SAN FRANCISCO -- Lawrence Tynes had a dream Saturday night. He called it “the typical kicker dream.”
In other words, it was a make-the-winning-field-goal-to-send-your-team-to-the-Super-Bowl dream.
Tynes experienced the once-in-a-lifetime moment .. for the second time in his lifetime.
Conjuring up memories of the 2007 NFC Championship Game in frozen Green Bay, Tynes kicked the Giants into Super Bowl XLVI with a 31-yard field goal in overtime Sunday night to stun the 49ers, 20-17, for the conference championship.
This game winner was 16 yards shorter than his memorable kick at Lambeau Field, and the game temperature was about 50 degrees warmer, but you can’t take anything for granted in the kicking business. After all, look what happened Sunday to Billy Cundiff in the AFC Championship Game.
That Tynes had to deal with wet conditions at Candlestick Park also added to the degree of difficulty. No word on whether it was raining in his dream.
“I felt a little more anxiety than I usually do,” Tynes said in the cramped Giants’ locker room. “Usually, I’m not that nervous. It probably had a lot to do with the conditions.”
Plus, it seemed like forever for the kick to happen.
The Giants, capitalizing on a fumbled punt return by Kyle Williams, got the ball to the 49ers’ 8-yard line. In came the field-goal unit, but wait: The Giants were penalized for a delay of game, pushing them back five yards.
Then, a split-second before the kick, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh called the obligatory timeout to ice the kicker. Tynes wasn’t unnerved during the wait.
“Stay calm, remain focused,” he told himself.
During the timeout, holder Steve Weatherford came over the sideline. Tom Coughlin sensed something was wrong by the look on his face.
“He looked like he was upset and I was trying to figure out what was wrong,” Coughlin said of Weatherford. “He said, ‘I’m going to get this field goal kicked and get to the Super Bowl.’ And I said, ‘That sounds like a good idea to me.’”
Good thing Weatherford didn’t lose his poise, because long snapper Zak DeOssie nearly pulled a Trey Junkin. His snap was low and inside, grazing the grass tops. Weatherford handled it cleanly, allowing Tynes to do his thing.
Afterward, Weatherford said he didn’t remember anything about the low snap.
“I blocked it out,” he said. “It went through the pipes, that’s all I remember.”
Now he’ll remember it for the rest of his life. They both will.