The 49ers quickly quelled any doubt their success in the 2011 season was a fluke, defeating the Packers on the road. San Francisco took an early 23-7 lead on two touchdown passes from quarterback Alex Smith and three field goals from David Akers. Smith completed 20 of 26 passes for 211 yards and two touchdowns, and running back Frank Gore shouldered the rest of the offensive load with 112 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries.
Linebacker Patrick Willis and the 49ers defense held the Lions to less than 300 yards of total offense. San Francisco tight end Vernon Davis (Maryland) had five catches, including two touchdown passes from Smith. The 49ers quarterback completed 20 of 31 passes for 226 yards and extended his franchise-record streak of passes without an interception to 216.
Week 3 (Sept. 23) at Mall of America Field: Minnesota Vikings 24, 49ers 13
After two convincing wins to open the season, the 49ers fell flat in Week 3. Smith, who finished with 204 yards passing, and Gore, who had 63 rushing yards combined for three turnovers, hurting an offense that had just 280 total yards. Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder threw two touchdown passes to tight end Kyle Rudolph, and running back Adrian Peterson rushed for 86 yards as Minnesota handed the 49ers their first loss of the season.
Week 4 (Sept. 30) at MetLife Stadium: 49ers 34, New York Jets 0
With all the talk about Jets backup quarterback Tim Tebow, it was 49ers backup Colin Kaepernick who proved to be the true threat in the wildcat attack. The quarterback scored the first touchdown of the game on a 7-yard carry in the second quarter as San Francisco routed the Jets. Kaepernick, Gore and Kendall Hunter led a rushing attack that totaled nearly 250 yards on the ground, and the 49ers defense forced four turnovers from the Jets, who had only 145 total yards of offense.
Week 5 (Oct. 7) at Candlestick Park: 49ers 45, Buffalo Bills 3
As good as the 49ers' offense was in their win over the Jets, they were even better against the Bills. They racked up a franchise-record 621 yards while becoming the first team in NFL history to pass and rush for 300 yards in the same game. Alex Smith completed 75 percent of his passes for 303 yards and three touchdowns, and the San Francisco defense held the Bills to just 204 total yards.
Week 6 (Oct. 14) at Candlestick Park: New York Giants 26, 49ers 3
After two scoring 79 points in wins over the Jets and Bills, the 49ers only managed to score three points in a blowout loss to the Giants in San Francisco. Akers converted a 42-yard field goal in the first quarter, but the 49ers didn’t score again as the defending Super Bowl champions accumulated 26 unanswered points to close the game. Smith threw three interceptions in the loss.
Week 7 (Oct. 18 at Candlestick Park: 49ers 13, Seattle Seahawks 6
On a night where both teams struggled offensively, the 49ers struck when it mattered most. Trailing, 6-3, at halftime, the 49ers defense clamped down, keeping the Seahawks off the scoreboard for the final two quarters. Smith found tight end Delanie Walker for the game's only touchdown in the third quarter and orchestrated another scoring drive in the fourth to seal the seven-point win.
Week 8 (Oct. 29) at University of Phoenix Stadium: 49ers 24, Arizona Cardinals 3
Smith nearly completed a perfect game against the Cardinals. He was 18-for-19 for 232 yards, setting an NFL record for the highest completion percentage in a single game. He found wide receiver Michael Crabtree for two touchdowns and Randy Moss for a third as the 49ers dismantled the Cardinals on the road. Their defense excelled, too, holding Arizona to just 7 rushing yards.
Week 10 (Nov. 11) at Candlestick Park: 49ers 24, St. Louis Rams 24, OT
Entering the 2012 season, there had only been 17 ties in the NFL since overtime was instituted in 1974. This game was the 18th. Akers sent the game to overtime with his 33-yard field goal with three seconds remaining, but both he and Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein missed field-goal attempts in overtime. The 49ers also lost Smith, who suffered a concussion in the first half.
Week 11 (Nov. 19) at Candlestick Park: 49ers 32, Chicago Bears 7