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SEATTLE – Frank Gore had no room to run, and Vernon Davis could not shake the Seattle Seahawks, either.
The Seahawks put the clamps on two of the 49ers’ longest-tenured and most-productive players on Sunday. And because of their success in limiting the effectiveness of Gore and Davis, the Seahawks punched their ticket to Super Bowl XLVIII with a 23-17 victory in the NFC Championship game.
“They played great defense,” Gore said. “We just couldn’t get it going.”
The 49ers rely heavily on both players to get them going. Gore rushed for 1,128 yards and nine touchdowns on the season. Davis caught 13 touchdown passes.
But against the Seahawks, Gore managed just 14 yards on 11 rushing attempts and Davis caught just two passes for 16 yards.
On the final drive, Gore caught a 17-yard pass on a fourth-and-2 play. And Davis had an 11-yard reception to give the 49ers’ a first-and-10 situation from the Seattle 18 with 30 seconds remaining.
But the 49ers’ season came to an end with linebacker Malcolm Smith’s interception of a Colin Kaepernick pass intended for Michael Crabtree that was deflected by Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman in the end zone.
“We had a lot of confidence,” Davis said. “As you can see, we worked our way down and just kept battling and fighting. We got down there in the red zone and didn’t quite pull it off the way we wanted.
“It cost us as a team. I’m not pointing my finger at Kaepernick or Crabtree. We lost together as a team.”
Perhaps the biggest element that was missing on Sunday was the 49ers’ traditional running game behind their powerful offensive line and Gore.
When asked why the 49ers were not able to get anything going with Gore, coach Jim Harbaugh said, “That’s a good question. I don’t have that answer right now.”
The 49ers did not have any answers on defense – other than Kaepernick and his running skills. The 49ers gained 308 yards of total offense. Kaepernick accounted for 130 yards rushing on 11 attempts.
“We just didn’t make the plays today,” Gore said. “Seattle got the win. Hopefully, the key guys on the team will come back and we’ll move on from here.”