NFC Championship Bound!

NFC Championship Bound!

For the third time in four years, the 49ers are on to the NFC Championship.  Four years ago the 49ers made it to the Super Bowl.  Last year the Niners lost to the Rams by three points after soundly defeating the Rams twice earlier in the year.  This year the Niners are on to a highly successful Philadelphia Eagles team.  Before we preview the game, lets discuss how the Niners arrived in this place!

Divisional Round Review

The Dallas Cowboys won the toss and deferred.  Given how talented and stacked their roster was, the coin toss had the potential to be very pivotal.  The Niners first run play was stuffed.  On 2nd down, the Cowboys defensive lineman Osa Odighizuwa burst thru the line up the middle and smothered Brock Purdy for a nine-yard sack.  This set the stage for a 4th down punt.  The Cowboys set the stage early, letting the Niners offense know it was going to be tough sledding for the duration of the game.

Both teams traded punts until Deommodore Lenoir ended the Cowboy’s second drive with an interception on 3rd and 9.  This turnover set up a 49ers field goal scoring drive for the only points in the first quarter.

San Francisco 49ers linebacker Fred Warner (54) reacts during an NFL divisional round playoff football game against the Dallas Cowboys, Sunday, Jan. 22, 2023, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Scot Tucker)

The second quarter featured three total scoring drives: two for the Niners and one for the Cowboys.  Dallas started their 2nd quarter by finishing a seven minute and thirty-seven second touchdown drive.  Brett Maher’s point after try was blocked by Samson Ebukam, however he likely would have missed the kick anyway.  The Niners executed a drive ending with a field goal on their next possession.  Once again Dallas went on the move and converted on a fourth and four at the two-minute warning.  On the next play, Tony Pollard suffered a severe lower leg injury ending his day.  On second down, Dak Prescott was pressured, and he threw the ball at CeeDee Lamb who was double covered by Jimmy Ward and Fred Warner.  The ball bounced off Ward’s hands into Warner’s hands who ran it back 16 yards.  With 1:15 left in the game, Brock Purdy used 1:14 of time to get the Niners within field goal range and Robbie Gould kicked a 50 yarder to give the Niners the lead as time expired.

On the Cowboy’s second half opening drive, they brought themselves even with the Niners with a 25-yard field goal.  Initially the Niners had forced a punt, unfortunately Ray Ray McCloud fumbled that punt return away giving the Cowboys great field position to kick the field goal.  Though the Niners went three and out on their initial second half drive, during their second drive of the half they started moving the ball.  As time expired in the third quarter, the Niners were 1st and goal on the Dallas 10-yard line.  The Niners offensive success can be attributed in part to Coach Shanahan who changed up the run offense in the second half.  A 30-yard pass to George Kittle on a broken play was also quite helpful.  The first play of the fourth quarter was a Christian McCaffrey rush for a touchdown.  The Niners offense was finally in control

After the Niners touchdown drive, both teams traded field goals setting the game up for an epic showdown.  The defense forced Dallas to punt with two minutes and eleven seconds on the clock.  The Niners started moving the ball.  At the 1:53 mark, Elijah Mitchell ripped off a 13-yard run but allowed himself to be pushed out of bounds stopping the clock.  Unfortunately, the Niners were forced to punt the ball back to Dallas with 51 seconds left on the clock.  On the Cowboy’s third play of the game, Dalton Schultz catches the ball on the sideline, but failed to turn the ball up field before he was tackled into the sideline by Charvarius Ward.  In order for the clock to stop, he should have turned the ball up field before he was tackled on the sideline.  This ate 16 precious seconds off the clock leaving only 14 seconds left.  The game ended three plays later on a kooky Dallas Cowboy play involving only skill position players and no offensive lineman.  Ezekiel Elliott snaps the ball to Dak and is promptly blown up by Azeez Al-Shaiar while Dak struggles to find a receiver.  KaVontae Turpin caught the ball and was immediately tackled by Jimmy Ward.  Game over.

San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle (85) catches a pass during an NFL divisional round playoff football game against the Dallas Cowboys, Sunday, Jan. 22, 2023, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Scot Tucker)

In Review

The Dallas Cowboys is the most talented team the Niners have faced this year.  They have no holes on their offense or defense.  Losing Tony Pollard hurt them, but he hadn’t done much in the game up until that point anyway.  The Cowboys defense sacked Purdy twice but caused no turnovers against the offense.  Though Ray Ray McCloud fumbled the ball to the Cowboys on a punt return, he made up for it with a 53-yard kick return setting up great field position.

This was at tough, physical match up that came down to who made the least mistakes and the best adjustments.  Both teams scored off all turnovers.  The Cowboys held the Niners to 26 yards rushing in the first half, but Coach Shanahan’s half time adjustments found 87 more yards rushing and a touchdown in the second half.  Samson Ebukam had a key sack to end a drive as well as the blocked point after try.  Though Micah Parsons had a couple of great plays, he was mostly neutralized the Niners offensive line and the quick release of Brock Purdy.  Parson’s coolest play occurred when he hip tossed Mike McGlinchey in the first half of the game.  Parsons was also good in coverage limiting Purdy’s options to throw.  George Kittle came up big both as a blocker and as a receiver.  He helped complete two first downs on busted plays.  The Purdy to Kittle connection is currently fire!  Finally, Brock Purdy didn’t make the big mistake.  He played within the offense.  He was patient and settled.  He doesn’t need to be the reason the Niners win.

NFC Championship Preview

This weekend’s test looks to be the Niners toughest test yet, at least on paper.  Let’s do a comparison.  The Eagles have 17 players with at least one pass deflection, 14 players with at least one recorded sack and seven players with at least one interception.  The 49ers have 17 players with at least one pass deflection, 14 players with a recorded sack and 11 players with an interception.  The 49ers and the Eagles each have two interceptions for touchdowns.  The Eagles have a 1000-yard rusher and two 1000-yard receivers while their tight end caught over 700 yards in passes.  The Niners have one 1000-yard receiver and George Kittle caught 60 receptions for 735 yards and 11 touchdowns.  Jaylen Hurts was out for a few games but started most of the season.  The 49ers are on their third quarterback who happens to be the last pick of this year’s draft.  Finally, while Jalen Hurts passing numbers do not wow you, he also rushed for over 700 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts in action before an NFL divisional round playoff football game, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

The Eagles are a tough, dynamic physical football team who curb stomped the hapless Giants last week.  In fact, the Eagles have been curb stomping their opposition all season long with exception of the Washington game, and the few games Hurts was out.  The Eagles formula for winning is simple.  They get up on their opposition by two scores or more and then let their defense clean house.  They have six first round picks on their defensive line.  They have four players with 11 sacks or more.  The Eagles lead the league in sacks, and they likely have one of the best cornerback tandems in the league in Darius Slay and James Bradberry.  When their offense gets up on a team, the defense can pin their ears back and go after the quarterback.  This has led to a defense with 15 more sacks than any other team in the league.

Like the Eagles, the 49ers have played 5 playoff teams in their regular season.  Two of those teams for the Eagles were within their own division.  Both squads are 4 and 1 against play-off teams this year in the regular season.  On paper it looks as though the Eagles are the better all-around team.  The Eagles have a sound running and passing game.  Their defense plays lights out after the offense gets up on a team.  Yet, the Eagles have shown they can be beat at home.  Homefield advantage is nice, but it does not equate to a win.

This year’s NFC matchup is a true one versus two match-up.  Looking at last week’s game, the 49ers offense did not do anything terribly exotic.  One reason is that the Cowboy’s defense is exceptional.  Two, is that Coach Shanahan was likely saving up plays for this week.  Jalen Hurts is exceptionally talented.  However, the 49er’s coaching staff is also exceptionally talented.  They do not rely on anyone player to win the game.  The 49ers have mastered the art of not only collecting talent but maximizing the right talent at the right time.  Brock Purdy is never forced into making a play because he has a litany of playmakers around him.  All he has to do is execute the play called, and when it breaks down, find the open man holding his hand up.  Purdy can make all the throws.  He plays smart.  He is quicker than he looks.  Finally, he plays with faith.

The Eagles are going to make plays.  However, the Niners have excelled at continuing to persevere thru adversity on a consistent basis.  The Miami game is a perfect example.  The Dolphins dialed up zero blitz after zero blitz attempting to fluster and frustrate Purdy and it blew up in their face on their home field.  Purdy didn’t fluster.  He went out and played his game.  This year’s 49ers squad plays for each other.  That is why the consistently find a way to win.  This is why they will make it to the Super Bowl and hold that trophy at the end of the season.

The San Francisco 49ers huddle during an NFL divisional round playoff football game against the Dallas Cowboys, Sunday, Jan. 22, 2023, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Scot Tucker)

Leave a Replay

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.


Hello fellow sports fans! My name is Joseph Jordan. Welcome to our page. Welcome to our website. I hope you are as deeply passionate about sports as I am. Julien and I have spent a lot of time writing our sports opinions on Facebook over the years. … Read More>>


Follow Us

Your The Sports. Your Inbox. Everyday