The San Francisco 49ers used Tevin Coleman to run the first three plays of their offense against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC championship game on Sunday.
They went nowhere as they punted after the Packers stopped Coleman cold in their first drive of the game. No matter. The 49ers sent a message to the Packers. They would run and wear the Packers down all game long. They dared their counterpart to try to keep up and destroy their will.
On defense, the 49ers intended for Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers to see ghosts all game long by having their defensive line cover him and hit him.
The 49ers won games by being physical and tough offensively and defensively all season long. It’s how they beat the Packers 37-8 on Sunday Night Football on Nov. 24. It’s why everyone picked them to win the title game. WIth the talent they boast in the trenches, they can afford to not deviate from their plan.
It couldn’t be surprising same result happened in the title game. The 49ers destroyed the Packers’ will in the first half that gave them a 37-20 victory and a ticket to the Super Bowl LIV in Miami on Feb. 2.
Physical beats finesse anytime and anywhere. The Packers did not want that smoke from the 49ers. Rodgers looked defeated by the second quarter knowing Nick Bosa and DeForest Buckner got him good early. The Packers could not do anything about the 49ers forcing their way to the first down by their running backs. In the first half, the Packers quarterback completed 8-of-10 passes for 66 yards, one interception and one fumble.
How bad was Rodgers in that half? Put it this way. 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo outplayed him, and he did not have to do much. Not with him going 4-of-6 for 48 yards in the first half, and 6-of-8 for 77 yards overall in the game. Not when the defense and the running game did his work for him.
When the 49ers took a 10-0 lead at the end of the second quarter, it was over. The 49ers knew it, and so did the Packers. The 49ers knew how to take the Packers out of their game, and the Packers knew they couldn’t do anything about it.
The rout was on when Raheem Mostert ran for a 9-yard touchdown, giving the Packers a 17-0 lead in the second quarter.
The audience understood it was time to find something better to do when Rodgers fumbled in the 49ers’ territory that had Buckner recovering the football. Then, Mostert ran for 34 yards to enter into the Packers’ territory, and then he ran for seven, one and seventeen more. The 49ers sought to go for the jugular with a touchdown in that spot with two minutes to go until halftime, but Gould’s field goal would do here.
Besides the 49ers would get an 18-yard touchdown run by Mosert minutes later when Rodgers threw an interception to Emmanuel Moseley at the Packers’ 30, giving it a 27-0 lead at halftime.
The Packers made a game of it by scoring 20 points in the second half, but that was just details to what was a beating and nothing more.
Not only did the Packers took a hit in this game, but so did Rodgers. There’s no way anyone can say he is in the level of Tom Brady or that he is better than Brady ever again. Not when he is 1-3 in title games. Not when he could not find a way to improvise under duress. Not when he could not figure it out against a great defense.
Rodgers’ numbers look good when he plays cream puffs such as the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions. When he faces great defenses like the 49ers, he’s Daniel Jones, and that’s not meant to be a compliment.
The 49ers had nothing to worry about all week. They knew what to do. They understood Rodgers was ill-equipped to lead a comeback or go up against that defense.
Much is made of great offenses in a league that is all about passing and numbers, but the 49ers served a lesson to football fans and NFL general managers that a physical defense leads to championships. It’s how the Seahawks won the Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium when they made the Broncos look like an one-dimensional team.
49ers general manager John Lynch and 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan know a thing or two about building a championship. Lynch won Super Bowl championships and he played on elite teams to know one, and Shanahan learned under his father about building a championship team. They know a ferocious defense and a physical offensive line are a must to build a team.
They did just that in building the 49ers in the image of a power-running, tough team.
The 49ers gave Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs something to think about in two weeks after this rout for sure.