The NFC Championship Game delivered on its promise in what proved to be a fantastic contest between two of the NFC's best.

First Half

The first quarter saw the Detroit Lions start the game and they settled into the game immediately with a TD thrown in the opening drive. With no response from the 49ers on their opening drive, including a missed FG from Moody, more adversity endured for the home team which led to the Lions being 14-0 up after the first quarter.

The 49ers offense responded with a sublime drive, utilising MVP nominee Christian McCaffrey and reducing the lead to a one TD game.

Brock Purdy #13 of the San Francisco 49ers scrambles against the Detroit Lions during the second half of the NFC Championship football game at Levi's Stadium on January 28, 2024 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
Brock Purdy #13 of the San Francisco 49ers scrambles against the Detroit Lions during the second half of the NFC Championship football game at Levi's Stadium on January 28, 2024 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

Purdy threw an INT on the following drive which was ultimately punished thanks to some efficient third down plays from the Lions. Gibbs was there in the right end to increase the Lions' lead.

The Lions defense stopped the 49ers gaining a single yard on their next drive, which allowed them to close out the half with a FG converted from 21-yards to go into the interval with a 24-7 lead.

Second Half

The San Francisco 49ers came out firing at all cylinders in the third quarter, with the momentum favouring the No.1 seed. The third quarter proved to be the defining quarter, as after three drives from both teams, the 49ers spun the game on its head to level at 24-24. 

With a FG to reduce the score to a two TD game again, the Lions made an audacious and aggressive move from 4th & 2 to try and reach 1st. Ultimately Goff made a significant pass incompletion, which resulted them missing out on a missed FG opportunity and put the 49ers back within contention.

<strong><a  data-cke-saved-href='https://www.vavel.com/en-us/nfl/2024/01/21/1169428-49ers-24-21-packers-no-1-seed-49ers-advance-to-the-nfc-championship-game.html' href='https://www.vavel.com/en-us/nfl/2024/01/21/1169428-49ers-24-21-packers-no-1-seed-49ers-advance-to-the-nfc-championship-game.html'>Christian McCaffrey</a></strong> #23 of the San Francisco 49ers runs the ball for a touchdown during the third quarter against the Detroit Lions in the NFC Championship Game at Levi's Stadium on January 28, 2024 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Christian McCaffrey #23 of the San Francisco 49ers runs the ball for a touchdown during the third quarter against the Detroit Lions in the NFC Championship Game at Levi's Stadium on January 28, 2024 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Two TD moves from Aiyuk and McCaffrey in the space of 4 in game minutes put the game level. A fumble from the Lions between both drives made the difference. Purdy proved all his doubters wrong in this quarter to level. 

The final quarter the 49ers took the lead thanks to another Moody FG conversion from 33 yards, with the Lions not able to muster anything on their drive, despite the ruthless efforts on 4th down again.

A clutch 21-yard scramble from Purdy on the 3rd down gave the 49ers to confidence to convert a TD on their drive, McCaffrey ran 33+ yards on this drive before taking a breather as Mitchell came on to convert.

With a confident 10-point advantage into the final few minutes, the Lions needed a miracle to come back. Despite getting a TD in under a minute thanks to Goff's brilliance and precision, the clock ran down and the game ended.

49ers Head Coach Kyle Shanahan said:

“There’s been unfinished business for a while, man. Our team was set out for this for a long time, it’s been a long year to get to this point, and we got it done today.

"It was hard at the beginning, but the character we have in our team, the type of guys we have, we can’t wait to get to Vegas, man.”

With the 49ers making it to 3 NFCCG's in a row, Shanahan remained grounded by stating "Regardless of any of that stuff, we're not going out like this.

"We've got to be a lot more aggressive here in the second half in everything we do, offensively, defensively, special teams. The guys didn't want today to be the last day."

San Francisco 49ers fans celebrate during the second half against the Detroit Lions in the NFC Championship Game at Levi's Stadium on January 28, 2024 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
San Francisco 49ers fans celebrate during the second half against the Detroit Lions in the NFC Championship Game at Levi's Stadium on January 28, 2024 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

This performance was tied for the biggest comeback in an NFC Championship Game ever with the 2012 Niners team, who rebounded from down 17 to beat the Atlanta Falcons in the Jim Harbaugh era.

The San Francisco 49ers will take on the Kansas City Chiefs in Las Vegas pm Feburary 11th, in a repeat of Super Bowl LIV.

A view of Levi's Stadium during the third quarter between the Detroit Lions and San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game on January 28, 2024 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
A view of Levi's Stadium during the third quarter between the Detroit Lions and San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game on January 28, 2024 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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About the author
Henry Cheal
A lover of all things sport.