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Sunday, December 15, 2013
Rapid Reaction: San Francisco 49ers

By Bill Williamson


TAMPA, Fla. -- A few thoughts on the San Francisco 49ers' 33-14 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday:

What it means: This was an impressive victory for San Francisco, its fourth in a row. There was concern of a letdown after the big victory over the Seattle Seahawks combined with the long flight east. It would have been easy for the 49ers to come in flat. But this is a Jim Harbaugh team; that type of thing doesn’t happen. The 49ers stay the course. They are now 7-0 against teams with losing records. Most importantly, San Francisco (on the strength of five- and four-game win streaks) is 10-4. Because Minnesota beat Philadelphia, the 49ers can clinch a playoff berth if Tennessee beats visiting Arizona on Sunday afternoon.

Stock Watch: Frank Gore surpassed the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the seventh time in his career. He was instrumental in a long fourth-quarter drive in which the 49ers took several minutes off the clock and sealed the win. Gore’s backup, Kendall Hunter, also had a good day on the ground and scored a touchdown on a fumbled kickoff with four minutes to go to make it 30-14. The 49ers finished with 187 rushing yards on 40 carries.

Dawson stays hot: 49ers kicker Phil Dawson had four field goals for the second straight game. He has made 24 straight attempts. The 49ers need to find a way to get in the end zone more, but Dawson has been terrific.

Crabtree makes up for mental lapse: On the key drive in the fourth quarter, Michael Crabtree hurt the 49ers by throwing a pass he didn’t catch into the stands. He was penalized 15 yards. But he saved the drive with a big catch on third-and-12.

What’s next: It’s going to be a special week. The 49ers will play their final game at Candlestick Park on Monday night against the Atlanta Falcons. They will move to Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara next season. Many tributes are planned.