San Francisco 49ers  

 

Williams' two gaffes contribute to 49ers' crushing loss to Giants

  • By Associated Press
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SAN FRANCISCO -- Kyle Williams put his hands on his helmet and dropped his head in disgust. His second big mistake did in the 49ers at the worst possible time.

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Williams fumbled on a punt return in overtime, setting up Lawrence Tynes' 31-yard field goal, and the 49ers lost the NFC Championship Game to the New York Giants 20-17 on Sunday night.

Williams, who returned kicks in place of the injured Ted Ginn Jr., muffed one punt early in the fourth quarter to set up Eli Manning's go-ahead, 17-yard touchdown pass to Mario Manningham. Williams was stripped by Jacquian Williams in overtime to give the Giants the ball at the 49ers' 24. Devin Thomas recovered both fumbles for New York.

"You hate to be the last guy that had the ball, to give it away in that fashion and to lose a game of this magnitude," Williams said. "It is what it is. We're going to move forward as a team. Everyone has come to pat me on the back and the shoulder to say it's not me."

After Tynes kicked the winning field goal, Williams slowly made a dejected walk back to the locker room as the 49ers missed out on a prime chance to go to Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis.

"It will be a tough one," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said. "It will take a while to get over."

The fact that turnovers did in San Francisco truly was surprising. The 49ers tied an NFL record with just 10 giveaways all season -- including none on special teams -- and had a plus-28 turnover margin during the regular season. They took advantage of five New Orleans Saints turnovers to win 36-32 last week but were on the wrong end in this game because of Williams, who didn't look smooth fielding punts after doing it just twice during the regular season.

"I told him we're all in this together," 49ers All-Pro linebacker Patrick Willis said. "I believe in him. If I had a do-over, he'd still be my guy back there. He's a tremendous athlete."

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press

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