The San Francisco 49ers hosted the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday night. Despite power outages at Candlestick Park that led to long delays, the 49ers never lost their sense of focus. In many ways, this may have been the sharpest the entire Niners team has looked all year, operating well on both sides of the ball.
The Steelers made the decision to start quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who had been questionable all week after fighting a high-ankle sprain he suffered in Week 13 against the Browns. Roethlisberger was clearly at far less than 100% as he began noticeably limping shortly into the game. The 49ers defense made sure to keep the pressure on him all evening and the results were indisputable. Roethlisberger had a part in all four Pittsburgh turnovers as he threw three interceptions and had a ball stripped while being sacked, leading to a 49ers recovery and an eventual touchdowns. At several points during the night, Big Ben very nearly threw several more interceptions. Roethlisberger was also sacked three times, with Aldon Smith picking up two solo sacks and a portion of a third.
On offense, the San Francisco team also excelled. David Akers picked up two field goals which were the entirety of the scoring in the first half of play from either team. His 22 yard field goal in the first quarter tied him with Jerry Rice for the most points scored by a single player in a single season in 49ers franchise history. His second field goal, from 38 yards in the second quarter, broke that record.
Pittsburgh's only points came on a 51-yard field goal in the third quarter by Shaun Suisham. The 49ers picked up their first touchdown in that quarter on a short goal-line pass from Alex Smith to Vernon Davis after a gorgeous offensive drive. Following the Roethlisberger sack and fumble in the fourth quarter, the 49ers provided the coup de grace on a 5-yard touchdown run from Frank Gore.
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