Defeating the Packers was incredibly special for the 49ers.
That was a game where winning looked bleak until their special teams made an uncharacteristically positive game changing blocked punt for a touchdown.
However, had it not been for the phenomenal performance of the 49ers defense throughout the entire game, they likely would not have won.
Outside of the opening drive of the game, San Francisco's defense was smothering. They did not give much of anything to the Packers. DeMeco Ryans had the perfect plan and play calling sequence for this game. Simply remarkable.
In fact, the 49ers defensive dominance versus the Packers was so stellar that it trumps Raheem Mostert's 2020 NFC title game explosion against them.
Mostert in that championship game was a monster. There was no hope in stopping him. Green Bay fans are surely still having nightmares of his legendary performance.
But the performance that DeMeco Ryans and his guys put on surpasses that. To get 11-plus players, including rotational ones, to play at a high-level and execute to the finest detail is astonishing. It is not absurd to see one player have a superb game like Mostert did, but to get more than 11 players to play like that? It is unreal.
Both Mostert and the 49ers defense in the Divisional playoff game had outlier performances. The defense had to fly into the freezing cold at Lambeau Field on a short week against a No. 1 seed led by Aaron Rodgers that had been rested. The conditions going into the game were already putting the defense up against it.
And once the game got rolling after several series, you could see that the 49ers offense was going to struggle. They could not get enough movement with their offensive line, so it was a matter of which defense was going to crack first. San Francisco's defense did not waver one second. The only time they did was when Rodgers hit Aaron Jones deep following a Jimmy Garoppolo interception.
That too was foiled incredibly by the defense with Jaquiski Tartt saving a touchdown from the opposite side of the field. Then they ended up holding the Packers to a field goal attempt, which ended up getting blocked. Each and every drive the 49ers' defense was suffocating the Packers. They were locked in. Seeing Fred Warner's forced fumble was an indicator of the level the defense was going to be at.
It wasn't an option to waver at any second. Had the defense given up another touchdown that game, then the Packers most likely would have won. The 49ers offense did little to nothing that game. Everything successful in that game was because of what the defense did to hold it down for the team. Rodgers and their vaunted offense could do nothing. They were PUNKED at home against a Wild Card team.
Considering all of the factors going into the game, how the game played out with no margin for error, and just the overall performance makes it a legendary defensive performance. It is the equivalent of what Mostert did to the Packers back in 2020, but better. The 49ers didn't need Mostert to have a record breaking game to win at home.
They DID need their defense to have the greatest performance of the 2021 season to overcome the Packers.