Friday I mentioned Aldon Smith would need to average about 1.5 sacks a game over his next four to set the single season sack record. Today, he went above and beyond by registering two sacks on quarterback Ryan Tannehill—which extended his league-leading 17.5 sacks to 19.5.
In addition to closing in on the single season sack record, Smith surpassed Fred Dean for the 49ers' franchise record when he collected No. 18.5. He's now compiled 33.5 sacks, that's more than any player has been able to amass in the first 31 games of his career.
Yet, Smith didn't only abuse left tackle Jonathan Martin to sack Tannehill—he played a big role in limiting Miami to under a 100 yards rushing. The Dolphins became the ninth failed team to eclipse the century mark against Vic Fangio's stout front seven on the ground.
To close out the season, Fangio's defense will take on Stevan Ridley, Marshawn Lynch and Beanie Wells. It's safe to say they won't be able to finish as strong as they did last year, but if they can limit their opponents under 100 yards seven games in a row, momentum will be in their favor heading into the playoffs.
However, the 49ers defense couldn't have done it without Greg Roman's strong rushing attack. San Francisco's backfield ran wild as they picked up 155 yards on 28 carries and scored all three of the 49ers' offensive touchdowns. Frank Gore scored from one yard out in the third quarter, Anthony Dixon scored from one yard out in the fourth quarter and Colin Kaepernick added a 50-yard scamper off his own to seal the deal.
Even in a sub 100-yard effort, the focus still needs to be on Gore. His third quarter touchdown run was the 50th rushing touchdown run of his career, which tied Joe Perry and Roger Craig.
Frank Gore ties Joe Perry and Roger Craig for the most rushing TDs in #49ers history with 50.— Kyle Bonagura (@KyleBonagura) December 9, 2012
Not only did he score his 50th touchdown of the season—he eclipsed 1,000 yards for the sixth season in his career, another franchise record. Week 14 proved to be a week where 49ers records were dropping like flies. Given the success over Gore's eight-year career, there's no question more rushing records will start to fall.
Today also signaled the 10th time this season where San Francisco's rushing attack topped 100 yards—again not as impressive as last season considering they ran for over a 100 yards 17 times. But to know one's surprise, Pro Football Focus has the 49ers graded out as the best rushing team in the NFL over the last two years.
Unfortunately, Jim Harbaugh's club can't afford to celebrate for too long as they arguably have their toughest game of the year next week. Tom Brady and the New England Patriots are never easy to beat, especially at Gillette Stadium.
New England will be looking to win their seventh straight game in a row.
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