Sunday, December 29, 2013
Rapid Reaction: San Francisco 49ers
By Bill Williamson
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Observations from the San Francisco 49ers' 23-20 victory against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.
What it means: The 49ers are the No. 5 seed in the NFC playoffs and will play at the No. 4 seed Green Bay Packers next week. The 49ers entered the game with a slim shot at having a bye and hosting a playoff game. That didn’t happen. But the 49ers did what they had to do in a wild game -- they were leading 17-0 in the first quarter -- and kept the No. 5 seed. The 49ers are entering the playoffs as one of the NFL's hottest teams. They have won a league-high six straight games and they won 11 of their past 13 games. They finished the season 12-4.
Streak over: 49ers kicker Phil Dawson missed a 24-yard chip-shot at the end of the first half. It broke a streak of 27 straight successful field goal attempts, a franchise record.
However: Dawson more than redeemed himself with a 56-yard field goal with 1:45 remaining to give the 49ers the lead, and then hit the game winner from 40 yards as time expired.
Goodbye Candlestick: Candlestick Park is now history, unless the 49ers host the NFC title game against the No. 6 seed. That has never happened in the NFL since it adopted this format in 1990. Seattle won Sunday to claim the NFC West and the No. 1 seed. The 49ers will move into Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara next season.
Stock watch: NaVorro Bowman's defensive player of the year candidacy has only risen. He had an interception to set up a touchdown and forced a fumble, which he recovered. It was a nice response to his 89-yard pick-six to save the win last week against Atlanta. The inside linebacker has been special all season.
Big day for Boldin: 49ers receiver Anquan Boldin had nine catches for 145 yards against his former team. At one point, he had 106 of the 49ers’ 109 receiving yards.
What’s next: A rematch of Week 1 against Green Bay, which the 49ers won in a wild home game.