PITTSBURGH – There was little question that the Pittsburgh Steelers were geared up to slow down 49ers running back Carlos Hyde.
In fact, they told him as much.
“Ryan (Shazier) actually told me, ‘We are going to lock onto you,’ ” Hyde said. “We will have a good practice this week and we will be all right.”
Shazier and Hyde are both second-year players after being teammates at Ohio State. Shazier recorded a game-high 15 tackles in the Steelers’ 43-18 blowout victory over the 49ers on Sunday at Heinz Field.
"We met this week's challenge," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. "We weren't perfect. We gave up some big plays, particularly in the second half, but we'll take the win."
Hyde, coming off a 168-yard performance Monday night against the Minnesota Vikings, gained just 43 yards on 14 rushing attempts before leaving the game in the third quarter. He underwent an evaluation for a concussion. Although he was cleared to return to action, the 49ers kept him on the sideline.
Quarterback Colin Kaepernick had a 43-yard pass completion to tight end Vernon Davis on the final play of the third quarter with the 49ers trailing 29-3. He went on to throw for 185 yards in the fourth quarter.
“Offensively, I thought we really kept fighting back and not blinking,” 49ers coach Jim Tomsula said. “We didn’t get it done. That’s the bottom line. There are no excuses. I did think the guys kept fighting.”
Kaepernick ended a streak of 21 consecutive regular-season games without a touchdown pass in the fourth quarter with two scoring tosses. He hit Anquan Boldin with a 14-yard touchdown pass, then found Torrey Smith on a 75-yard scoring play.
“There are things in this game that we can take away as positive,” Kaepernick said. “But we don’t play for moral victories. It’s something that we have to look at this week and move on.”
Kaepernick completed 33 of 46 passes for 335 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. He was also sacked five times for minus-37 yards.
---Tight end Vance McDonald sustained a right knee injury while covering a punt in the second quarter. He did not return to action, and Tomsula said he will be evaluated on Monday.
---The 49ers traveled cross country after playing the late game Monday night. The Steelers had four more days to rest and prepare after kicking off the regular season with a Thursday night game.
“No excuses,” Tomsula said. “Zero. None.”
---Tomsula has emphasized breaking the huddle quickly and getting to the line of scrimmage with plenty of time. But on Sunday, the 49ers were called for one delay-of-game penalty and used two other timeouts in the second half to avoid penalties.
“That’s inexcusable,” Tomsula said. “That goes to me. I have to have that cleaned up. That’s me.”
On the delay penalty, Kaepernick explained, “It was confusion. We were just having a problem with our coach-to-quarterback (communication) as far as clarity, so we were a little bit slower out of the huddle and didn’t have as much time at the line.”
---Tomsula took his first loss as an NFL head coach. He recorded a win as the interim coach at the end of the 2010 season and opened this season with last week’s victory over the Vikings.
“During a game, I stay in the moment, personally,” Tomsula said. “During halftime my whole point is, ‘Put your head down, don’t look up, just keep grinding. Don’t look at the scoreboard. Just keep playing the next play.’
“That when you talk about them finishing and going. I felt like they did that. Our team did that. Our coaches did that. . . . We’ve got a lot of work to do. We’ve got to continue to get it going. We’ve got to keep going. It’s a 16-game season. We’re not going to overreact when we win. We’re not going to overreact when there is a loss.”
---Steelers chairman Dan Rooney, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, entered the 49ers' locker room about an hour after the game to greet Tomsula, a Pittsburgh-area native.