You won’t win many games in the NFL when you turn the ball over five times. But the 49er defense made their five turnovers hurt less than the two Pittsburgh had. The Steelers got six points and the Niners got fourteen.
The game should not have been close. The Niners outgained Pittsburgh by nearly 200 yards, with a TOP edge of 13 minutes. Yet there they were inside the ten yard line with less than two minutes to go needing a TD to win and a FG to tie.
They had already fumbled three times inside the ten, so what were they going to do now? One last disastrous goof-up? End zone interception? FG doinking off the uprights? It was a deservedly cringe-worthy moment.
When Jimmy Garoppolo threw a laser to Dante Pettis through the tiniest window you’ll ever see, it was more relief than joy. Wow. They didn’t kick the game away. What do you know.
Why they were throwing to Pettis is a mystery. The guy has fashioned a career being unreliable or invisible. Yet there he was, surrounded by three Steeler guys, catching the game winner.
Jeff Wilson has quietly become the 49ers’ short yardage, goal line RB. He plowed in twice yesterday, bowling over a linebacker for one of them. That’s four TDs in three games. I don’t know if the team had ANY running back TDs last year. It couldn’t have been many.
Justin Skule filled in pretty well for the injured Joe Staley yesterday. Until the fourth quarter, that is. He made three costly penalties during crunch time. Still, not a bad effort for a rookie sixth round draft pick.
The Steelers are not a good football team this year and Sunday they should have been blown off the field. But they have a champion’s reputation and heart, so any win over them has got to be big for the young Niners. Sometimes you gain more out of a tense, last minute win than you do from a walk over blow out.
At least it’s convenient to think so. At any rate, the team has arrived in the big arena now. Let’s see how they handle their new found respect from here on out.