The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Other Sports

December 17, 2012

49ers clinch playoff berth, 41-34 over Patriots

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The San Francisco 49ers earned a playoff berth by withstanding a stunning comeback by New England from a 28-point deficit to beat the Patriots 41-34 on Sunday night in the rain.

Michael Crabtree took a short pass and sped around cornerback Kyle Arrington for a 38-yard touchdown with 6:25 to go, then David Akers made a 28-yard field goal to clinch it.

New England (10-4) trailed 31-3 at one point and lost for the first time at home in December in 21 games. They also had won 21 in a row in the second half of the schedule before San Francisco (10-3-1) somehow regrouped late in a game it seemingly had clinched long before.

Kaepernick threw for four touchdowns, two to Crabtree, who had 107 yards receiving. The defense rattled Tom Brady at times, but also yielded 443 yards passing.

AFC East champion New England (10-4), which had won seven in a row, trailed 31-3 at one point and lost for the first time at home in December in 21 games. The Patriots also had won 21 in a row in the second half of the schedule before San Francisco somehow regrouped late in a game it seemingly had clinched long before.

The 49ers appeared headed for an easy win in a sloppy game. They forced four turnovers, matching the number of giveaways New England had at home all season.

But then the Niners began sleepwalking, and back came Brady and the Patriots on a 6-yard TD run by Danny Woodhead and a 1-yard dive by Brady. A 5-yard pass to Aaron Hernandez and Woodhead’s 1-yard run with 12:13 remaining tied it.

San Francisco mounted a quick response. Rookie LaMichael James broke free for a 62-yard kickoff return. On the next snap — the third time the Niners would have a one-play TD drive — Crabtree took a pass on the left side, spun and headed into the end zone.

New England turned over the ball on downs and Akers made his kick. Stephen Gostkowski added a 41-yarder for the Patriots with 38 seconds remaining, but they couldn’t recover the onside kick.

1
Text Only
Other Sports
Saints Training Camp

AP Video
Death Penalty Expert: 'This is a Turning Point' House Committee at Odds Over Obama Lawsuit Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands Raw: UN School Used As Shelter Hit by Tank Shell Raw: Gunmen Attack Iraqi Prison Convoy Plane Leaves Ukraine With More Crash Victims The Rock Brings Star Power to Premiere Raw: Families Travel to Taiwan Plane Crash Site Arizona Execution Takes Almost Two Hours Gen. Odierno Discusses Ukraine, NATO at Forum Gaza Fighting Rages Amid Cease-Fire Efforts Mint Gives JFK Coin a Face-lift Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers Ariz. Inmate Dies 2 Hours After Execution Began Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors Raw: Funeral for Man Who Died in NYPD Custody Migrants Back in Honduras After US Deports Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide