The 2012 NFC Championship Game, as expected, was a hard-fought and close affair. The hometown San Francisco 49ers ended up on the losing end of a heartbreaker as they fell to the New York Giants by a final score of 20-17. Here are some of the video highlights of the game that gave Bay Area fans one last chance to cheer for their resurgent 2011-12 49ers.
The first significant play of the game was the one that got the scoring started. The Niners jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first quarter on this 76-yard touchdown pass from Alex Smith to Vernon Davis.
The much-heralded 49ers defense came up with a great many important stops of the potent Giants offense in the game, including this fourth-down tackle of Brandon Jacobs in the first quarter that gave San Francisco the ball on a turnover on downs.
For much of the game, Eli Manning and wide receiver Victor Cruz were the most prolific tandem in terms of yardage. Cruz made many spectacular catches, including this pinpoint grab to start the second quarter.
That catch set up this Manning pass to Bear Pascoe for a Giants touchdown to tie the game 7-7 in the second quarter.
The Giants would take the lead before halftime on a 31-yard Lawrence Tynes field goal. The score remained 10-7 in favor of the Giants until late in the third quarter, when Alex Smith again connected with Vernon Davis, this time on a 28-yard pass into the end zone to allow the Niners to retake the lead, 14-10.
Punt returner Kyle Williams make a huge error in the fourth quarter. After another big 49ers stop, he attempted to get out of the way of a punt, but replays showed that the ball bounced and glanced off his knee, allowing New York to recover. That set up excellent field position for the Giants, who shortly thereafter reclaimed a 17-14 lead when Manning found Mario Manningham in the end zone with a 17-yard touchdown pass.
The 49ers were able to tie the game in the fourth quarter with a 25-yard David Akers field goal and hang on to force the game into overtime. They halted the Giants on their first two possessions, but once again Kyle Williams played the goat as he fumbled the second New York punt return of overtime, allowing the Giants to recover.
Lawrence Tynes again came on for another 31-yard field goal, which would prove to be the game winner.
A very tough loss for the 49ers and particularly for Kyle Williams, but it was a season that the players and fans have every reason to look back on fondly.