You guys are all spoiled.
Every single sports fan in the Bay Area is spoiled due to the events that have taken place this year. The Giants won the World Series, the A’s had a magical run, the 49ers made the NFC Championship, Stanford is in the Rose Bowl, the Warriors are 20-10, the Sharks made the playoffs, and, well, everythingis going right.
Being a Bay Area sports fan has never been more rewarding, and our rewards have been the memorable games. There have been so many memorable games this year, and I want to remember all of those games. The best way to do that is by writing about it, so here is my countdown of the five most memorable Bay Area sports games this year.
Stanford 17, Oregon 14: Stanford wasn’t expected to beat Oregon, but they fought hard until the end and contained the high-powered Oregon offense. Kevin Hogan led them downfield and hit Zach Ertz for a touchdown that was overturned after video replay, and the Cardinal won in overtime on a 37-yard field goal from Jordan Williamson, who redeemed himself for his Fiesta Bowl fiasco. You can read the game recap here.
A’s 4, Rangers 3: Oakland was trying to clinch a playoff berth for the first time since 2006, and they did it on October 1, 2012. Grant Balfour finished off the game that was won by ace Jarrod Parker, and Coco Crisp had a run and an RBI double. Balfour struck out the side in the ninth inning, and mass pandemonium ensued. You can read the game recap here.
Giants 2, Reds 1: San Francisco was down 2-0 in the NLDS, and Ryan Vogelsong struggled early. Brandon Philips reached to lead off and took second on a wild pitch, only to be cut down at third base by Buster Posey. This play saved the game, and Hunter Pence’s sliding catch in the second inning boosted Vogelsong and the bullpen, which twirled five scoreless innings. Joaquin Arias hit a ground ball that was bobbled by Scott Rolen in the 10th, and it scored Posey for the winning run. You can read the game recap here.
5. A’s Magical Run Continues on Walk-off by Crisp
The A’s were a magical team, but most people considered them done when they trailed 3-1 entering the ninth inning of Game 4 of the ALDS, and the Tigers were just three outs away from a win. However, erratic closer Jose Valverde blinked, and the A’s stormed back.
Josh Reddick singled, and Josh Donaldson blasted a double. Seth Smith did the same, tying the game, and after two outs recorded by the Tigers, Crisp stepped up to the plate. He grounded the first pitch into the hole for a base hit, and Smith charged around third base. The ball skipped under Avisail Garcia’s glove, ending the game and making the o.Co Coliseum erupt.
The A’s were eliminated the next day, but no one forgot that incredible game. It summed up the whole magical season for the A’s, and Oakland has plenty of memories from the season. You can read the recap for ALDS Game 4 and our fifth best game right here.
4. 49ers See Super Bowl Bid, Then Lose It
The 49ers had to be feeling lucky to be in the NFC Championship, but they forgot their first playoff game when Kyle Williams lost two punts and cost the 49ers the NFC Championship Game.
San Francisco had all the momentum after some defensive stops and two touchdowns from Alex Smith to Vernon Davis, until a punt touched Williams’ knee and the Giants recovered the ball. Eli Manning, who had already hooked up with former 49er Bear Pascoe for a touchdown, hit Mario Manningham for a crushing score on third-and-long, giving the Giants the lead. San Francisco tied it, but they lost it in overtime.
Williams had the ball stripped from him by linebacker Jacquian Williams, and Devin Thomas recovered his second fumble of the game. Lawrence Tynes kicked a chip shot field goal, and the Giants rode off into the Super Bowl and then the sunset, while all the 49ers could do was wonder what could have been. The breakdown of the game is right here.
3. Giants Make Torture Relevant Again, Finish Off NLDS Comeback
Calling San Francisco’s reign of terror in the final three games of the NLDS a comeback isn’t enough. It takes a lot more description to describe what Buster Posey and the Giants did to beat the Reds. However, there is a word to describe Buster Posey’s key home run: bomb.
Posey blasted a grand slam on a fastball from anti-Giant Mat Latos, giving the Giants a 6-0 lead after an RBI triple from Brandon Crawford and a run-scoring error on Zack Cozart. However, the Giants wouldn’t get any of those last 15 outs easily. The Reds clawed and fought, getting two in the fifth and one in the sixth. They threatened again in the sixth, but Matt Cain retired Ryan Hanigan on a great outside fastball, then Posey threw to Sandoval at third to catch Jay Bruce stealing.
However, that wasn’t all. Dioner Navorro hit a sinking liner with the potential to score two runs, but Angel Pagan cheated in before the ball was hit and dove to make a great catch, ending the eighth inning. In the ninth, the Reds had two on with one out and the dangerous Jay Bruce at the plate, and he saw 12 pitches. Sergio Romo got him to fly out to left field, before striking out Scott Rolen to end the epic game.
San Francisco finished off the Cardinals and Tigers next, winning the World Series. However, I think that this was the best game of the playoffs, and I think you should read more about it. You can read more about this incredible, epic game right here.
2. Romo Freezes Cabrera, Ends World Series Torture For San Francisco
Not many expected the Giants to beat the Tigers in the World Series. No one expected a sweep. But when Marco Scutaro hit the game-winning singleand Sergio Romo got the save, we knew it had happened.
The Giants shut out the Tigers in Game 2 and Game 3, and they were looking to do the same with Matt Cain in Game 4. They got some early help when Hunter Pence and Brandon Belt crushed pitches for a double and triple on back-to-back pitches, as Belt knocked in Pence for the 1-0 lead. Miguel Cabrera hit a two-run homer aided by the wind in the third inning to break the scoreless streak, but the Giants stayed in the game.
Brandon Crawford robbed Quintin Berry and Prince Fielder with spectacular defensive plays, and Posey broke a slump in the sixth. He crushed a home run to left field, and even though it went into the wind, it made it over the fence by a good amount. Delmon Young got even with a solo shot of his own, though, and it was down to the bullpen.
Both did well, but Ryan Theriot singled to lead off the tenth. A bunt moved him over to second, and after Pagan struck out, Scutaro came up against Phil Coke. He lined a high, outside pitch into center field for an RBI single, and it was the game-winner. Romo then carved up Austin Jackson and Don Kelly with a steak knife before setting down Miguel Cabrera with a perfectly placed fastball to end the season.
The game and the season both were incredible, and they both ended very well. To read more about the game, click here.
1. 49ers And Saints Go Back And Forth Before Magic Propels 49ers to Victory
When you think of clutch quarterbacks, I’m sure Alex Smith doesn’t come to mind. But with two touchdown drives in the final minutes of the 49ers-Saints playoff game, he made himself known as clutch.
Smith and the 49ers defense helped them take a 17-0 lead on the Saints, as Smith hit Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree for touchdowns. Dashon Goldson intercepted Drew Brees, and a fumble forced on the kickoff after Crabtree’s touchdown reception led to a field goal, making it 17-0. However, the Saints clawed back.
Brees hit Jimmy Graham and Marques Colston for touchdowns, and it was 17-14 at halftime. The game was relatively boring for the majority of the second half, as a big run by Frank Gore that set up a field goal was the big play. However, with the score at 23-17 and just over five minutes remaining, the chaos took place.
Darren Sproles caught a screen pass from Brees and dashed to the house to put the Saints ahead for the first time, but Smith wouldn’t be stopped. He lobbed a beautiful pass to Vernon Davis before taking a 3rd and 7 bootleg and turning it into a touchdown, as good blocks from Kyle Williams (yes, him) and Joe Staley paved the way for a magical touchdown run.
Brees wouldn’t be stopped, though. After the 49ers missed the two-point conversion, Brees and co didn’t. They made their conversion after a crazy catch and run by Jimmy Graham, as he caught a 66-yard touchdown pass to make it 32-29. Smith needed to repeat his magic, and he did just that, hooking up with Davis on a perfect pass over the middle.
The 49ers were in field goal range, but they wanted more. Davis ran straight and cut over the middle, and Smith saw it. He threw another perfect pass in there, and Davis held on for the game-winning score. Pandemonium followed, and Davis was seen crying after the incredible play. The 49ers had won, and they had written a chapter in their storybook that will be remembered for ages.