Gore leads 49ers over Redskins
LANDOVER, Md. (AP)
''They were a pretty tough defense, so I told myself I'm going to wear this - because I felt I was going to come out hunting on Sunday,'' Gore said. ''It's my hunting outfit.''
Gore had 107 yards on 19 yards in San Francisco's 19-11 win Sunday over the Washington Redskins.
The 49ers' sixth straight win leaves intact their commanding lead in the NFC West.
''It was a tough 100. It was a consummate team 100,'' coach Jim Harbaugh said. ''Not running out of bounds, getting every yard he could get.''
Alex Smith found rookie fullback Bruce Miller for the seventh-round draft pick's first career touchdown, and David Akers kicked four field goals for the 49ers (7-1). San Francisco's points-stingy defense forced three turnovers and didn't allow a touchdown until the final minutes.
The 49ers have their longest winning streak since 1997 and are 4-0 on the road for the first time since 1992 - with all four coming on those 1 p.m. Eastern time zone kickoffs which are supposed to drag down West Coast teams.
The club arrived in the Washington area on Friday and spent the extra day watching the changing of the guard at Arlington National Cemetery.
The fact that Gore picked out a military getup for the game was coincidence, but the players said the outing was another example of team bonding for a franchise trying to end an eight-year stretch without a playoff berth.
It's a chemistry especially felt by ex-Redskins cornerback Carlos Rogers, who watched several fast starts flame out during his six seasons in Washington and has some bragging rights after his victorious return to the nation's capital.
''Different team, different organization,'' said Rogers, part of a defensive effort that allowed only 187 yards through the first three quarters.
''It's different from the top down. That's all I can tell by. Once you've got that, everybody together collected as a team, it's not about this head coach's way and there's no way. It's not about this owner's way or no way. It's not about the star players on our team trying to get their way.''
The fourth straight loss by Rogers' former team was another episode in offensive futility.
After being shut out by Buffalo the previous week, Washington (3-5) got its only points on Graham Gano's franchise-record 59-yard field goal on the last play of the first half and a touchdown pass to Jabar Gaffney with 1:10 remaining.
''Right now, you take a look at the offense, it's tough to take,'' coach Mike Shanahan said. ''Tough to take for me.''
Shanahan tried to shake things up by giving debut starts to three rookies - running back Roy Helu, receiver Leonard Hankerson and left guard Maurice Hurt - and he made numerous references to the injuries that have forced constant shuffling of the lineup.
John Beck - now 0-7 as an NFL starter - will remain the quarterback despite another game in which he regularly failed to spot open receivers. Beck completed 30 of 47 passes for 254 yards with one touchdown and one interception, but 116 yards came in the fourth quarter during desperation catch-up time.
An indication of the Redskins' struggles: their leading receiver was Helu, who caught a franchise-record 14 passes for 105 yards coming out of the backfield.
San Francisco's defense, tops in the league against the run entering the weekend, gave up just 52 yards on the ground. The 49ers haven't allowed a touchdown rushing this season.
''Sometimes it looks like it's all the quarterback, and that's understandable,'' Shanahan said. ''When you lose a few pieces of the puzzle, the quarterback is going to look pretty average when we're playing pretty average as a group.''
By contrast, Smith managed the game efficiently, hitting 17 of 24 passes for 200 yards.
Turnovers led to 10 of the 49ers' points. Dashon Goldson's interception near midfield set up a 52-yard field goal in the second quarter by Akers, who has made all four attempts from 50-plus yards this season.
Then, after another field goal by Akers, Helu caught a pass and was stripped by linebacker Patrick Willis. Donte Whitner recovered, and Smith hit Miller for a 30-yard score on the next play to give the 49ers a 13-0 lead late in the first half.
The Redskins found all sorts of ways to kill drives, including a 15-yard personal foul penalty for a late hit by left tackle Trent Williams that negated a third-down conversion into 49ers territory in the second quarter.
''We have to do something to keep that confidence up,'' Gaffney said. ''And stop playing like we're seeing ghosts out there.''
Notes: The 49ers haven't allowed a 100-yard rusher in 30 consecutive games. ... Gano's 59-yard kick topped Steve Cox's 57-yarder kick in 1986 as the Redskins' longest. ... Redskins injuries: RT Jammal Brown (hip), WR Niles Paul (toe) and DL Kedric Golston (elbow). Harbaugh said there were no significant 49ers injuries.