49ers Rally Around Williams, Fans Point the Finger

It would be easy to point the finger of blame for the 49ers loss in the NFC Championship at Kyle Williams, the backup receiver and punt returner who was responsible for the only two turnovers in the game, which led to 10 of the Giants 20 points.  But his teammates aren’t pointing fingers and are focusing on looking ahead.  Unfortunately, the fans have been far less forgiving.

The game didn’t come down to Kyle Williams – it never did,” defensive lineman Ricky Jean Francois said.  “We could’ve ended that game many times.”

“We’re all a team,” Justin Smith said of Williams’ plays. “We win together, we lose together. So that’s all there is to that.”

“Hopefully, he doesn’t beat himself up too hard,” safety Donte Whitner said of Williams. “Hopefully, the media’s not on him too tough. Because he’s still a young player, and he still has a bright future in the National Football League.

Williams commented on the fumble late in the game.  “You hate to be the last guy that had the ball, to give it up that way in that fashion and to lose a game of this magnitude,” Williams said.  “But it is what it is, and we’re going to move forward as a team.”

He also commented on the support of his teammates.  “Everybody in here has covered my back and kind of patted me on the back and said, ‘It’s not all on your shoulders,’ ” Williams said.  “Couldn’t be happier than to be with the teammates I have here.”

When head coach Jim Harbaugh was asked about what he said to Williams after the second fumble, he responded, “Keep your chin up, we all have things that we wish could’ve been different and that we could’ve done better.”

Fans have been far less forgiving, and have sent everything from acrimony to death threats in his direction via Twitter, ranging to as badly as statements like “I hope you, youre wife, kids and family die, you deserve it.”

There is no room for this.  Football is a tough and violent sport, but it is settled on the field according to the rules.  Fans that become so passionate that they threaten violence (and even commit violence in some cases) have no place.  Let’s not lose perspective – this is a game, and people’s lives are far more important.  Williams made a couple of ill timed mistakes, but his teammates certainly recognize his character.

And the way the 49ers are responding to this is an indication that they will be back.  With Harbaugh’s leadership, this is a strong team with lots of good character players, and they will get stronger from their experience this season.  Good teams circle the wagons and get better, bad teams point fingers after a loss.

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