(By Daisy Barringer)
My apologies that this recap is a day late. I naively assumed that after celebrating the 49ers dominating win over the Green Bay Packers, I’d get plenty of rest and be able to wake up fresh as a daisy and bang this thing out before the Seattle/Atlanta game at 10 a.m.
That didn't happen. But look at it this way: you thought you’d read everything there was to read about Saturday’s pummeling of The Pack but now you have one more chance to bask in the glory of it all before turning your attention to the Niners trip to Atlanta for the NFC Championship game.
That’s right: The Niners are going to the NFC Championships! We are ONE win away from a Super Bowl appearance. And based on what I saw on Saturday, I think we have a legitimate shot. This could truly be our year.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. First, let’s take a moment to revel in what can only be described as complete and utter domination over the Green Bay Packers. Frankly, the 45-31 score doesn’t even reflect what went down on Bill Walsh Field.
The game’s shining star? I’ll admit it and I’ll do so proudly. Colin Kaepernick. One hundred percent, it’s a totally different game if Alex Smith starts under center. And it was a game we might very well have lost. I will never change my mind that what Harbaugh did—benching Alex Smith after his concussion—was morally wrong and cold-hearted, but I will say with full conviction that Kaepernick is a sight to behold and I’m elated to see that he's the 49ers starting quarterback.
Did I shake my head, groan, and think the entire game was a lost cause after Kap threw that pick six on his second pass? Of course. And don’t pretend like you didn’t do the same. But the great thing about a pick six (and yes, I’m about to actually come up with a reason why they’re good) is that your offense gets to go right back on the field. Aaron Rodgers and company didn’t get a chance to capitalize on that momentum, effectively giving Kaepernick a chance to shake it off and move on from it. Which, you may have noticed, he did. By leading the Niners down the field and running for a 20-yard TD to tie the game.
According to Green Bay's defensive end Mike Neal, Kaepernick’s running game was "something [they] didn’t account for." No shit. I have to wonder, though, even if they had accounted for it, would it have made a difference? Based on the way he ran all over the Packers, I’m not sure what can of preparation could have kept Kap in check. 444 yards of total offense (263 passing, 181 rushing) and four touchdowns. For the first time in a long time, the key to the game wasn’t the 49ers defense: it was Colin Kaepernick whose rushing yardage total was the most by any quarterback in NFL history. No big deal.
Of course, Kaepernick couldn’t do it alone and he was the first to praise the offensive line, the running backs and the receivers. "It makes it a lot easier on me when other people are making plays." Gotta like a kid with that kind of class. He just destroyed NFL records and the Green Bay Packers and he’s not even thinking about himself.
Of course, as with any game at Candlestick as of late, it wasn't all hugs and hot dogs. On Saturday, 92 people were ejected and 25 were arrested. And that would have been 26 had I taken action against the crazy girl who decided to swing at me. Listen, we all know I've struggled with being a good football fan in my time. But after my trip to Green Bay in September, where all of the fans went out of their way to be welcoming and kind, I returned home a changed woman. When these aggressive 49ers' fans started yelling at the sweetest Green Bay couple sitting next to me, I said something. I mean, this couple wasn't doing a thing to warrant aggression on our part. They barely cheered. Their only mistake, if you will, was wearing green and gold. And last time I checked, anyone who can afford the tickets is welcome to attend an NFL game.
So yeah, when the abuse became too much and I could see that the girl was actually scared, I told the Niners' fan to leave them alone. Which they did. And instead turned their rage towards, you guessed it: me! The 49ers put this sign up during the game that says to text “BAD FAN” if someone in your section is being unruly. That's a great idea. Except that there is no cell service in the ballpark, so it’s completely impossible. Instead, I had to deal with some tanning bed-obsessed crazy chick arms flailing. And when I alerted a security guy who was walking by, he told me he was too busy to deal with it.
So yeah. That was a bummer, but who cares because the Niners won!
A few more highlights:
- Crabtree completely redeemed his almost nonexistent playoff performance from last year (five catches total in two games) with nine catches for 119 yards and two touchdowns. The Packers struggled to cover him and when he wasn’t catching balls, he was making blocks.
- Justin Smith played despite his partially torn triceps tendon; his five tackles don’t accurately reflect how important his presence was on the field. The guy’s a beast. So happy he’s back.
- Joe Staley handled Clay Matthews (who by the way I can’t stand; that hair just drives me bananas and yes, I realize I sound like a parent in the 80s) a lot better than in their previous matchup and even though Matthews did manage one sack (Green Bay’s only sack of the game), Staley looked good and kept him in check most of the time.
- Frank Gore. 119 yards and 1 TD. Best of all, he looked rested and determined. I’ve said it before and I’ll probably say it a hundred more times, but a running back of his caliber deserves a shot at the Super Bowl. I hope he gets it. (He’ll get it.)
- Tarrel Brown broke Aaron Rodgers streak of 183 passes without an interception and then picked off another one late in the game.
- Aaron Rodgers. Oh, Aaron Rodgers. You pretty much totally and completely sucked. You wanted to come to SF and get your revenge and make us regret not drafting you? Hahahahahaha. Silly boy. Go back to Wisconsin and cry into your cheese curds because after that performance there is not one person in the county who wishes you’d been on our side of the ball.
Overall, there was a lot of hugging and screaming, and maybe even a few tears in my section. Sure, I was hoping that Seattle would win yesterday so I’d get to watch the Niners destroy them at home next weekend, but go figure Pete Carroll would unsuccessfully ice the kicker and lose them the game. That’s fine though, we’ve got Atlanta (more on that on Friday).
For now, I’m just thankful for everything the 49ers did on Saturday. For the offense, the defense, the coaching and, even the special teams. I’m thankful the crazy girl didn’t actually hit me in the face. And I’m especially thankful to the MUNI driver who called me two hours after the game ended telling me she found my lost friend asleep on her bus in Hunter’s Point. The Muni driver waited with my friend until they found a taxi to put her in and she arrived home safe and sound less than a half an hour later. I don’t have the driver’s name, but I hope she knows how grateful I am. (The best part? My friend got to my house totally unfazed, said “let’s celebrate,” made me order a pizza, and then passed out two seconds later. Which is fine. I hate sharing my pizza.)
But I love sharing my Niners’ victories. Because, holy cow you guys, WE WON! And I can’t get this smile off of my face. Hopefully, it will never leave.