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How Johnathan Abram’s tackle galvanized the 49ers

The game turned after Abram decided to put Deebo Samuel in an ankle lock

NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Seattle Seahawks v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

The 49ers were down 17-16 in the third quarter of Saturday’s Wild Card matchup with the Seattle Seahawks. The rivalry had its juice based on history. Brock Purdy connected with Deebo Samuel for a 21-yard gain. A play that looks normal in the box score was the turning point of the game.

Johnathan Abram, an addition for Seattle in Week 14, turned Deebo Samuel’s leg following his tackle. Samuel yelled for a flag but didn’t get one. Staying on the ground, the 49ers and Kyle Shanahan took exception to the play.

Samuel spoke after the game and stated: “I stayed down a little because I almost lost my temper.”

He went on to say: “At the end of the day, I felt like that turned our team up a notch, and as you can see, we just went out there and made plays.”

Kyle Shanahan had the strongest statements when asked in his press conference:

Did you have a sense WR Deebo Samuel might do something big after his foot got yanked?

“I was worried that he was hurt on it. I lost my mind a little bit on that. I was real concerned that he was hurt on it, I didn’t like how that looked. I thought it looked pretty bad and the intent of the play, so I think that pissed a lot of people off. I think it pissed our team off and I think you could kind of feel our team react to that after. I wish we were like that from the first play always, but sometimes when some stuff motivates the guys, I think it was cool to see us rally together and I know Deebo was bothered and it was cool we came back and answered.”

Was that play with Seattle Seahawks S Jonathan Abram worthy of a personal foul or worthy of an objection in your mind?

“That’s what I thought I saw and then he was hurt, so that allowed me to go out there. I’ll see, you always see when you see the tape. Everyone’s emotional out there, but that’s what it looked like to us.”

Do you remember any of it?

“Not what I said, but who knows, I was borderline blacked out at the time and we’ll see. You always have to see it again, but that one bothered us a little bit.”

The last statement couldn’t be more true as Shanahan walked onto the field and in between Seahawks players.

The 49ers did not need extra motivation. Instead, this moment lit a fire under the team and is a prime example of the comradery, culture, and people this organization has brought in.

This wasn’t the first time the 49ers put their foot on the gas pedal after a penalty/dirty play didn’t go their way. At one point after Abram’s ankle lock, the 49ers had outscored Seattle 22-0 while posting 163 yards on 11 yards per play, while Seattle had fumbled, punted, and threw an interception on their three possessions.

Don’t poke the bear.