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Niners' defense 'a bunch of fighters,' Vic Fangio says

Lost in a topsy-turvy NFC title bout that came down to one fateful gaffe by the 49ers' offense was an effort by San Francisco's defense that left coordinator Vic Fangio grateful.

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will re-air the Seattle Seahawks' 23-17 win over the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game on Monday, Jan. 20 at 9 p.m. ET and again at midnight.

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In the quiet minutes after the Seattle Seahawks pulled off a 23-17 win at home Sunday, Fangio approached each of his 49ers players and told them he loved them.

"I kissed most of them. I don't think I've ever done that before," Fangio said, per the San Jose Mercury News. "They're a bunch of fighters we've got here. They're class guys. Great players. Great individuals. Great football character. It doesn't surprise me."

While the 49ers registered four sacks against Seahawks signal-caller Russell Wilson, none of those came in a second half that saw Seattle post 20 points down the stretch. San Francisco's typically stout run defense also lost the battle to Marshawn Lynch, who blasted his way for 109 yards, including an earth-shaking 40-yard touchdown volt midway through the third period.

Wilson hadn't thrown for 200-plus yards in over a month, but San Francisco allowed him to cross that barrier as the 49ers blew a 10-point lead for the first time with Colin Kaepernick at quarterback. It didn't help that San Francisco's offense, over its final four drives, went three-and-out, lost a sack-fumble and tossed back-to-back interceptions.

On Sunday, only four of Seattle's drives topped 25 yards, but a failure to shut down a handful of big plays in the second half sent Fangio's troops into their offseason with plenty to think about.

The "Around The League Podcast" recapped all the Conference Championship week action.

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