SANTA CLARA, Calif. -The Ravens had a chance to replicate Eli Manning's last-minute comeback drive last week. But the 49ers' defense held up.
The Ravens had a chance at the end zone, down five and on San Francisco's 35, but Joe Flacco's last-second heave hit the ground. The 49ers escaped with their second win of the season, 25-20.
Baltimore made it 25-20 with 5:14 remaining, when Flacco on fourth-and-goal from the 2 found receiver Kamar Aiken on a roll out to the right, culminating a 14-play drive.
The ball appeared past Aiken's head as he reached back to catch it with Jimmie Ward in coverage.
The 49ers caught a break on their next drive, after Colin Kaepernick scrambled out of bounds to stop the clock, when the Ravens were called for defensive holding, giving away an automatic first down at San Francisco's 45. But they wound up punting the ball back to the Ravens, who went seven plays and 45 yards, but needed 35 more to take the lead before time ran out.
Kaepernick finished with a season-high 340 yards on 16 of 27 completions. Carlos Hyde, on an injured foot, managed 55 yards on 21 carries.
Steve Smith made up for two first-half dropped pass in the end zone, by catching a 34-yard touchdown, getting away with a slight shove of cornerback Kenneth Acker, making it a 19-13 game, giving the Ravens life after struggling in the first half. Smith finished with seven catches for 137 yards coming into Sunday questionable to play with a back injury.
The 49ers wanted to get their passing game going, regularly using play action to help Kaepernick find his receivers. It worked early, with Kaepernick completing 12 of 19 for 225 yards in the first half, signalling a second straight promising outing after last week's loss to the Giants.
Wright, of course, was released by the 49ers prior to last week’s game against the Giants after being inactive in all four games since signing as a free agent in the offseason. Additionally, Wright allowed Patton's touchdown.
Kaepernick’s favorite target early was his fullback Bruce Miller, who set a career high in the first quarter with three catches for 89 yards, helping San Francisco score on two field goals from Phil Dawson. Miller's previous best in receiving yards was 56, which he reached twice in 2013 and 2014.
The Ravens countered with a 22-yard field goal of their own after Steve Smith couldn’t come up with a touchdown catch on third down in the back of the end zone when the ball was wrestled away by cornerback Tramaine Brock.
The Ravens drove into San Francisco's territory again, but kicker Justin Tucker slipped on a 45-yard attempt, with his kick hitting off the right upright, keeping it a six-point game.
After San Francisco’s touchdown to Smith in the first half, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco threw an interception to linebacker Michael Wilhoite that set the 49ers’ up on the Ravens’ 26-yard line. San Francisco settled for another field goal from Dawson, this from 26 yards, to make it 16-3 midway through the second quarter.
For the second time, Smith couldn't come up with a third-down catch in the end zone, when he appeared to have Brock beat in coverage on a deep post route. Baltimore had to settle for another field goal to make 16-6 with 4:14 left in the second quarter.
The 49ers out gained the Ravens 279-147, leading to a 16-6 advantage in the first half.
San Francisco made it 19-6 on a Dawson 42-yard field goal in the third quarter, his third of the day, after Acker intercepted Flacco's throw that headed toward an area of the field where no Ravens were around. It was Acker's second interception of the season, and he returned it 45 yards to Baltimore's 38.The 49ers play the Seahawks on Thursday night at Levi's Stadium.
Chris Biderman is the Editor-in-Chief of Niners Digest and covers the 49ers from their headquarters in Santa Clara. Chris has been writing about the team since the spring of 2013. The Ohio State alum received his Journalism degree in 2011 and has been working in sports media since 2008. Chris, a Santa Rosa, Calif. native, is also a contributor to the Associated Press covering sports throughout the Bay Area. You can follow Chris on Twitter here.
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