SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Vernon Davis caught a short touchdown pass a play after taking a 21-yard reception inches short of the goal line, and the San Francisco 49ers took a 13-3 lead over the Pittsburgh Steelers through three quarters Monday night in a game delayed twice by power outages.
Ben Roethlisberger threw two interceptions playing on a sprained left ankle, and San Francisco turned both into points. David Akers kicked field goals from 22 and 38 yards for the 49ers.
A power outage just before kickoff and another in the second quarter blacked out Candlestick Park in San Francisco's biggest home game since their 2003 playoff stunner over the New York Giants. Power returned and the game resumed after delays of 20 minutes and approximately 15 minutes.
The NFC West champion 49ers looked to make a splash in the national spotlight after a Thanksgiving night loss at Baltimore.
Davis took a short pass from Alex Smith late in the third quarter for a 21-yard completion, getting tripped up by a defender and stepping out of bounds inches short of the goal line. After an unsuccessful challenge by coach Jim Harbaugh, Davis got his TD on the next snap when Smith found him wide open on a play-action pass to give San Francisco a 13-3 lead.
The vaunted 49ers defense slowed down all those twirling Terrible Towels.
San Francisco has yet to allow a rushing TD and is trying to become the first team in NFL history to hold that mark through the first 14 games. The Niners shut down Pittsburgh's offense in a low-scoring half that played perfectly into their style.
Roethlisberger limped along with a sprained ankle that limited him this week in practice. He completed 3 of 4 passes for 46 yards in the first drive, including a 36-yarder to Mike Wallace before Carlos Rogers intercepted Roethlisberger's pass running into the end zone.
The 49ers' 17-play, 69-yard drive that followed stalled when Smith threw two incompletions in the end zone. San Francisco settled for a 22-yard field goal by Akers, failing to get into the end zone again.
Dashon Goldson intercepted a pass by Roethlisberger on Pittsburgh's second possession that led to a 38-yard field goal by Akers with 12:13 remaining in the second quarter. That field goal gave Akers the franchise record for most points in a season with 141, passing the 138 set by Hall of Fame receiver Jerry Rice - who was in attendance on the sideline - in 1987.
Then, suddenly, everything turned black.
Fans roared and flash bulbs popped all over the stadium. Players scurried to the sidelines, and the Terrible Towels that a sea of Steelers fans had waived could no longer be seen in the darkness.
NFL security chief Jeff Miller said he witnessed a transformer blow out as he was monitoring a gate outside the stadium. He said the problem appeared to be on a power grid outside that is affecting the stadium's power, giving the NFL confidence the game could be completed.
Fans long waiting for a meaningful December at Candlestick had to wait a little longer for this primetime matchup.
The power throughout the stadium also went off the first time about 25 minutes before the scheduled kickoff of 5:40 local time Monday. The public address system stopped working and fans were left in the dark until an emergency light came on in the far corner of the stadium.
The power first started to come back on in the press box and the scoreboard ring around the stadium about 15 minutes later, drawing cheers from Steelers and 49ers fans. The stadium lights slowly turned on about 10 minutes later.
In the second half, the focus finally returned to football.
Ted Ginn Jr. limped off the field with a right ankle injury after the second-half kickoff. San Francisco's offense struggled throughout the night, playing just the kind of possession and ball control offense it has all season.
Roethlisberger rallied Pittsburgh and threw a short pass to tight end Heath Miller, who sprinted up the Pittsburgh sideline for a 39-yard completion. The Steelers settled for a 51-yard field goal by Shaun Suisham that just passed over the crossbar. He missed wide left from 48 yards later in the quarter.
Steelers linebacker James Harrison was serving a suspension for his helmet-to-facemask hit on Browns quarterback Colt McCoy last week. San Francisco also was without its Pro Bowl linebacker Patrick Willis, sidelined with a right hamstring strain.