49ers Trounce Depleted Steelers 20-3

San Francisco takes advantage of weakened AFC power in victory.

James LeBeauby James LeBeau

Sometimes it isn't always how good you are but how lucky as well and the San Francisco 49ers were both on Monday night in a 20-3 primetime win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. San Fran came into the game needing a win and got it thanks in large part to an uncharacteristic performance by Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger.

Roethlisberger, who normally thrives under adverse conditions, threw three costly picks that allowed the 49ers to grab an early lead and never look back. Hobbled by a bad ankle, Ben was a shadow of his normal self, unable to make the clutch plays he is so known for.

"It's very frustrating to feel like you let down your team and your fans and your coaches. It's tough," Roethlisberger said. "I'm not going to make excuses. I played a bad football game, I turned the ball over and that one's on me."

The Steelers as a whole, depleted of many of their key ingredients that make them a success, were unable to best a Harbaugh for the third time this season. They lost twice to John Harbaugh and the Ravens and now once to Jim Harbaugh and San Francisco.

The 49ers, for their part, took every advantage given to them and turned it into an impressive win in center stage, setting them up as a premier contender in the NFC. As an added plus, they even got to show the league and the fans how bad they need a new stadium as there were two power outages that caused delays throughout the game.

"I just feel like San Francisco took a big step to show the NFL and to show the state of California that they need a new stadium," Steelers safety Ryan Clark said. "I think it was a very strategic move, and Candlestick may be no more."

The loss by the Steelers blew a golden opportunity for them to move into sole possession of first place. Now, with two games remaining, they must win out and hope Baltimore falters once more in order to avoid entering the postseason as a wild card.

"We better lick our wounds pretty quickly because we have a quick turnaround here," Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin said.

Baltimore has remaining games against Cleveland and Cincinnati while Pittsburgh finishes up against St. Louis and Cleveland.