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49ers Produce Longest Drive in 2013

Posted Oct 13, 2013

An 18-play, 89-yard scoring drive that took off 9:32 sealed the deal in San Francisco’s 32-20 win over the Arizona Cardinals.

It was a meat-grinding, opponent-deflating, game-securing touchdown drive that did the difference for the 49ers on Sunday afternoon.

An 18-play, 89-yard scoring drive that took off 9:32 sealed the deal in San Francisco’s 32-20 win over the Arizona Cardinals.


“Grinded some meat,” Jim Harbaugh said of the drive, the most plays in a single possession of any game this NFL season.

The 49ers picked up several key short-yardage conversions on the drive that resulted in a 6-yard touchdown run from third-year running back Kendall Hunter.

“We kept getting three and four yards and popping plays here and there,” center Jonathan Goodwin said of the game-securing series. “You could feel that (offensive coordinator Greg Roman) G-Ro was going to run at ‘em.”

Harbaugh was most pleased about the series, the one that allowed the 49ers to win time of possession 34:19 to 25:41.

“I thought our players toughed it out when they had to, that was a great example of that in this ball game,” the 49ers coach said after his team picked up its third consecutive victory and improved to 4-2 on the year.

San Francisco picked up third-down conversions from a number of different contributors in the fourth-quarter series. The first came on a 6-yard pass to Anquan Boldin on 3rd-and-2. Kyle Williams later caught a 14-yard pass on a 3rd-and-7.

The biggest conversion, however, took place on a 4th-and-1. A quick hand-off to fullback Bruce Miller went for three yards up the middle to move the chains again.


“On a quick hitter like that, I could see right away where I was going to go,” Miller, the third-year pro said. “I knew exactly where I was going, right behind Mike Iupati. 4th-and-1, I was just trying to go get it.”

Miller’s conversion led to five-straight Frank Gore carries, including a 3rd-and-1 conversion that went for a 2-yard gain.

Two plays later, Hunter capped the long drive with a surge up the middle where he collided with Cardinals rookie free safety Tyrann Matheiu. The player known as "The Honey Badger" was driven into the end zone by Hunter on the final two yards of the run.

Meat-grinding, indeed.

“I understand what he means,” Goodwin said when asked about the latest Harbaugh-ism. “It’s like almost running into a brick wall over and over again to see what you get.”

Five different players earned first downs on the drive.

“It's a tribute to our guys up front,” Miller said. “They played lights-out all game. That's on their shoulders.”

Gore finished the game with 101 rushing yards, 81 of which were picked up in the second half, 41 came on the game-sealing drive.

“It was huge,” Colin Kaepernick said. “We drained a lot of clock. We had a lot of third down conversions, had the big fourth-down conversion, it was huge.”

The 49ers quarterback calmly led the difference-making drive that made it a two-possession game with 6:35 left to play.

“That was what we said in the huddle, we have to go down the field and score” Kaepernick explained.


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