(By Daisy Barringer)
All I can say is thank God. The 49ers defeated the Seahawks 19-17 allowing us to keep our final playoff spot and, more important, our pride and momentum.
Sure, as the bitter Seahawks fans who were exiting the stadium after the game were quick to remind anyone who would listen, they're still 11-2, two games ahead of the Niners and likely to claim the NFC West title. But as much as the Seattle fans wanted that to bring Niners fans down, there was nothing they could say to overshadow our hard-fought victory.
The MVP of the game might have to be Phil Dawson whose four field goals made all of the difference and whose final field goal of the game is what brought the scored from 17-16 (Seattle) to 19-17 (Niners). Which, thanks to great clock management (and an interception by Eric Wright on Russell Wilson's deep and desperate as the clock wound down) is what sealed the deal for the Niners. Dawson also now holds the franchise record for more consecutive field goals (20).
Of course, Dawson can't actually be the MVP since I don't think kickers are even eligible for that award. Also because of FRANK GORE. The Niners offense was struggling big time in the second half. And with only 6:20 left, Seattle had the lead. But it was Gore who ran for 51 yards to put the Niners inside Seattle's twenty. That run, oh, it was a thing of beauty. With that run, you just knew. We had this in hand. And it was all thanks to Gore who had, as I predicted a 100 yard game (17 carries, 110 yards). Guess I am psychic after all!
The real MVP of the game, however, has to be the Niners' defense. They did everything they could to shut down Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch, and were especially effective in the second half when they held the Seahawks to just three points. Unfortunately, they were rewarded for their effort with field goals, which has to be a huge frustration for them.
That's right: the Niners continue to struggle in the red zone. I don't know who to blame. Kaepernick? Greg Roman? Field goals may have won this game, but field goals won't win every game. They definitely won't win playoff games.
In fact, even though Roman had a few good play calls (the Kaepernick bootleg on 3rd and 7th in the 4th), one has to think he will not be the Niners offensive coordinator next year. What's not going to change is Kaepernick. Sure, he was playing one of the best defenses in the league, but he only went 15 for 29 for 175 yards and 1 TD. Oh, and he threw an interception inside the Seattle 20 yard line.
Luckily, Crabtree and Boldin are both looking good. Thank god Crabtree is back. That ensured Boldin wasn't covered by the entire Seattle D at all times and he had a great day - 6 of 8 for 93 yards.
Seahwaks cornerback Richard Sherman who only days ago said he always chooses his words “carefully,” clearly forgot about that mantra and said that the return of Crabtree “didn't make a difference at all.” No no. They didn't lose because the Niners outplayed them. Rather, according to Sherman, the refs are who won the game for the 49ers because the Niners “got the benefit of a few calls” and “that is what made the difference.”
Be a man, Sherman. Accept that the Niners drove 76 yards in the last six minutes to set up the winning field goal thanks to Gore's stunning 51-yard-run on which, guess what? There were no flags. No one likes a poor loser, Sherman. But then again, no one really likes you. So I guess it all works out.
Other highlights included the blocked punt (though again, that only led to a field goal), the D holding Marshawn Lynch to only 72 yards (3.6 yards per carry), Vernon Davis' 8-yard TD reception right before the end of the first half, Crabtree catching four passes for 40 yards, two Russell Wilson sacks (Bowman and McDonald), and mostly the fact that the 49ers playoff hopes are very much still alive.
The math on these things gets crazy. Philadelphia won which was a bummer. But Carolina lost, so that's good. Arizona also won—bad. But luckily, the Niners next games are at Tampa Bay (total winnable) and against the Falcons on Monday night at home. That's also the last game ever (most likely) at The ‘Stick, so people will be more fired up than usual.
Speaking of fired up, I was elated to see the 49ers fans really bring it yesterday. Everyone was on his feet for the entire game making tons of noise and doing their best to play their part.
Of course, there are some people who simply can't understand why anyone would stand during a football game, like the curmudgeonly man who stopped me on my way to the ladies room just to bitch at me for standing all of the time. (For the record, I only stand when the people in front of me are standing and on big third downs.) “I've been watching the back of you for TWO years,” he bitched. “Well, lucky for you, I have a great ass!” I replied. I have no idea what he was trying to accomplish, saying something now, when there's only one game left, but I guess he just wanted to ensure he put some kind of damper on my day. Thanks, dude. Sorry you're too lazy to STAND. But we're at a football game, so... not my problem.
My friend and I also had the joy of being seated next to a man from Idaho who was just there for the experience, but also felt it necessary to quiz us on our 49ers knowledge since, and I quote, “most girls don't know anything about football.” He was legitimately impressed when asking who my favorite player was that I needed him to qualify offense of defense. Seriously people... being a girl is the worst sometimes.
The best part though was attending the game with my friend who is really pretty and in great shape. I'd never seen anything like it. Men were so desperate to talk to her that she was getting compliments (more than one) on HER SOCKS. The guys behind us basically shoved me out of the way to get to her, using lines like “Do you do pilates?” which, sorry boys: didn't work. Like, at all.
Even on the bus ride home, two guys (one married with a baby on the way) were chatting her up. The unmarried guy even stood up and gave her his seat. The other guy let me stand. Unmarried guy asked her if he gave her a hug and grabbed her ass if she'd be offended or take that as a compliment. I mean, I can't make this stuff up.
At some point they decided to question my ability with children and I said kids like me. They didn't believe me and asked me how that could be true. “I think it's because I look and sound a little bit like a Disney character,” I explained.
“Beauty or the Beast?” one of them asked.
“Pluto,” the other responded.
But hey, at least the Niners won!