January 19, 2010 Update:
With 40% of the vote, Frank Gore’s touchdown(s) against the Seattle Seahawks were the runaway winner of the 49ers best touchdown of the 2009 season.
Last Friday we posted a video containing every 49ers touchdown of 2009 (which can be seen here). It featured a number of great plays from all 16 games this past season.
But which one was the best?
It’s up to you – the 49ers Faithful – to decide! Watch this video to find out our nominees for the best touchdown of 2009 and vote in our fan poll on the bottom left corner of the 49ers.com home page.
Let’s take a further look at each of the nominees by breaking down the best touchdowns of 2009.
The Pro Bowl alternate’s Week 2 performance against the Seattle Seahawks saw the running back score touchdowns of 79 and 80 yards! Gore’s performance even earned him NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors. But because his long runs were so impressive, it’s hard to single one out. His touchdowns are a package deal.
With the 49ers in a personnel package consisting of two running backs (Gore, and fullback Moran Norris), two wide receivers (Isaac Bruce, Josh Morgan) and a tight end (Vernon Davis), Gore scored on nearly identical plays. His 79-yarder in the first half all started, when left guard David Baas pulled around to kick out the defensive end to his right. Center Eric Heitmann and right guard Chilo Rachal blocked down on the Seahawks interior lineman and Norris entered the hole first. Norris hit the first linebacker he saw, which enabled Gore to burst through the second level. All Gore had to do from there was sidestep an official, read Morgan’s downfield block and then outrun two Seattle defensive backs the rest of the way.
It was almost déjà vu to open the second half, almost.
This time around, Baas didn’t pull, but there was still a major vacancy in the middle of the line. Perhaps the design of the play was to go to the right as Norris fired out that way, but Gore instinctively ran behind left guard, where Baas had blocked down on the defensive tackle. Left tackle Joe Staley’s block on the Seahawks inside backer left defensive end Patrick Kearney untouched. Kearney was slow to come down the line and before he knew it, Gore was already on the second level and off to the races behind two tremendous blocks from Morgan and Bruce. Gore outran another pair of Seattle defensive backs for an 80-yard touchdown making him the first running back to have touchdowns over 75 yards in the same game since Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders.
Gore set a career-high with 246 yards from scrimmage that day (207 rushing, 39 receiving). Because both plays were virtually the same, and were equally impressive, Gore should be a popular vote.
It was Willis’ second consecutive season with a pick-6, as he silenced the St. Louis Rams with a 23-yard interception return for a touchdown.
With the Rams facing a third-and-eight from their 20, Willis ended any hope for a Rams comeback with an amazing defensive play which showcased all of his physical tools. St. Louis came out in a shotgun formation with four receivers, but ultimately Boller found a receiver from the wrong team.
Pressure from outside linebacker Manny Lawson combined with great downfield coverage caused Boller to roll to his right and then errantly throw back across his body towards the middle of the field. Boller’s pass was intended for wide receiver Keenan Burton, but it found its way in Willis’ arms, who reached to his right and plucked the ball out of the air.
Willis slightly bobbled the interception initially, but his focus allowed him to take the ball untouched for the 49ers first defensive touchdown of the season. It also put an exclamation mark on the defense’s only shutout of 2009.
With the 49ers trailing the Packers 23-3 in the second half, needing 20 yards to pick up a first down, quarterback Alex Smith showed the ultimate trust in his rookie wideout by putting the ball up in the air down the left sideline for Crabtree to go up and get.
The No. 10 overall pick in last year’s draft came through, by out-jumping veteran cornerback Al Harris to haul in the touchdown. The play brought the 49ers back into the game, and brought Crabtree’s playmaking ability out in the open for the world to see.
Even more impressive than the catch was Crabtree’s ability to maintain possession while crashing down on the hard Lambeau Field turf.
The beautifully thrown deep ball from Smith to Davis was not just a great play, but it tied Davis for the most touchdowns (13) by a tight end in a single season.
With the 49ers leading 7-6 with 7:37 left in the fourth quarter, Davis was on the line in what looked like a run formation. Despite having only one receiver on the field, Smith dropped back from center and threw his longest touchdown of his career to Davis, who had gotten behind Rams safety James Butler. Davis caught the pass in stride at the 37-yard line and then outran Butler and St. Louis cornerback Ron Bartell for the touchdown.
You can vote as many times as you’d like all week long. The winner will be announced next Monday, along with a new “Faithful Vote” for 49ers fans to debate on.
Tags: Frank Gore, Michael Crabtree, Patrick Willis, Vernon Davis
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