Black and blue are the Panthers team colors, but after the beat down handed to them by the 49ers, they have quite a few patches of skin that are the same color. The first half was quite competitive and chippy. Emotions were high and there was a lot of extra gamesmanship going on between whistles. The difference though was that the 49ers have been here before and they knew exactly how to focus their energies and emotions. The game was back and forth until the moment Vernon Davis was correctly awarded a touchdown to end the half. San Francisco gained the advantage and they would not relinquish it for the rest of the game.
The second half was just an exercise in domination. In classic 49ers style, the trenches was where it began. The offensive line took over and that allowed the power rushing attack to be force-fed down Carolina's throat. Colin Kaepernick had 24 pass attempts in the first half but reduced that to only 4 in the second half. It was ground-and-pound at it's finest, culminating in Frank Gore's 39 yard scamper which was nearly a mirror of Gore's break-away run that sealed the game against the Seahawks in Candlestick.
Meanwhile, the defensive line started pushing closer and closer to Cam Newton, sacking, blitzing, knocking down, hitting, harassing and hurrying him into interceptions. The 13-point final margin makes it seem like the game was close, but for nearly 3 quarters, this was a one-sided game on both sides of the ball. The 49ers were the bullies and there wasn't much the Panthers could do about it. This team is so laser-focused on their mission of winning the Superbowl, and I don't think even the home-field advantage of Century Link Field can stop them now. I'm not saying it will be easy, but I'm now highly confident that the Niners can get it done.
49ers vs Panthers Results
Okay so maybe it's borderline bullying, but Cam Newton was asking to be knocked down a peg. | Colin Kaepernick and NaVorro Bowman steal Cam Newton's ‘Superman' celebration (SI)
49ers' Kaepernick coming into focus (SF Gate)
There were quite a few calls made by the refs that were outright ridiculous, but this one benefited the 49ers. | Referee explains no flag on 49ers for 12 men in huddle (Maiocco)
Jim's Harbaughisms are slipping a bit. | Jim Harbaugh feels like a "strong, mighty man" after Sunday's win (PFT)