SANTA CLARA - Entering the NFC Championship Game, there was doubt that the 49ers would be able to replicate their demolition of the Packers from Week 12. It seemed logical the Packers would be much better prepared in this matchup with a trip to the Super Bowl at stake.
The 49ers did not just replicate their 37-8 performance from Nov. 24, they one upped it with a 37-20 win to advance to the Super Bowl.
The 49ers essentially took the soul out of the Packers by psuing them off the line of scrimamge on both sides of the ball throughout the game. The 49ers were up 27-0 going into halftime. The main reason for the 49ers success was a dominant performance by well-travelled running back Raheem Mostert.
He carried 29 times for 220 yards and four TDs. It was the second-most rushing yards in NFL playoff history, trailing only Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson, who rushed for 248 yards in 1985 against the Cowboys.
According to NFL Research, Raheem Mostert is the only player in NFL history with 200+ rush yards and 4+ rushing touchdowns in a playoff game.
The guy was just a man on a mission entering this game. Any "overconfidence" that he and his teammates were projected to have did not come to fruition. This was a team that was fueled by hunger.
They had no answer for Mostert. Jimmy Garoppolo had only eight pass attempts, completing six for 77 yards. It wasn't that Kyle Shanahan didn't believe in Garoppolo, but like he said after the game, the running game was working, so he stuck with it.
Yet, the Packers still did not have any answer, any adjustment to contain Mostert. The Packers showed up ill-prepared with their lackluster performance.
Credit to the offensive line of the 49ers who got Mostert going. They were creating running lanes as if they were parting the Red Sea. The 49ers were bullies on a playground who did not slow down just because they saw the Packers crying.
Now the Packers did muster a little come back in the fourth quarter, but it was more of a product of prevent defense by the 49ers. This game was the 49ers' to win from the very beginning and it is thanks to Mostert. The "Quest for Six" is alive and well for the San Francisco 49ers who will travel to Miami to face the Kansas City Chiefs.
That is a matchup that is sure to excite any football fan with all the hype in the world. One thing is for certain in that matchup is that Mostert will be a pivotal player for the 49ers to be crowned champs.