The Panthers defense is looking to hold onto a 10-9 lead as the San Francisco offense takes the field in search of a game-winning field goal with no timeouts.
"This team has been in that situation before," cornerback
It has. And when you recall what happened in Week 2 at Buffalo and last year in Atlanta, it hasn't always worked out in Carolina's favor.
It was a different story Sunday at Candlestick Park on a day when the Panthers' defense was in complete control.
"We talked about it before we went on the field," said linebacker
Said Florence: "At that point in the game, you just want to play smart, sound football. The only way they could beat you is by getting a throw over the top."
The Panthers defense was confident and prepared. They wanted the chance to finish the game and close out a fifth consecutive victory.
"I can't tell you I was that nervous," said rookie linebacker
On the first play of the final San Francisco possession, defensive tackle
"That sack was huge," Klein said. "Huge."
Carolina's intentions were clear. There was only one way this game was ending.
On the next play, Kaepernick targeted wide receiver Mario Manningham. Florence's eyes lit up.
"Kaepernick was looking for the seven-route the whole game," Florence said. "I just sunk and got underneath it."
Florence picked off Kaepernick's pass – his second interception in as many games – and the Carolina sideline erupted into celebration.
The weight of this game was put on the shoulders of the Panthers defense. And with Florence's interception, the weight was lifted in fitting fashion.
This game was played on their terms. And it ended on their terms.
"I'm glad it was on our shoulders," linebacker