SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – The surprising San Francisco 49ers lost to the New York Giants in overtime in the NFC Championship at Candlestick Park Sunday.

“It was a great season for the 49ers and you can’t lose that in one game,” Madden told the KCBS morning crew. “The job that the 49ers did this year, in Jim Harbaugh’s first year with the lockout and the shortened pre-season, to me it was just amazing – one of the great jobs by a team and a coach in the history of the NFL.”

It was a game marked by great defensive efforts on both sides.

“You know that thing when people say they protect the quarterback too much, (that) they ought to put a skirt on them? They ought to show them a tape of that game,” Madden said. “Both of those quarterbacks took a beating… It was a hard-fought battle, great defenses, super hitting. That was kind of an old-fashioned game.”

Two mistakes by 49ers rookie Kyle Williams led to two New York scores, including the game winning field goal. Williams let a punt touch him before it was recovered by the Giants in the fourth quarter, and then fumbled a punt return in overtime. Did the first have something to do with the second?

“What happens more than really getting down and losing confidence, is a lot of times you try harder and you press, and you want to make that big play to make up for it,” Madden said.

The New York Giants go to the Super Bowl to face the New England Patriots, who defeated the Baltimore Ravens for the AFC Championship in another close, hard-fought game.

“It was not a great day for the 49ers or the Ravens or the Harbaughs (49ers coach Jim and Ravens coach John),” Madden said. “But it was a great day for football, a great day for the NFL.” (9:20)

Listen to the John Madden segment live weekday mornings at 8:15 on KCBS All News 740 AM/106.9 FM.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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