San Francisco 23, Carolina 10: 49ers Dominate Panthers In Second Half
by Pat Imig
Cold Hard Football Facts Ambassador Of Boldin (@patrickimig)
The Carolina Panthers entered the NFC Divisional Round with the No. 2 ranked scoring defense, giving up an average of 15.1 points per game.
San Francisco eclipsed that mark with 25 minutes to spare after Colin Kaepernick dashed into the end zone to give San Francisco a 20-10 lead.
No small feat because it took the 49ers six quarters, 18 possessions, 86 plays and a replay review to get their first touchdown against the Panthers; on the play, Kaepernick connected with Vernon Davis in the corner of the end zone with five seconds remaining in the first half.
It was Davis’ seventh career touchdown in the postseason, tied with Dave Casper for No. 1 all time among tight ends. All seven touchdowns have given the 49ers the lead. I believe that would be called "value".
San Francisco carried their 13-10 lead into the half and never looked back. The defense got stronger and beat up Cam Newton, sacking him five times. San Francisco picked off Newton twice, and rendered him a shell of his first half self in the second half.
Down 20-10 in the second half, Carolina had a glimmer of hope, but an eight minute drive ended with back-to-back sacks.
The 49ers held the edge in experience and it showed Sunday. Carolina was out-witted and let the 49ers screw with their heads.
CREDIT TO JIM HARBAUGH
Players take after their coach and love him or hate him, Jim Harbaugh and his players helped the Panthers self-destruct. Harbaugh's 49ers have won eight straight.
The team is playing collectively as a man possessed.
No player symbolizes the man-possessed more than Anquan Boldin.
ANQUAN BOLDIN: PLAYOFF RECEPTION MONSTER
Boldin caught eight passes for 136 yards, marking his third career 100-yard receiving playoff game. He is tied for 16th all time in playoff receptions with 63. He’s tied with 49ers icon Roger Craig and NFL Hall of Fame receiver Cris Carter.
With seven more postseason receptions, Boldin will crack the top 10 and surpass Hall of Fame receiver Art Monk and tie Hall of Fame wideout Fred Biletnikoff for most postseason receptions.
He caught just three passes in the 10-9 loss to Carolina, caused in part by the absence of Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis. You think Joe Flacco misses him?
Boldin was indeed a man possessed in Charlotte. He clearly won the on-field battles as well as the mental battles with post-play jawjacking and gyrating.
TROY AIKMAN IS TIRED OF ANQUAN BOLDIN’S ANTICS
Here’s Fox’s Troy Aikman on Boldin’s post-play activities: “Every time we do a 49ers game we see this, I’m just tired of watching it.”
Hey Troy, now you know how America felt when you completed passes to Michael Irvin.
MISSED OPPORTUNITIES WILL HAUNT CAROLINA’S OFFSEASON DREAMS
The Panthers were clearly shut down in the second half but produced volume yards in the first half. But two drives failed to meet championship expectations.
Carolina failed on a 4th and goal quarterback sneak in the first half. Instead of three or seven points, they netted zero.
Late in the second quarter, Carolina settled for a 19 yard field goal after failing again to score a touchdown in goal-to-go offense.
But with Cam Newton entering his fourth season a defense stacked with talent, the future is bright in Carolina.
NFL OFFICIALS TELL DAN SKUTA: “YOU CAN’T TACKLE THE QUARTERBACK”
The lowlight of the afternoon was a 15-yard penalty on Dan Skuta for sacking Cam Newton in the fourth quarter. It was described as “helmet-on-helmet contact” and “roughing the quarterback”.
The hit was clean. Skuta had an offensive lineman to fend off while tackling the quarterback in and around the shoulder pads. It didn't matter though, because Donte Whitner picked off Sour Cam soon after.
NFC WEST STREET FIGHT TO DETERMINE NFC CHAMPION
If you love hard hitting football and great defense, congratulation on your gift from the NFC. It's the best of three series between the 49ers and Seahawks.
Seattle dominated Round One 29-3 all the way back in Week 2.
San Francisco counterpunched and won Round Two 19-17 back in Week 14.
Round Three will determine who goes to the Super Bowl.
God Bless America.
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