Kaepernick, 49ers rip Bucs 33-14, win 4th in a row

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 15, 2013 at 5:25 pm •  Published: December 15, 2013
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TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Colin Kaepernick wasn't interested in rating his performance.

The surging San Francisco 49ers are hitting their stride at the right time, and that's what really matters to the young quarterback.

Kaepernick threw touchdown passes to Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree, then led a long, clock-exhausting, fourth-quarter drive that produced a field goal to help the defending NFC champions pull away from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 33-14 on Sunday.

The third-year pro's inconsistency has been an issue this season, however he protected the football and hurt the Bucs (4-10) with his feet as well as his arm in helping the 49ers extend their winning streak to four games.

But was it his best performance?

"I don't know," Kaepernick said. "It's another win for us though."

Davis caught a TD pass for the fifth straight game and Michael Crabtree scored his first TD since returning from injury for San Francisco (10-4). Frank Gore rushed for 86 yards to go over 1,000 in a season for the seventh time.

"Frank's an amazing running back. I feel like he's the most underrated running back in the NFL. He does everything for our offense," Kaepernick said. "He runs the ball. If we ask him to block, he does it. If we ask him to catch a pass, he does it. What he means to this team and what he contributes really can't be quantified."

Gore carried 22 times, hiking his season rushing total to 1,017 yards.

"It's a blessing. Ninth year in the league. Every year I hear the doubters, you know, 'Can you still do it?'" Gore said. "I take it one year at a time. My coaches still believe in me. This organization still believes in me."

The 10-minute drive Kaepernick led to one of Phil Dawson's four field goals and steadied the 49ers after Tampa Bay pulled within 20-14. Kendall Hunter put it well out of reach, scooping up a fumble on the ensuing kickoff and diving 2 yards into the end zone for a touchdown.

Meanwhile, the 49ers moved closer to a playoff berth. They began the day needing a win, plus an Arizona loss combined with a loss or tie by Dallas or Philadelphia to clinch a spot with two weeks left in the regular season.

"This is when, as a team, you want to get good, this time of year. We're showing people that we're taking steps," Gore said. "We still haven't played our best game yet, and that's the scary part."

Tampa Bay closed within six points on Mike Glennon's TD pass to Tim Wright on the first play of the fourth quarter. The Bucs (4-10) didn't get the ball back until Kaepernick used 17 plays to move the 49ers 77 yards into position for Dawson to kick a 21-yard field goal that made it 23-14.

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