Kaepernick, 49ers' defense strong in 34-14 win

Published on NewsOK Modified: August 25, 2013 at 11:25 pm •  Published: August 25, 2013
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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Aside from a handful of boneheaded penalties Jim Harbaugh will most certainly address this week, the San Francisco 49ers looked rather familiar in Week 3 of the preseason.

That winning formula that carried San Francisco back to the Super Bowl last season for the first time in 18 years is on display again with the season opener two weeks away.

Colin Kaepernick marched the offense with six straight completions during a series that ended with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Quinton Patton, and Aldon Smith and Justin Smith plowed through Minnesota's offensive line to make plays and hard-hitting tackles in the 49ers' 34-14 exhibition victory over the Vikings on Sunday night.

"Justin Smith had a burr in his saddle or something tonight," Harbaugh said. "He was Justin Smith."

Sure, it's only the preseason. And there were a lot of foolish penalties.

Yet Kaepernick looks sharp, and the defense looks its usual stingy.

Justin Smith ran over two would-be blockers to pound Toby Gerhart for a 4-yard loss midway through the first quarter, and sack man Aldon Smith recovered a fumble and put pressure on Christian Ponder.

The new look in this one: flashy Lavelle Hawkins.

Hawkins returned a kickoff 105 yards for a touchdown late in the second quarter, but he received two unsportsmanlike penalties in the process — one for pointing the ball at a Vikings player before reaching the end zone and another for removing his helmet in celebration. Harbaugh chewed him out on the sideline, and Hawkins could be seen saying, "My fault."

Yet Hawkins received another unsportsmanlike flag for head-butting linebacker Desmond Bishop after flipping the ball toward safety Mistral Raymond following a 22-yard catch in the fourth quarter.

"Those things are not OK to have, especially for the team, I don't care if it's the preseason. I apologized to the team and I apologized to Coach Harbaugh," Hawkins said. "I kind of let my emotions get ahold of me. I didn't think, to be honest, I'd be flagged on those. I learned from it."

There were a couple of other things Harbaugh didn't like — Nick Moody's helmet-to-helmet hit on wideout Stephen Burton that resulted in an unnecessary roughness penalty in the third quarter, and a face mask by cornerback Perrish Cox on the same Minnesota scoring drive.

After a week of long practices as the Vikings tried to get their stagnant offense on a roll, there were considerable strides.

Ponder threw a pair of touchdown passes while playing three quarters.

He connected on a 1-yard touchdown pass to Zach Line late in the first half for the quarterback's first TD completion of the preseason, then threw an interception in Minnesota's final series before halftime. In the Vikings' opening drive of the second half, Ponder hit Joe Webb with a 3-yard scoring pass.



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