SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JANUARY 14: Vernon Davis #85 of the San Francisco 49ers reacts with Alex Smith #11 after his touchdown in the fourth quarter of the NFC Divisional playoff game against the New Orleans Saints at Candlestick Park on January 14, 2012 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Just for fun I decided to re-watch the drive by Alex Smith and the 49ers against the Saints in last years playoffs. If you view this video on YouTube, it will recommend that you also watch Joe Montana's final Super Bowl drive versus the Cincinnati Bengals -- naturally. It was interesting to parallel to the two with almost 30 years separating them. But it just goes to show what a rich and well-known history the 49ers have.
I took some time to watch and compare, identifying the similarities and differences.
2012 Playoffs-Epic Final Drive-49ers vs Saints (via revolutionphase1)
Now, we take a look at the drive that Alex Smith engineered versus the Saints in the Divisional Playoff round and we can see similarities. Obviously the stage that Joe Montana performed on was much grander because it was for a Super Bowl, but they were both magnificently executed crunch time drives.
Super Bowl XXIII Winning drive (via EazyESJC82288)
How Montana meticulously operated on the final drive of the Super Bowl was amazing. He was solidifying himself in football history, as one of the most successful quarterbacks in NFL history. But we see great performances from both Montana and Smith in their respective drives.
In a lot of respects, it looked like Smith was taking a page out of Montana's playbook; attempting to copycat his calm approach. Smith, like Montana, also had no issue with checking down to his running back when the deeper options weren't available. Joe of course, looked a lot more decisive in many of his throws.
Montana also was comfortable handing the ball off; a confidence that they were going to score no matter what. It might also be because they had 3 timeouts. But both Montana and Smith had to go the length of the field to lead their teams to victory.
Both quarterbacks went no-huddle without hesitation, and looked in total command of their units. Smith wasted more time than Montana did communicating plays to the entire offense and getting his guys lined up. No. 11 also had to execute less plays in less time. With the help of Vernon Davis, his yards after catch gashed the Saints defense and greatly helped Smith and the 49ers get down field.
Davis' catch and run also ended with him in Saints territory, within field goal range and out of bounds to stop the clock. Though the play from Montana to Rice that began at the Bengals 45-yard line was a pure precision pass that put the 49ers in striking distance. It was the equivalent as the layup from Smith to Davis in 2011 that set up the final moments to the game winning touchdown.
Montana and Smith actually both checked down to their running backs the play after their connections to Rice and Davis. And then appropriately call for clock stoppages.
The game winning touchdowns by Vernon Davis and John Taylor were similar in situation and scheme. Davis and Taylor caught the game winners with seconds left in the game, and trailing on the scoreboard. They also were both lined up to the left of the quarterback and ran posts, catching the ball in mid-area of the end zone.
The timing and ball placement of both passes looked like destiny -- both truly great moments in professional football.
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