Over the past two seasons, the 49ers’ defense has been the star of the show.
In Sunday’s 45-3 victory over the Buffalo Bills, however, it was a day for the offense, as the Alex Smith-led Niners put up numbers that even surpassed the Joe Montana and Steve Young offenses of the Bill Walsh Super Bowl era.
In routing the Bills to improve to 4-1 this season, the 49ers rolled up a franchise-record 621 yards – topping the previous single-game record of 598 set in 1992.
It was a balanced attack at Candlestick Park that featured dominant performances in the air and on the ground.
Smith was pinpoint accurate, completing 18-of-24 passes for 303 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. Two of his recivers had 100-yard games, with Michael Crabtree catching six balls for 113 yards and a score, and tight end Vernon Davis catching five passes for 106 yards.
The Niners compiled even more yards on the ground (311), with Frank Gore rushing for 106 and Kendall Hunter adding 81.
The game was tied 3-3 early in the second quarter, when the Niners offense exploded.
Smith hit Kyle Williams for a 43-yard TD play, then connected with Crabtree for 28 yards to put San Francisco up 17-3 at the half.
In the second half, the Niners defense – which shut out the Jets last week – blanked Buffalo while San Francisco added four unanswered TDs: a 1-yard run by Gore, a 10-yard pass from Smith to Manningham, backup QB Colin Kaepernick’s 16-yard run and Anthony Dixon’s 3-yard run.
According to Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group, it was the first 49ers game since 1961 in which San Francisco had a 300-yard passer, a 100-yard rusher and two 100-yard receivers.
The victory puts the 49ers atop the NFC West, tied with the Arizona Cardinals, who lost their first game of the season this past week to the St. Louis Rams.
The Niners were extremely efficient on offense, converting 7-of-11 third-down opportunities and a whopping 9.9 yards per offensive play.
Defensively, San Francisco stuffed Buffalo’s running game (89 total yards) and allowed quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick just 126 yards through the air, while intercepting him once.
After losing two weeks ago to the Vikings, the 49ers are now rolling, having outscored the Jets and Bills combined 79-3 as they get set for one of their biggest challenges of the season, a matchup next Sunday in San Francisco against the New York Giants in a rematch of last season’s NFC Championship Game that was won by the Giants in overtime.