How The San Francisco 49ers Made It To The NFC Championship Game
The journey to the NFC title game for the San Francisco 49ers has definitely been wild.
They began the season at (2-4) and then just a few weeks later found themselves at a crossroads when the were (3-5) and hosting the (6-2) Los Angeles Rams. San Francisco played brilliantly and dismissed the Rams and started their climb.
San Francisco would go on to win six of their next eight games but still was in a position of needing to win just to get in the playoffs. They were once again matched up against the Rams.
This time on the road (kind of), and when they elected to punt with 1:56 left in the game down by a touchdown it felt like this season was moments away from ending. The 49ers obviously rallied to force overtime and then won it in extra time.
Round one of the playoffs pitted the 49ers against the high octane offense of the Dallas Cowboys. A strong start and a nail biting finish and the 49ers were advancing. This team was finding ways to win in some tough places to play.
Nothing would be tougher than Lambeau. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers were undefeated at home this season and 22-2 over the last three seasons. The Packers were rested and ready to shake the postseason failures against the 49ers. Saturday night in Green Bay the 49ers played good enough offense, brilliant defense, and game changing special teams.
The offense had a tough time all day. They really struggled. The first completion and first chain moving play didn’t happen until 6:30 remained in the second quarter.
The offensive highlights came later in the game when they HAD to execute, and they did. The games final drive was a master class in time management and converting key plays.
The 3rd and 7 run by Deebo Samuel that gained nine yards was the play the sucked the spirit out of the Green Bay Packers and their fans.
This group was heroic. After an impressive opening drive by Green Bay the 49ers defense was incredible. The second Green Bay series had them on the move again but a strip by Warner and recovery by Greenlaw was a critical play to keep the score at 7-0.
The Packers had six possessions with a chance to add on to their lead and they weren’t able to. Half of those possessions were three and out.
When the Packers got in scoring range the 49ers defense rose up and got to Aaron Rodgers. A couple of HUGE sacks by Arik Armstead helped keep Rodgers and company out of the end zone and kept the game within striking distance.
The 49ers defense made it through without Ambry Thomas who didn’t play and even lost Dontae Johnson for a few plays but they stayed with it. After the 49ers tied it at 10 and Rodgers had the ball the 49ers dialed up one more 3 and out to give their offense a chance to win it.
The Special Teams
This group was the difference. The list is impressive.
The block kick before the half to keep the score at 7-0. The opening kickoff return by Deebo Samuel jumpstarted the second half and led to a field goal for the first points of the game for the 49ers. The blocked punt for a touchdown will be a play remembered for years.
Lastly, the dagger for the win. A kick by Robbie Gould in the snow for the walk-off win. WOW!
All that and here we are again. The 49ers and the Rams Part III.
Every critical junction of this season for the 49ers the Rams have been on the other side. So far the 49ers have cracked the code both times. It will be tough to do it a third time but it shouldn’t be easy at this point anyhow.
This team has shown its toughness, its resiliency and now let’s see if they can do it one more time.