49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

January 1, 2012
Halftime: 49ers 30 minutes from No. 2 seed

The 49ers overcame an early rushing touchdown by the Rams to take a 20-7 lead into halftime. On his first drive of the game, quarterback Kellen Clemens, substituting for Sam Bradford, strung together a six-play drive. Then he did what esteemed running backs LeSean McCoy, Ray Rice and LeGarrette Blount could not this year - score a rushing touchdown and make the 49ers look bad in doing it. Clemens' 18-yard run in the first quarter was only the second rushing touchdown the 49ers have allowed this season. The other - by Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch - occurred last week.

Alex Smith and the 49ers, however, answered at the end of the quarter. Facing third and goal from the St. Louis 8-yard line, Smith found no receivers open, rolled to his right and eventually took off toward the end zone. Smith picked up key blocks from Frank Gore and Justin Peele and dove inside the pylon for his second rushing touchdown of the year.

Smith is dealing with almost an entirely new receiving corps today. Delanie Walker, Ted Ginn and Kyle Williams all are out, and Justin Peelle, Brett Swain and Joe Hastings are filling in. Smith mostly has targeted Vernon Davis (six catches, 80 yards) and Michael Crabtree (5-61). Smith and Crabtree hooked up on a 28-yard touchdown early in the second quarter, Crabtree's third touchdown of the season. The touchdown was set up by an interception by cornerback Tarell Brown, who snuffed out an ill-conceived half-back option pass by the Rams.

Later in the quarter, a 44-yard pass from Smith to Davis - Davis' longest of the season - set up a 37-yard field goal. Akers connected again from 42 yards.

-- Matt Barrows



MATTHEW BARROWS

Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.

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