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(AP) — Despite the recent drama surrounding coach Jim Harbaugh’s status within the organization, the San Francisco 49ers have managed to play well.
The visiting 49ers can record a third straight victory by handing the St. Louis Rams a third consecutive defeat Monday night.
As reports surfaced about how Harbaugh has lost the trust of his players and questioned whether he would be back next season, team CEO Jed York took to Twitter prior to San Francisco’s 22-17 win over Kansas City on Sunday.
“Jim is my coach,” York posted. “We are trying to win a SB (Super Bowl), not a personality or popularity contest. Any more questions?”
York and Harbaugh met Monday to talk about the direction of a franchise that has played in three straight NFC championship games.
“Everybody in the organization is doing their job, everybody is working hard at the craft of helping us be the best we can possibly be as a football team, and that’s all you can ask of anybody,” said Harbaugh, in the fourth season of a $25 million, five-year contract. “They’re doing their best, and nobody appreciates that like I do.
“It’s an enjoyable team to be around. The way they play, the way they fight, the way they play together.”
Players such as quarterback Colin Kaepernick have backed Harbaugh, whom York admitted has a difficult personality and “sometimes rubs people the wrong way” with his competitive nature.
“I love Coach Harbaugh. I’d go to war with him any day of the week,” said Kaepernick, who has thrown four touchdowns and one interception in the last three games. “He’s a competitor, he wants to win and he’s going to do anything to put this team in a position to win.”
Harbaugh believes with success comes scrutiny.
“The football team has done good,” he said. “And the better you do and the more you do, the more people try to trip you up.
“My destiny lies between these walls with these men.”
His men have rebounded nicely from consecutive losses to Chicago and Arizona by beating Philadelphia and the Chiefs at home.
The 49ers (3-2) are third in the NFL with 145.0 rushing yards per game with Frank Gore fifth after gaining 226 of his 365 yards in the last two contests. Gore ran for a season-high 153 yards and a TD on 20 carries in a 35-11 win Sept. 26, 2013 at St. Louis.
The Rams (1-3) enter Week 6 tied for 29th with 152.5 rushing yards allowed per contest.
San Francisco also has committed one turnover in three games since the Bears forced four to win 28-20 in the first game at Levi’s Stadium.
A defense that’s forced six turnovers in the last three contests is second in the league with 282.8 yards allowed per contest – 73.8 on the ground.
Phil Dawson made five field goals against the Chiefs and has connected on all nine attempts in the last two games.
“Whether you’re praised or getting criticized or whether it’s silence, all three have their obstacles,” Harbaugh told the 49ers’ official website. “But all three – any of the three – can add to the competitiveness and determination, and our football team is very determined and very competitive.”
The 49ers have displayed that determination during a 13-4-1 stretch against the Rams, who are trying to get back on track after a second straight disheartening loss.
Two weeks after blowing a 21-point, first-half lead in a 34-31 home defeat to Dallas, St. Louis came out of its bye to fall 34-28 at Philadelphia on Sunday. The Rams trailed 13-0 after a quarter and 34-7 before rookie quarterback Austin Davis helped them score the final 21 points.
“I think we’re a good football team,” said Davis, who threw two of his three TDs in the fourth quarter and finished 29 of 49 for 375 yards. “The record is what it is, but we’re just a handful of plays away.”
Davis, who began the season third on the depth chart, was thrust into action after Sam Bradford suffered a season-ending knee injury and backup Shaun Hill also was hurt. Coach Jeff Fisher officially gave the starting job to Davis, who has thrown six TDs and two INTs in the last two games.
He’ll try to continue his success against a 49ers team that has allowed fewer than 200 yards passing in each of the past two games.
With three touchdowns in two contests, Brian Quick has become a favorite target of Davis, totaling 21 receptions for 322 yards this season. Quick scored a TD in a 23-13 loss at San Francisco on Dec. 1.
Second-year back Zac Stacy, who has not rushed for more than 71 yards in a game this season, is expected to play after leaving Sunday with a calf injury.
“It doesn’t look like he’ll miss a game,” Fisher said.
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