The San Francisco 49ers are heading to the NFC Championship for the second time in three years. Robbie Gould kicked a 45-yard field goal as time expired to end the number one seed Green Bay Packers’ hopes to make it to the NFC Championship for the fourth time in six seasons. Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers is now 0-4 all-time against the 49ners.
How We Got Here
Overall, the game was sloppy and clearly led by these two defenses. Following an opening drive score, neither team would put points on the board for a total of 10 drives. These teams combined for 10 points going into the fourth quarter. But when the game was on the line, the Niners had just that extra touch of effort for the endzone.
The 49ers’ offense seemed a bit slow at times but the defense and the special teams showed up in a big way when the team needed them the most. A blocked punt for a touchdown tied the game with 4:41 left in regulation. The Packers would ultimately go three and out, which would be the last time the offense would see the field.
The Packers totaled just 263 yards of offense. After scoring a touchdown on their opening drive, they would go six drives without scoring again in the third quarter by a field goal from the leg of Mason Crosby.
The 49ers had their own share of struggles on offense as well. They totaled 212 yards and went 5-11 on third down. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo would be sacked five times by the Packers’ defense, with four of them being registered on third down.
San Fransico will play either the LA Rams or the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC Championship. Let’s take a quick look at how the Niners could stack up against either team:
Clearly, the 49ers are more familiar with Matt Stafford and the Rams. As a divisional rival, the two squads play each other multiple times per season, and this season was dominated by the 49ers. The Niners won both games by a combined 24 point margin, but the Rams looked particularly energetic against the Cardinals in their opening playoff game. The third meeting between rivals could make for an interesting matchup.
As for the Buccaneers, the 49ers haven’t taken them on since the start of the 2019 season… when Jameis Winston still led the Bucs. Even though the Niners won that game handily, a matchup with this cast under Bruce Arians would likely be a different story. The Bucs defense is greatly improved since then, making a potential meeting likely to be a slugfest.
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