San Francisco 49ers Stun Pittsburgh Steelers and Show They Can Beat a Top Team

Hugo Olguin@@RealHugoOlguinContributor IIIDecember 20, 2011

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - DECEMBER 19:  Running back Rashard Mendenhall #34 of the Pittsburgh Steelers looses his helmet as he is tackled by  Ahmad Brooks #55 and other 49ers defensive players in the first half at Candlestick Park on December 19, 2011 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

People know about the Steelers tough defense, but they need to get to know the 49ers tougher defense.

The San Francisco 49ers stepped up in a big way, defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers 20-3.

The teams had to deal with two power outage delays before the game and another one in the first half.

The hype around this game was about if the Steelers win, they can take control of the AFC North and the top seed in the AFC.  Not many people gave the 49ers a shot.

I believed in the 49ers defense, even without Patrick Willis playing.  I never expected that group to dominate the Steelers offense like they did.  

Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger did not play like himself, throwing three interceptions and losing a fumble. Roethlisberger was fighting a Grade 1 high ankle sprain.  

San Francisco DE Aldon Smith kept putting so much pressure on Roethlisberger, sacking him three times while Jason Smith caused the forced fumble.  Aldon Smith now has 13 sacks as a rookie, which is astounding.

The 49ers defense now has a plus-25 turnover differential, which is the best in the NFL.

Forty-niners' punter Andy Lee did everything he could to make Steelers' drives tough by consistently punting the ball to inside the Steelers 10-yard line.

Alex Smith did his job leading the 49ers offense.  He threw for 187 yards and one touchdown.  The key was not making any costly mistakes against the tough Pittsburgh defense.  

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - DECEMBER 19:  Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks down afer throwing his second interception in the first half against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park on December 19, 2011 in San Francisco, Ca
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Frank Gore didn't have a stellar game rushing but did score an important touchdown late in the game for the 49ers.  


The Steelers defense started off the game decent by holding off the San Francisco offense in the red zone early in the game but gave up tough touchdowns in the second half.  They missed LB James Harrison, who served a one-game suspension.

With this win, the 49ers stay in the battle for the No. 2 seed in the NFC.  They proved that they can beat a tough team.  

The 49ers are a force to be reckoned with in the NFC playoffs if they keep this pace going.

The Steelers blew their biggest opportunity of the season by losing this game.  If Pittsburgh had won this game, they would have taken the AFC North lead and moved to the No. 1 seed in the AFC with the chance to have a bye week and home-field advantage.

And they blew it.

Between Roethlisberger making too many mistakes to the defense not fending off the 49ers offense, they showed that they are not as strong of a team as many people would think.

Injuries are hurting the Steelers; they need to get healthy fast, or it could be a quick playoff run this year.

This was a great win for San Francisco.  The Packers and Saints need to keep an eye on this team.  

Don't be surprised if the 49ers make a serious run in the playoffs.