- Associated Press - Monday, November 24, 2014

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) - Jim Harbaugh is not about to get picky about wins, pretty or otherwise.

His San Francisco 49ers barely beat the lowly Washington Redskins 17-13 on Sunday, and Harbaugh still found plenty of praise for his players making the big plays when it mattered most.

San Francisco (7-4) has three straight victories and some much-needed momentum as it enters the season’s stretch run, with two remaining games against the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks (7-4), starting with the first meeting Thursday night.

The Niners overcame three turnovers and more costly penalties.

“We turned the ball over and some teams will hang their heads when that happens,” Harbaugh said. “But that’s not what this team’s about. This team’s about each other. They’re about the team, the team, the team.”

Rookie Carlos Hyde scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 4-yard run with 2:59 left. The winning drive included Anquan Boldin’s 29-yard catch on which safety Ryan Clark was flagged for a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty for his hit. Boldin also had a 10-yard catch two plays later.

“He’s a shining star, a stalwart. I mean, who makes those plays?” Harbaugh said.

San Francisco’s first-team offense scored its first touchdown in the fourth quarter all year.

“For the past couple weeks you’ve seen guys laying it all out on the line,” Boldin said.

Here are some other observations from Sunday’s game:

BOLDIN’S BIG DAY: Before his clutch catches late, Boldin caught a 30-yard touchdown pass on San Francisco’s initial series.

The offense struggled much of the rest of the way, and Boldin told himself the offense would need at least one big play to win it. He delivered yet again.

“He’s proven time and time again that he’s a reliable receiver,” quarterback Colin Kaepernick said. “He’s always a person that’s going to make big plays, and he did right there for his team.”

Boldin, who caught a pair of touchdown passes in a win at Washington last November, finished with nine receptions for a season-high 137 yards.

ALDON SMITH’S FIRST START: Aldon Smith returned last week following a nine-game suspension and played regular snaps, then earned his first start Sunday and had a two-sack outing against Robert Griffin III.

Smith insists he’s not quite back to form, but making progress. There were several other plays he thought he should have made.

“I’m getting there,” said Smith, who also missed five games in 2013 while undergoing treatment following a DUI arrest.

He sacked Griffin III on the second play of the game and again with the Redskins driving early in the third quarter to force a punt.

Fill-in left tackle Morgan Moses received some of Smith’s wrath.

“I try to play explosive and try to play aggressive and make the opponent, the guy I’m going against, feel it,” Smith said.

He dislocated his left middle finger and popped it back in, saying, “It was pretty weird looking.”

GRIFFIN III ON HIS BACK: Robert Griffin III has been sacked 16 times in his last three games, including five by San Francisco on Sunday as he faced constant pressure again.

Even Smith was surprised he kept getting back to his feet.

Griffin took criticism during the week for being hard on teammates, then seemed to let all that be forgotten as he kept his team in the game until the end.

“There’s one thing we’re not going to do, and that’s quit. No matter how gloomy it might look, or whatever’s being said, we’re going to stay positive,” he said.

MORRIS RUNS: Alfred Morris ran for a touchdown and his first 100-yard game of the season, a rare offensive bright spot for Washington.

Morris had a 30-yard gain among his 21 carries for 125 yards.

“I stopped trying to think too much. I said this weeks ago, I was thinking too much,” Morris said. “I’ve been playing this game since I was 5. I know how to be a runner. I just stopped thinking and stopped trying to make things happen that weren’t there. Each week has been getting better and better.”

REDSKINS INJURIES: Washington was already missing left tackle Trent Williams with a knee injury. The Redskins lost several other key faces Sunday. Washington also was missing David Amerson, who didn’t play because of a violation of a team rule. Coach Jay Gruden wouldn’t elaborate.

Cornerback E.J. Biggers left in the first quarter with a concussion, while linebacker Adam Hayward went down with a right knee injury that Gruden called a “knee tibia plateau fracture.”

Cornerback Tracy Porter sustained an AC separation in his right shoulder and was scheduled for an MRI exam on Monday. Running back Silas Redd Jr. suffered a rib contusion.

“I’m really proud of the way they competed. They could have hung their heads,” Gruden said. “Moving forward if we can play with that type of effort and intensity and continue to prepare, I told our team I think some of these losses will turn into wins down the road.”

___

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL


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