Fancy that—the San Francisco 49ers are in Super Bowl XLVII.
Remember when the San Francisco 49ers and the Super Bowl were rather synonymous?
Do you remember when the Red and Gold won the Vince Lombardi Trophy in 1981, 1984, 1988, 1989, and 1994?
As glorious as those times were, it’s time to set a new precedent in the 21st Century.
Welcome to the 49ers' jaunt down 2012 Super Bowl Lane.
Week 1: San Francisco 33, Green Bay 22
The 49ers established NFC supremacy with their first win at Lambeau Field since 1990.
So much for Wisconsin Cheddar.
Week 2: San Francisco, 27, Detroit 19
Vernon Davis demonstrated a willingness to be the best with two touchdowns, Calvin Johnson didn’t find any such TD pay dirt, and Aldon Smith brought Matthew Stafford to the turf more often than he would have preferred.
The 49ers defense turned a 5,000-yard passer from a year before into a 31.9 QBR quarterback.
Department of Redundancy Department aside, the long-awaited “Handshake Bowl” between Jim Harbaugh and Jim Schwartz was rather one-sided.
Week 3: Minnesota 24, San Francisco 13
Minnesota proved a capacity well beyond a 3-13 standing the year prior.
San Francisco showed that a pass-first offensive attack isn’t commensurate with a winning recipe.
David Akers missed his first field goal of the year, and Gore lost his first fumble since Week 5 of 2011.
The curse of the "win two, lose one" pattern thus materialized in its most infant state.
Week 4: San Francisco 34, New York Jets 0
Is that bad?
Well, it’s not good.
San Francisco won handily.
Week 5: San Francisco 45, Buffalo 3
This is when the 49ers offense came to play.
Alex Smith produced his first 300-yard win, Niner running backs rushed for 311, and wideouts sporting the Red and Gold caught 19 passes for 310 yards.
Put it in the record books: San Francisco topped the 300-yard passing and rushing plateau for the first time in NFL history.
A 49ers’ franchise-high of 621 yards of offense took a backseat to its league-wide counterpart.
Oh, and Smith registered a 99.2 QBR. That metric rates out of 100.
Week 6: New York Giants 26, San Francisco 3
Revenge and football teams don’t always go hand-in-hand.
The defending Super Bowl champions mopped the floor with the 49ers in embarrassing fashion.
After a 3-0 advantage, New York never looked back. Offensive coordinator Greg Roman and coach Harbaugh learned full well the old NFL adage of, “if you have two quarterbacks, you have none.”
Alternating snaps between Smith and Kaepernick, in addition to three turnovers, doomed the 49ers.
Curse of the "win two, lose one" started to generate steam.
Week 7: San Francisco 13, Seattle 6
Can you say punch-you-in-the-mouth, bloody-nose football?
Russell Wilson completed just 9 of 23 passes, Marshawn Lynch bulldozed his way for 103 yards, and Gore accounted for 182 of the 49ers’ 313 total yards.
Running backs ruled the day in a low-scoring, sloppy affair.
Say hello to the Seahawks’ motivation for the rest of the season.
Week 8: San Francisco 24, Arizona 3
Like him or not, Alex Smith nearly established an NFL record by completing 18 of 19 passes.
He logged three touchdowns and nearly compiled a perfect efficiency rating, to boot (157.1 out of a possible 158.3).
Michael Crabtree, for his part, recorded the second two-TD effort of his career.
This was a harbinger of things to, and not, to come. Guess what it would be?
Week 9: BYE
Jim Harbaugh organized a team-wide laser tag match.
(This didn’t happen).
Week 10: San Francisco 24, St. Louis 24 OT
In what would be only appropriate in the world of Wacky-Wavy-Inflatable-Arm-Flailing-Tube-Men, the NFL experienced its first tie since 2008.
More significantly for the 49ers, however, Colin Kaepernick assumed the reigns of the starting job after Alex Smith left the game with a concussion.
He produced a rushing TD, led a fourth-quarter game-tying drive and put his team in position for an overtime win.
David Akers unfortunately missed a potentially game-winning field goal.
Not too shabby for a first-year starting quarterback, in any event.
Week 11: San Francisco 32, Chicago 7
The 49ers gunslinger stood strong in the pocket and decimated the Bears with precision throws and a 97.5 QBR. He completed 70 percent of his passes with a 10.6 average and two touchdowns.
The NFL’s most dominant pass defense looked rather silly.
Kaepernick proved to the masses on Monday Night Football that the proverbial big stage is no match for his steadfast demeanor.
Week 12: San Francisco 31, New Orleans 21
Kaepernick and Company went into a New Orleans’ buzz saw and came out with a 31-21 victory.
Vic Fangio’s defense accounted for two TDs off two Drew Brees interceptions and quieted a “Bountygate-fueled” Superdome crowd.
Linebacker Ahmad Brooks and strong safety Donte Whitner made names for themselves with those defensive scores and additional quarterback pressures.
The 49ers survived an electric venue that they would soon experience again—just on a much greater stage.
Week 13: St. Louis 16, San Francisco 13 OT
The curse of the "win two, lose one" held true to form.
On the one hand, Kaepernick showed his resiliency with a 50-yard run after essentially costing the 49ers 10 points (a safety off an intentional grounding and a fumble-return touchdown).
He led his team to a go-ahead field goal following that scamper in the fourth quarter, in addition to another potential game-winner in overtime. Akers, regrettably, missed again.
At the end of the day, offensive futility and defensive breakdowns were the ultimate failures in this matchup.
Week 14: San Francisco 27, Miami 13
In a wholly lackluster contest, Kaepernick provided the excitement yet again.
No. 7 tied his own franchise record with a 50-yard touchdown run with just over two minutes remaining in the fourth. It sealed the game for San Francisco.
And on a side note, rookies LaMichael James and A.J. Jenkins recorded their first career snaps in the NFL. James impressed with a 13-yard run and 15-yard catch.
Week 15: San Francisco 41, New England 34
Well, hello dolly.
Kaepernick outplayed Tom Brady to the tune of four touchdowns and a go-ahead score late in the fourth quarter.
The 49ers withstood a berserk rally by Brady, and Crabtree added two more TDs to his growing résumé.
Kap really showed his enjoyment for the big stage this time.
Week 16: Seattle 42, San Francisco 13
If there was any mention of a buzz saw earlier, it should have been reserved for this disaster.
The Seahawks ran roughshod over San Francisco in a game fueled by vengeance and divisional pride, at least for Seattle.
The 49er faithful refer to this as the 2012 mulligan.
Week 17: San Francisco 27, Arizona 13
Coach Harbaugh rallied his troops for a convincing win in the season finale.
Kaepernick and Crabtree demonstrated their prolific connection once again, as No. 15 recorded a career-high 172 yards receiving. He added two TDs for good measure.
This was ultimately a tune-up game for a 49ers team geared for a strong playoff run.
Speaking of which…
Divisional Playoff: San Francisco 45, Green Bay 31
What if we said Kaepernick threw a pick-six in the 49ers’ first offensive drive?
Would you believe the final score?
In rather awe-inspiring fashion, Kaepernick overcame that initial gaffe and went blitzkrieg on the Packers for an NFL all-time record 181 yards rushing by a quarterback.
Yes, that goes for any game by a quarterback in the history of the National Football League.
He powered through two deficits and generated a second-half blowout. Gore and Crabtree produced 119 yards rushing and receiving, respectively.
Read-option offenses in the NFL shed their gimmick label in this game.
NFC Championship Game: San Francisco 28, Atlanta 24
The 49ers defied conventional logic by showing that a run-first team can overcome three-score deficits.
Down 17-0 midway through the second quarter, San Francisco honored its fundamental identity by playing smash-mouth football, dominating the line of scrimmage and producing game-winning touchdown runs.
Atlanta overcommitted to outside contain, and Kaepernick executed the read option to perfection by handing off to Gore and James for 124 yards and three TDs.
Vernon Davis busted out for 106 yards and a score in what a proved as a thorough mismatch for the Falcons defense.
A dominant defense, a dominant running game and a dominant quarterback—that's certainly a trifecta most NFL teams would love to have.
Brief Thoughts on Super Bowl XLVII
Arm, legs and gridiron smarts: Kaepernick was—and is—no one-trick pony.
The Baltimore Ravens had better recognize that—if not, a second-year quarterback just might bring the 49ers their sixth Super Bowl title.
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