JOE MONTANA TO DWIGHT CLA…I mean ALEX SMITH TO VERNON DAVIS!!
Monday, January 16, 2012 1 Comment
I can watch this over and over and over again. If you listen close enough, you can hear me having a heart attack in the stands. The good kind.
For those of you who missed the game, let me put this into context. With 4 minutes left, the Saints scored a touchdown to take the lead, putting the score at 23-24. The pressure was on Alex Smith and his offense to put together a drive and win the game. And put together a drive he did. He even took the ball in himself on a 28 yard touchdown run, as if to slap the Saints directly in the face and call them ugly. They tried to go for a 2-point conversion but failed, making the score 29-24 There was now 2:11 left on the clock for Drew Brees and his stupidly talented offense to make something happen. But the Niners defense can stop them, right? Wrong. Brees lobbed a 66-yard touchdown pass to his tight end Jimmy Graham, then completed a 2-point conversion. As quickly as the Niners took the lead, the Saints stole it right back. 29-32 with only 1:37 left in the game. This one was over.
Standing in the crowd, the only sound I could hear was our hearts being stabbed and urinated on by the Saints. There was no way Alex Smith could drive the team down the field for a field goal to put the game in overtime. But we all had to watch, battling waves of nausea as the Niners offense took the field again. And just like that, a glimmer of hope, in the form of a 47-yard pass up the middle to tight end Vernon Davis. The Niners were now in field goal range with 40 seconds left. A 7-yard completion to Frank Gore, and then history was made. 3rd down and 3 with 14 seconds left, Vernon Davis runs a post pattern into the endzone and makes a touchdown grab of epic proportions, comparable to “The Catch” (1982) and virtually identical to “The Catch II” (1999). 36-32, final. An instant classic.
.With that legendary grab, which people are trying to decide on whether to call “The Grab” or “The Catch III,” The Niners earned a spot in the NFC Championship game. They did the impossible. People said they couldn’t beat Drew Brees and the Saints. They did. People said they couldn’t score more than 20 points. They scored 36. And people said Alex Smith was incapable of winning a playoff game for the Niners. Guess what? He totally did. If you care about stats, Alex Smith was 24/42 for 299 yards with 3 touchdown passes and a touchdown run, when everyone said he wouldn’t throw for more than 150. Vernon Davis had 7 receptions for 180 yards and 2 touchdowns, an absolute monster performance. But the stats don’t really matter, all that matters is that the 49ers have vanquished the demons.
And with that ridiculous win, the Niners will host the NFC Championship game against the New York Giants, who will be just as difficult as the Saints. And I’ll be there again to see if my boys can do the unthinkable and earn a trip to Super Bowl XLVI.