The 49ers went to their top wideout in the Super Bowl to end 2013 and came up with an incompletion. In Sunday's NFC Championship game, Kaepernick lofted a deep ball to Crabtree once more on the right side of the field and had the ball intercepted to end San Francisco's comeback bid against the Seattle Seahawks.
Seattle's All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman tipped the ball into the air and Seahawks linebacker Malcolm Smith was right there to haul in the interception. It was Kaepernick's third turnover of the fourth quarter.
Seattle took three kneel-downs and won 23-17 to advance to Super Bowl XLVIII.
"I didn't play good enough to win," said Kaepernick, who engineered most of the 49ers offense in the first three quarters of play. "I turned the ball over three times. I cost us that game."
Kaepernick was stripped from behind to start the fourth quarter and was also intercepted by Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor.
The 49ers, however, did not point the blame at their quarterback, who finished the game with 153 passing yards and 130 rushing yards against a tough Seattle defense.
"We win as a team, we lose as a team," defensive co-captain
Kaepernick helped San Francisco stay in the lead for three quarters of play, but his final pass attempt of the night was sealed Seattle's victory.
Crabtree had one-on-one coverage against Sherman on the backside of the formation and Kaeprnick determined that was where he wanted to throw before the snap. Crabtree ran a double-move on Sherman and Kaepernick lamented not throwing the ball in the back of the end zone where only his receiver could make the play.
"I had a one-on-one matchup with 'Crab,'" Kaepernick said of the play. "I'll take that any time."
The 49ers were in position for a go-ahead touchdown with less than a minute left in the game at the time of Kaepernick's ill-fated 24th pass attempt of the night. Once Seattle kicked a field to take a 6-point advantage, the stage was set for late-game heroics. It seemed like it could happen for the 49ers after the offense was able to convert a 4th-and-2 with a check-down, roll-out pass to
The 49ers had the matchup they wanted with Crabtree, but ultimately not the final result.
"Losing is always hard," said Crabtree, who caught four passes for 52 yards. "I tried to do what I could."
San Francisco's locker room was all but silent after the game. It was quite the contrast from how the team looked in the first quarter.
It mostly happened when Kaepernick picked up 58 yards on an impressive run that saw the 49ers quarterback reach Seattle’s 10-yard line. It eventually help the 49ers build a 10-0 advantage early after a 1-yard
The long-legged scamper was the longest run of Kaepernick’s three-year career and even better, the longest postseason run by a quarterback in NFL history according to Elias Sports Bureau.
Kaepernick, however, didn't want to go over the run after the loss. The turnovers in the second half were more on his mind.
"You turn the ball over, you don't give your team opportunities to score," the 49ers quarterback said.
Kaepernick was hard on himself and took the loss on his broad shoulders. It was his first ever road playoff loss, too.
His coach, on the other hand, was positive about the team's all-around performance.
"Not many people get to be in this arena," Jim Harbaugh said. "I thought our guys showed tremendous fight... Congratulations to Seattle, they made the big plays."
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