to gimpy Ben Roethlisberger for three sacks and three picks, and made it a long trip home for the large amount of Steelers fans on hand to see their team go to 10-4.
Roethlisberger, playing with a grade one ankle sprain, went 25-for-44 for 330 yards with three of picks, two of which led to 49ers field goals as they led 6-0 at the half.
Field position was against the Steelers all night, and the 49ers defense was as good as advertised, not allowing much all night to a Steelers offense that has had its own issues over the last two weeks. The average start for the Steelers on the night was their own 15-yard line.
Alex Smith and the San Fran offense wasn’t spectacular either, but they were effective and mistake free, as Smith came through with some solid throws when needed.
He ended the night going 18-for-31 for 187 yards with a TD throw of one-yard to Vernon Davis with 3:44 left in the third that extended the San Fran lead to 13-3.
The game was put out of reach early in the fourth when Justin Smith stripped Roethlisberger of the ball on a sack at the Steelers 17 with 11 and a half minutes left.
They got a “leaping” call on Lawrence Timmons to give them a first and goal at the five, and two plays later Frank Gore went in to make it a 20-3 game.
San Fran scored 13 of their 20 points on the three Steelers turnovers.
Gore had 18 carries for 65 yards and a score. Davis pulled in 6 passes for 72 yards and a score in the winning effort. On defense, Aldon Smith had a tackle and 2.5 sacks.
The Niners end the season with two road games, the first this Saturday at Seattle.