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Reinforced ground game guides Colts past 49ers

The SportsXchange

SAN FRANCISCO -- Quarterback Andrew Luck earned bragging rights Sunday in his first NFL game against Jim Harbaugh, his former Stanford coach, leading the Indianapolis Colts to a 27-7 victory over the San Francisco 49ers.

After the game, Luck was more interested in bragging about his team's dominant running attack that rolled up 179 yards than about his victory over Harbaugh.

Ahmad Bradshaw carried 19 times for 95 yards and a touchdown. Trent Richardson, just four days after coming to the Colts from the Cleveland Browns in a trade, scored a 1-yard touchdown on his first carry and finished with 35 yards on 13 carries. Donald Brown added 25 yards on three carries, and Luck chipped in with 24 yards and a key fourth-quarter touchdown on four carries.

"Trent Richardson being here for a Thursday and a Friday practice and then he's playing in the game and scores a touchdown. Are you kidding me?" Luck said. "He's a great football player, a great addition to our team. Between him Bradshaw and Donald Brown, that's a great corps of running backs."

Luck completed 18 of 27 passes for 164 yards and had a passer rating of 82.9.

Colts coach Chuck Pagano said he didn't how much satisfaction Luck took from beating Harbaugh, but he noticed that the quarterback was "grinning from ear to ear" after game.

"I've never seen him smile like that," Pagano said. "This one meant a lot to him. I don't think there was anyone who wanted this win more than No. 12."

Luck said he was just pleased because the Colts beat a good team, not because they beat Harbaugh, as well as defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and offensive coordinator Greg Roman, former Stanford assistants under Harbaugh.

"The connections, the college coaches, that didn't really factor into it in how I felt about the game," Luck said.

One week after passing for 127 yards -- his lowest career total as a starter -- in a 29-3 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick threw for just 150 yards against the Colts. He completed 13 of 27 passes, lost a fumble deep in 49ers territory late in the fourth quarter and threw an interception. Kaepernick posted a passer rating of 49.9.

"I have to be better," Kaepernick said. "I think we're stopping ourselves."

The Colts (2-1) outgained the 49ers (1-2) 336 total yards to 254. The 49ers lost back-to-back games for the first time Weeks 15 and 16 in 2010.

"I'm not really worried about it, just anxious now to get back on the football field, back in the meeting rooms and see where we can correct our mistakes," 49ers safety Donte Whitner said. "We'll be all right. Just a little adversity. We'll see where we stand. First time in three years we've been through this. I'm eager to see what comes from this."

The 49ers will have to move forward, for at least Thursday night's road game against the St. Louis Rams, without linebacker Aldon Smith, who was arrested early Friday morning on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol. Smith started and made five tackles against the Colts, but after the game, 49ers chief executive officer Jed York said there was no timetable for Smith's return.

"This is about making sure that Aldon has the opportunity to work on something, get better, and he knows he has our support," said York, implying but not specifically saying that Smith would enter an alcohol-rehab program. "And hopefully he has everybody's support in something that's going to be very difficult for him."

Smith apologized to his teammates, the organization and his family, delivering a postgame statement.

"I also wanted to let it be known that this is a problem and it's something that I will get fixed," he said.

Even with Smith on the field, the 49ers' defense had little success against the Colts' offense.

Indianapolis extended its three-point halftime to 13-7 on Adam Vinatieri's 41-yard field goal with 6:46 left in the third quarter. The Colts marched 52 yards in 10 plays for the score as Luck scrambled for 15 yards on one key play and hit Reggie Wayne for 14 yards over the middle on another.

Late in the fourth quarter, the Colts marched 80 yards for Luck's 6-yard touchdown run on third-and-3. Luck faked a handoff to Bradshaw, who headed right, then ran around left end untouched and into the end zone with 4:13 left.

"They were overplaying the run," Luck said. "Didn't have contain out there. I was fortunate they crashed. Our guys were running so hard that they had to respect that, and I managed to get in the end zone."

NOTES: Niners ILB Patrick Willis suffered a groin injury late in the third quarter and did not return to the game. ... San Francisco TE Vernon Davis, who sustained a hamstring injury last week against Seattle, was inactive Sunday. Rookie TE Vance McDonald started. ... Davis' injury scrapped an expected meeting with his younger brother, Colts CB Vontae Davis. They have never faced each other during their football careers at any level. ... Four injured Colts initially listed as starters were inactive: FS LaRon Landry (ankle), MLB Pat Angerer (knee), C Samson Satele (elbow) and TE Dwayne Allen (hip), who was ruled out for the season this week. Kelvin Sheppard started for Angerer, Delano Howell for Landry and Coby Fleener for Allen. ... The Colts shuffled their offensive line, with RG Mike McGlynn moving to center and backup OL Jeff Linkenbach starting at right guard. ... Niners S Bubba Ventrone, a special teams player, left the game early in the second quarter with a concussion. ... Colts DT Ricky Jean Francois left the game with a groin injury in the fourth quarter.
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