San Francisco 41, New England 34: The 49ers and Patriots got together to play a football game tonight and, since the first one they tried sucked, they obligingly scrapped it and started a new one with 10 minutes left in the third quarter. Up to that point, the two teams had combined for three interceptions, eight fumbles (three lost) and, especially for the Patriots, plenty of sloppy football. Blame the weather or whatever else you want, but a lot of the play looked like Ted Ginn mistakenly touching this punt, and like this, a lot of it went in the Niners' favor anyway:
And for the beginning of the third quarter, things kept going that way for the Patriots. Here, Dashon Goldson returned a fumble by Stevan Ridley for 66 yards, leading directly to the score that would make it 24-3, and giving Chris Culliver the easiest block of his life on Tom Brady, who belatedly thought better of attempting a tackle:
Then? Tom Brady and the Pats started playing with a little fire, as you can see above. The Patriots reeled off 31 points in the game's final 21 minutes, challenging the record for largest comeback in regular season history, according to ESPN—the only competitor came in 1980, when the 49ers overcame a 28 point deficit against the Saints. But on a night that started with President Obama cutting in from Newtown and seemed lost for a while to the rainy conditions and the dominant Niners, the game ultimately wheezed into its final couples of minutes, and the Patriots ran out of steam. A strange play call on fourth and two with about 2:20 left—wherein Welker ran a little further than the first down marker, and ended up being overthrown by Brady anyway—more or less ended it for New England. They tacked on another field goal, but it wouldn't matter, and a game that everyone expected to be close wound up close in just about the least expected way possible.