SAN FRANCISCO – Frank Gore, Colin Kaepernick and Michael Crabtree pulled off the kind of grind-it-out win Jim Harbaugh wants to see during the December stretch run.
Gore ran for a 1-yard touchdown and reached 1,000 yards rushing for the sixth time in his career, and the San Francisco 49ers beat the Miami Dolphins 27-13 on Sunday.
Gore finished with 63 yards, Anthony Dixon also had a 1-yard scoring run and Colin Kaepernick ran for a late 50-yard touchdown and threw for 185 yards in his fourth straight start since being promoted over Alex Smith.
NFL sacks leader Aldon Smith added two more to his total for 19 1/2 , passing Fred Dean’s franchise-best single-season mark of 17 1/2 set in 1983. Smith also moved within three sacks of Michael Strahan’s seasonal NFL record set in 2001 with the New York Giants.
Michael Crabtree had nine catches for 93 yards and rookie LaMichael James ran for 30 yards in a solid NFL debut for the 49ers (9-3-1), who kept hold on the No. 2 seed in the NFC behind Atlanta.
Anthony Fasano made a diving 3-yard touchdown catch for Miami (5-8) midway through the fourth quarter on a perfect pass from Ryan Tannehill. Fasano’s right knee landed in the end zone as he fell out of bounds under pressure from safety Donte Whitner.
Miami went for it on fourth-and-10 from the 35 with 4:16 remaining and Tannehill overthrew Marlon Moore on the left sideline.
The sold-out crowd at Candlestick Park was treated to a spectacular, clear Bay Area day. The football didn’t quite live up to it until the Dolphins made things interesting late.
Harbaugh’s NFC West-leading Niners hardly looked like a power for most of the afternoon against overmatched Miami – who Harbaugh considered coaching before accepting a $25 million, five-year contract with San Francisco in January 2011.
The 49ers took advantage of a special teams blunder to end a five-quarter stretch without a touchdown. Marcus Thigpen fumbled trying to catch Andy Lee’s punt early in the third quarter, and C.J. Spillman recovered on the Dolphins 9 to set up Gore’s short TD burst.
Cameron Wake had three first-half sacks to highlight a lackluster day by the Dolphins. On offense, rookie quarterback Tannehill faced constant pressure.
Harbaugh stuck with Kaepernick a week after a 16-13 overtime loss at St. Louis, and the second-year pro delivered with an 18-for-23 day and 100.2 passer rating.