Heart of a Champion

Before the NFC Championship Game, former San Francisco 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo referred to the upcoming game as “just a warm up.” As it turned out, he was eerily correct. The 49ers took a quarter to warm up, while the Falcons cruised to a 17-0 lead, then walloped them 28-7 over the final three quarters, pitching a shutout in the second half.

However, for us poor schlubs out here kneeling in the pews, this game was anything but a piece of cake. In fact, one more completed pass from Falcon QB Matt Ryan and we would all be eating a turd sandwich, not cake.

But, he didn’t. And, we aren’t. AND THE SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS ARE GOING TO THEIR SIXTH SUPER BOWL!

A few hours after the game, the “other” Harbaugh put a smiley face on the entire day by sweeping the POS Patriots off the stage and sparing the nation another year of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick overkill. No, this year we will hear way too much about Jack Harbaugh and his sons. Hey, anything that eats into the media face time of Baltimore’s nauseating, overrated, preening LB is fine by me.

From the get-go, Sunday’s game just felt like one the 49ers were destined to lose. After digging a 17-0 hole, the offense finally got going and methodically chewed up the Falcons for the rest of the game. After pulling within three at 24-21 early in the third quarter, however, destiny laughed in our faces not once, but twice.

The first occurred after Chris Culliver intercepted Ryan for what looked like a game changing turnover. The Niners drove into Falcon territory and on a critical third down, it was practice squad call up Chad Hall who was targeted while number one draft pick AJ Jenkins stood on the sideline. A ringing endorsement of just how useless Jenkins has been this year and just how little the 49ers think of him at this point in the season.

The pass was incomplete and beleaguered kicker David Akers then boinked the tying field goal off the left upright. Ryan then drove down the field again, only to fumble away the ball, giving the Niners yet another chance to finally take the lead.

This time, Michael Crabtree, who had a quiet game while Vernon Davis once again was a playoff star, fumbled the ball at the goal line and that creepy not-our-day feeling gained serious momentum. The team forced a three and out, though, and finally, with eight and a half minutes left in the game, Frank Gore roared into the end zone for the first 49er lead of the day at 28-24.

Atlanta then chewed up almost the entire quarter, going on a seven minute drive that finally ended on fourth and four from the 49er ten yard line. As Ryan’s last pass clanked to the turf, the only thought the team and its fans seemed to have was, “Hey, wait a minute! We just won the game!”

It wasn’t as dramatic as “The Catch” game of 1981, but it had the same scenario and same impact. The offense took the lead in the fourth quarter, the defense came up with the game saving stop, and a new era of 49er championship football is finally under way. All that remains is to seal the deal two weeks from now in New Orleans.

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35 comments on “Heart of a Champion
  1. Mr FletchNo Gravatar says:

    It was great to see Mike Nolan doing what he does best – completely failing to make any in game adjustments. When the Niners coaches adjusted to the Falcons’ D, Nolan had no counter-adjustment.

    That’s the Coach Nolan we all know and love.

  2. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Nothing could be finer than to be a 49er in the Super Bowl!

  3. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Atlana came out in the Spread and seemed to catch us by surprise. We came out in a modified SCO and went 3 and out twice. After that we started spreading the formations much more often and the offense started to roll.
     
    On defense, Nolan came out with aggressive defense, something he is not known for. He went back into his shell when we started spreading the formations. Nolan is what Nolan does!
     
    I had my doubts but in the end we pulled it out by pinching a shut out in the 2nd half.

  4. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Oops- We “pitched” a shut out, not “piched.”

  5. tonyNo Gravatar says:

    What a great feeling this is….and just imagine…last week Kappy opens with a pick six…this week its a 17 point hole, on the road, in a very loud dome stadium…and it doesnt matter…. what a great team…and now we have that star QB again my friends….thankyou Jim Harbaugh!!!

  6. bullitNo Gravatar says:

    Brooks did hurt Ryan when he tacled him and Ryan landed on his shoulder.
    Ryan has a sprained AC joint which is a separated left shoulder.
    On the fourth down play Bowman was entitled to that spot on the field and it was Roddy White that made initial contact. It was a no harm no foul and the refs did the right thing by keeping the laundry in their pockets.

  7. tonyNo Gravatar says:

    By the way guys…think there’s a few soon to be free agents that would like to play on the west coast for a super bowl team ?…and if we trade Alex we should get a good draft pick or two…and with all our own picks…….this teams only going to get better…man im loving this 🙂

  8. bullitNo Gravatar says:

    I believe the major topic is going to be Akers.
    Since his injury he has been unable to “work” the ball. His kicks do not hook or slice as his kicking motion has changed.
    Yesterday he hit it staright and being on the left hash it hit the goalpost.
    He needs to make the adjustment or they might have to bring back Cundiff (imagine the drama to face his old team in the Super Bowl)
    The Niners have 4 moves in the postseason and have used one on Chad Hall.
    We came out of yesterday’s game relatively injury free. The only guy I saw hurt was Iupati but he toughed it out and stayed in and
    didn’t miss a play.

  9. tonyNo Gravatar says:

    This is what an owner is suppose to do…Hey Jerry Jones you listining?…“After the [Bears] game, Jim and I sat down [in his office] and I asked him, ‘What’s your gut?‘” owner Jed York told Mike Silver of Yahoo! Sports after Sunday’s win. “He said, ‘Kaep. You OK [with that]?’ I said, ‘It’s your team. You’ve got to go after it. Whatever you think works. I can defend either decision, and I understand either decision.’

  10. bullitNo Gravatar says:

    Tony

    After we win #6 we’ll be drafting last. We move down 4 slots from the 5th best record.
    I’ll take that spot for the next 50 years.

  11. bullitNo Gravatar says:

    Jed York admitting his mistake
    and the “49er Way” going forward.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tLIhhESfUcw
    I believe the slate is now clean and it is safe to say our owners
    are committed to winning Super Bowls and being the best.
    Niners are a team on the rise and emerging and we’re in good hands.

  12. bullitNo Gravatar says:

    Apparently they cannot re-sign Cundiff because he was waived.
    The options are Neil Rackers or Jeff Reed if they decide to jettison Akers.

  13. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    Cam Inman suggests we call our offensive line “The Motorcade”. Not too bad.

  14. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Looks like Akers stays.

  15. bullitNo Gravatar says:

    When the Niners had the ball and were trying to kill the clock and lined up in a shotgun I had a flashback that they were going to run that option pitch play.
    I hope they scrap using the shotgun in that situation because a bad snap will lose you the game. The defense knows you’re running the ball and are run blitzing.
    To top it off CK is calling audibles and getting a delay of game. A WTF moment.

  16. barleyfreakNo Gravatar says:

    Berger — the shots of Aker’s face after he missed showed a beaten man. Seriously. My wife was looking at his face and kept saying that he was utterly defeated. Sure looked like it to me too. It is such a mind game at this point, it’s hard to see JH using him for anything less than PATs.

  17. bullitNo Gravatar says:

    They should call the Oline
    “IHOP”
    Iupati’s House Of Pancakes
    Now that’s a cheezy nickname.

  18. robNo Gravatar says:

    BARLEY

    IMO akers is more than a bit shell-shocked after his days in philly ! for akers this is a slump ! for some kickers it’s just another day at the office ! missing 10 kicks a year … a 25-35 kind of thing to me is pretty common !
    ok , so akers missed 13 in the regular season but you get the point !
    akers should just kick it , let it fly and let the chips fall where they may ! imho he’s pressing !

    come to think of it even alex smith might take that advice to heart too … but i digress !

  19. robNo Gravatar says:

    BARLEY

    come to think of it … want to talk ‘beaten man’ ?

    did you see the body language on atlanta when we pulled to 14-17 ?
    omg
    how do you lead 17-13 in the NFC championship and look like you just lost your season opener … and your best friend !

  20. robNo Gravatar says:

    oops i mean 14-17

  21. robNo Gravatar says:

    GRUMPY

    ” Rob, if defense was everything though, the last four teams in playoff contention would all have great defenses, right? ”

    guess which two teams are left !

    the one with the best defense over the last couple years and the one with the best defense this decade ! no surprise to anybody imo

    GOTCHA lol

  22. robNo Gravatar says:

    SO YOU GUYS

    what did we do different (on defense )
    over the last three quarters that we didn’t do in the first ?

  23. robNo Gravatar says:

    0-17 vs. 28-7 !!!

  24. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    We were playing soft coverage on the outside. We started mixing in press coverage and five or six pass rushers to go along with the 4 man rush.

  25. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Plus, our offense started to keep the ball longer which allowed the defense to get a little bit of rest.

  26. Grumpy GuyNo Gravatar says:

    We got no pressure I noticed on Ryan in the first. We started getting pressure in the 2nd, but he kept making plays for a little while. Our DBs played better after halftime and made some plays and we shit them out after halftime. The key play of the game was Ahmad Brooks, laying Ryan out and effing up his non-throwing shoulder. After that, he was severely hampered in throwing. The “Hail Mary” pass did not get even close to the goal line because Ryan could no longer get it there. So in the end, pressure and hitting Ryan won the game. It just took some time.
     
    And Rob – you’re right about the defenses, but Kappy and Flacco played awesome games too. Neither team would be in the playoffs without them. Kappy brought us back when things were looking dicey. Flacco matched Brady play for play and forced Brady to play catch up. Both of these guys are better than people realize. Kappy playing a game like that after starting just half a season is like Mozart as a child prodigy. If he is this good now, what will he be in five years? Maybe one of the best ever?

  27. bullitNo Gravatar says:

    Sean Payton was reinstated as the Aint’s Head Coach today.
    He released a statement he made mistakes.

  28. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    Tim Brown sure is trying hard to get the idiot of the year award.

  29. bullitNo Gravatar says:

    Tim Brown must be mentoring his fellow Gold Domer T’eo.
    He’s a finalist for the Pro Football HOF and decides to start the crazy talk and conspiracy theories.
    Not too bright.

  30. robNo Gravatar says:

    this saturday at the st. petersburg farmers market i got to chat with some friends and family of 49ers LB coach leavitt !

    from what i hear from our LB coach , not much changed at the half about our defense other than how or DB’s played !

  31. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    New post is up.

2017 Schedule
Sept. 10: vs Carolina: L 3-23
Sept. 17: at Seattle: 9-12
Sept. 21: vs. L.A. Rams: L 39-41
Oct. 1: at Arizona: L 15-18
Oct. 8: at Indianapolis: L 23-26
Oct. 15: at Washington: L 24-26
Oct. 22: vs. Dallas: L 10-40
Oct. 29: at Philadelphia: L 10-33
Nov. 5: vs. Arizona: L 10-20
Nov. 12: vs. N.Y. Giants: W 31-21
Week 11 — Bye
Nov. 26: vs. Seattle, 1:05 p.m.
Dec. 3: at Chicago, 10 a.m.
Dec. 10: at Houston, 10 a.m.
Dec. 17: vs. Tennessee, 1:25 p.m.
Dec. 24: vs. Jacksonville, 1:05 p.m.
Dec. 31: at L.A. Rams, 1:25 p.m.
 
2017 Draft Class
1. DE Solomon Thomas
1. ILB Reuben Foster
3. CB Ahkello Witherspoon
3. QB C.J. Beathard
4. RB Joe Williams
5. TE George Kittle
5. WR Trent Taylor
6. DT D.J. Jones
6. LB Pita Taumoepenu
7. CB Adrian Colbert
 
2017 Prognostications
Bullit: 5-11
Chuck: 9-7
Grumpy: 4-12
Mr Fletch: 5-11
NJ49er: 6-10
Rob: 9-7
RTFirefly: 5-11
Skeebers: 6-10
Winder: 4-12

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