Heading into today’s game, San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh called it the most important game of the season. With their backs against the wall, and fighting for the NFC West crown, the Niners needed to come out swinging, and they answered the call!
Starting with the New England Patriots opening drive, the Niners defense forced a crucial three and out. It was a psychological win for the defense and set the tone for the rest of the game.
On the 49ers first offensive series, quarterback Colin Kaepernick played like a seasoned vet. He went 5 of 6 for 63 yards, ending in a touchdown. It was the type of offensive game-plan that needed to be installed, in order for the 49ers to have a chance, and it worked.
With the Niners taking an early 7-0 lead it gave their defense some temporary breathing room as the Patriots ended up playing from behind, the rest of the game.
The defense harassed New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady all game long and forced four turnovers, including two interceptions. 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Vangio’s game-plan was simple, play man-to-man and resist the urge to blitz. The plan worked perfectly as Brady was contained just enough for the Niners to pull out a victory.
As for Kaepernick, he played arguably his best game on the game’s biggest stage tonight. He was poised all game and made incredible plays all over the field, including four touchdowns passes. For those who are wondering if Harbaugh made the right move, I think it’s clear now, that he definitely has.
The primary beneficiary of Kaepernick’s play had to be wide receiver Michael Crabtree. The player known for his “crab-shake” dance finished with 7 receptions for 107 yards and two touchdowns. Crabtree played with great agility and turned minimal gains into game-changing plays, including a 38-yard touchdown catch and run.
The game was a high-scoring affair with two offenses going back and forth. It wasn’t your typical shootout because the 49ers held a 31-3 lead and the Patriots scored 28 unanswered points to get back in the game, but it was nonetheless both exciting and fun to watch, no matter which team you were rooting for.
Fortunately for the 49ers, they came out on top, winning 41-34. With the 49ers improving to 10-3-1 they clinched a playoff berth but not the NFC West, as their fate for that, will be determined next week in Seattle.