Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

49ers-Seahawks: Garoppolo confident 49ers would have scored on last play if pass wasn’t batted

Dec 5, 2021 at 7:45 PM--

Carlos Dunlap's hand may have been all that stopped the San Francisco 49ers from scoring on their final play during their 30-23 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.

The 49ers had the ball on a 4th-and-Goal with seconds to play when quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo spotted wide receiver Trent Sherfield open near the end zone. Garoppolo threw the ball in Sherfield's direction, only to have it batted away by the 6-7 defensive end.

Was there any doubt in Garoppolo's mind there would have been a touchdown on the play if not for Dunlap?

"No," Garoppolo told reporters after the game. "I knew it was. We've done it before on them and been successful. We kind of knew it right there. That's football though. You can do all this stuff you want, all the good stuff in the world, make plays, get yourself down in position. At the end of the day, it comes down to that one play—did you make it our not? That's the way the chips fall."

49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters he saw the same thing as Garoppolo. Shanahan described the play and what happened to leave Sherfield open.

"They played a Cover 2 zone," Shanahan said. "Kittle ran a nod, so two guys took him and we brought Sherfield underneath, who I believe was uncovered. But it got tipped."

It was the second pivotal play of the game for Dunlap, who also sacked Garoppolo for a safety in the third quarter. Dunlap had seen his defensive snaps wane in recent weeks, playing 17 against the Cardinals on November 21, followed by a night of just four snaps against the Washington Football Team on November 29. He had just eight tackles and 0.5 sacks on the season coming into the weekend, but he obviously came up huge when it mattered against the 49ers.

"For me, when given the opportunity to go straight and impact the game in those situations, I like my odds and I'm betting on me every time," Dunlap said. "They gave it to us there on the safety situation and they got me in there on that last play as well. Just had to seize my moment."

The 49ers know there were a number of things the 49ers could have done differently earlier in the game to keep it from coming down to that final play, but they couldn't do much but tip their cap to Dunlap for batting the pass with the game on the line.

"It's tough, especially when you're going against a D-End that's 6-7 with power forward arms," left tackle Trent Williams said. "There's no way that you can keep a man's hands down—not with the rules we're governed with. It's just tough, man. That's why guys like that with long arms, they're pretty sought after because they can do stuff like that."

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