In the NFL, if there were such a thing as an “unsung hero” from the losing team, that unsung hero would definitely be 49ers safety C.J. Spillman. One thing that even the Baltimore Ravens respected about the 49ers is the fact that before this Thanksgiving game, the 49ers had not given up a rushing touchdown in 11 straight games. In addition to that, the 49ers' streak of 33 games without a 100-yard rusher was still alive and well.
So, what is Spillman’s significance?
In the second quarter, when the Ravens had the ball on the 49ers' 1-yard line, Spillman got around Ravens’ Ed Dickson’s block and made a clutch solo tackle on running back Ray Rice for a loss of four yards. As a result, the frustrated Ravens had to settle for a field goal.
Had Spillman not made this tackle, this would have been an easy touchdown for Rice, and it would have ended both of the 49ers defensive streaks. Not only that, but giving up a touchdown at this point in the game would have definitely lowered the morale of the 49ers offense, which failed to get the ball into the Ravens’ red zone the entire game.
In addition to Spillman’s key tackle in the first half, he also had a solo tackle on special teams.