The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Sports

January 12, 2014

49ers stymie Panthers

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Colin Kaepernick raced into the end zone, then pretended to rip open his shirt with both hands imitating Cam Newton’s Superman touchdown celebration.

Three years of frustration had come to a head.

“Just a little shoutout,” Kaepernick said.

To whom?

“I think you know the answer,” Kaepernick said with a grin.

Kaepernick said he “will never forget” that he was selected in the second round of the 2011 NFL draft, 35 spots behind Newton, the Heisman Trophy winner and the top pick that season.

On Sunday, he outplayed his quarterback counterpart, throwing one touchdown pass and running for another score as the San Francisco 49ers defeated the Carolina Panthers 23-10 to advance to the NFC title game for the third straight season.

Kaepernick completed 15 of 28 passes for 196 yards in the divisional playoff win, avenging his worst statistical performance of the season two months ago against the Panthers.

“That’s not the first, nor will it be the last time somebody does that,” Newton said of Kaepernick’s copycat display before leaving the postgame podium.

Anquan Boldin had eight catches for 136 yards and Frank Gore ran for 84 yards on 17 carries for the 49ers (14-4), who will visit Seattle next Sunday looking for a return trip to the Super Bowl.

“I think we’re the two teams that everybody was looking at from the beginning,” Kaepernick said. “It’s going to be a knockdown, drag-out game.”

The 49ers will have their hands full.

San Francisco (14-4) split two games with the Seahawks this season, but lost 29-3 at CenturyLink Field in September.

The 49ers were missing receiver Michael Crabtree in that lopsided loss. Crabtree only had three catches for 26 yards against Carolina, but Boldin said he drew plenty of double teams that allowed him to get open.

“That’s the great thing about our team – we have weapons all around,” Boldin said. “You try to take one guy out and you still have two or three guys left who can make big plays.”

The 49ers held Newton in check, intercepting him twice and sacking him five times while stopping the Panthers (12-5) twice on the 1-yard line in the first half.

Newton finished with 267 yards passing and had 54 yards on 10 carries, but the Panthers only found the end zone once – on a 31-yard TD strike to Steve Smith.

It was a rough playoff debut for Newton.

Linebacker Ahmad Brooks stopped Newton on a fourth-down sneak early in the second. Later, Brooks vaulted over the line and past Newton – he was called for offsides, but the 49ers showed the Panthers it wouldn’t be easy.

“Terrible ending to a great season,” Newton said.

Almost fittingly, he misfired into the end zone on the final play of the game.

Kaepernick was held to 91 yards passing, 16 yards rushing and sacked six times in the first meeting with Carolina, a 10-9 loss at Candlestick Park.

But he played efficient football Sunday.

“We had to get settled down,” Kaepernick said. “We came out, they did some unorthodox things against us. We settled down, we got into our rhythm, we started making plays.”

San Francisco led 13-10 at the half when Kaepernick scored midway through in the third quarter on a 4-yard touchdown run off a read option.

The Panthers couldn’t answer, failing to score in the second half.

The 49ers took a 13-10 lead into the locker room after Vernon Davis caught a 1-yard touchdown pass in the back of the end zone from Kaepernick with 5 seconds left in the first half.

Davis was initially ruled out of the end zone on a play where 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh raced on to the field, drawing a 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. Harbaugh said he wasn’t disputing the catch, but rather that the play clock continued to run after the play.

All turned out fine for the 49ers though, as officials overturned the call ruling Davis dragged his left foot and scored.

Television replays showed the 49ers had 12 men in the huddle with backup tight end Vance McDonald racing to the sidelines before the ball was snapped. Referee Carl Cheffers defended the call telling a pool reporter the ball hadn’t been spotted – although Fox television replays seem to indicate otherwise.

Carolina spotted San Francisco a 6-0 lead with two defensive penalties – an unnecessary roughness on safety Mike Mitchell and a headbutt on cornerback Captain Munnerlyn – leading to field goals.

Notes: It’s the second time since 2008 the Panthers lost at home in the divisional playoffs after winning the NFC South and claiming a first-round bye with the No. 2 seed. ... 49ers FB Will Tukuafu left with a leg injury in the first half and didn’t return.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
  • aaaba 0721 Martella’s sweeps past Delweld

    A six-run rally in the first helped guide Martella’s Pharmacy to an 8-1 win over Delweld in Game 3 of their best-of-5 AAABA League semifinal series at Point Stadium, sweeping the series in the process.
    That rally also continued season-long trends for the clubs, according to their respective managers.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • warshel_0721 Warshel selecting UPJ

    For Kelci Warshel, the call to attend Pitt-Johnstown was based on the availability of her desired major – nursing.
    Taking an opportunity to join the university’s women’s track and field program was a very nice add-on and one that the Richland High graduate is ready to jump into ...
    ... Or hurdle over.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates 0721 Rallying Dodgers snap Pirates’ win streak at 3 games

    Hyun-Jin Ryu pitched seven strong innings, Adrian Gonzalez reached base five times and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-2 on Monday night.
    Ryu (11-5) joined Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw in making the Dodgers the first team in the majors with three 11-game winners.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pitt picked sixth in cluttered Coastal

    Florida State was an obvious choice as a favorite in one of the Atlantic Coast Conference’s divisions.
    In the other one, the pecking order was nowhere near that clear.

    July 21, 2014

  • Local Sports Briefs

    July 21, 2014

  • American Legion Region 7: Bedford gets past Clearfield

    Bedford’s Jake Stover had two hits with double and three RBIs in a 9-6 win against host Clearfield in the Pa. American Legion Region 7 Tournament.

    July 21, 2014

  • American Legion Region 7: Claysburg edges Beech Creek

    Claysburg’s Mike Mock went 2-for-2 with a two-run home run in the fourth inning to help his squad get by Beech Creek 7-6 during Sunday’s winners-bracket game in the Pa. American Legion Region 7 Tournament.

    July 21, 2014

  • Pirates 0720 Pirates rally to keep sweep

    Taking the extra base was the key for the Pittsburgh Pirates in completing a three-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies.
    Andrew McCutchen hit a tiebreaking single in the seventh inning, Neil Walker followed with a home run and the Pirates overcame a three-run deficit to beat the Rockies 5-3 Sunday.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • LAG 0720 AAABA League playoffs: Laurel Auto Group moves closer to advancing

    Second-seeded Laurel Auto Group fell behind early against No. 3 Berkley Hills Renegades on Sunday afternoon at Roxbury Park. But Laurel’s players didn’t lose their composure.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Urtz, Pope lead AAABA League award votes

    Logan Urtz hadn’t fielded a ground ball as an infielder or swung a bat in a game for a couple seasons.
    But you can’t take the former infielder out of a starting pitcher.

    July 20, 2014