First Look at the NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers
The NFC Championship game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Green Bay Packers was not any closer than people expected considering the 37-8 victory in the regular season by the 49ers. The 49ers once again dominated this matchup with a 37-20 victory that featured a 27-0 halftime lead. Many aspects of San Francisco’s dominating performance were impressive, but it shouldn’t surprise many with the way they executed during the regular season.
The start of the season was rocky with a few close games, but as the season went on quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo eased in to the situation. Garoppolo is now 21-5 as a starter and has led his team to the Super Bowl his first full year at the helm for the 49ers. He is not necessarily the quarterback that will go out and carry his team to a win consistently, but he is certainly a great leader and more than competent.
San Francisco’s wide receivers made Garoppolo look very good because of their exceptional ability to get so many yards after the catch. The 49ers offense is run based, so most of the passes are short slants. This strategy works when a team’s wide receivers are some of the fastest in the entire league with Deebo Samuel and Emmanuel Sanders.
The addition of Sanders at the trade deadline has helped immensely with the experience he brings to the team. Samuel is a speedster that consistently breaks open plays as displayed by leading the team with 46 yards on two receptions in the NFC championship game.
Even with the talented wide receiver core, the running game is the entire base of the offense. Most teams that are successful have one main running back and at most two, but the 49ers split carries between three. This three headed monster of a running game includes Raheem Mostert, Tevin Coleman, and Matt Breida.
The 49ers ran the ball an unbelievable 42 times against the Packers and 47 times against the Vikings in the divisional round. The whole offense is based on the rushing attack and it does not have to come from one person as whoever has the hot hand gets the ball that respective game. No team takes the personality of a ground and pound team like the 49ers.
The most important player on San Francisco’s offense is the tight end George Kittle. Kittle is a star with over a thousand receiving yards in two consecutive seasons. The aspect of his game that separates Kittle from the other tight ends is his blocking. He is the most complete tight end and his role in sealing the edge for their run game is a large reason why it works so well.
Most games where the 49ers run the ball over forty times, Kittle won’t be standing out on the stat sheet, but his impact is always made on the game by doing the dirty work with the offensive line.
No unit is more complete in the league than the 49ers defense. The defensive line that features to be rookie of the year Nick Bosa, DeForest Buckner, and Dee Ford coming off the edge is lethal. They have a top two defense in the entire league and cornerback Richard Sherman has all the experience necessary to guide the team to masterful defensive performance in the Super Bowl. This unit is sound on all levels and nobody has seemed to solve the puzzle of the defense or the San Francisco team as a whole.
Ben Geller is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.