The San Francisco 49ers stomped the New England Patriots in the first half like they have not been stomped in ten years or so. The Patriots stomped the 49ers in the second half like they have not been stomped since the Nolan years. From epic beat down to epic collapse to nail-biter finish this was truly a game for the ages. And for premature aging.
In the end, the 49ers accomplished what no one thought they could: they whipped the Patriots in Foxborough in the cold and rain in December, forcing four Patriot turnovers. Truly an astonishing victory. As Jimmy Johnson said before the game, “Beat the Patriots and Tom Brady at home in December? No way, no how.” No shit, Jimmy. How ’bout dem Niners!
What a strange game. QB Colin Kaepernick fumbled five times, never lost one of them, and Frank Gore even picked one up and ran it in for a TD. The team blew three scoring opportunities in the first half, yet still managed to explode to a 31-3 lead.
Less than one quarter later, it was suddenly 31-31 and fans had gone from ecstasy to mob anger. Before the second (or third or fourth) chair could be heaved through the window, however, in the next twelve seconds rookie RB LaMichael James ran a kickoff back 62 yards and Kaepernick hit Michael Crabtree for a 38 yard TD.
All that was left was holding Brady to a four and out on his own twelve yard line without injured DT Justin Smith. No problemo. Close enough for the no longer dependable David Akers to chip shot in a FG that sealed the win.
The 49ers are seriously more explosive these days, but also stumble-bumble prone, as during the five consecutive three-and-outs that fueled the Patriot comeback. That and a defense that suddenly quit pressuring Brady. When it comes to the playoffs, who knows what will happen? They could beat anybody or shoot themselves in the foot right off the bat.
The win knocked the Patriots out of the number two seed in the AFC, much to the pleasure of folks in Denver. It also stuck a dagger in the Seahawks hopes of winning the division and getting to host a playoff game. Whether they beat the 49ers next week or not, the Niners need only beat Arizona at home on the final weekend to win the division. If they win both games, they get a playoff bye week and the number two seed.
The 49ers have now beaten Green Bay and New England on the road this year, something they had failed to do in each place for twenty years or so. They haven’t won a Super Bowl in eighteen years, either. Is that next on the list of achievements? We’re two games away from finding out.