Sunday, May 3, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Another near-miss for Niners

Colin Kaepernick, Cliff Avril

San Francisco QB Colin Kaepernick fumbles as he is hit by Seattle's Cliff Avril (56) during the second half of the 49ers' 23-17 loss to the host Seahawks in Sunday's NFC championship game. AP photo

By
From page B8 | January 21, 2014 |

SEATTLE — Patrick Willis took the high road. He hopes the Seattle Seahawks win the Super Bowl and represent their division and the NFC.

And given all of the physical, heated games between Willis’ San Francisco 49ers and the Seahawks, that just goes to show the respect these franchises also have for each other even when things turn tense.

The new NFC champions got the best of the previous ones in Seattle again, ending the 49ers’ season with a 23-17 loss and a missed chance to return to the Super Bowl.

“Someone has to win, someone has to lose. Unfortunately we lost (Sunday),” Willis said after the game. “Seattle did what they needed to do to win. Them being in the NFC and in our division, I wish them luck. I hope they go and take care of business for the NFC.”

This is another near-miss for the Niners, who lost in the NFC championship game after the 2011 season and again this year. They fell short 34-31 in last year’s Super Bowl defeat to the Baltimore Ravens.

“I still think we’re the best team,” said 49ers wide receiver Anquan Boldin.

For a franchise eager to rediscover the old dynasty, San Francisco will get a fresh start in 2014 at its new $1.2 billion Santa Clara stadium at team headquarters, looking for another special season and to take the success one step further.

“It’s great competition,” 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said Sunday. “Not many people get to be in this arena. I’m proud of our guys for the fight they showed (Sunday) and all season.”

In a scene reminiscent of the way last season ended in the New Orleans Superdome in the Super Bowl, Colin Kaepernick threw a pass in the end zone intended for Michael Crabtree. This time, Richard Sherman deflected the ball right to Malcolm Smith for a game-sealing interception.

“The matchup was in my mind, 1-on-1,” Kaepernick said. “I feel like we should have won that game.”

Yes, San Francisco (14-5) is left to head home for the offseason with a bitter taste again of what might have been, even with the daunting task for teams that reached the Super Bowl the year before to get back to the NFL’s big stage.

Harbaugh knows special seasons can be fleeting. All he has to do is turn to big brother, John, whose Ravens failed to even reach the playoffs 11 months after winning a championship.

Kaepernick and the Niners knew one or two turnovers could cost them a return trip to the Super Bowl.

That had been the case in their past two visits to Seattle, so taking care of the ball became a top priority for San Francisco to beat the Seahawks on their home field.

Kaepernick went 14-for-24 for 153 yards with two sacks and two interceptions, and the 49ers committed three fourth-quarter turnovers — all by Kaepernick — that made the difference through the deafening noise of CenturyLink Field.

“I told him to keep his head up. He has no reason to drop his head, he played his butt off this entire season,” Boldin said. “He made play after play.”

These 49ers endured a daunting schedule and a pair of two-game losing streaks. They played without top 2012 wide receiver Crabtree for the first 11 games as he recovered from a torn right Achilles tendon and May surgery. San Francisco moved on in the postseason with tough road wins at Green Bay and Carolina.

“We played great as a team collectively,” said 49ers tight end Vernon Davis. “If I look back on this season, I get excited because of where we came from and some of the things we were able to do as a team.”

But there’s something about Seattle lately for this group — three straight losses in which they have been outscored 94-33.

Even when the 49ers seemed to be the NFL’s hottest team, riding an eight-game winning streak as they hit the road once more for one of the league’s toughest venues.

“You can’t point fingers,” said San Francisco right tackle Anthony Davis. “We came out here as a team, we win as a team, and we just lost as a team.”

It hurt even more to see two key players from either side of the ball go down with serious injuries — All-Pro linebacker NaVorro Bowman, who was diagnosed with torn anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his left knee on Monday, and left guard Mike Iupati, who broke his left ankle.

“We had a shot,” said 49ers punter Andy Lee. “That’s what we wanted. It was a good year with these guys. Hopefully we can get back to work and come back all fine next year.”

Comments

comments

The Associated Press

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Breaking barriers: For Prieto, it’s all about hard work

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Council to hear about drought pricing

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

     
    For the record

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

     
    Peaceful Baltimore demonstrators praise top prosecutor

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Nigeria: Nearly 300 freed women, children led to safety

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Downtown altercation leads to injuries

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A3

    Woman arrested for brandishing knife on overpass

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A3

     
    Yolo DA launches monthly newsletter

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Can plants talk? UCD prof will answer that question

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    A Scottish setting for local author’s next book

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

    Graveyard thefts land three Woodlanders behind bars

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A3

     
    Indoor Fun Fly comes to Woodland

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Garamendi votes against energy, water development bill

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Free beginner yoga class offered

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Video discusses surveillance of prostate cancer

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    NAMI support group meets May 10

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Dr. G featured on the radio

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Fee proposed on rail cars that haul oil, other flammables

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    Internships move UCD doctoral students beyond academia

    By Julia Ann Easley | From Page: A5 | Gallery

    The secret to Mother’s Day gifting success: Give time, not stuff

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    Make Mom a warm vanilla sugar scrub

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

    Letter book is series of collected missives thanking Mom

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

     
    If your mom fancies something fancy, consider a tea party

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

    Out of Africa and back to Davis: James Carey will give special presentation

    By Kathy Keatley Garvey | From Page: A9 | Gallery

     
    Big Day of Giving makes philanthropy easy

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A10 | Gallery

    Tuleyome Tales: How are a snake and a mushroom alike?

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12 | Gallery

     
    Tuleyome hosts Snow Mountain camping trip

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12 | Gallery

    .

    Forum

    End of life doesn’t mean life must end

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4 | Gallery

     
    Advancing education for California’s former foster youths

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

    With sincere gratitude

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

     
    A wonderful day of service

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Please help Baltimore

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

     
    Eyewitness to the ‘fall’ of Vietnam: It was not a bloodbath

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5 | Gallery

    He can’t give it up

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B6

     
     
    Dangers from prescription pills

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B6

    .

    Sports

    UCD softball splits with Titans

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Trifecta of Devil teams open playoffs Tuesday

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Defending champ DHS clinches a baseball playoff berth

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Sports briefs: DHS boys win to reach lacrosse playoffs

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
    Making memories at Aggie Stadium

    By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: B3 | Gallery

    Pro baseball roundup: Hudson pitches Giants past Angels

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

     
    UCD roundup: Aggie women speed past Hornets

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B12 | Gallery

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    .

    Business

     
    New firm helps students on path to college

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A8

    Yolo County real estate sales

    By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A8

     
    Arcadia partners on soybean trait to improve yield

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

    Marrone opens new greenhouse

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

     
    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Sunday, May 3, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B8