Joffrey. Cersei. The New York Jets.
Usually when a team hires an offensive-minded head coach and pays a quarterback $137 million, the quarterback is the story. So who would have guessed the 49ers would be in the Super Bowl and the guy everyone is talking about is an undrafted running back from Purdue?
Jimmy Garoppolo, the Niners’ high-priced QB, attempted just eight passes in San Francisco NFL title game win over the Packers. (They were the first team since the 1973 Dolphins to attempt fewer than 10 passes in a playoff game.) Instead, Jimmy G handed the ball 29 times to Raheem Mostert, who rushed for 220 yards and four touchdowns. (That’s the second-most rushing yards in a playoff game ever and he’s the only player to have at least 200 yards and four TDs in a playoff game.)
Mostert was a most unlikely hero. He was a two-star high school recruit who failed to get significant opportunities at running back for Purdue until his senior season. He went undrafted in 2015 and bounced from team to team until finally catching on with the Niners late in the 2016 season. Between Sept. 6, 2015 and Nov. 24, 2016 he was cut by six teams. And he remembers each one of them.
Mostert said after his monster performance that he looks over the list of teams that discarded him before every game.
“I did have a lot of doubters and naysayers,” Mostert said. “Now I get to tell them, ‘Look where I’m at now.’ I never gave up on my dream. I never gave up on the opportunities when it presented itself. I always worked hard, no matter what.
“It’s crazy that I’ve been on seven different teams. I actually still have the cut dates and I look at that before every game.”
Now I just picture Mostert sitting in his locker and tying his shoes while whispering to himself, “Eagles, Sept. 6. Dolphins, Oct. 15. Ravens, Dec. 15...” like he’s Arya Stark reciting the list of people she’s going to kill.
Gashing the Kansas City defense in two weeks and winning the Super Bowl would be Mostert’s version of killing the Night King.
Revis Island got washed away
The Niners are in the Super Bowl largely thanks to a defense that allowed the fewest yards and points of any in the league. Richard Sherman, at the age of 31 and two years removed from a torn Achilles, re-established himself as one of the best cornerbacks in the league and was voted to his first Pro Bowl since 2016.
Darrelle Revis wasn’t impressed, though. After the game, he blasted Sherman on Twitter for only playing on one side of the field and not following the opposition’s top receiver all game long. The criticism led to an extended back-and-forth between the top two corners of their generation.
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