The San Francisco 49ers will make their seventh Super Bowl appearance in franchise history, their first since 2012 after a 37 - 20 victory over the Green Bay Packers for the NFC Championship at Levi Stadium last night. Raheem Mostert, the 49ers second string running back had his best game ever as he rushed for 220-yards and 4 touchdowns as he was clearly stood out as the MVP for this important matchup. The 49ers defense would clamp down hard as Nick Bosa, Deforest Buckner and others got to Aaron Rodgers early as he would have one of his worst playoff games throwing two interceptions, one that went straight to Emmanuel Moseley and the other to Richard Sherman, a poor decision as Davante Adams was double covered. It was a pure annihilation and this game should silence any 49ers doubters as they will face the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV.
Did Jimmy Garoppolo have early-game jitters? Tevin Coleman ran the ball for the first three plays of the game, Green Bay shut him down as the 49ers would go three and out. The Packers would also punt on their first possession, only to have the 49ers strike first with a drive of 6-plays, 89-yards for a Mostert’s explosive 36-yard touchdown, this would be his first of four. Aaron Jones could not do much on the ground and Rodgers was sacked on a 3rd & 7 by the superstar rookie, Bosa for a loss of 13-yards. On the second play of the 49ers drive, Kenny Clark was called for roughing-the-passer on an incomplete pass but the defense would redeem themselves as Kyler Fackrell sacked Garoppolo on 3rd & 6 leading to a 54-yard field goal by Robbie Gould. The Packers had the ball early in the second quarter, it was getting tough to watch as Moseley tackled Jones for a loss of 2-yards and then to have K'waun Williams strip-sack a surprised Rodgers. Good thing Billy Turner came in clutch with the fumble recovery forcing the Packers to punt instead of the 49ers adding on more points to their lead. Another touchdown by Mostert 9-yards out making it 17 - 0, this came at a cost as Coleman injured his shoulder on a 4-yard run on the previous play and would not return. Things only got worse as Rodgers had trouble handling the snap from Corey Linsley as DeForest Buckner made the fumble recovery, this was a huge turning point as the Packers could not capitalize in the red zone already trailing by three possessions. Mostert’s would continue to plow through the tired Packers defense with a 34-yard run to end the drive with an extra 3 points on the board by Gould, 20 - 0. Rogers trying to get something going completed a pass to Allen Lazard that went for 19-yards, many would hope the Packers to continue their drive for potential points but when an untimely interception to Moseley once again placed the 49ers in a prime position to score, which they did. What a way to end the first half with Mostert getting his third rushing score from 18-yards out as the 49ers had a commanding 27 - 0 lead.
The Packers begin the second half with a six plus minute drive of 11-plays, 75-yards that ended in a Jones 9-yard receiving touchdown to cut the deficit to twenty. Any hope Packers fans may have had was immediately crushed as the 49ers responded minutes later with a 22-yard touchdown by no other than, the star of the night, Mostert. The Packers would convert a 4th & 2 on the last play of the third quarter that connected to Lazard for 4-yards, on the following play, Rogers would loft one up to Jimmy Graham that would be hauled in for 42-yards that went down to the 1-yard line. Jones ran it in for his second touchdown, a missed 2-point conversion as Rodgers’ pass intended for Adams was incomplete, the Packers trail 34 - 13. After the 49ers recovered an onside kick, they went three and out, the Packers would go on an impressive 92-yard drive as Rodgers threw a 65-yard bomb to Adams as he flew by Richard Sherman to the 22-yard line. A few plays later, Jace Sternberger caught his first career NFL touchdown for 8-yards to cut the deficit to fourteen. The 49ers would go on a back breaking drive of 10-plays, 49-yards as Gould added the finishing touches with a 42-yard field goal for a score of 37 - 20. A desperate Rodgers launched one hoping Adams would make the tough catch in double coverage but no luck continued their way as Sherman picked up the interception.
The Packers scored twenty points in the second half, if only they showed up in the first half of this game it could have been more of a contest. Adams had 9 catches for 138-yards but the defense was nowhere to be found could not slow down Mostert who had carried 29 times for 220-yards with 4 touchdowns becoming second all-time in rushing yards in a playoff game behind Eric Dickerson who rushed for 248-yards back in the 1985 Divisional Round. This is also the most rushing yards in a game in 49ers history, regular season or playoffs. Matt LaFleur did a great job in his rookie coaching season with a 13 - 3 record, with this postseason experience one will wonder in due time where he can take the Green Bay Packers back to the Super Bowl. The million dollar question is, how much does Aaron Rodgers have left in the tank? As for the 49ers, Jimmy Garoppolo only threw for 77-yards and two incompletions, this game was a statement to the rest of the NFL the 49ers are making the trip to the Super Bowl due to their deadly rushing attack and their explosive defense that win games convincingly.
The Chiefs rushing defense has been a flip of a coin all year round but will they be able to stop the 49ers three-headed monster, Tevin Coleman, Raheem Mostert and Matt Breida? What about the battle of the best tight ends, George Kittle and Travis Kelce? Super Bowl LIV will be a showdown of the Kansas City Chiefs explosive offense against the San Francisco 49ers explosive defense. History reflects defense wins championships however Patrick Mahomes has the upper hand. This matchup should be a seesaw battle to the bitter end.