ST. LOUIS — Missing some of their biggest stars, the San Francisco 49ers put their foot down. They put the St. Louis Rams back in their place, too.
Colin Kaepernick threw two touchdown passes, Frank Gore had his first 100-yard game of the season and the defense stepped up in a 35-11 victory Thursday night.
“We know the talent we have on this team,” Kaepernick said. “We know what we’re capable of.”
Anquan Boldin had five catches for 90 yards and a touchdown, and Gore had 153 yards on 20 carries and a 34-yard score for San Francisco (2-2), which was outscored 46-10 the previous two games. NaVorro Bowman had two of the 49ers’ five sacks with a strip leading to Anthony Dixon’s fourth-quarter scoring run.
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“If we keep playing, our offense will come around sooner or later,” Bowman said.
The Rams (1-3) had an overtime win and tie against San Francisco last year, and took the early lead before falling flat. Greg Zuerlein banged in a 40-yard field goal off the right upright to end a nine-game scoring drought in the first quarter, but the 49ers answered with 28 straight points.
“Tomorrow’s going to be a pretty tough day in the film room,” Rams quarterback Sam Bradford said. “The good news is we have 10 days, 11 days until we play again, and there’s going to be ample time to get that corrected.”
St. Louis was held to 188 total yards and was completely stuffed on the run, with 18 yards on 19 carries.
“That’s what we do,” said safety Donte Whitner, who had an interception in the end zone. “We stop the run first, then we stop the pass and then we get away with wins.”
The 49ers came close to a Super Bowl title in February and regained their footing against the team that gave them the most trouble last season. Minus cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha and linebackers Patrick Willis and Aldon Smith, they quieted a raucous, hopeful crowd, sending all but a few thousand home early.
“We’re going to have to get tough in here,” Rams defensive end Chris Long said. “We’re going to have to hold each other accountable and make plays and dig our way out of this hole because nobody’s going to do that for us.”
Kaepernick had no touchdown passes and four interceptions the previous two weeks and completed fewer than 50 percent of his passes. He was 15 for 23 for 167 yards.
Boldin had a monster debut with the 49ers after helping the Ravens beat San Francisco in the Super Bowl, but had been quiet along with the rest of the offense the previous two weeks. He had two highlight catches in the second quarter, a 42-yarder despite Cortland Finnegan getting flagged for holding, and a 20-yard score capped by a dive into the end zone after barely avoiding the sideline.
Gore more than doubled his output from the first three weeks and got a lot more work, too, after totaling just 11 carries last week.
The Rams have trailed by double digits in every game, making up an 11-point deficit against Arizona in the opener but not gaps of 21 and 24 points against Atlanta and Dallas, and were down by 25 against San Francisco.
Bradford was 19 for 41 for 202 yards and an interception and has been sacked 11 times the last two games after the Rams allowed none the previous four games.
• San Diego Chargers inside linebackers Donald Butler, a former Husky, and Manti Te’o both practiced and appear to be on track to start against the Dallas Cowboys this weekend.
• Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor returned to practice on a limited basis three days after being knocked out with a concussion, and his status for Sunday’s game against Washington remains in question.
• Six people were arrested on charges they were among hundreds of young partygoers who trashed former NFL player Brian Holloway’s vacation home in upstate New York, and police said more arrests were expected.