The San Francisco 49ers will appear in their first Super Bowl since the 2012 season when the Colin Kaepernick-led team ran into the Baltimore Ravens and lost by only three points.
Most players and personnel from that 2012 NFC Championship-winning team are gone. Offensive linemen Joe Staley is the last player left from that Super Bowl team and stuck with it through a few head coaches and a regime change. Now Staley finds himself in line again for a possible Super Bowl win.
San Francisco made crucial moves in the offseason to bring in the guys they needed so desperately to get back into contention.
The 49ers acquired Dee Ford from the Kansas City Chiefs to bolster the defensive line. The team made a draft-day trade to acquire the pick that landed them rookie linebacker Dre Greenlaw, who had a terrific rookie season. The 49ers also traded for Emmanuel Sanders in the middle of the year to give them an extra target for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo during the season.
San Francisco also added Tevin Coleman and Kwon Alexander in the offseason. San Francisco then selected Nick Bosa with the No. 2 pick and Deebo Samuel with the No. 36 pick. Both players have been key in the 49ers’ success this season.
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JIMMY G IS BACK
Garoppolo made his return to the team after suffering a torn ACL that derailed his 2018 season. Against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 1, it didn’t look like he skipped a beat. He was 18-for-27 with 166 yards and a touchdown pass to Richie James. Richard Sherman also had a touchdown in that game.
San Francisco won the game, 31-17, and it was a good start to what would become a big winning streak to start the 2019 season.
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San Francisco started the season on an eight-game winning streak before losing in overtime to the Seattle Seahawks, 27-24. On that Monday night game, Garoppolo was 24-46 with 248 passing yards, a touchdown pass and an interception. He was also sacked five times.
The 49ers were down heading into the fourth quarter of the game against Seattle. DeForest Buckner returned a fumble 12 yards to cut the lead to three. San Francisco then kicked two field goals to force overtime. Seattle’s James Myers kicked a 42-yard field goal with four seconds left in overtime to win.
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SHAKEN, NOT STIRRED
San Francisco would only lose three games the entire season. They would have wins against the Green Bay Packers and the New Orleans Saints down the stretch and played in a classic game against the Seahawks to not only win the NFC West division but wrap up a first-round bye.
San Francisco finished with 13 wins, the most since the 2013 season when they last made the playoffs.
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The 49ers appeared to have a cakewalk through the playoffs this time around.
They missed a rematch with the Saints after the Minnesota Vikings bounced the NFC South champs. In turn, the Niners bounced the Vikings with a 27-10 victory. San Francisco was only up four points at the half but didn’t allow a single score in the second half. Coleman had two touchdowns in the game and Garoppolo had one touchdown pass to Kendrick Bourne.
In the conference championship, the 49ers were able to take care of the Packers with an unstoppable rushing attack behind Raheem Mostert. The running back had four touchdowns in the game and Garoppolo only had to throw the ball eight times. San Francisco won, 37-20.
The Niners now have a date with the Kansas City Chiefs at Super Bowl LIV.