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    49ers 23, Rams 13

    Michael Crabtree returns, gives 49ers boost

    49ers tight end Vernon Davis, who had 82 yards receiving and a TD, goes high to evade Rams safety Rodney McLeod.
    Thearon w. henderson/getty imageS
    49ers tight end Vernon Davis, who had 82 yards receiving and a TD, goes high to evade Rams safety Rodney McLeod.

    SAN FRANCISCO — Colin Kaepernick let his guard down just enough to razz Michael Crabtree about not scoring on a flashy 60-yard catch-and-run in his season debut.

    At last, Kaepernick has his receiving corps intact, just in time for the stretch run.

    Crabtree’s return opened up the field all the more for Anquan Boldin — not to mention Vernon Davis and his high-hurdle show — in the San Francisco 49ers’ 23-13 victory against St. Louis on Sunday.


    Boldin caught nine passes for 98 yards from Kaepernick, Crabtree made his long-awaited debut six months after Achilles’ tendon surgery, and the 49ers pressured the Rams defense from every angle.

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    Next up: NFC West nemesis Seattle in a week at Candlestick Park.

    ‘‘We’re very eager,’’ safety Donte Whitner said. ‘‘They embarrassed us last time.’’

    Kaepernick went 19 of 28 for 275 yards and Frank Gore ran for a 3-yard touchdown as the reigning NFC champion Niners (8-4) boosted their position in the playoff picture. Crabtree had that 60-yard catch, while Davis hurdled into the end zone on a 17-yard touchdown reception.

    ‘‘I wish I would have scored,’’ Crabtree said. ‘‘I was supposed to take that to the house.’’


    Boldin had six receptions in the first half on the way to his second-most productive game of the year behind his 13-catch performance in the opener against Green Bay. He, too, teased Crabtree about not getting into the end zone.

    ‘‘We give him a pass on that one; Thanksgiving was this week,’’ Boldin quipped.

    Crabtree, San Francisco’s leading wide receiver during last season’s Super Bowl run, had two catches. Just having him on the field kept the Rams defense from focusing all its attention on Boldin and Davis.

    Davis displayed his athleticism with a new signature move, and did so not once but twice: a high hurdle over defenders. He led with his right foot while leaping over safety Rodney McLeod in the first half, then again to reach the end zone on his team-leading 10th touchdown catch.

    Phil Dawson kicked three field goals, and San Francisco’s swarming defense made things tough on Kellen Clemens all day. The Rams managed only 73 total yards in the first half.


    Clemens went 19 of 37 for 218 yards with a late TD pass in a dismal afternoon for the Rams (5-7), who were trying for their first three-game winning streak of the season.

    ‘‘There were some plays out there that we had opportunities to make which would have gotten us into a little bit of a better rhythm offensively,’’ Clemens said. ‘‘We didn’t make them.’’

    A year after the teams left Candlestick with a 24-24 tie, the 49ers methodically took care that it didn’t happen again. They made it consecutive commanding victories in a short week following a 27-6 win at Washington on Monday night that snapped a two-game skid.

    ‘‘All the pressure, all the high stakes this time of the year, I thought our guys answered the bell on that,’’ coach Jim Harbaugh said.