The San Francisco 49ers 19-17 win over the Seattle Seahawks featured plenty of field goals, but as big as anything was Vernon Davis' second quarter touchdown. Davis did not have a huge game, catching two passes for 21 yards, but the touchdown was huge.
The 49ers trailed 14-9 after Luke Willson hauled in a pass from Russell Wilson and rumbled for a 39-yard touchdown. The 49ers took over with 3:47 on the clock, and one timeout remaining. The team worked their way down the field without panicking, picking up chunks of yards at a time. Then, with six seconds remaining on the game clock, Colin Kaepernick connected with VD for the go-ahead score. It would not be the final score of the game, but if the 49ers had come up short in the red zone once again, who knows what the end result might have been.
The score was Vernon Davis' 11th this season, and his fourth straight game with a score. He needs only two more touchdowns to match his 2009 total, which set an NFL record (subsequently broken). He likely will not match his career highs in catches or yards, but even still, Davis is having a monster of a season. He is making big plays in the passing game, while continuing his strong blocking.
This touchdown was also the 51st of his career. Davis has been playing for eight seasons, and after a bumpy start, he has taken off. He slowed a bit last season when Colin Kaepernick took over, but come playoff time, he was in the zone. He had 12 receptions for 254 yards and a touchdown in three playoff games. The year before, Davis' postseason numbers were off the charts, hauling in ten passes for 292 yards and four touchdowns in two playoff games.
In grabbing his 51st touchdown, Davis jumped ahead of Jason Witten on the TE touchdown receptions list. Witten still has to play tonight, but for now, Davis is eighth among tight ends in NFL history.
1. Tony Gonzalez - 108
2. Antonio Gates - 86
3. Shannon Sharpe - 62
4. Jerry Smith - 60
5. Wesley Walls - 54
6. Dallas Clark - 53
7. Dave Casper - 52
8. Vernon Davis - 51
After Sunday's game, this ranking got people talking about Davis in the all-time context. It's an impressive performance thus far, but for purposes of the Hall of Fame, Davis likely needs to put together a pretty lengthy career. He deserves bonus points for his combination of blocking and receiving, but for now, the stats are not there to get the Hall of Fame votes. Considering guys like Wesley Walls and Dallas Clark are ahead of Davis on the list, Davis will likely need another five or six seasons at a fairly prolific pace. It's not out of the realm of the possible, but it's a ways off before this is really a serious discussion.
For now though, Vernon is also climbing up the 49ers leaderboard. He is 28 receptions and 118 yards back of Brent Jones on the 49ers tight end chart. With three games remaining, the yards mark is more likely than the receptions, but Davis will at least surpass both sometime early next season. Not too bad for a guy who couldn't get his head on straight before Mike Singletary came to town!