Niners survive Patriots' comeback, clinch playoffs

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The San Francisco 49ers earned a playoff berth by withstanding a stunning comeback by New England from a 28-point deficit to beat the Patriots 41-34 on Sunday night in the rain.

Michael Crabtree took a short pass and sped around cornerback Kyle Arrington for a 38-yard touchdown with 6:25 to go, then David Akers made a 28-yard field goal to clinch it.

New England (10-4) trailed 31-3 at one point and lost for the first time at home in December in 21 games. They also had won 21 in a row in the second half of the schedule before San Francisco (10-3-1) somehow regrouped late in a game it seemingly had clinched long before.

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press

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