Raheem Mostert rushed for 220 yards and four touchdowns to make quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo mostly a spectator, Nick Bosa harassed Aaron Rodgers from the start and the San Francisco 49ers beat the Green Bay Packers, 37-20, for the NFC championship on Sunday.
The 49ers (15-3) advanced to their first Super Bowl in seven years and will play the Kansas City Chiefs in two weeks in Miami for the championship.
It’s been a remarkable turnaround for a team that won just 10 games in the first two seasons under coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch and had the No. 2 pick in the most recent draft.
Now, San Francisco is one of two teams left standing after delivering a second thorough beating of the season to Rodgers and the Packers (14-4). The Niners are the third team to make it to the Super Bowl a year after winning four or fewer games, joining Cincinnati (1988).
Bosa, the prize for last year’s rough season as the No. 2 overall pick, helped set the tone when he ended Green Bay’s second drive of the game with a 13-yard sack of Rodgers.
Mostert, a former special teams standout, did much of the rest in a remarkable redemption story for a former surfer who was cut seven times and carried the ball only eight times in his first three seasons in the NFL.
But he has become a key part of the NFC’s top team this year, leading the Niners with 772 yards rushing in the regular season and delivering a performance for the ages in the NFC title game.
He had the second-most yards rushing in a playoff game to Eric Dickerson’s 248 for the Rams on Jan. 4, 1986, and was the first player to rush for at least four TDs and 200 yards in a playoff game.
He got started when he burst 36 yards on a third-and-8 trap play to open the scoring on San Francisco’s second drive and kept ripping off long runs behind impressive blocking.
He added TD runs of 9 and 18 yards in the second quarter and had 160 yards rushing at the half, becoming the only player in NFL history to rush for at least 150 yards and three TDs in the first half of a playoff game.
Mostert added a 22-yard TD run in the third quarter.
Rodgers and the Packers were unable to match that performance as they got overwhelmed by San Francisco’s dominant front for a second time this season. Rodgers had a career-low 3.15 yards per attempt in a 37-8 loss here back in November and wasn’t much better in the first half of the rematch.
He lost a snap from center to end Green Bay’s only promising drive of the half, threw an interception to Emmanuel Moseley late in the half and didn’t convert his first third down of the season against the Niners until connecting on a 6-yard pass to Aaron Jones on the opening drive of the second quarter for his first third-down conversion in 18 attempts this season against the Niners.
Rodgers capped that drive with a 9-yard TD pass to Jones, but the game was too far out of hand by that point.
49ers: The team’s seventh appearance in the Super Bowl against the Chiefs on Feb. 2.
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