49ers seal NFC West title

Patrick Willis injury is only downer for 49ers

Alex Smirh

San Francisco clinched the NFC West title in fine style with a 26-0 lockout victory over St Louis Rams.

Alex Smith threw second-half touchdowns of 52 and 56 yards to Michael Crabtree and Kyle Williams and the only downer came when star linebacker Patrick Willis left the game in the first half with a right hamstring injury.

San Francisco became the NFL’s second team to secure a play-off berth behind defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay.

Despite further problems converting in the red zone early, they shut out an opponent for the first time since a 35-0 home win at Candlestick Park on October 4, 2009. That was also the Rams’ last shutout.


Smith, who didn’t start that last game against the Rams, completed 17 of 23 passes for 274 yards with four sacks and no interceptions to finish with a career-high 142.3 quarterback rating.

Frank Gore ran for 2 yards early in the second quarter to give him 7,345 career yards rushing, moving him past Perry (7,344) for most in franchise history.

The 28-year-old Gore, a two-time Pro Bowl selection in his seventh NFL season, has said it was a goal for this season to become the career rushing leader – though getting to the play-offs for the first time has always been the top priority.