Biggest plays this season for 49ers
January, 25, 2013
By Dean Oliver, ESPN Stats & Info | ESPN.com
John David Mercer/USA TODAY Sports
NaVorro Bowman (53) celebrates after breaking up a pass to send the 49ers to the Super Bowl.
For the San Francisco 49ers, what plays were the most important in winning games on their way to the Super Bowl?
Here are the 10 plays that most improved their chances of winning through the regular season the playoffs.
Later today, we'll have the list for the Baltimore Ravens.
1. NFC Championship at Atlanta
4th and 4, 1:13 left in 4th Quarter
NaVorro Bowman breaks up pass intended for Roddy White
With the Atlanta Falcons driving for a potential go-ahead touchdown, the 49ers' defense makes the biggest play of their season to essentially lock up a trip to New Orleans. Bowman's pass breakup resulted in a turnover on downs.
49ers' win probablility pre-play: 65.9%; post-play: 97.4% (+31.5%)
2. Week 12 at New Orleans
2nd and 10, 0:31 left in 2nd Quarter
Ahmad Brooks intercepts Drew Brees and returns it for a touchdown
49ers' win probability pre-play: 18.4%; post-play: 47.0% (+28.6%)
3. Week 10 vs. St. Louis
Kickoff with 8:40 left in 4th Quarter
Darcel McBath recovers fumble on kickoff return
Just after the 49ers had cut a 17-7 deficit to 17-14, they forced a fumble on the ensuing kickoff. Tramaine Brock knocked the ball loose from the St. Louis Rams' return man, Isaiah Pead, and McBath picked it up and returned it to the Rams' 20. One play later, Frank Gore took it the rest of the way to give San Francisco a 21-17 lead in a game that would ultimately end in a tie.
49ers' win probability pre-play: 31.3%; post-play: 57.1% (+25.5%)
The rest of the 49ers' top 10:
5. Kaepernick's 56-yard TD run vs. the Green Bay Packers in the Divisional Playoffs (+19.8%).
6. A 38-yard TD pass from Kaepernick to Michael Crabtree breaks a 31-31 tie at New England in Week 15 (+18.8).
7. Kaepernick's 49-yard pass to Crabtree swings the division-clincher vs the Arizona Cardinals in Week 17 (+17.1%).
8. C.J. Spillman recovers Marcus Thigpen's muffed punt in a Week 14 win over the Miami Dolphins (+17.0%).
9. Aldon Smith recovers Falcons' fumbled snap in the NFC Championship Game (+15.6%).
10. Donte Whitner returns an interception for a touchdown to give the 49ers the winning points against the Saints in Week 12 (+14.2%).