Raheem Mostert, 49ers Dominate Aaron Rodgers, Packers; Advance to Super Bowl 54

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJanuary 20, 2020

San Francisco 49ers running back Raheem Mostert (31) scores in front of Green Bay Packers free safety Darnell Savage during the first half of the NFL NFC Championship football game Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
Tony Avelar/Associated Press

The San Francisco 49ers are going to the Super Bowl for the first time since the 2012 campaign.

San Francisco clinched its spot in the sport's biggest contest with a 37-20 victory over the Green Bay Packers in Sunday's NFC Championship Game at Levi's Stadium. Raheem Mostert led the way with four touchdowns, helping his team replicate its regular-season success against Green Bay and earn a shot at the Kansas City Chiefs with the Lombardi Trophy hanging in the balance.

As for the Packers, this is another high-profile loss with Aaron Rodgers under center. They have lost three of the last six NFC Championship Games and have just one title with the all-time great at quarterback.

           

Notable Player Stats

  • SF QB Jimmy Garoppolo: 6-of-8 passing for 77 yards, zero touchdowns and zero interceptions
  • SF RB Raheem Mostert: 29 carries for 220 yards and four touchdowns
  • GB QB Aaron Rodgers: 31-of-39 passing for 326 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions
  • GB RB Aaron Jones: 12 carries for 56 yards and one touchdown; five catches for 27 yards and one touchdown
  • GB WR Davante Adams: nine catches for 138 yards

           

49ers Defense Overwhelms an Overmatched Aaron Rodgers Until It's Too Late

Rodgers is a future Hall of Famer and a generational talent. That is not in question.

What is in question is how good the 2019 version of Rodgers truly is, especially against an elite defense.

Rodgers was a mere 20th in the league in QBR this season, which put him behind the likes of Baker Mayfield, Daniel Jones and Jameis Winston. How he handled San Francisco's defense, which had notched six sacks in the divisional-round win over the Minnesota Vikings and finished second in the league in yards allowed per game during the regular season, figured to determine the outcome.

He and the rest of the offense did not handle it well when the game was still on the line.

Nick Bosa and San Francisco's stout front four consistently pressured him, while K'Waun Williams notched a strip-sack on a cornerback blitz. Even when Green Bay finally put together a promising drive after falling behind 17-0, Rodgers fumbled the snap and dug the visitors into an even deeper hole.

He also threw an interception to Emmanuel Moseley right before the end of the first half, which set up yet another Mostert touchdown run.

The game was essentially over by halftime with San Francisco holding a 27-0 lead, which was far from conducive to riding Aaron Jones and the rushing attack, which was actually the Packers' best offense for much of the season. Jones found the end zone twice in the second half, but it was too little, too late.

That Rodgers found his touch in the second half and ended up finishing with impressive numbers likely makes the result all the more painful for Packers fans. Turns out, he was capable of scoring against San Francisco's defense but not until the game was largely decided.

            

Raheem Mostert Adds Incredible Chapter to His Underdog Story

It's inspiring when top picks fulfill their potential, let alone undrafted running backs who seemingly couldn't find a spot in the NFL.

Mostert was undrafted out of Purdue after he failed to run for more than 529 yards in a single collegiate season and saw limited action on the Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears and Miami Dolphins. His 34 carries last year for San Francisco marked a career high until he was a key part of a multi-headed rushing attack this season alongside Matt Breida and Tevin Coleman.

Mostert was thrust into the role of primary back when Coleman suffered a shoulder injury in the first half, and he seized his opportunity in memorable fashion.

He put San Francisco on the board first with a surprise 3rd-down run, scored another touchdown on the play after Coleman's injury and buried the Packers with his third touchdown right before halftime and fourth touchdown in the third quarter.

It wasn't just the touchdowns, as Mostert exploded through holes up front, eluded tacklers at the second level and continued to gash Green Bay's defense while chewing clock as the 49ers protected the lead.

As a result, he's going from undrafted to the Super Bowl.

            

What's Next?

The 49ers turn their attention to a Super Bowl showdown with Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, while the Packers will look toward free agency and the draft as they attempt to build on this season's success.

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