49ers avenge 2010 shutout to Bucs in 48-3 rout

By Janie McCauley

Associated Press

Published: Sunday, Oct. 9 2011 5:15 p.m. MDT

San Francisco came out of halftime with an 80-yard, seven-play scoring drive capped by Davis' 23-yard TD grab. Walker caught a 26-yard pass for the 49ers on their opening drive of the game.

The big plays are coming in all phases — from Smith and Co. on offense, from special teams and from the defense.

"That's what we can do every single week," left tackle Joe Staley said.

Even the kickers did their part to secure San Francisco solid field position.

That worked out nicely for Smith, who these days is generating cheers from the Candlestick Park crowd that has let him have it with boos so many times in recent years.

One of his shining moments Sunday came when Smith had nearly gone to the ground under pressure and he released the ball at the last second to find Morgan on the left sideline for a 13-yard gain. Morgan made five catches for 75 yards before the injury.

It's those kind of situations where the old Smith would have been clobbered or sacked for a big loss. His decision-making has been spot on so far. The 49ers have only four turnovers in five games.

By halftime, Smith had hit four different receivers on completions of 12 yards or longer.

Rogers' third interception of the season, on a pass intended for Kellen Winslow early in the second quarter, stopped any momentum Tampa Bay might have gained after Gore fumbled deep in Bucs' territory.

"When you put points on the board on defense like that, it takes a lot out of an offense," Rogers said.

Rookie Chris Culliver thwarted the next Buccaneers' drive with his first career interception.

Dashon Goldson provided a nice block on Freeman as Rogers stepped into the end zone on the right side, then Goldson forced a fumble by Mike Williams late in the third that was recovered Ray McDonald.

These 49ers, alone atop the NFC West, are determined not to waste another strong start the way they did two years ago.

Smith was part of the team that began 3-1 in 2009, but wound up dropping the next four games and five of six on the way to an 8-8 finish.

Freeman went 17 for 33 for 187 yards with two interceptions and two sacks.

"It's surprising. How could it not surprise you?" Bucs center Jeff Faine said.

Notes: Freeman's six INTs this season equal his 2010 total. ... Gore's scoring run gave him 38 rushing TDs for his career, fourth on the franchise list. ... Adam Snyder started at RG for the Niners for the second straight week.

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