SF 49ers: 10 most painful playoff losses in franchise history

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel (19) Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel (19) Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /
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Kyle Williams, SF 49ers
Kyle Williams #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

No. 7: SF 49ers 2012 NFC Championship loss to NY Giants

Final Score: NY Giants 20, SF 49ers 17

Ah, yes. The Kyle Williams fumbling game.

Much like how the SF 49ers pulled off a miraculous come-from-behind victory over the Packers in 1999, only to lose to the Falcons the following week, the 2011 Niners were riding high after managing an emotional and insane win over the New Orleans Saints, which revitalized quarterback Alex Smith’s career under then-first-year head coach Jim Harbaugh.

Harbaugh’s defense was rolling that 2011 season, and the Wild Card NY Giants, who had gone 9-7 during the regular season, seemed to be no match in the NFC Championship game.

But the Giants went toe-to-toe with Smith and Co. with quarterback Eli Manning matching his opponent’s touchdown passes with two.

San Francisco was still up 14-10 in the fourth quarter, though, and the Giants were forced to punt late. Unfortunately for the SF 49ers, their primary return specialist, Ted Ginn, was out with an injury, forcing Williams to take over in his stead.

Williams elected not to field that punt, but the ball bounced up and hit him. New York subsequently recovered, then took a 17-14 lead with just over eight minutes remaining.

The Niners tied things up to send the game into overtime, but Williams was put in the negative spotlight again by fumbling another punt return in the extra frame.

The Giants would kick their game-winning field goal and advance to the Super Bowl, where they’d pull off another upset over the New England Patriots. And as things turned out, San Francisco’s lone turnovers in the game stemmed from Williams’ gaffes.

What if, right?