Super Bowl Teams Decided By Field Goals
The 49ers’ Kyle Williams put his hands on his helmet and dropped his head in disgust. A second big mistake by its backup punt returner occurred at the worst possible time.
Williams fumbled in overtime to set up Lawrence Tynes’ 31-yard field goal, and the 49ers lost the NFC championship game to the New York Giants 20-17 on Sunday.
After three runs and a kneeldown, Tynes kicked the game-winner, and Williams slowly made a dejected walk back to the locker room as the 49ers missed out on a prime chance to go to the Super Bowl.
The fact that turnovers did in San Francisco was truly surprising. The 49ers tied an NFL record with just 10 giveaways all season, including none on special teams, and had a plus-28 turnover margin in the regular season.
They took advantage of five New Orleans turnovers to win 36-32 last week but were on the wrong end in this game because of Williams.
Harbaugh got the Niners to the brink of the Super Bowl in his first season, taking over a 6-10 team and going 13-3 to win the NFC West. The ability to protect the ball and cause turnovers was the biggest reason for the turnaround.
The 49ers converted just one of 13 third downs all game, with the only conversion coming on the final play of regulation, leaving plenty of blame to go to players besides Williams.
Earlier in the day, the Patriots held on to narrowly escape the Ravens.
Tom Brady’s 1-yard touchdown dive stood as the winning score after the Ravens missed a chance to win, and then missed a chance to tie the score in the final seconds, and the New England Patriots are on their way to the Super Bowl.
With New England leading by three points with 11 seconds left, Billy Cundiff missed a 32-yard field-goal attempt and the Patriots escaped with a 23-20 win over Baltimore in the AFC Championship Game on Sunday.
Two plays earlier, Joe Flacco’s pass to wide receiver Lee Evans in the end zone was stripped by backup cornerback Sterling Moore.
On his touchdown with 11:29 left in the fourth quarter, Brady took a huge hit from Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, then emphatically spiked the ball as he walked away. Earlier, Brady showed his fire by barking at Lewis following a hard tackle on a 4-yard run.
Brady’s fifth trip to the Super Bowl will equal John Elway’s achievement with Denver.
A three-time NFL champion, Brady didn’t throw for a touchdown for the first time in 36 games, although he did pass for 239 yards.
“We’re going to try to go out and kick some butt in a couple of weeks,” Brady said.
The Super Bowl is now set for Feb. 5 in Indianapolis featuring the Patriots against the Giants.
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