Divisional Anatomy: Vernon Davis’ Game Winner

Anatomy of a Play, Greg Smith, Inside the Game, San Francisco 49ers

It’s hard not to feel good for Alex Smith and Vernon Davis.  They are two of the NFL’s model citizens and just enjoyed their finest moment as professionals.

The play was one of trust and timing, two things Smith and Davis have developed during their six seasons together.

With 14 seconds left in the Divisional Playoff game against the Saints, the 49ers trailed by 3 points.

Davis aligned to Smith’s left.  The Saints rushed three defenders and dropped eight into coverage.  The 49ers blocked with six players and sent just four into routes.  With eight men guarding four, the Saints had the advantage in coverage.

Two Saints doubled Davis, with linebacker Scott Shanle guarding underneath and safety Roman Harper playing over the top.

As soon as Davis cleared Shanle’s underneath coverage, Smith fired a pass directly at Harper, trusting Davis would get position on the safety and catch the pass.  It was a perfect pass and an outstanding catch by Davis, who collided with Harper at the goal line, falling in for the game winning touchdown.

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