The San Francisco 49ers’ five-game winning streak was stopped in its tracks Sunday at Candlestick Park, much like its offense was, in a 10-9 loss to the Carolina Panthers.
The 49ers mustered three first-half field goals from Phil Dawson and led 9-0 until DeAngelo Williams scored what would prove to be the only touchdown of the day on a 27-yard run for the Panthers with 1:52 left in the second quarter.
Graham Gano’s 53-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter put Carolina up 10-9 and stood up as the game-winner.
The 49er offense was stuck in its tracks all day, gaining just 151 total yards and converting just 2-of-13 first downs. San Francisco played the entire second half without tight end Vernon Davis, out with a concussion, and Colin Kaepernick had trouble finding time to pass all day.
Carolina sacked Kaepernick six times and the third-year quarterback was just 11-for-22 for 91 yards and an interception.
That pick came inside the final minute of play when Drayton Florence sealed the win for Carolina with the turnover.
Frank Gore ran for 82 yards on 16 carries for the 49ers, who rushed for 105 yards on 24 attempts overall.
Mario Manningham, playing his first game since injuring his knee last season, had three catches for 30 yards to pace the 49ers receivers.
Cam Newton wasn’t great for Carolina, which won its fifth game in a row. Newton was 16-for-32 for 169 yards and threw an interception. The 49ers had four sacks on the day, three of them by Ahmad Brooks.
One area of improvement for the 49ers was in the punt return game, where LaMichael James replaced Kyle Williams this week and ran back three punts for 35 yards. Williams was averaging only five yards a return on the season.
But San Francisco’s offensive line struggled to stop Carolina’s pass rush, as six different players were in on the Panthers’ six sacks, led by Charles Johnson, the big defensive end who had 1.5.
The 49ers are 6-3 on the season and have scored fewer than 10 points in each of their three losses. They have at least 31 points in all six of their victories.
The loss drops San Francisco 2.5 games behind the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC West. Seattle improved to 9-1 with a 33-10 win at Atlanta on Sunday.
The 49ers did end the game with some nicks, as well. In addition to losing Davis to a concussion, rookie safety Eric Reid also left the game with a concussion, his second of the season, and did not return. Defensive end Ray McDonald injured an ankle and backup tight end Garrett Celek injured his hamstring in the first quarter.
The 49ers hit the road next Sunday for a 1:25 p.m. kickoff at New Orleans against the high-powered Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.