San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick threw two touchdown passes and the 49ers defense stepped up in the absence of some of their stars to produce a 35-11 win over the St Louis Rams on Thursday.
Anquan Boldin had five catches for 90 yards and a touchdown, while tailback Frank Gore had 153 yards on 20 carries and a 34-yard score for San Francisco, who squared their record at 2-2.
Navarro Bowman had two of the 49ers’ five sacks, with a strip leading to a fourth-quarter scoring run by Anthony Dixon.
The Rams (1-3) had an overtime win and tie against San Francisco last year, and took the early lead on Thursday before falling flat. Greg Zuerlein banged in a 40-yard field goal off the right upright to end a nine-game scoring drought in the first quarter, but the 49ers responded with 28 straight points.
The 49ers came close to a Super Bowl title in February and regained their footing against the team that gave them the most trouble last season. Minus cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, and linebackers Patrick Willis and Aldon Smith, they quietened a raucous, hopeful crowd.
Kaepernick, who had no touchdown passes, four interceptions and completed less than half of his passes the previous two weeks, was much improved, going 15 for 23 for 167 yards.
Boldin, too, picked up his output after a quiet two weeks. He had two highlight catches in the second quarter, a 42-yarder despite being held and a 20-yard score after barely avoiding the sideline.
Gore more than doubled his output from the first three weeks and got a lot more work, too, after totaling just 11 carries the previous game.
The Rams have trailed by double digits in every game, making up an 11-point deficit against Arizona in the opener, but not gaps of 21 and 24 points against Atlanta and Dallas, and they were down by 25 in the fourth quarter against San Francisco.
They got hit by injuries, too, the worst of them when rookie safety T.J. McDonald was carted off with a leg injury in the second half.
After mustering just 25 yards in the first quarter, the 49ers took a noisy crowd out of it in the second, averaging more than 11 yards per snap, while piling up 176 yards and two touchdowns.
In the closing stages of the half, the Rams went for it on third-and-one from the 49ers 34-yard line, but Donte Whitner made a diving interception in the end zone which set up an eight-play, 80-yard drive, capped by Gore’s 34-yard run on third-and-one in the final minute, which made it 14-3.
In the third quarter, Davis broke open for an easy catch on the left side of the end zone to push the lead to 21-3.