San Francisco did almost everything right Sunday. In fact, if you were to show a box score to Jim Harbaugh on Saturday without a final score at top, he would probably have a good feeling he would be advancing to Super Bowl XLVI in his first season as a head coach in the NFL.
San Francisco netted 150 yards on the ground, averaging 5.8 yards per carry. Alex Smith tossed two touchdowns to renowned tight end Vernon Davis. Prior to Sunday, the 49ers were 6-0 in games in which Davis caught a touchdown pass this season.
The stout 49er defense continued their dominance against opposing running backs. They limited Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs to 85 yards, averaging a measly 3.3 YPC. The unit ended their 2011 campaign with 0, yes 0-rushing touchdowns allowed. In addition, they sacked Eli Manning6 times, and constantly pressured the former Super Bowl MVP.
Yet when the 100 million viewers tune in to NBC in two weeks, the game will feature a rematch of Super Bowl XLII: Tom Brady’s New England Patriots vs. the New York Football Giants.
Because in professional sports, almost doesn’t cut it. The SF special teams coughed up 10 points in turnovers, and the offense went 1-13 on third downs. Not a recipe for success–yet they still had the game in their favor as return man Kyle Williams retrieved to field Sean Weatherford’s punt in overtime.
“It was one of those situations where I tried to turn it up field and it just didn’t work out. You hate to be the last guy that had the ball, to give it away in that fashion and to lose a game of this magnitude. It is what it is. We’re going to move forward as a team.”
Look, no point to bury the guy, and there’s no proof that Smith would have led the 49ers to a winning drive, but Williams fumbled away the fairytale season not once, twice.
“It will be a tough one. It will take a while to get over,” said Harbaugh, the most competitive coach in the NFL.
Yes, it will coach. Watching Lawrence Tynes seal their fate with a 31-yard field goal had to be devastating. Unfortunately for Harbaugh, they don’t have the luxury of forgetting about it and having a good week of preparation for the next week’s opponent. That won’t happen until next fall when all 32 teams get another crack at a chance to play in February.
Tom Coughlin called it a “classic football game that just seemed like no one was going to put themselves into position to win it. Fortunately we were able to do that.” With a little help from backup linebacker Jacquian Williams, the Giants are heading to their second Super Bowl in the last four years.
Now all the Giants need is to rekindle the David Tyree magic, and have their QB imitate one more “Brady” comebacks as the Giants seek their 4th Championship in franchise history.