Special teams had been so much of the 49ers' success. Then Heath Farwell ended that feeling with one block of an Andy Lee punt. And just like that, a game that seemed to be pretty much in control of the San Francisco 49ers suddenly lurched in the control of the Seattle Seahawks.
The second half had been almost a complete reversal of the first. In the first two quarters, Seattle looked strong and consistent in building a 10-3 lead.
Then the Niners emerged stronger and better in the second half. A long pass to Michael Crabtree ignited a 75-yard drive, capped by a four-yard Frank Gore TD run in the third quarter. Just like that, the game was level—and so were the 49ers’ hopes.
Right there it transformed into a 49er game—score, deep kick and good coverage, bad field position for the opponent. Work a few more first downs and score again. Granted, it was field goals, but it was scores, and it was working to perfection midway in the fourth quarter.
Then Heath Farwell came close to becoming a name that could come back to haunt the 49ers. Farwell blocked Lee’s punt, setting up a four-yard TD drive that gave the Seahawks a 17-16 lead with less than seven minutes left.
The Seattle crowd, the loudest outdoor crowd in the country, was in full throat. The ‘Hawk defense was fired up.
The entire 49ers season seemed ready to pop. Sure, they’re in the playoffs, but having that first-week bye seemed to be slipping away. And with that the idea of what the 49ers have become, namely a tough, make-no-mistakes football team that would be a very formidable opponent in the playoffs.
The Niners came away with a 19-17 victory, and with that we learned five very important elements of the 49ers in San Francisco’s win over Seattle.
“It makes you feel like a man,” said coach Jim Harbaugh in the post-game interview broadcast on Comcast Sports.