49ers turn out Steelers’ lights

49ers turn out Steelers’ lights

Posted: Tuesday, December 20, 2011 7:02 pm

By JANIE McCAULEY
AP Sports Writer
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Ben Roethlisberger threw a few extra passes in near darkness after the lights went out at Candlestick Park.
The additional throws were all for naught. Big Ben never found his groove playing on a bum ankle — and the San Francisco 49ers’ top-ranked defense wasn’t about to let the most unique of home-field advantages get away in a 20-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday night.
“Just wondering how this happens at a professional stadium,” Roethlisberger said of not one but two blackouts.
Monday Night Football nearly became a Monday Night Fiasco.
San Francisco’s lights-out return to prime time helped salvage what could have been an embarrassing evening for everyone involved on the NFL’s biggest stage after a pair of power outages delayed the game for close to 35 minutes in all.
“I just feel like San Francisco took a big step to show the NFL and to show the state of California that they need a new stadium,” Steelers safety Ryan Clark said. “I think it was a very strategic move, and Candlestick may be no more.”
Good thing there’s a state-of-the-art $1 billion stadium in the works.
The 49ers rode stellar run defense once again to keep the ailing Roethlisberger off balance and maintain a hold on the NFC’s No. 2 playoff seed and a first-round bye.
“Electric atmosphere tonight,” tweeted team president Jed York — unclear if his pun was intended.
Vernon Davis caught a 1-yard touchdown pass for the 49ers (11-3) one play after setting himself up with a 21-yard reception from Alex Smith, Frank Gore had a 5-yard scoring run and David Akers kicked field goals of 22 and 38 yards to overtake Hall of Famer Jerry Rice for San Francisco’s single-season scoring record.
“I think we showed the world we can play the game of football on a national stage,” Davis said. “At the end of the day that’s what it’s all about: respect.”
The Steelers (10-4) missed a key chance to take sole possession of first place in the AFC North and hold of the AFC’s top playoff spot.
Roethlisberger, playing on a sprained left ankle that had him in a walking boot during the week, threw two early interceptions and another in the waning minutes.
Even all those Terrible Towel-waving Steelers supporters in the sellout crowd of 69,732 couldn’t will their team when San Francisco had two blackout delays on its side.
Published in The Messenger 12.20.11

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