49ers extend winning streak to four
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP)
The San Francisco 49ers know how to start a very long road trip in winning style.
The 49ers (5-2) won their fourth straight before heading to London for a game with winless Jacksonville by jumping out to a 17-0 halftime lead. Frank Gore also ran for a pair of 1-yard TDs as San Francisco cruised.
The Titans (3-4) lost their third straight even with Jake Locker starting after missing two games with a sprained right hip and knee. Locker threw for 326 yards with two TD passes in a fourth-quarter spurt that came up short.
The Titans outgained the 49ers 368-349 in total offense only because of a frantic fourth quarter as they tried to rally. San Francisco still had a big edge in time of possession, holding the ball for more than 35 minutes, including the third quarter when the 49ers played keepaway for more than 11 minutes. Gore capped the opening drive of the third with his second TD for a 24-0 lead.
Tennessee tried to make it interesting late in a finish that featured plenty of pushing and shoving. Even 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh got an arm caught up in a scrum on the San Francisco sideline.
Locker tossed a short pass to Chris Johnson for a 66-yard TD, pulling Tennessee within 24-10 with 7:07 left, and the Titans forced the 49ers to punt.
Locker found former 49ers tight end Delanie Walker on a 26-yard TD with 3:17 left.
The Titans were offside on the ensuing onside kick, and the 49ers recovered to rung out the clock.
The 49ers were in control from the start with plenty of fans on hand, and they took advantage of Tennessee's penalties. The most costly came when linebacker Akeem Ayers hit Kaepernick at the knees for an unnecessary roughness flag that wiped out an interception by safety Bernard Pollard. Three plays later, Kaepernick ran 20 yards for a TD and a 10-0 lead.
The Titans held Gore to 70 yards rushing on 24 carries, but he got into the end zone twice. They could not stop Kaepernick, who repeatedly kept drives alive in improving to 12-5 as a starter.
Locker hadn't been expected back before Nov. 3, when the Titans visit St. Louis after their bye. Playing with a knee brace, he hit seven of his first 10 passes for 80 yards. He even scrambled a few times, including a 16-yard run to give the Titans first-and-goal early in the fourth quarter when Locker put his head down diving forward.
But Brock picked off an underthrown ball for the quarterback's first interception this season. The 49ers quickly converted that into a 1-yard TD run by Gore for a 17-0 lead just before halftime.