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Smith, Gore set career highs as 49ers beat Raiders

Oct 9, 2006 - 12:00 AM SAN FRANCISCO (Ticker) -- The San Francisco 49ers may be rebuilding but you could not tell against the lowly Oakland Raiders.

Alex Smith threw a career-high three touchdowns and Frank Gore rushed for a career-best 134 yards as the 49ers posted a 34-20 victory over the winless Raiders in an interconference battle of the Bay Area teams.

Smith completed 15-of-19 for 165 yards, including a six-yard TD pass to Arnaz Battle and a 33-yard scoring toss to running back Maurice Hicks in the third quarter.

"I think a win like this does a lot for this offense as a whole," Smith said. "It was important for us not to overreact. That's the sign of a team that is confident and heading in the right direction."

San Francisco (2-3) was trounced 41-0 by the Kansas City Chiefs last week.

"Coming back after last week's loss, which was a very difficult loss for our football team, this was a big boost for our team," 49ers coach Mike Nolan said. "We started to question different things in going forward and getting better."

Gore accounted for 39 of the Niners' 72 yards during their opening drive, which was capped by a four-yard TD pass from Smith to Battle.

"It was a big game, and we played together," Gore said. "We had a good week of practice. We just have to keep doing what we're doing. When we got our name called, we decided to make a play. I'm happy because we worked hard all week."

San Francisco's special teams and defense also came up big in the second half.

Rookie Manny Lawson blocked a punt and veteran cornerback Walt Harris recorded the first of his three interceptions in the third quarter.

"I felt that once you get one, they always come in bunches," Harris said. "Our guys' confidence level is starting to go up, and good things happen when that's the situation. We got the monkey off our back, so it's a good feeling."

In the fourth quarter, safety Chad Williams picked off a pass and rookie defensive end Melvin Oliver scored on a 12-yard fumble recovery, giving the Niners a 31-13 lead.

"Not too many guys get a chance to do something like that, it was so surreal for me," Oliver said. "It was a defensive lineman's dream. It felt great until I got belly flopped in the end zone."

Joe Nedney made two field goals and Bryant Young became the sixth active player with at least 80 career sacks.

Oakland's Randy Moss had five catches for 52 yards and a touchdown. His 22-yard TD reception in the second quarter made him the seventh player in league history to reach 100.

In his second career start, Andrew Walter went 14-of-23 for 164 yards with a TD and two interceptions for Oakland (0-4), which fell to 6-5 in the all-time series.

"It was a tale of two halfs," Walter said. "I don't know how to explain it. We would have one good play, and one bad play, and you just can't do that and expect to win. We got out of the rhythm in the second half."

Third-string quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo also threw two picks for the Raiders, who have three losses by double digits.

"You can't play the game and make as many mistakes as we did and expect to win," Raiders coach Art Shell said. "We didn't do a good job of tackling, screwed up the punt coverage, and just didn't capitalize on the opportunities we had."

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