Final

Browns 10

(3-4, 1-2 away)

49ers 20

(6-1, 3-1 home)

Coverage: CBS

4:15 PM ET, October 30, 2011

Candlestick Park, San Francisco, CA 

1 2 3 4 T
CLE 0 3 0 710
SF 10 7 0 320

Top Performers

Passing: C. McCoy (CLE) - 241 YDS, 1 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: F. Gore (SF) - 31 CAR, 134 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: B. Watson (CLE) - 3 REC, 64 YDS

Another big day for Frank Gore fuels 49ers victory

Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO -- Frank Gore received regular calls and encouragement from Roger Craig all offseason as he recovered from a fractured hip. Craig shared training tips, too.

When Gore charged up the middle with his signature burst for a 2-yard gain Sunday, he took another step forward in franchise history by moving past Craig into second place on the 49ers career rushing list.

Gore ran for both 125-plus yards and a touchdown in a fourth straight game, Michael Crabtree made his first TD reception of the season, and San Francisco beat the Cleveland Browns 20-10 for its fifth straight victory.

"It's a blessing to have my name mentioned next to his," Gore said. "This last year, we got to be close. When I got hurt, he called me every day. He was telling me I was going to be all right, to keep working."

Now, San Francisco's star running back is determined to chase another of Craig's accomplishments: those three Super Bowl rings.

And this is Gore's best chance yet to get there.

He is making his case for a third Pro Bowl while pushing his team toward its first playoff berth in nine years.

"It's fun. We're right here in the middle of it almost at the halfway point," defensive end Justin Smith said. "We've got a decent thing going on. We've got to continue to go. We've got a long grind ahead of us."

Alex Smith completed 15 of 24 passes for 177 yards for the first-place 49ers (6-1), who haven't lost since falling in overtime to the Cowboys on Sept. 18.

"Not perfect, but beautiful," coach Jim Harbaugh said.

No handshake flap this time for Harbaugh, either. And no post-bye letdown for his 49ers -- even if it was far from flashy.

This marked Harbaugh's first game since his seconds-long greeting and firm backslap of Lions coach Jim Schwartz following San Francisco's 25-19 comeback win at Detroit two weeks ago.

Harbaugh says he practiced during the bye week by high-fiving with his toddler daughter, Addison, whom he carried out of the stadium Sunday night. Harbaugh was polite to fellow first-year coach Pat Shurmur when they met at midfield.

"It went well," Harbaugh said.

The 49ers -- who were made aware by Harbaugh during the week that teams were 3-9 after their byes coming into Sunday -- are off to their first 6-1 start since 1998 in the days of greats Jerry Rice, Terrell Owens and Steve Young.

For Colt McCoy and the Browns, it's 0-for the Bay Area. They lost two weeks ago in Oakland, then floundered across San Francisco Bay at Candlestick Park.

Cleveland's D'Qwell Jackson committed a costly facemask penalty against Gore that would have stopped San Francisco on third down 2 yards short in the waning minutes. David Akers sealed it with his second field goal of the day, a 26-yarder.

Gore already had 103 yards on 19 carries by halftime, then got the other 7 yards he needed to pass Craig and move up the list with 7,089. Gore wound up with 134 yards on a career-high tying 31 carries, his most rushes since Dec. 31, 2006, against Denver.

San Francisco has a five-game winning streak for the first time since 2001 and wrapped up its first unbeaten October since 1997.

The next big task will be ending an eight-year stretch of frustration in which the team hasn't had a winning season or made the playoffs. The Niners increased their comfortable cushion to four games in the division nicknamed the NFC Worst last year, when Seattle won with a 7-9 record.

"It was an ugly win, but we ain't putting no points on it. This ain't the BCS with the style points you need to be No. 1," defensive lineman Ricky Jean Francois said.

Harbaugh's big brother, John, helped the sibling cause by rallying to beat Arizona 30-27 earlier Sunday.

The banged-up Browns (3-4) improved on special teams, but went without their top two running backs. Peyton Hillis didn't play for the second straight game because of a hamstring injury and Cleveland then lost Montario Hardesty to a strained right calf in the first half.

McCoy and Co. managed only Phil Dawson's 52-yard field goal on the final play of the first half before Josh Cribbs' 45-yard TD catch with 6:17 to play.

After last week's lackluster 6-3 win over the Seahawks, it didn't get much better for the Browns. They failed to reach the end zone for seven quarters before Cribbs scored.

"Back home, I hope they don't go into a frenzy like the world is going to end," Cribbs said.

McCoy accounted for four of Cleveland's five fumbles, one of which was lost and helped set up Gore's early 4-yard TD run.

McCoy -- sacked four more times after five last week -- lost the ball on the second play from scrimmage after he was stripped by Ahmad Brooks. Isaac Sopoaga recovered at the Cleveland 20.

San Francisco's lopsided first half told the tale far before the clock finally wound down.

First downs: 15-6. Total yards: 253-93. Time of possession: 18:58-11:02. Rushing yards: 145-25.

Crabtree caught a 2-yard pass to put the Niners ahead 17-0 just before halftime. Dashon Goldson made his first interception of 2011 in the end zone in the third quarter.

Left tackle Joe Staley even was in on the action, catching a 17-yard pass from Smith for a first down midway through the first quarter for his first career reception. He jumped up in celebration and signaled the first down by emphatically pointing down field with both hands.

"A little prima donnish for a lineman," Smith quipped.

Game notes


49ers WR Braylon Edwards returned against his former club in his first action since right knee surgery after getting hurt vs. the Cowboys. He had four catches. ... The Browns had won the three previous meetings, including 20-7 in '07.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
CLE
SF
1st Downs1819
Passing 1st downs
1110
Rushing 1st downs
57
1st downs from penalties
22
3rd down efficiency
6-146-15
4th down efficiency
2-20-1
Total Plays6164
Total Yards290348
Yards per play4.85.4
Total Drives1210
Passing224174
Comp-Att
22-3415-24
Yards per pass
5.97.0
Interceptions thrown
10
Sacks-Yards Lost
4-171-3
Rushing66174
Rushing Attempts
2339
Yards per rush
2.94.5
Red Zone (Made-Att)0-02-5
Penalties5-395-40
Turnovers20
Fumbles lost
10
Interceptions thrown
10
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00
Possession27:0832:52

Passing Leaders

CLEC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
McCoy22/342417.1114-17
SFC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Smith15/241777.4101-3

Rushing Leaders

CLECARYDSAVGTDLG
Ogbonnaya11373.407
McCoy8303.809
SFCARYDSAVGTDLG
Gore311344.3126
Hunter3268.7026

Receiving Leaders

CLERECYDSAVGTDLG
Watson36421.3029
Cribbs25628.0145
SFRECYDSAVGTDLG
Crabtree55410.8141
Edwards44210.5013

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERCLESF
sfTD12:49Frank Gore 4 Yard Run (David Akers Kick is Good)
Drive info: 4 plays, 20 yds, 1:35
07
sfFG2:59David Akers 29 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 11 plays, 88 yds, 7:03
010
SECOND QUARTERCLESF
sfTD1:34Michael Crabtree 2 Yard Pass From Alex Smith (David Akers Kick is Good)
Drive info: 12 plays, 64 yds, 4:21
017
cleFG0:02Phil Dawson 52 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 8 plays, 50 yds, 1:31
317
FOURTH QUARTERCLESF
cleTD6:23Joshua Cribbs 45 Yard Pass From Colt Mccoy (Phil Dawson Kick is Good)
Drive info: 8 plays, 80 yds, 2:24
1017
sfFG2:00David Akers 26 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 11 plays, 67 yds, 4:21
1020