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The Early Lead
Posted at 02:54 PM ET, 01/23/2012

Giants vs. 49ers: Kyle Williams receives death threats after overtime fumble

For every playoff hero, there is goat, and Sunday’s AFC and NFC championship games followed the script.

In Baltimore’s 23-20 loss to New England, you could take your pick of goats between Lee Evans, who dropped the go-ahead touchdown, and Billy Cundiff, who shanked the game-tying 32-yard field goal attempt.

But after his San Francisco 49ers fell to the New York Giants, 20-17 in overtime last night, punt returner Kyle Williams had it just as bad. The 23-year-old had to swallow a pair of costly punt handling miscues — the second of which resulted in New York’s game-winning field goal.

Several 49ers players were quick to rally around their devastated teammate, but some fans were not as forgiving. In the immediate aftermath of Lawrence Tynes’ game-winning field goal, Williams began receiving death threats on the Internet.

Williams was bombarded with vicious comments on Twitter, with angry fans writing they hope his family dies or that his car gets bombed. (The San Jose Mercury News has a full list here.)

The first mistake came early in the fourth quarter when Williams hesitated before getting out of the way of a bouncing punt. The ball nicked his knee and New York’s Devin Thomas recovered, setting up the Giants’ only second-half score.

The second miscue came in overtime, when Jacquian Williams punched the ball out of Williams’s grasp to give the Giants the field position they needed to put the game away. In all, the unfortunate bounce and the fumble directly led to 10 of New York’s 20 points.

“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.”

His San Francisco teammates agreed.

“The game didn’t come down to Kyle Williams — it never did,” 49ers lineman Ricky Jean Francois said. “We could’ve ended that game many times.”

More NFL playoffs coverage from Washington Post Sports:

Giants beat 49ers 20-17 in overtime to advance to Super Bowl

Hamilton: NBC lucks out with Tom vs. Eli Super Bowl matchup

Mike Wise: Cundiff’s missed field goal is a horrible end to a game that had everything

Lee Evans shoulders the blame for Ravens’ loss after dropping go-ahead TD

Patriots are early 3-point favorites for Super Bowl

Early Lead: Who will win Super Bowl XLVI?

By  |  02:54 PM ET, 01/23/2012

 
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