This was an epic and monumental playoff victory that will go down as one of the very best in San Francisco 49er history reminiscent of the Catch where legendary superstar Joe Montana hit Dwight Clark in the end zone for victory over the Dallas Cowboys. Even still very much like the Catch II in the Steve Young last second gasp to Terrell Owens in the end zone for victory over the Green Bay Packers.
Alex Smith's grand heroic offensive drive with 1:32 left to play in the game against the New Orleans Saints leading 32-29 on our own 15-yard line was a historic drive that will be remembered through the ages. From the New Orleans Saints 14-yard line Smith threaded a pin-point accurate pass to the leaping tight end in Vernon Davis who came down in the end zone amidst a resounding thunderclap at Candlestick Park to defeat the Saints 36-32.
"Call it the Grab," Vernon Davis commented when asked. The New Orleans Saints led by veteran quarterback Drew Brees carved up 18 total points in the fourth quarter at what seemed like an unstoppable pace for our defense to respond at times. As they took the lead with just over a minute left to play Vernon Davis realized it was his time to step forward and deliver on his promise to make a play.
During the Grab, Vernon was hit viciously by New Orleans Saints safety Roman Harper, yet he secured the ball and all of our dreams and hopes in just mere milliseconds as he executed on his own personal promise to make a play. Television sets and the very seats across Candlestick Park rocked in unison as the announcements were screamed that the San Francisco 49ers were victorious over this worthy opponent who themselves gave everything they had.
The psychological and physical exhaustion and utter intensified jubilation that was displayed on the very face of Vernon Davis as he was embraced by one teammate after another and finally by Head Coach Jim Harbaugh was a tear jerker for the ages. I was overcome as was so many of you. The absolute joy that came over me propelled me to fall to my knees in wonderment and praise for what had just happened before my very eyes. Friends and family in turn recognized the incredible good fortune and celebrated with me.
History was on the mind of Vernon Davis as he caught that Alex Smith pass and pummeled to the ground. Feeling the adulation and embraces of all his teammates broke the back of all his strength as he wept uncontrollably and the cameras clicked their shots of what the face of utter triumph looks like. I am utterly still speechless as I rewind my recorder at home and replay the Grab over and over and watch the moments afterwards that are priceless for fans like us to memorize and memorialize in the inner regions of our brain receptors. Truly it was both a humbling and religious moment for me.
Amazing praise goes to all four phases of the team with emphasis on the offense, defense, special teams and coaching. It took all four for us to reach this milestone amidst the critics and doubters that continue to haggle over the reality of the 49ers being rather legitimate still because their offense is labeled not as an elite unit but that is run like a game management persona which makes it less than ideal.
Every self doubt and harsh statement made towards the No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft was suddenly irrelevant as his moment of glory was telecast across the world to signify his new and sudden promotion to playoff executioner and winner. His steadfast management of his offense and his clutch like precision plays that completed just enough yardage ended any further speculation on his ability to perform in a do or die situation that came literally down to this final moment.
This was an electric playoff game folks. The defense orchestrated hard hits, goal line stands and turnovers that ultimately affected the very outcome of this game. Special teams were simply better then just special and the offense under Alex Smith made the critical drives and clutch-like plays that just made your hair stand up on end. The notion that we are entering the next game to determine the NFC Championship is as numbing as it is mind blowing. We look at this game as the final staircase to the Super Bowl and a possible sixth Lombardi Trophy, but let's not forget that the New York Giants are all that is relevant right now. May the colors fly high and the 12th man take the field this Sunday in Candlestick Park that we may see the face of triumph once again.
Sources of Information: Mercury News.com, SF Gate.com, Inside Bay Area.com, NFL.com and my own personal analysis and opinion.