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2012 Plays of the Year: Takeaways

Posted by Taylor Price on February 12, 2013 – 1:40 PM

We need your help in selecting the top plays from the 2012 season. We’re asking our Faithful fans to choose the top takeaway, touchdown, sack, big play and biggest hit of the season. Next, the winning five plays (one from each category), will move on to the championship round to determine 49ers.com’s “Top Play of 2012.”

Watch our “Top 5” video highlights on the best plays for each category, then vote in the poll section of the corresponding blog post to see which top play will reach the championship.

Help us crown the top play of 2012 by first choosing your favorite takeaway from this past season. You can vote for your favorite takeaway up until Thursday at noon. Let’s take a look at the five nominees.

1. NaVorro Bowman’s interception vs. the Green Bay Packers

The 49ers picked up their first win at historic Lambeau field since 1990 thanks to NaVorro Bowman’s first career interception. With the 49ers clinging to a 23-15 lead at the start of the fourth quarter, Bowman, a first-time Pro Bowl linebacker, intercepted Aaron Rodgers over-the-middle to set up a 23-yard Frank Gore touchdown.

Bowman recorded a team-high 11 tackles against the Packers, but truly put his stamp on the game with a well-timed interception of Rodgers. Bowman, a third-year pro, recorded the first and only takeaway of a critical season-opening win.

2. Ahmad Brooks’ interception return for a touchdown vs. the New Orleans Saints

San Francisco intercepted respected Saints quarterback Drew Brees twice in a Week 12 road victory. Both takeaways were returned for touchdowns, too. Donte Whitner’s 42-yard pick-six was impressive, but it didn’t get the nod over Ahmad Brooks’ 50-yard interception return.

Brooks, a 6-foot-3, 259-pound outside linebacker, correctly read Brees’ eyes as he dropped into coverage. The pass-rushing linebacker wound up in the quarterback’s throwing lane and somehow managed to pluck a quick pass from Brees out of the air and return it 50 yards untouched for a touchdown.

The 49ers trailed 14-7 at the time of Brooks’ game-changing play and never looked back from it. San Francisco out-scored New Orleans 17-7 after the defensive touchdown, an impressive athletic play turned in from one of the most physical players on the front seven.

3. Dashon Goldson’s fumble recovery vs. the New England Patriots

The San Francisco 49ers forced four turnovers in a 41-34 road victory over the New England Patriots. The four takeaways helped the 49ers build a 31-3 lead in the third quarter of a key late-season victory. Of all the standout defensive plays, perhaps the most remarkable game-changing defensive moment was turned in by safety Dashon Goldson.

The two-time Pro Bowler scooped up a Stevan Ridley fumble that was forced by a vicious open-field hit from fellow Pro Bowl safety Whitner. Goldson, who had successfully converted a fake punt earlier in the game, caught the fumble as it floated in the air and returned it 66 yards to set up a Gore touchdown on the very next play.

4. C.J. Spillman’s fumble recovery vs. the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Divisional Playoffs

The Packers held an early 14-7 lead in a Divisional Playoff matchup with the 49ers. It would be their only lead in the game thanks to a clutch fumble recovery from 49ers special teams ace C.J. Spillman. The 49ers gunner worked his way down the field on an Andy Lee punt and found his way on top of a muffed punt from Packers return man Jeremy Ross.

Spillman’s first career postseason fumble recovery at Green Bay’s 9-yard line led to a 12-yard touchdown pass from Colin Kaepernick to Michael Crabtree, a score that tied the game at 14. The 49ers would never trail after that point after proceeding to out-score the Packers 31-13 the rest of the way in a home playoff win.

5. Tarell Brown’s forced fumble and fumble recovery vs. the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII

In search for some second-half momentum in the biggest game of the season, 49ers cornerback Tarell Brown provided that spark with a key forced fumble and fumble recovery in the third quarter of Super Bowl XLVII.

The 49ers trailed 28-20 to the Ravens and got their first turnover of the game when Brown stripped Baltimore running back Ray Rice in the left flat. Brown quickly recovered the loose ball practically in one quick motion. Brown’s first career postseason forced fumble and fumble recovery led to a 34-yard David Akers field goal in the Super Bowl.


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Posted in Announcements | 6 Comments »

6 Responses to “2012 Plays of the Year: Takeaways”

  1. By Chillin on Feb 12, 2013 | Reply

    Frank Gore

  2. By rodney on Feb 12, 2013 | Reply

    great game we will get it next year.

  3. By Corey on Feb 12, 2013 | Reply

    Can’t wait to see what is up next for the next top 5.

  4. By Joaquin on Feb 12, 2013 | Reply

    Why don’t they have the Donte Whitner interception agaisnt the Saints? The one where Colston jumps up for the grab and gets his legs taken out by Dashon Goldson? That was an awesome takeaway

  5. By chillmodedlb on Feb 13, 2013 | Reply

    Best takeaway of the year was Patrick Willis stripping the Bills TE right before halftime. Dude is so strong he basically tackled him from behind while also pulling the guys arms straight down. Shows why Patrick Willis is dominant. Very next play Alex Smith dropped it in the corner of the end zone from 30 yards out.

  6. By phatalerror on Feb 13, 2013 | Reply

    Ahmad Brooks’ TD interception return was the most important takeaway of 2012. By covering the 49ers’ seven point deficit, it protected young Colin Kaepernick from the tendancy to ‘press’ in order to catch up to the Saints. The season might have proceeded very differently had Kaepernick been forced to lead his offense to outscore the Saints’ offense. Thanks to the first of two uncharacteristic Brees pick-sixes, Kaepernick looked great without having to play at the level Drew Brees usually plays at.

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