Kyle Williams. All the finger pointing has been going towards the direction of the second year wide receiver after the San Francisco 49ers fell short against the New York Giants in the NFC championship game. Williams had two costly fumbles that eventually resulted in 10 points for the Giants. The crucial fumble coming in overtime, this gave the Giants great field position to set up a game winning field goal. When the game concluded I was seriously depressed. I am sure many Niner fans were sharing the same emotions, if not worst. When I had time to cool down and evaluate the game I realized that it is unfair to put all the blame on Williams. I do believe in the saying, “We fall as a team and we rise as a team.” Here are the other factors that contributed to the Niners defeat.
First let me say the Niners defense played their hearts out. That was one of the most inspiring defensive performances I have ever seen. In the fourth quarter and overtime the defense would not give an inch. QB Eli Manning found himself on the grass time after time again.
Throughout the season the Niners had fed off turnovers, but we could not snag one on Sunday. The Niners had their chances though; there were times in the second half where a few of the Niner defensive backs had their chances to get a pick. We all remember when FS Dashon Goldson and CB Tarell Brown collided as they both were pursuing a poorly thrown ball from Eli.
The turnover the Niners should have had was when the Niner defenders stood up Giants RB Ahmad Bradshaw and a second later stripped the ball out of his hands. But the fumble never occurred because the referee blew the play dead due to forward progress being stopped. I thought it was too quick of a whistle.
Usually forward progress is blown dead when the running back has been stood up for a few seconds and is starting to be driven backwards. In the Niners case, two Niners were converging on the tackle while one of the tacklers was attempting to strip the ball. It was bull you know what.
Even with the first fumble committed by Williams, the Niners still had their chances to win the game. After a mega stop by the defense to force the Giants to punt, the Niners had the ball with just less than two minutes and all three timeouts remaining. The score was tied 17-17, so realistically all the Niners had to do is get the ball into field goal range for their pro bowl kicker.
Except the Niners went three and out with each play being passes. It really puzzled me. There was more than enough time for the Niners to mix up the play calling. Up to that point in the game the Niners had great success on the ground. Those three plays only took 18 seconds off the clock. Not only did we not score, it was poor clock management as well.
In overtime the Giants won the coin toss and elected to receive. Once again the defense came up big and forced a punt. The Niner offense had a chance the win the game again with a potential game ending field goal, but the offense stalled going three and out. QB Alex Smith could not continue his late game heroics. Although he had a good game, in clutch time he could not get into a rhythm with is fellow offensive players.
Kick/Punt Returner Ted Ginn Jr
Quickly I just want to ask, “Who would have thought having Ginn out for the game would had played such a huge factor?” Wow! I honestly did not think his absence was going to be a big deal. It shows you cannot take any player for granted, no matter what position.
Even though it is hard not to dwell on what could have been, sooner or later we all have to move on. The lost hurts, but someone recently put a smile to my face regarding the Niners season and future. I was watching a video on the 49ers website; LB Patrick Willis was being interviewed and he had a genuine smile to his face. He was so happy with the season they had and joyful with the possibilities the future holds. Almost as if he knows that this season was only just the beginning. Seeing our captain with that swagger and positive outlook really made me excited to be a Niner fan. GO NINERS!!!!!!!!