Both Terrell Owens and now Vernon Davis have caught last-minute, game-winning playoff touchdowns for the San Francisco 49ers in their careers, and ironically enough, their reactions were similar.
But whose catch was more worthy of joyful tears: Davis's or Owens's?
Davis hauled in the game-winning, 14-yard touchdown pass with just nine seconds to go from quarterback Alex Smith in the NFC divisional playoff game against the heavily favored New Orleans Saints on Saturday. The 49ers pulled off the upset 36-32, and, as a result, won their first playoff game since the 2002-2003 playoffs and advanced to the NFC championship game this Sunday to face the New York Giants.
Davis hauled in the game-winning, 14-yard touchdown pass with just nine seconds to go from quarterback Alex Smith in the NFC divisional playoff game against the heavily favored New Orleans Saints on Saturday. (Reuters/Beck Diefenbach)
After making the catch, Davis, who had seven receptions for 180 yards and two touchdowns for the game, jogged to the sideline a few moments later in tears, followed by giving coach Jim Harbaugh a heartfelt embrace.
By all respects, everyone watching that game knew just how genuine the tears were considering the 49ers's average to below-average previous seasons and how underrated Davis may have been, especially in the eyes of former coach Mike Singletary who called Davis out before for not being a winner.
One shot. That was the message, Davis said in the locker room during . You only get one shot. If you don't take advantage of it, you go home. There was a lot of fire within me at that moment, and something just hit and I had to let it out. When you're a leader on this team, that's what you're supposed to do. You're supposed to step up, lead the team in times like that.
Davis's big-game final moments were reminiscent of those of former San Francisco Pro Bowl receiver Terrell Owens in 1998 at Candlestick Park in a playoff wild card game against the Green Bay Packers. Owens caught a 25-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Steve Young with just eight seconds left in the game. As a result, the 49ers won 30-27, advancing to the divisional round.
After making his catch, Owens, who had three receptions for 73 yards and a touchdown for the game, came strutting to the sideline and broke down in the arms of coach Steve Mariucci.
For Owens, being in just his third year in the league, having his first 1,000-receiving yard season before the '98 playoffs and struggling during the game by dropping passes, only to rebound with a game-winning one, all could have been factors in his emotions.
Owens' catch was dubbed The Catch II, a reminder of The Catch, when Dwight Clark used only his fingertips to snag a rollout pass from Joe Montana to win the 1982 NFC Championship game. San Francisco lore would make Davis' catch The Catch III then, wouldn't it? Not so. Talking to reporters after the game, Davis instead dubbed his catch The Grab in what might be one of the top five most memorable catches in 49ers history.
Watch The Grab, The Catch II and their aftermaths below. Oh yeah, and have some tissues ready: