Save Money in this Sunday's paper

comments

Panthers vs. 49ers: Five plays that mattered

1. Mitchell’s late hit

The score: Scoreless, 10:40 left first quarter.

The situation: San Francisco ball, third and 6 at the Panthers’ 40.

The play: After an incomplete pass intended for Anquan Boldin that would have forced a punt, Panthers safety Mike Mitchell was flagged for a late hit on the deep receiver, tight end Vernon Davis, who was not the intended target.

Why it mattered: The 15-yard penalty kept the drive alive, and the 49ers completed a 13-play drive with a 49-yard Phil Dawson field goal, giving the 49ers a 3-0 lead.

2. Smith’s TD catch

The score: San Francisco 6, Carolina 0, 13:47 to play second quarter.

The situation: Panthers ball, first and 10 at the San Francisco 31.

The play: Cam Newton found Steve Smith with a perfect pass against tight coverage down the left sideline for a 31-yard touchdown.

Why it mattered: The play was vintage Smith – straight down the sideline, late grab for the touchdown catch. Smith’s knee had made him questionable all week. The Panthers had the lead 7-6.

3. Crabtree’s grab

The score: Carolina 10, San Francisco 6, 1:51 to play first half.

The situation: Niners ball, second and 10 at the Carolina 49.

The play: With defensive end Greg Hardy bearing down on him, 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick found Michael Crabtree, who made a leaping reception good for 20 yards against the coverage of Melvin White.

Why it mattered: The Panthers had frustrated Kaepernick for the better part of six quarters before the final drive of the second quarter. He went 5-of-9 for 62 yards on the drive, which ended in a 49ers touchdown on a 1-yard pass to tight end Vernon Davis. It took a replay overturn to confirm, but the 49ers took a 13-10 lead to halftime.

4. Kaepernick to Boldin

The score: San Francisco 13, Carolina 10, 10:18 to play in the third.

The situation: San Francisco ball, first and 10 at the Carolina 47.

The play: The Carolina pressure can’t get to Kaepernick, who found Boldin over the top for a 45-yard gain to the 2. Captain Munnerlyn was expecting safety help from Robert Lester on the play and chased down Boldin.

Why it mattered: Two plays later, Kaepernick scored on a 2-yard keeper around left end and celebrated with Newton’s Superman pose. The play gave the 49ers a 20-10 lead.

5. Back-to-back sacks

The score: San Francisco 20, Carolina 10, 1:58 to play in the third.

The situation: Second and 10 at the San Francisco 29.

The plays: With the Panthers in field goal range, Newton is sacked for 8-yard losses on back-to-back plays, by 49ers linebackers NaVorro Bowman and Ahmad Brooks, forcing a punt.

Why it mattered: The Panthers needed points on that drive to make it a one-score game, but the sacks prevented it. After Carolina’s punt, the 49ers drove 73 yards in 13 plays, scoring on a 34-yard field goal by Dawson that made it 23-10 with 7:35 to go.

Michael Persinger

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.

Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email local@charlotteobserver.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.

  Read more



Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.

Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email local@charlotteobserver.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.

  Read more


Quick Job Search
Salary Databases
CharlotteObserver.com