Dec 20, 2014 10:05 PM
Bruce Ellington scores pair of second-quarter TDs
The Associated Press
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) Antoine Bethea had a 49-yard interception return for his first career touchdown on Philip Rivers' second pick of the game, and the San Francisco 49ers led the San Diego Chargers 28-7 at halftime Saturday night.
Frank Gore broke four tackles on a 52-yard touchdown run in the first quarter six days after a concussion and reached 129 yards by halftime, with New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez in attendance wearing a red No. 21 Gore jersey.
Rookie Bruce Ellington caught an 8-yard touchdown pass from Colin Kaepernick early in the second quarter that put the Niners up 21-0, then ran for a 1-yard score in the waning moments.
In one half, San Francisco topped its combined scoring total from the previous three games of 23 points. The Niners had their biggest lead since going ahead 28-3 in the third quarter of the season opener at Dallas and their first lead by 21 points at home since a 34-3 victory against Houston on Oct. 6, 2013.
Rivers threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Eddie Royal to get San Diego on the board.
Rivers had his team driving late in the quarter before throwing an interception picked off by Perrish Cox. Unclear whether ailing, Rivers didn't look comfortable. He sat out Wednesday's practice with neck and back injuries, and he was without running back Ryan Mathews and wide receiver Keenan Allen.
49ers fullback Bruce Miller fumbled the ball near the goal line on the Niners' second possession for the first lost fumble of his career.
In closing seconds of the initial quarter, a 21-yard TD pass from Kaepernick to Anquan Boldin was negated on left tackle Joe Staley's holding penalty. After the catch, Boldin immediately swung a left arm around cornerback Shareece Wright's neck before pushing the defender in the face with his right hand and butting helmets. Boldin's unsportsmanlike penalty was nullified on the holding flag.
The Chargers (8-6), who have won the last three against the 49ers, need to win out and get some help. They began the week tied with Kansas City and Buffalo, one game out of final wild-card berth.
Kaepernick was 8 for 11 for 81 yards for the 49ers, who have lost three straight under fourth-year coach Jim Harbaugh for the first time and dealt with the constant swirl of speculation about his future like a report alma mater Michigan has made him a six-year offer.
Gore was active less than a week after sustaining a concussion at Seattle, where the 49ers were eliminated from playoff contention with a 17-7 loss. He didn't practice Wednesday in a short week and was limited in Thursday and Friday sessions and listed as questionable.
The 31-year-old Gore, in a contract year, came in needing 196 yards rushing over final two games for fourth consecutive 1,000-yard season and eighth in his 10 NFL seasons. His scoring run was his longest since a 64-yarder on Nov. 1, 2009 at Indianapolis. It also was the longest TD run allowed by San Diego since 2010.
San Francisco safety Eric Reid sustained a concussion in the first quarter. San Diego center Chris Watt hurt an ankle.
Right tackle Anthony Davis returned for San Francisco and started, playing for the first time since Nov. 9 after missing four games with a concussion.
Cox's fifth interception moved him into a tie for third place in the NFC.
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