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49ers vs. Patriots: Twitter Reaction, Recap and Analysis

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 16:  Tight end Delanie Walker #46 of the San Francisco 49ers celebrates a touchdown pass from quarterback Colin Kaepernick #7 in the second quarter against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on December 16, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistDecember 17, 2012

The San Francisco 49ers walked away with a 41-34 win over the New England Patriots on Sunday Night Football, but not without finding out why you can never count out Tom Brady.

The 49ers had a 31-3 lead in the third quarter, but Brady managed to tie the game with just over six minutes left in the fourth quarter.

That's why he is who he is.

The game's scoring started off slow, despite the frantic pace in the second half.

Randy Moss' 24-yard scoring grab four minutes into the first quarter got San Francisco on the board, but those were the only points scored in the first frame.

Stephen Gostkowski cut New England's deficit to 7-3 to start the second quarter, but Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers offense still weren't troubled by the Patriots secondary. Kaepernick threw his second touchdown pass of the night to Delanie Walker just over halfway through the quarter to put his team in front 14-3.

David Akers capped off San Francisco's dominant first half with a last-second field goal to put his team ahead 17-3 at the break.

New England looked lost throughout the first half on both sides of the ball, but that would eventually change.

Frank Gore and Michael Crabtree both scored in the third quarter following Patriots turnovers, giving San Francisco a stunning 31-3 lead with just over 10 minutes remaining in the third quarter.

But Brady had had enough. Brady took the game over, and he was pushed by the awakening of his defense, as the Pats followed the 49ers' run with three straight touchdowns of their own.

On the third scoring drive of that sequence, New England went for a critical 4th-and-2 and got it on a pass to Wes Welker. That set up Aaron Hernandez's five-yard touchdown grab to make it a 31-24 ballgame.

Another dismal San Francisco drive resulted in another Danny Woodhead touchdown on the ground, and all of a sudden the game was knotted at 31 apiece with 6:45 remaining.

To call the turnaround surprising would be an understatement; it was utterly shocking to watch this go down.

Finally, Kaepernick was able to answer with a 38-yard touchdown pass to Crabtree to put his team back in front, and the defense was able to sack Brady a few times and force a punt on the ensuing drive.

This allowed the 49ers to take some time off the clock before giving the ball back to New England with just under three minutes remaining.

Brady wasn't able to lead his team down the field on that last drive, but it doesn't take away from what he was able to do in the last quarter-and-a-half of this game. Very few players could have made this game interesting, and he actually had me thinking that New England was going to shock the world.

Brady finished 36-of-65 for 443 yards and one TD passing, two interceptions and one rushing touchdown.

Sunday night's game was supposed to be an excellent matchup, and it didn't disappoint. San Francisco nearly lost via an epic meltdown, but it was able to right the ship just in time to escape with the win.

Let's throw out some Twitter reaction, hand out a player of the game award and take a look at what's next.

 

Twitter Reaction

San Jose Mercury News reporter Tim Kawakami made note of the 49ers' dominance in the first half:

49ers outgained New England 249-113 in the first half. That's as good as a defense can play Brady here.

— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) December 17, 2012

CBS Sports' Nick Underhill made sure that everyone knows how good Randy Moss is:

Moss has 15,219 receiving yards. He just moved past I. Bruce for third all-time.

— Nick Underhill (@Nick_Underhill) December 17, 2012

Bleacher Report's Matt Miller mentioned something that has been tough to deny this season:

Have to mention Michael Crabtree as one of the league's most improved players this season.

— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) December 17, 2012

It's hard to disagree with Pro Football Weekly's Kevin Fishbain here:

Wow, 4 turnovers by the #Patriots. That's probably game blouses. This #49ers team, when playing their best, are No. 1 team in the league.

— Kevin Fishbain (@kfishbain) December 17, 2012

Jim Rome didn't think Bill Belichick was in a great mood:

Haven't seen Belichick look that beleaguered since he was in a Browns hoodie.

— Jim Rome (@jimrome) December 17, 2012

The New England Patriots wanted people to be aware of Tom Brady's newest milestone:

Brady has just become the 5th QB to throw for 4,000+ yds 5 times in his career (P. Manning -12, Brees -7, Marino - 6, Favre - 6)

— New England Patriots (@Patriots) December 17, 2012

Bleacher Report made it simple:

This game is CRAZY. The 49ers take the lead again 38-31.

— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 17, 2012

Boston Globe reporter Greg A. Bedard made a very likely assumption prior to the Patriots' last gasp:

97 yards. If Brady pulls this off, they should just hand him the MVP trophy on the field after the game.

— Greg A. Bedard (@GregABedard) December 17, 2012

NFL Live host Trey Wingo says what everyone should be hoping for:

Anyone signing up for this one again, in say, 6 weeks?

— trey wingo (@wingoz) December 17, 2012

 

Player of the Game: Colin Kaepernick

Forget the four fumbles, because he didn't lose any of them. The ball was slippery, and he wasn't the only one struggling in the rain.

Look at the positives instead. Kaepernick withstood a furious comeback from none other than Tom Brady. It had to be excruciating to watch Brady dissect his defense at times, and even more so when he realized that the Patriots defense was alive again, but he stayed strong.

He went 14-of-25 for 216 yards and four touchdowns overall. He did throw one interception, but the young, dual-threat quarterback stepped up to the plate in a huge situation Sunday night.

Kaepernick isn't a superstar, but games like this will help him grow up in a hurry.

This could go to either Navorro Bowman or Patrick Willis as well, but the quarterback gets the credit here.

 

What's Next?

The 49ers will travel to Seattle on next week's edition of Sunday Night Football for a massive NFC West clash, while the Patriots look to rebound on a trip to Jacksonville.

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