The 5 Best Highlights of the San Francisco 49ers' Season So Far

Joseph Akeley@@Jakeley_BRAnalyst IDecember 21, 2012

The 5 Best Highlights of the San Francisco 49ers' Season So Far

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    It's been a wild year for the San Francisco 49ers (10-3-1) filled with prime-time drama, overtime chaos and quarterback controversy.

    So, when picking the five best highlights of the season, a few great plays were left off. For example, Carlos Rogers' 53-yard interception return against the New England Patriots and Randy Moss' 47-yard touchdown catch and run against the Arizona Cardinals were considered, but they just missed the cut.

    The following slides show five plays that were not only jaw-dropping, but were also key moments in San Francisco's season. 

Akers' 63-Yard Field Goal

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    For a field goal to make this list, it either needs to be of the game-winning variety or it needs to at least tie an all-time record.

    David Akers accomplished the latter in Week 1 against the Green Packers, giving the 49ers a 16-7 lead going into halftime. 

    Akers seemed as shocked as anyone when the ball hit the crossbar and fell through. 

    The 49ers used the momentum from the 63-yard kick to extend their lead to 16 on their first drive of the third quarter. San Francisco would go on to win 30-22.

Kaepernick's Amazing Throw to Williams

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    This was the throw that made 49ers fans believe.

    Facing a 3rd-and-7 in the first quarter against the Chicago Bears, Colin Kaepernick hit Kyle Williams in stride on a 57-yard completion.

    The throw, which traveled approximately 41 yards in the air, was absolutely perfect. 

    Kaepernick would throw a three-yard touchdown pass to Vernon Davis on the very next play and finished the game with 243 passing yards and two touchdowns as San Francisco pummeled Chicago 32-7.

    Kaepernick's performance against the Bears, sparked by the throw to Williams, is a major reason why the second-year signal-caller took over the top spot on the quarterback depth chart.

Brooks' Interception Return for a TD

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    Both interception returns for touchdowns against the Saints were worthy of this slideshow, but I'm taking Ahmad Brooks' 50-yard pick-six for two reasons.

    First, it was a more impressive individual play. Brooks read Drew Brees like a book, perfectly jumping the route, whereas Donte Whitner had the ball fall into his lap off a deflection.

    Second, Brooks' touchdown was more important. The 49ers were trailing 14-7, on the verge of falling behind by two scores going into halftime. Make no mistake, Brooks' play was the turning point of the game. 

    Whitner's 42-yard touchdown gave the 49ers a 28-14 lead late in the third quarter, and San Francisco went on to win 31-21.

Kaepernick's 50-Yard Run vs. Rams

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    Kaepernick's 50-yard touchdown run against the Miami Dolphins was considered, but when taking into account the importance of the moment, his 50-yard run against the St. Louis Rams was more memorable.

    Having just made the biggest mistake of his NFL career, essentially giving the Rams a free touchdown on a botched backward lateral, Kaepernick needed a bounce-back drive to put the 49ers ahead.

    With less than three minutes to go, Kaepernick scrambled to his right and turned on the afterburners. His 50-yard run put the 49ers on Rams 14-yard line with two minutes to go in the fourth quarter. 

    On the next play, Kaepernick threw what should have been a go-ahead touchdown pass to Delanie Walker, but the San Francisco tight end dropped the ball. 

    The 49ers would settle for a field goal, and they went on to lose the game in overtime.

    Although Kaepernick's amazing run ended up being in a losing effort, it showed that the young quarterback could bounce back and make a great play after an embarrassing gaffe.

Crabtree Ends New England's Rally

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    After blowing a 28-point second-half lead against the New England Patriots, the 49ers needed a big play from their offense in the worst way.

    Enter Michael Crabtree.

    The 49ers' leading receiver caught a low throw from Kaepernick and broke one tackle before racing to the end zone for a 38-yard touchdown.

    This time the 49ers held onto their lead, eventually beating the Patriots 41-34. 

    If San Francisco ends up winning the Super Bowl this year, many will look back at this play, set up by LaMichael James' 62-yard kickoff return, as the turning point of the season. Many expected Kaepernick and the 49ers to fold, but instead they fought back for a win at one of the toughest venues in the NFL.