The San Francisco 49ers booked their place in the Super Bowl with a 37-20 victory over the Green Bay Packers. In a battle of the NFC’s top two seeds the 49ers came out on top after a 27-0 half-time lead proved too much for the Packers to come back from.
San Francisco’s punishing run game won the game for them, led by running back Raheem Mostert who gained 220 yards from 29 carries. He scored four touchdowns in the game with three of them coming in the first half. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo only threw the ball eight times all game, completing six of his passes for 77 yards.
Mostert runs over the Packers in first half
Mostert put the 49ers in the lead with six minutes left in the first quarter with a 36-yard run down his left, finishing off an 89-yard drive. During this drive Garoppolo threw for 42 yards which was over half his total yardage for the whole game unbelievably.
49ers kicker Robbie Gould scored a 54-yard field goal on the first play of the second quarter to put the 49ers 10-0 in-front.
The Packers at this point struggled to put anything together offensively with their first three possessions ending in punts.
San Francisco on their next drive were able to score another TD thanks to Mostert. He finished off a drive consisting solely on runs with a nine-yard run down the left. The 49ers other running back, Tevin Coleman was injured on this play after a four-yard run and would not return.
The Packers now 17-0 down urgently marched up the field with an Aaron Rodgers 23-yard pass to Jake Kumerow and four runs from Aaron Jones. However, with the ball at the 49ers 25-yard line a fumble at the line of scrimmage was recovered by San Francisco. Kicker, Gould ended up scoring another field goal this time from 27-yards to put the 49ers 20-0 up.
With the game running away from the Packers disaster struck in the last minute of the half. Rodgers was intercepted by Emmanuel Moseley, he was able to run nine yards to Green Bay’s 30-yard line. Mostert ran on all three plays of the drive, finishing off with an 18-yard TD run, giving the 49ers a 27-0 lead and his third TD of the game.
Too much to overcome for the Packers
The Packers 27-0 down at half time started with the ball in the second half and scored their first points of the game. In this drive that took six minutes off the clock, Rodgers completed nine out of ten passes for 77 yards. Running back Aaron Jones finished the drive with a nine-yard TD catch to decrease the lead to 20 points.
With the Packers hoping for some late heroics from their future Hall of Fame QB Rodgers, the 49ers fired straight back. The 49ers, looking to run the clock down ran on all plays of the drive using wide receiver Deebo Samuel twice in the running game including a 32-yard reverse to put San Francisco at Green Bay’s 22-yard line. Mostert finished off the drive with a 22-yard TD run, his fourth of the game.
Green Bay, much better on offense compared to the first half scored again on their next drive. After completing short passes for much of the drive, Rodgers found Jimmy Graham deep to the right for 42-yards. This catch was initially ruled a TD but after review showed Graham did not break the plane of the goal line this was ruled out.
Jones ran the one yard needed for the TD on the next play for his second TD of the game. However, the Packers failed on a two-point conversion making it 34-13 to San Francisco.
Green Bay’s two TD scoring drives took 11:30 off the clock combined which being 27-0 down at half time was too much. However, they got some help from their defense as they forced the 49ers into a three-and-out.
With 11 minutes left in the game Rodgers was looking for a third successive TD drive to try and put pressure on the 49ers. A 65-yard bomb to Davante Adams helped the Packers move up the field quickly before Jace Sternberger scored his first TD of his career.
The rookie tight end caught Rodgers’ eight-yard pass down the right to put the Packers within 14 points of the 49ers. This TD pass was Rodgers' 40th in the postseason putting him ahead of Brett Favre for the most all time in Packers history.
Any faint hopes of a comeback were put out of sight after 49ers kicker Gould scored a field goal from 42 yards after a drive that took almost five minutes off the clock.
The Packers last action saw cornerback Richard Sherman intercept Rodgers as he threw long to Adams.
Mostert books trip to Miami
Despite 326 yards passing from Rodgers and another big game from Adams with 138 yards receiving, the 27-point half time gap was too much to overcome. Aaron Jones also finished the game with 83 scrimmage yards and two TD’s.
For the Packers first-year head coach Matt LaFleur there are plenty of positives to build on. After a year of Rodgers learning a new offense there is hope that results in a more polished offense in his and LaFleur’s second season together.
Raheem Mostert was huge for the 49ers with 220 yards from 29 carries and four TD’s. However, it remains to be seen how the 49ers will approach the Super Bowl. Going up against the Chiefs, the most explosive offense in the NFL. If they get off to an early lead Garoppolo will be a lot busier than he was Sunday night.