The Seattle crowed erupted when the Seahawks blocked Andy Lees punt in the fourth quarter giving the home team the ball on the 49ers 4-yard line. The decibel meter got pushed even higher after Marshawn Lynch bulldozed into the endzone nine seconds later. The score broke San Franciscos 14 game streak of not allowing a rushing touchdown and gave the Seahawks a 17-16 lead with less than seven minutes to play. The back-to-back plays had the feeling of game changers, but not for the players on the 49ers sideline.
They didnt flinch, said head coach Jim Harbaugh. The demeanor on the sidelines was outstanding. Offense, defense, special teams, nobody was hanging there daubers. It was a matter of getting back out there and making the necessary plays to win.
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Said Frank Gore: We just said, Hey, offense lets go. Try to get down the field and get some points. I was like, 'were going to win the game. Were going to win the game.'
Gore is quick to admit that feeling didnt always exist in seasons past.
Everybody would have been, back in the days after that blocked punt, would have been like, Ah man. What are we going to do now?
And this season?
Now its like, Lets go make plays and get some points on the board and win the game. We know that were a good team and we dont panic, Gore said. We dont panic at all. When things dont go right we all get together and tell ourselves we just got to do this and settle down and just make plays and thats what we do.
That attitude led the 49ers to a go-ahead field goal on their next possession -- a six-play drive highlighted by Michael Crabtrees 41-yard reception that set up what would be David Akers 39-yard game-winner. The 19-17 victory was the 49ers' first win in the Pacific Northwest since 2008 and gave the team five wins on the road for the first time since 2002.
Gore says the seeds for the teams "we-got-this" mindset were planted during the 21-point comeback against Philadelphia and grew from there. Harbaugh believes it stems from a culmination of things.
The biggest thing I point to is a lot of little reasons, Harbaugh said. "A lot of people think the minutiae that are important that add up to make all the difference and our guys continually do the little things and they stack on each other and they build on each other and low and behold you win games in high pressure situations or find ways to do enough things right to win games.
Regardless of where the mindset came from, its the intangible that a playoff team must have.