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

Hugo Olguin@@RealHugoOlguinContributor IIIDecember 20, 2011

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.  

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.

Related

    Fear Is Behind NFL's Epic Anthem Mistake

    NFL logo
    NFL

    Fear Is Behind NFL's Epic Anthem Mistake

    Mike Freeman
    via Bleacher Report

    The Next Jared Goff? Projecting NFL's Biggest 2nd-Year Breakouts

    San Francisco 49ers logo
    San Francisco 49ers

    The Next Jared Goff? Projecting NFL's Biggest 2nd-Year Breakouts

    Gary Davenport
    via Bleacher Report

    Niners Opted Out of Anthem Vote

    San Francisco 49ers logo
    San Francisco 49ers

    Niners Opted Out of Anthem Vote

    Tim Daniels
    via Bleacher Report

    Report: Cops Called on Incognito After Gym Altercation

    NFL logo
    NFL

    Report: Cops Called on Incognito After Gym Altercation

    Adam Wells
    via Bleacher Report