Now that the 2012 season has finally come to an end, San Francisco 49ers fans can now reminisce on the great season that was. With an abundance of game breaking plays in crucial moments, I have identified five plays that helped transform a once promising season into a Super Bowl reality.
5. Dashon Goldson’s hit leads to Donte Whitner’s 42-yard TD Return
On a pass intended for New Orleans Saint WR Marques Colston, FS Dashon Goldson delivered a punishing hit, allowing the ball to sail in the hands of SS Donte Whitner, who did the rest. Whitner would then go on and maneuver his way to a 42-yard interception return. The play proved to be a crucial one, as the Saints were only down one score at the time, 14-21, before Whitner took it to the house, putting the game out of reach.
4. Michael Crabtree’s 38-yard TD reception against the New England Patriots
With the score tied 31-31, QB Colin Kaepernick completed a 6-yard hitch-route to WR Michael Crabtree, who then broke an arm tackle by New England Patriots CB Kyle Arrington, and steam rolled his way en route to a 38-yard touchdown. The play proved to be the deciding factor, as the 49ers won a tough game on the road, 41-34.
3. David Akers makes NFL record 63-yard field-goal
In an effort to send a message to the rest of the NFL, 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh allowed K David Akers to attempt a NFL-record 63-yard field goal attempt. With the 49ers leading 13-7, Akers boomed the ball 62 3/4 before meeting the crossbar. Luckily for Akers, the ball received a kicker’s bounce, as the ball’s momentum moved the ball passed the up-rights. It was a huge momentum swing and provided the 49ers with a two score lead heading into halftime.
With the score tied 24-24, quarterback Colin Kaepernick kept the read-option from running back LaMichael James and ran for an uncontested 56-yard touchdown. The play not only helped break the game wide open, but also quieted his critics, by setting a new quarterback record for rushing yards in a game, with 181 yards, as the 49ers eventually won 45-31.
1. NaVorro Bowman breaks up pass in NFC Championship Game
On the game’s deciding snap, Bowman knew the play before it even happened. With Falcons WR Roddy White lined up in the slot, White ran a short crossing route in front of Bowman, and as the two were positioned to make a play for the ball, Bowman won, on a deflected pass! The game’s most crucial play, sent the 49ers to the Super Bowl, while sending the Falcons packing.