San Francisco, CA – Sometimes the best games end tragically. It’s been a decade since the Forty-Niners played in the NFC Championship game and today they faced off in a rematch with the New York Giants.
The last time these two teams met was during the regular season and the Giants lost 27-20. San Francisco rallied late in the fourth quarter when Justin Smith deflected Eli Manning’s pass on fourth down to seal the victory.
This time the 20-17 win went to New York in overtime as they defeated the Niners to advance to the Super Bowl. The bad weather definitely played apart, rain throughout the day and night left both teams dropping balls in the final minutes. There’s no excuse for turnovers yet a crucial play in overtime left many wondering if that didn’t happen, would the outcome be different?
It happened so fast that by the time the ball was recovered the sold out crowd fell to silence. No one expected the momentum to change that quickly. Jacquian Williams stripped the ball out from Kyle Williams hands as he fumbled the punt. Five plays later Lawrence Tynes kicked the winning field goal.
“I caught the ball, tried to make a play and it ended up for the worse,” Williams said.
San Francisco’s defense dominated most of the game, they shut down the Giants offense down to the final minutes. They got their groove early when Alex Smith found Vernon Davis for two touchdowns in the first half for 73 and 28 yards.
Smith completed 12 of 26 passes for 196 yards while looking just as good as he did throughout the season. But, in the end the struggles to convert on third down became obvious. With the game tied, the offense was unable to overcome William’s fumble in the end.
“We all know him, we know how committed he is to winning,” said Alex. “It’s not on him, I look at the 1 for 13 on third downs. I know he is going to feel bad, but he’s still part of our team. We didn’t lose the game there, we lost it across the board offensively. We just couldn’t get it done.”
New York opened up their offense in the second quarter with a deep pass to Victor Cruz to get things going. Later Eli Manning connected with Bear Pascoe for a 6-yard touchdown and tied the game 7-7. Manning went 32 of 58 for 316 yards and two touchdowns to seal their victory.
The second touchdown came with 8:34 left in the fourth quarter after Kyle fumbled the first time. Eli found Mario Manningham for the 17-yard touchdown and gave them a 17-14 lead. The last two scoring drives by the Giants came on behalf of Kyle who replaced the injured Ted Ginn Jr.
The Niners battled to the end and did everything they could in keeping their their hopes alive. Making another appearance at this years Super Bowl seemed so real. The hard work they put into the season proved this team is ready for their own dynasty. But for now they must wait until next year to try again.
“I’m proud of the way our players played,” 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said. “I’m proud of the way they prepared, worked and competed. In a lot of ways we played to win, but didn’t get it done. This teams not defeated by any stretch of the imagination. A man can be destroyed, but he can’t be defeated as long as this team knows that there’s hope.”
Written by: Malaika Bobino