PHILADELPHIA –The last time the 49ers overcame a 20-point deficit, the year was 1996.
On Oct. 20 of that season, George Seifert’s 49ers squad rallied from a 21-0 hole against the visiting Cincinnati Bengals to win 28-21.
On Sunday, Jim Harbaugh’s 49ers team found themselves in a 23-3 ballgame in the third quarter. Harbaugh’s players rallied, and found a way to win, defeating the favored Philadelphia Eagles 24-23.
Twenty-one unanswered points were scored by the visiting team going away. It was certainly an impressive display of offense for a team that entered the game ranked last in the league averaging 213.7 yards per game. When the going got tough, the 49ers got going and finished the game with a season-high 442 total yards of offense.
“When you’re down 20 points, you can’t get it all back at once,” said quarterback
No. 11 led the 49ers on three scoring drives, and put together all the second-half touchdown drives, while Pro Bowl Eagles quarterback Michael Vick watched from the sidelines. Smith’s near-career day, statistically speaking, saw him go past the 10,000-yard passing mark for his career, making him the sixth San Francisco signal caller to do so.
Smith’s gritty performance was nothing new to his teammates. Throughout his seven-year 49ers career, Smith has endeared himself to teammates.
On a day where Smith was sacked three times by Eagles defensive end Jason Babin, he continued to make plays in the pocket, and on the move when he had to.
“I think he did a great job helping us get a victory,” said tight end
Smith, however, didn’t want the glory. Instead, he praised his teammates on the perimeter for making game-changing catches on those crucial scoring drives.
“For the perimeter unit, we’ve had our moments, but haven’t executed at that level,” Smith said on a day where he passed for 201 yards in the second half. “It was big for us to finally do it, first time being in that situation in this offense. I thought the guys played great on the outside all day.”
Having put together a comeback win after trailing by three touchdowns in the second half on the road, the 49ers were taken back by the significance of the win.
“I started to scratch my head as I entered the locker room,” described Davis while inside a hectic, emotional postgame locker room atmosphere. “We never had a game like this where we could pull through. This is the first time we came all the way from behind. It’s just an amazing feeling right now.”
Harbaugh said it was one of the best game he’s been associated with and was quite proud of his team, as evidence in his postgame speech to the locker room.
“You guys never not got scared,” Harbaugh said emphatically.
The 49ers played like a team with their back against the walls, but more importantly, they played together, with their backs against the walls.
“At the end of the day, any Sunday you go out and you play any team, I’m a man just like them,” Davis added. “That’s what I was telling my teammates. We are men. (Philadelphia) can be beat. We just have to trust and believe in each other and play a good ball game.”
The 49ers did just that, only it happened more so in the game’s final 30 minutes.