ST. LOUIS -- The 49ers abandoned flashy calls and fancy plays and started handing the ball to Frank Gore.
The team's 30-year-old tailback, who had been held under 100 yards rushing in each of the first three games, has run with the pop and energy of a much younger man, and he already has 107 yards, including a 34-yard touchdown run on fourth and 1. The 49ers lead 14-3.
Gore and receiver Anquan Boldin have been Colin Kaepernick's main - only? - weapons in the first half, and they appear to have knocked the 49ers out of their two-week-long offensive funk.
The Kaepernick-to-Boldin connection proved fruitful in the 49ers' Week 1 victory and has resumed in the second quarter.
San Francisco been shut down on third downs in the first half until, facing third and 10 in the second quarter, Kaepernick hit Boldin for 42 yards down the left sideline. Three plays later, this time facing third and 19, Kaepernick again looked to Boldin, who shook free of the cornerback, cut down the sideline and leaped into the end zone for the 49ers' first score since the opening quarter against the Colts. Boldin has three catches for 69 yards.
With that series, the 49ers seemed to emerge from the ugly, offensive cloud that has been hovering over them since a blwout loss in Week 2 against Seattle.
Most of the first half was not pretty. The 49ers began with two big plays - a first-down toss to Bruce Miller and an 18-yard run by Gore. But it bogged down near mid-field, and the 49ers had to punt. The same issues that plagued the 49ers in their last two games - penalties, curious play calls, flat-out mistakes - arose again in the first half. The 49ers entered the game as the league's second most-penalized team and have seven penalties already.
The 49ers tried to shake up their offense by giving rookie Quinton Patton, not Kyle Williams, the nod as the No. 2 wide receiver. Patton, however, suffered a foot injury after just one catch for zero yards and has not returned to the game. Williams has filled in since.
Receiver Jon Baldwin and LaMichael James are in uniform and have played a number of snaps. Baldwin has yet to be targeted while James has two carries for no yards. Vernon Davis, who missed Sunday's game with a hamstring injury, has one catch for six yards.
-- Matt Barrows