SAN FRANCISCO -- Frank Gore purchased a gray hooded sweatshirt months ago specifically for this day, featuring an upside down teal dolphin in distress. Miami's mascot, on its head -- with a first-aid symbol and an "X'' over each eye to boot.
"I said, 'We've got to turn him upside down,'" he said.
A Miami man through and through, Gore sure did his part.
"It's a blessing. Everybody says when you turn 29 and 30, you can't do it anymore. When I got to 29, I told myself, 'I'm going to overcome that,'" Gore said. "I've still got the explosiveness. When I see something, I go get it."
Gore drew Miami's defense his way on that game-clinching play.
"Everybody came to me and Mr. Everything did his thing," Gore said of Kaepernick.
"Couple more, baby!" Gore hollered to Smith in the locker room.
Miami went for it on fourth-and-10 from the 35 with 4:16 remaining and Tannehill overthrew Marlon Moore on the left sideline.
The sold-out crowd at Candlestick Park was treated to a spectacular, clear Bay Area day. The football didn't quite live up to it until both teams performed down the stretch.
Harbaugh's NFC West-leading Niners hardly looked like a power for most of the afternoon against overmatched Miami -- the team Harbaugh considered coaching before accepting a $25 million, five-year contract with San Francisco in January 2011.
"These games are really hard," Harbaugh said. "You've got to stay patient. We also took our shots."
San Francisco went on fourth-and-1 on the 38 late in the third quarter and cornerback Sean Smith was called for pass interference against Crabtree. Dixon scored his second touchdown of the season five plays later.
Harbaugh stuck with Kaepernick a week after a 16-13 overtime loss at St. Louis, and the second-year pro delivered with an 18-for-23 day and 100.2 passer rating.
David Akers' 30-yard field goal in the second quarter tied the game at 3, then he kicked a 37-yarder as time expired before halftime to put his team ahead 6-3.
San Francisco lost defensive lineman and special teams standout Demarcus Dobbs to a right knee injury in the first half. He was carted off the field. Dobbs returned to the field after missing the trip to St. Louis a week earlier following his arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence and marijuana possession.
Aldon Smith lined up against rookie left tackle Jonathan Martin, a former Stanford star recruited by Harbaugh. Martin shifted to the left side in place of the injured Jake Long, placed on season-ending injured reserve Tuesday with an injured left triceps. Smith and Martin shoved each other all day, jawed and even butted helmets.
"This game's about power -- speed and power," Smith said. "I try to mix it up."
NOTES: Miami LB Koa Misi went down early in the third quarter with an ankle injury. ... The 49ers won nine games in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2001-02. ... Under Harbaugh, the 49ers improved to 3-0 against the AFC East and 6-1 vs. the AFC. ... 49ers LB Tavares Gooden sustained a rib injury.
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press