The San Francisco 49ers escaped Arizona with a 23-20 win and finishes the regular season on a high note. San Francisco locked up the No. 5 seed in the NFC and the will face the Green Bay Packers in the wild card round.
San Francisco originally blew a 17-0 lead as Arizona tied the game with a touchdown pass to Andre Roberts where there was just over two minutes remaining.
Both teams traded field goals where Phil Dawson made a 56-yard kick while Jay Feely countered with a 43-yard field goal. The opportunity was set up for the 49ers to do something with only 29 seconds remaining.
LaMichael James returned to the ensuing kickoff to the 36-yard line while Anquan Boldin had an 18-yard reception. Rookie Quinton Patton had a leaping 29-yard reception to get to the Cardinals 22-yard line. Dawson nailed a 41-yard field goal to end the game and keep the 49ers rolling with a six-game winning streak.
“Patton had the presence of mind to come in bounds as it was a really strong effort by him,” head coach Jim Harbaugh said. “He's our guy and he's definitely one of us. I couldn't be more excited for him.
The 49ers jumped out to a 3-0 lead on a Phil Dawson field goal to start the game. Quinton Patton had a 25 yard run off the reverse before the drive stalled.
Defensively, the 49ers contributed as well with an interception by NaVorro Bowman on the ensuing Cardinals possession. Anquan Boldin had a 21-yard reception and later caught a short touchdown pass for the first one of the game.
Boldin set up another touchdown with a 53-yard catch-and-run after the Cardinals missed a field goal. Colin Kaepernick found Vernon Davis for a three-yard touchdown and a 17-0 lead.
Arizona answered back with a touchdown drive of their own where they converted two fourth downs. Jake Ballard’s touchdown reception on fourth and goal marked the fourth consecutive game where a tight end scores on the 49ers defense. Phil Dawson missed a 24-yard field goal right before halftime due to a bad hold by Andy Lee
With the 49ers entering the postseason on a six-game winning streak, Harbaugh said he was happy with the result. The head coach admitted even though the game was ugly, it was still a win.
“We always want to win. It doesn't matter how, by any means necessary. As a coach in Oakland, Mr. Al Davis said ‘Just win or just win baby’ by any means necessary. I thought it was a very good win for us.”
-The missed field goal by Phil Dawson ended his streak of 27 consecutive field goals made.
-Harbaugh now has 36 regular season wins as a head coach, the second most for an NFL coach in his first three seasons. He is only behind former 49ers coach George Seifert, who has 38.