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 choosing your favorite touchdown from this past season. You can vote for your favorite touchdown up until Monday at noon. Let’s take a look at the five nominees.
1. Randy Moss’ Monday Night TD vs. the Arizona Cardinals
Maybe the Cardinals thought he was going to run out of bounds, but Randy Moss had other ideas.
Facing a 3rd and 8 in the third quarter at Arizona in Week 8, Moss darted toward the left sideline on an out route before Alex Smith delivered a dart right into his hands. Moss ran up field and appeared to be headed to the left boundary, content with a first-down catch. But just before he reached the white line, Moss made two quick moves to the inside, leaving Cardinals cornerback Jamell Fleming and linebacker Paris Lenon in the dust.
Once he streaked down the sideline for the 46-yard touchdown, the veteran receiver was mobbed by his teammates as they pointed at the last name on his jersey for his trademark “Mossing” celebration. The score, one of his three regular season touchdowns on the year, made it 24-0 49ers en route to their 24-3 win on “Monday Night Football.”
2. Donte Whitner’s 42-yard INT Return vs. the New Orleans Saints
Donte Whitner may have suffered a knee bruise, but it was well worth it.
Ahmad Brooks had already given the 49ers a shot of energy with a 50-yard interception return of Drew Brees in the Week 12 matchup at New Orleans, but the defense wasn’t finished. With his team holding onto a 21-14 lead early in the second half, Whitner teamed up with his partner-in-crime, Dashon Goldson, to score San Francisco’s game-winner.
It started when Goldson upended Marques Colston, sending the receiver’s feet and the football skyward. It ended when Whitner leaped past the goal line and landed on his knee with the ball 42-yards later, as he was able to snatch it out of the air and follow a convoy of teammates into the end zone. The sequence displayed why the 49ers safety combo was voted to by the NFC’s starting tandem in the Pro Bowl.
3. Frank Gore’s Record-Breaker vs. the Arizona Cardinals
Joe Perry. Roger Craig. Frank Gore.
That’s the best of the best when you’re talking about 49ers running backs throughout the proud history of the franchise. Gore entered the Week 17 home matchup with Arizona as San Francisco’s all-time leader in rushing yards and attempts, but he was still tied with Perry and Craig for the all-time lead in touchdowns.
When Gore punched the ball in from 2 yards out in the third quarter to give the 49ers a 24-6 lead, he notched the 51st rushing touchdown of his career to surpass Perry and Craig. After the score, Gore showed his love for the 49ers Faithful by tossing the ball into the stands for one of the best souvenirs a fan can ask for.
Not only did the touchdown cement Gore’s place in 49ers history, but it helped the team claim the NFC West and the No. 2 seed on the final day of the regular season.
4. Michael Crabtree’s Game Winner vs. the New England Patriots
Not even a 28-point, second-half lead is safe in Foxboro. The 49ers know all too well.
Up 31-3 on the road against Tom Brady and the Patriots, San Francisco looked primed for a blowout victory against one of the NFL’s elite teams. But Brady showed why he’s a first-ballot Hall of Famer by rallying his team back to a tie game by the fourth quarter. In need of some serious momentum after the 49ers defense gave up a tying score, rookie LaMichael James rattled off a 62-yard kickoff return to put San Francisco in great field position.
Colin Kaepernick and Michael Crabtree took advantage, connecting on 38-yard touchdown that proved to be the game-winner in an entertaining 41-34, 49ers victory. Kaepernick threw a quick pass to Crabtree on a curl route in the left flat and the tough-minded wideout did the rest, spinning past one a defender and sprinting down the sideline for the score.
5. Kaepernick’s 56-yard TD Run vs. the Green Bay Packers
Erik Walden thought James had the ball, but he was wrong. The Green Bay defensive end was lined up against the right side of the 49ers offensive line in the third quarter, with the score knotted at 21 in the NFC Divisional Round.
Kaepernick kept the ball in James’ belly for a second, before pulling it back to himself and sprinting around Walden and down the right seam untouched for a 56-yard touchdown, thanks in part to a great downfield block by Ted Ginn Jr. By the time Bruce Miller engaged Walden near the line of scrimmage, Kaepernick was long gone to give the 49ers a 31-24 lead in the eventual 45-31 win in the final game of the season at Candlestick.
Kaepernick’s big run was the highlight of his record-setting evening, as he carried the ball 16 times for 181 yards and two touchdowns to post the highest single-game quarterback rushing total in league history. It also jumpstarted a 21-0 run by the 49ers to put the game out of reach.
UPDATE: Congratulations to Colin Kaepernick for winning with more than 77 percent of the vote!
Tags: Colin Kaepernick, Donte Whitner, Frank Gore, Michael Crabtree, Randy Moss
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