Cleveland at San Francisco

Gore, Crabtree lead 49ers over slumping Browns

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

SAN FRANCISCO -- Frank Gore received regular calls and encouragement from Roger Craig all offseason as he recovered from a fractured hip. Craig shared training tips, too.

When Gore charged up the middle with his signature burst for a 2-yard gain Sunday, he took another step forward in franchise history by moving past Craig into second place on the 49ers career rushing list.

Gore ran for both 125-plus yards and a touchdown in a fourth straight game, Michael Crabtree made his first TD reception of the season, and San Francisco 49ers beat the Cleveland Browns 20-10 for its fifth straight victory.

"It's a blessing to have my name mentioned next to his," Gore said. "This last year, we got to be close. When I got hurt, he called me every day. He was telling me I was going to be all right, to keep working."

Now, San Francisco's star running back is determined to chase another of Craig's accomplishments: those three Super Bowl rings.

More on Browns-49ers
Postgame reports
NFL coverage on the go

And this is Gore's best chance yet to get there.

He is making his case for a third Pro Bowl while pushing his team toward its first playoff berth in nine years.

"It's fun. We're right here in the middle of it almost at the halfway point," defensive end Justin Smith said. "We've got a decent thing going on. We've got to continue to go. We've got a long grind ahead of us."

Alex Smith completed 15 of 24 passes for 177 yards for the first-place 49ers (6-1), who haven't lost since falling in overtime to the Cowboys on Sept. 18.

"Not perfect, but beautiful," coach Jim Harbaugh said.

No handshake flap this time for Harbaugh, either. And no post-bye letdown for his 49ers -- even if it was far from flashy.

This marked Harbaugh's first game since his seconds-long greeting and firm backslap of Lions coach Jim Schwartz following San Francisco's 25-19 comeback win at Detroit two weeks ago.

Harbaugh says he practiced during the bye week by high-fiving with his toddler daughter, Addison, whom he carried out of the stadium Sunday night. Harbaugh was polite to fellow first-year coach Pat Shurmur when they met at midfield.

"It went well," Harbaugh said.

The 49ers - who were made aware by Harbaugh during the week that teams were 3-9 after their byes coming into Sunday -- are off to their first 6-1 start since 1998 in the days of greats Jerry Rice, Terrell Owens and Steve Young.

For Colt McCoy and the Browns, it's 0-for the Bay Area. They lost two weeks ago in Oakland, then floundered across San Francisco Bay at Candlestick Park.

Cleveland's D'Qwell Jackson committed a costly facemask penalty against Gore that would have stopped San Francisco on third down 2 yards short in the waning minutes. David Akers sealed it with his second field goal of the day, a 26-yarder.

Gore already had 103 yards on 19 carries by halftime, then got the other 7 yards he needed to pass Craig and move up the list with 7,089. Gore wound up with 134 yards on a career-high tying 31 carries, his most rushes since Dec. 31, 2006, against Denver.

San Francisco has a five-game winning streak for the first time since 2001 and wrapped up its first unbeaten October since 1997.

The next big task will be ending an eight-year stretch of frustration in which the team hasn't had a winning season or made the playoffs. The Niners increased their comfortable cushion to four games in the division nicknamed the NFC Worst last year, when Seattle won with a 7-9 record.

CBSSports.com Grades
Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns
C-
The Browns were missing RBs Peyton Hillis and Montario Hardesty and WR Mohamed Massaquoi, but that's no excuse to play as poorly as they did in the first half. The defense righted itself in the second half, but QB Colt McCoy's touchdown pass to WR Josh Cribbs was too little, too late.
San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers
B
The defense sacked Browns QB Colt McCoy four times and forced two turnovers and the offense rode a milestone game by RB Frank Gore, the return of WR Braylon Edwards and some timely trick plays to hold on 20-10 in a game that was closer than it should've been against the undermanned Browns.
By Michael Erler
RapidReports Correspondent

"It was an ugly win, but we ain't putting no points on it. This ain't the BCS with the style points you need to be No. 1," defensive lineman Ricky Jean Francois said.

Harbaugh's big brother, John, helped the sibling cause by rallying to beat Arizona 30-27 earlier Sunday.

The banged-up Browns (3-4) improved on special teams, but went without their top two running backs. Peyton Hillis didn't play for the second straight game because of a hamstring injury and Cleveland then lost Montario Hardesty to a strained right calf in the first half.

McCoy and Co. managed only Phil Dawson's 52-yard field goal on the final play of the first half before Josh Cribbs' 45-yard TD catch with 6:17 to play.

After last week's lackluster 6-3 win over the Seahawks, it didn't get much better for the Browns. They failed to reach the end zone for seven quarters before Cribbs scored.

"Back home, I hope they don't go into a frenzy like the world is going to end," Cribbs said.

McCoy accounted for four of Cleveland's five fumbles, one of which was lost and helped set up Gore's early 4-yard TD run.

McCoy -- sacked four more times after five last week -- lost the ball on the second play from scrimmage after he was stripped by Ahmad Brooks. Isaac Sopoaga recovered at the Cleveland 20.

San Francisco's lopsided first half told the tale far before the clock finally wound down.

First downs: 15-6. Total yards: 253-93. Time of possession: 18:58-11:02. Rushing yards: 145-25.

Crabtree caught a 2-yard pass to put the Niners ahead 17-0 just before halftime. Dashon Goldson made his first interception of 2011 in the end zone in the third quarter.

Left tackle Joe Staley even was in on the action, catching a 17-yard pass from Smith for a first down midway through the first quarter for his first career reception. He jumped up in celebration and signaled the first down by emphatically pointing down field with both hands.

"A little prima donnish for a lineman," Smith quipped.

Notes

  • 49ers WR Braylon Edwards returned against his former club in his first action since right knee surgery after getting hurt vs. the Cowboys. He had four catches.
  • The Browns had won the three previous meetings, including 20-7 in '07.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre

Latest Video

July 26, 2014
Cleveland Browns quarterback situation (3:11)
1 July 23, 2014
Browns quarterback situation
(2:25)
2 July 22, 2014
Browns backing Gordon
(2:07)
3 July 22, 2014
Johnny Manziel leads NFL Jersey sales
(2:38)
Sun. Oct. 30Final
030710
1070320
Browns49ers
Pass: C. McCoy (22-34, 241) A. Smith (15-24, 177)
Rush: C. Ogbonnaya (11-37) F. Gore (31-134)
Rec: B. Watson (3-64) M. Crabtree (5-54)
Scoring Summary
1ST QUARTER
TDFrank Gore, 4 Yd run (David Akers kick is good), 12:44. Drive: 4 plays, 20 yards in 1:35.
FGDavid Akers, 29 Yd, 2:55. Drive: 11 plays, 88 yards in 7:03.
2ND QUARTER
TDMichael Crabtree, 2 Yd pass from Alex Smith (David Akers kick is good), 1:31. Drive: 12 plays, 64 yards in 4:21.
FGPhil Dawson, 52 Yd, 0:00. Drive: 8 plays, 50 yards in 1:31.
3RD QUARTER
None
4TH QUARTER
TDJosh Cribbs, 45 Yd pass from Colt McCoy (Phil Dawson kick is good), 6:17. Drive: 8 plays, 80 yards in 2:24.
FGDavid Akers, 26 Yd, 1:56. Drive: 11 plays, 67 yards in 4:21.
Players of the Game
San Francisco

F. Gore
Rush 31
Yds 134
Avg 4.3
TD 1
Washington

C. McCoy
Att 34
Comp 22
Yds 241
TD 1
 
Cleveland
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
C. McCoy22/3424111
RushingATTYDSTDLG
C. Ogbonnaya113707
C. McCoy83009
M. Hardesty2605
O. Marecic1101
G. Little1-80-8
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
B. Watson364029
J. Cribbs256145
J. Norwood532014
G. Little42809
C. Ogbonnaya52408
A. Smith120020
E. Moore217012
San Francisco
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
A. Smith15/2417710
RushingATTYDSTDLG
F. Gore31134126
K. Hunter326026
A. Smith42209
T. Ginn1-80-8
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
M. Crabtree554141
B. Edwards442013
V. Davis327019
J. Peelle119019
I. Sopoaga118018
J. Staley117017
Complete Player Stats
Other Games
ARI 27 Final
BAL 30
MIN 24 Final
CAR 21
JAC 14 Final
HOU 24
MIA 17 Final
NYG 20
NO 21 Final
STL 31
IND 10 Final
TEN 27
WAS 0 Final
BUF 23
DET 45 Final
DEN 10
NE 17 Final
PIT 25
CIN 34 Final
SEA 12
DAL 7 Final
PHI 34
SD 20 Final
KC 23