(By Daisy Barringer)
I’m not into feelings. I don’t like feeling anger or sadness. Don’t even get me started on disappointment, though it’s often one of the hardest to avoid. And so I try to be pretty mellow about things: work, friendship, boys, whatever. The thing is, I think we’re hard wired to have to feel feelings. And all of mine — all of them — go toward 49ers football.
I know I’m not alone in this. But I also know that there are people who think it’s silly to care so much about a game. Especially a game over which we have no control. If you’re one of those people, that’s okay. I get it. I really do. But, nonetheless, you’ll probably want to stop reading here, lest you roll your eyes right out of your head about what I’m going to say next...
The 49ers 23-17 loss to the Seahawks in yesterday’s NFC Championship Game was one of the hardest things I’ve had to watch in a long time. Well, since the Niners came up five yards short in New Orleans last February. The thing that made it so painful? We had it.
Before kickoff, my friends and I decorated our area at the bar with 49ers blankets, scarves, and flags. It’s the kind of thing that’s totally silly to do, but made perfect sense. Our boys were about to fight for their lives and we were giddy with anticipation. In fact, I’d spent the entire morning alternating between heavy sighs of terror and sporadic, uncontrollable bursts of tears.
But then the game started and Aldon Smith forced a Russell Wilson fumble and the first play from scrimmage and I just knew everything was going to be alright.
I was wrong.
Frankly, I don't feel like getting into the nitty-gritty. It’s too painful and too soon to relive all of it. There were some amazing moments in the game. Gore couldn’t get much going with the run game, but Colin Kaepernick ran like the gazelle that he is, rushing for 130 yards total. He also threw some great passes, including a stunning TD pass to Boldin to put the Niners up 17-10 in the third quarter.
That was the play during which my best friend gave me a high five but missed my hand and instead hit me in the face. It was also when a complete stranger hugged me so hard that he split my lip open ever so slightly. For the rest of the game I tasted blood.
The defense also played well, but ultimately allowed Lynch to rush for more than 100 yards and gave up enough big plays that Seattle was able to take the lead on 4th-and-7 at the beginning of the fourth quarter.
I’m not going to lie: I’m pissed at the refs. I thought they made several really horrendous calls, including the personal foul (helmet-to-helmet) on Whitner, the personal foul on Carlos Rogers when he pushed a receiver out of bounds, “running into the kicker” instead of “roughing the passer” when a Seahawks corner hit him in the leg (that one would have given the 49ers an automatic first down), and of course the one that will haunt me the longest: the non-call when NaVorro Bowman clearly recovered a fumble on the San Francisco 1-yard-line and also suffered a horrendous knee injury.
And here is why I think Seattle fans are classless idiots who don’t deserve a trip to the Super Bowl:
As Bowman was being carted to the locker room, his season clearly over, Seahawks threw food at him. Let me repeat that: The player whose amazing season just ended while he was recovering a fumble and was hurt so badly that he couldn’t even walk off of the field on his own? THEY THREW FOOD AT HIM.
Scum of the earth. And I mean that with every inch of my being. Just horrible, horrible, horrible people. It makes me sick to think about and as I type this, I’m getting teary.
That being said, I just want to thank Bowman for everything he did for the 49ers this year. He played his heart out and we wouldn’t have gotten to where we did without him. I am sick that got injured and even sicker about how Seahawks fans reacted, but I just hope that he has a speedy recovery and comes back next year with a vengeance.
But back to the refs Ultimately, they call the game. It’s in their hands. And if they blow it, they blow it. There’s literally nothing anyone can do about it. They made some really bad calls, sure, but it was up the 49ers to win the game.
And it looked like they might be able to nab it. For once, the 49ers had three time outs as they began their final drive with 3:32 left. A drive on which they had to score a touchdown. Kap drove the ball down the field. He converted a 4th-and-2 with a 17 yard pass to Frank Gore. He threw a 16-yard completion to Crabtree on 3rd-and-2. And his 11-yard-pass to Vernon Davis gave the 49ers a first down at Seattle’s 18-yard-line.
Thirty seconds left. Two timeouts. I was now huddled in a corner, tears brimming, willing it to happen. We could do this. This was ours to win. Just 18 more yards and the 49ers were going to the Super Bowl. THE SUPER BOWL.
Instead, Kap’s pass to Crabtree was deflected by Richard Sherman and intercepted.
And Seattle’s going to the Super Bowl. The 49ers are going home.
I haven’t cried like that in a long, long time. Boys in real life can’t break my heart because my heart belongs to the 49ers. I know the Niners didn’t do it on purpose, but yesterday they took my heart, gave me every reason to believe, and then let me down in the most brutal way possible. I mean, it was bad enough to lose, but to let Richard Sherman be the reason why?
I’m too scared to even talk smack about the dude because he clearly should be in an insane asylum and not on a football field and I feel like if I said what I really thought of him, he wouldn’t hesitate to hunt me down. But I don’t even need to say it because everyone who was watching the post-game interview with Erin Andrews saw it. He’s a poor sport. He has no class. He’s rude, he’s disrespectful, and it just sucks that a guy like him gets a chance to play in the Super Bowl. The good thing? He’s not on my team and I would never want him on my team.
If I sound a little bitter, by the way, it’s because I am. I’m bitter. I’m sad. I’m defeated. And I’m totally exhausted.
Kaepernick said he cost the 49ers the game during his post-game interview and while I don’t like to put all of the blame on one guy, it’s hard not to look at his three turnovers in the fourth quarter (a fumble and two interceptions) and think that those made all of the difference.
But as Patrick Willis said: “We win as a team, we lose as a team.” And he’s right. Because it doesn’t matter who cost us the game. The fact of the matter is: we lost. And it sucks and it hurts and it probably will for a little while. My suggestion: Stay far away from ESPN. The Super Bowl coverage is not going to help anyone heal from this wound.
No, the only thing that will do that is the post-season (well that and a Broncos victory in New York). Knowing that the 49ers have been to the NFC Championship Game in all three years that Harbaugh has coached. That we have one of the best defense in the NFL and a young quarterback who is athletic and motivated and can only get better. Sure, there are a lot of things up in the air for the players on the team, but I believe we will make another run for the Super Bowl next year. And I believe we can make it.
I love this team. I love them so much. And even though I am devastated today, I don’t want to end this without letting them know how much I appreciate everything they do. They work hard. They play hard. And they inspire me every day. Sure, the Seahawks and the Broncos are going to the Super Bowl, but there is nothing I would rather be than a 49ers’ fan. I bleed red and gold (proven by the fat lip I received) and I will for the rest of my life. But this team—this team right here and right now? There’s something special there. And I’m glad I’m here to witness it.
They say the higher you climb, the farther you fall. It’s what makes being a football fan so intense and so emotional. Because we got to the NFC Championship, this loss hurts worse than any other of the season. But I’d rather get there and lose than not get there at all.
Still I feel like I’m still falling. It’s going to be a rough couple of days. And so, for now, I thank you for following along with me all season. For being such amazing fans. And for believing that next year is our year.
Maybe tomorrow I’ll feel like getting out of bed, but right now? It’s time to put the covers back over my head and have one more good cry.