Packers and 49ers tangle for NFC title, trip to Super Bowl LIV

ninerswire.com file photo: San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo will match up against Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rogers in the NFC Championship at Levis Stadium on Sun Jan 19

By Joe Hawkes
SRS Contributor

SANTA CLARA, Calif — For the second time this season, the Green Bay Packers and the San Francisco 49ers will meet at Levi’s Stadium for a game. But this time, there’s much more at stake for both teams than just a win in the standings.

To the victor, the NFC Championship and a ticket to Super Bowl LIV in Miami, Florida for a chance to play for the Vince Lombardi trophy against the winner between the Tennessee Titans and Kansas City Chiefs from the AFC will be punched.

First class.

To the loser, the harsh reality that your season is over smacks you in face immediately.

Instead of basking in the glow of winning the NFC Championship, you’ll return to your team’s headquarters to clean out your locker room, hug your teammates (possibly for the last time as teams change rapidly in the NFL each year), and go your separate ways for the offseason.

The end.

In the first matchup back in Week 12, the Packers took a beating at the hands of the 49ers, losing 37-8 at Levi’s Stadium. The Packers weren’t just outplayed by the 49ers, but were embarrassed in front of a nationally televised audience on NBC’s Sunday Night Football.

49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo played almost flawlessly in that game, throwing for 253 yards on 14-of-20 passes and two long touchdown passes (a 42-yard strike to rookie wide receiver Deebo Samuel in the second quarter, and a 61-yard deep ball to tight end George Kittle).

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers had one of his worst showings of his career, finishing with 20-of-33 passes for just 104 yards — setting a record for fewest passing yards by a quarterback with at least 20 completions. His 3.15 yards per attempt is the lowest of his career.

San Francisco sacked Rodgers five times that night. Linebacker Fred Warner was all over the field, registering a team-high 11 tackles, a sack, and a forced fumble against the Packers on the game’s opening moments. Warner’s performance led him to be named NFC Defensive Player of the Week.

Don’t expect a replay of Week 12 in this matchup as both teams are playing a elite levels at the most important time of the year.

Sunday’s NFC Championship Game in the South Bay, which kicks off at 3:40 p.m. PT, will feature two teams that finished 13-3 in the regular season, won the NFC West and North Division titles respectively, and earned first-round byes to open up the playoffs as the top-two seeds.

Last Saturday, top-seeded San Francisco (14-3) opened up the divisional round by dismantling the Minnesota Vikings (11-7), 27-10, in dominating fashion. It was the 49ers’ first playoff win in six years.

The returns of defensive starters, Dee Ford, Kwon Alexander and Jaquiski Tartt, San Francisco’s defense looked re-energized and ready for a big day, made life difficult for Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins, sacking him six times and limiting Minnesota’s offense to 147 yards on the day, the fewest in a playoff game in the Super Bowl era (1967).

“People keep disrespecting us. At the end of the day, all you can do is go out and execute,” said Richard Sherman, who registered his third career interception in the playoffs. “It felt good. That’s what we look like when we’re totally healthy.”

The 49ers stonewalled Dalvin Cook and the Vikings’ rushing attack, holding Minnesota to just 21 yards on 10 carries (9 carries for Cook, 1 carry for Alexander Mattison). Cook finished the game with 18 rushing yards on nine carries.

Offensively, the 49ers leaned on a punishing running game that ran right through Minnesota like Ex-Lax led by running back Tevin Coleman’s 105 rushing yards on 22 carries and two touchdowns. As a team, the 49ers ran 47 running plays and gained 186 yards on the ground.

Garoppolo, who made his first career start in the playoffs, threw a touchdown on the game’s opening drive, and mostly watched his defense wreak havoc on Minnesota for most of the game. He finished 11-of-19 passing for 131 yards.

The second-seeded Packers (14-3) was able to outlast the Seattle Seahawks, 28-23, at Lambeau Field Sunday night that advanced Green Bay to their third NFC Championship Game in six seasons.

In that game, it was a vintage performance by Rodgers with his array of throws and spectacular completions throughout the game. Rodgers and wide receiver Davante were so locked in against the Seahawks, connecting eight times for 160 yards and two touchdowns.

“It’s one of those feelings that starts to creep up in warmups, when you really feel like you’re locked in,” Rodgers said, “and I was glad it translated to the field.”

Rodgers finished 16-of-27 passing for 243 yards in his 17th postseason start, has thrown 38 touchdowns passes in the playoffs. That’s good for fifth all-time per Elias Sports Bureau.

Running back Aaron Jones found the end zone twice, while rushing for 62 yards on 21 carries.

Green Bay’s defense sacked Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson five times on the night, two apiece by linebackers Preston Smith and Za’Darius Smith (no relation).

The 49ers and Packers have met in the playoffs seven times with the Packers holding a 4-3 advantage. The 49ers have won the last two playoff matchups.

 

Headline Sports with Barbara Mason: LSU tops Clemson 42-25 for Championship game; NFL Playoffs previews: plus more

yahoo.com photo: LSU quarterback Joe Burrow (8) had a record night in the NCAA Championship throwing for 463 yards and six touchdowns Monday night against the Clemson Tigers

On Headline Sports with Barbara:

#1 It was the battle of the Tigers and only one Tiger would finish on top. The LSU Tigers got a huge victory over the Clemson Tigers 42-25 in the NCAA Championship behind LSU quarterback Joe Burrow who threw for 463 yards and five touchdowns no wonder LSU won it.

#2 We’ll start with the NFC Championship coming this Sunday. The Green Bay Packers are coming to Santa Clara with quarterback Aaron Rogers. The Packers in a close game against the Seattle Seahawks will face the 49ers. The last time the two teams met were in November and the 49ers won convincingly 37-8.

#3 In the AFC Championship the Kansas City Chiefs made offensive work of the Houston Texans 51-31 on Sunday. The Chiefs will host the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Championship. The Titans shocked the football world on Saturday with a 28-12 win over the Baltimore Ravens.

#4 The Golden State Warriors continue to slide this time to the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday 122-102. It was the eighth consecutive loss for Golden State.

#5 The San Jose Sharks (21-23-4) fall off the tracks tonight with a 6-3 loss to the Arizona Coyotes (26-18-5) in Glendale. The Coytotes and Sharks were tied in the third period 3-3 but the Arizona went on a three goal rally and that was the difference.

Barbara Mason does the Headline Sports podcasts each Tuesday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary podcast: Third person to die this year at Baltimore home game; 49ers the favorites in NFC Championship; plus more

sfgate.com photo: Green Bay quarterback and former Cal Bears quarterback Aaron Rogers (12) will face the San Francisco 49ers this Sun Jan 19th at Levis Stadium for the NFC Championship

On That’s Amaury’s podcast:

#1 A third person died at Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium this season and during Saturday’s playoff game between the Tennessee Titans and the Baltimore Ravens a male fan fell while climbing the stairs in the stadium’s upper deck. Medics tried to resuscitate the victim who later passed away.

#2 The Green Bay Packers caught a big break just getting by the Seattle Seahawks to advance to the NFC Championship with a 28-23 win give credit to Packers quarterback Aaron Rogers.

#3 The Packers and San Francisco 49ers match up in the NFC Championship as the 49ers are coming offf a convincing 27-10 win over the Minnesota Vikings

#4 The Texas Rangers signed third baseman Todd Frazier to a one year deal worth $5 million. Frazier hit .251, 21 home runs, 67 RBI in 133 games last season.

#5 Ed Sprauge Sr a former original Oakland Athletic from the 1968 team died at 74 years old. Sprauge pitched in the show for eight years and his son Ed Jr also played part of his 11 years in the majors for the A’s survives his father.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the Spanish radio voice for A’s baseball on KIQI 1010 and does News and Commentary at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

San Francisco 49ers podcast with David Zizmor: 49ers dominated Packers in their last meeting in November

sfgate.com file photo: San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garropplo (10) hopes that he and the 49ers can be number one after Sunday’s game with the Green Bay Packers at Levis Stadium

On the 49ers podcast with Dave:

#1 The last time the San Francisco 49ers met Green Bay Packers the 49ers won big at Levis Stadium 37-8 back in November. This time can the 49ers dominate the Pack in a game that is one step away from the Super Bowl.

#2 This one’s for all the marbles the 49ers are one win away from the Super Bowl. They have home field advantage and a good game plan against the Packers will get them there.

Join David each Tuesday for the SF 49ers podcasts at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

49ers defense thump Vikings, roll into NFC title game with 27-10 victory

sfgate.com: Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8), is tackled by San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa, center, during the second half of an NFL divisional playoff football game, Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020, in Santa Clara, Calif

By Joe Hawkes
SRS Contributor

Santa Clara, Calif — In the first ever NFL playoff game at Levi’s Stadium, the 49ers defended its home field in dominating fashion, outlasting the visiting Minnesota Vikings 27-10 on Saturday afternoon in the NFC Divisional round for their first playoff win in six years.

With the win, the top-seed 49ers (14-3) advance to the NFC championship game for the 16th time in franchise history where they await the winner between Seattle and Green Bay on Sunday in the other NFC Divisional matchup.

In his first playoff start, Jimmy Garoppolo threw a 3-yard touchdown to wide receiver Kendrick Bourne for an early 7-0 lead. Garoppolo marched San Francisco 61 yards in eight plays after its defense forced Minnesota (11-7) to punt on their opening drive.

Garoppolo wasn’t spectacular, finishing 11-of-19 for 131 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

“A lot of things to clean up, but we played well enough to get the win,” tight end George Kittle said. “That’s all you can ask for. Playoff football, anyone can win and we just made more plays today.”

Kittle had just three catches for 16 yards in the contest.

As a group including Kittle, San Francisco’s pass catchers (wideouts Deebo Samuel 3 catches for team-leading 42 yards, Bourne 3 catches for 40 yards, TD; and Emmanuel Sanders 2 catches for 33 yards) combined for just 11 catches for 131 yards and a score.

Minnesota quickly responded, tying the game up at 7-7 on a 41-yard touchdown throw from quarterback Kirk Cousins to wide receiver Stefon Diggs. 49ers cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon, who had struggled in coverage down the stretch of the season, had great coverage on Diggs, but slipped at the 19-yard line and Diggs ran into the end zone.

But that would be Minnesota’s best highlight of the day as San Francisco would hold the Vikings to 147 yards of total offense. San Francisco’s offense racked up 308 yards total.

“The 49ers I felt were the better team today,” Cousins said after the game. “We didn’t do enough offensively to give ourselves a chance to win the game. It hurts now. Mike [Zimmer] said he was proud of the way the team fought this year, but right now, it’s just so raw. We’re kind of focused on this game and falling short. I thought the 49ers were a good team. They earned the number one seed and home field advantage throughout the way they played this season.”

San Francisco would retake the lead for good, behind the first of two rushing touchdowns by running back Tevin Coleman. Coleman capped off a 10-play, 53-yard drive with a 1-yard plunge to give the 49ers a 14-7 lead.

“Those guys did very well,” Coleman said of his offensive line. “They moved the guys back so I had clear holes to run through. So, yeah, they did a real good job.”

Coleman finished the game with 105 yards on 22 carries.

Following an interception by linebacker Eric Kendricks inside the 49ers’ own territory, Minnesota added a 39-yard field goal by kicker Dan Bailey to cut the lead to 14-10 at halftime.

On their first possession of the third quarter, San Francisco stretched its lead to 17-10 behind a 35-yard field goal by kicker Robbie Gould.

After Richard Sherman intercepted Cousins inside Minnesota’s territory on the Vikings’ next possession, Coleman gave the 49ers a two-score lead with his second score of the game, a 2-yard run that increased San Francisco’s lead to 24-10.

It was Sherman’s third career playoff interception. Sherman has intercepted Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton and now, Cousins.

Defensively, San Francisco overpowered Minnesota’s offense all day limiting the ground game and their play-action attack. Running back Dalvin Cook couldn’t find any running lanes, rushing for just 18 yards on nine carries.

“That was the No. 1 emphasis all week,” Bosa said of the Minnesota running game. “We knew we were facing probably the best back we’ve faced all year with Dalvin, and we knew we had to earn the right to pass rush. So, that’s what we did. We took the run as serious as we could, shut it down and then we ate.”

Bosa had a great start to his playoff career, registering two of San Francisco’s six sacks on the day. The returns of defensive Dee Ford, linebacker Kwon Alexander and safety Jaquiski Tartt proved to be vital for San Francisco’s defense, that looked like its dominating self from earlier in the season.

“It was huge to have those guys back,” defensive lineman Arik Armstead said. “They’re leaders on our team, talented players, they make big plays for us. We were missing some pieces out there, but to get those guys back, we hit back on all cylinders.”

At one point, the 49ers held the Vikings’ offense without a first down for 27 minutes of game time. Minnesota had mustered just seven first downs, compared to 21 by San Francisco. The 49ers held the Vikings to 2-of-13 on third downs and dominated time of possession (38:27 to 21:33).

“We were playing good the whole game,” Armstead continued. “They got us early with the touchdown. We just locked in. We knew what they wanted to do which was run the ball. It starts with that, stopping the run. I think we did a good job with that. I saw they only had twenty something yards. Once we did that, we were able to get after the passer. When you do that, you can have a complete game and shut people out.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

San Francisco 49ers podcast with Joe Lami: Vikings-49ers all set for the big day

sfgate.com photo: Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) carries near the goal line in the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the New Orleans Saints, Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in New Orleans.

On the 49ers podcast with J Lami:

#1 For the second consecutive season the 49ers. The George Kittle went over 1,000 receiving yards for the second straight season

#2 The Vikings can’t be understated they’re a team full of surprises and beat the Saints in New Orleans last week

#3 The Vikings cold be a comeback team with quarterback Kirk Cousins and wider receiver Adam Thielen.

#4 Last play of the game in New Orleans talk about Minnesota tight end Kyle Rudolph who caught a four yard touchdown to eliminate New Orleans

#5 How important is home field advantage on Saturday for the 49ers

San Francisco 49ers podcasts are heard each Friday with Joe Lami at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

 

Headlines Sports podcast with Tony Renteria: Niners favored by a TD; Ravens ten point favorites; plus more

@Ravens photo: Baltimore Ravens host the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Playoffs on Saturday

On Headlines Sports with Tony Renteria:

#1 Will the task be easy for the San Francisco 49ers to get by the Minnesota Vikings Saturday or it’s not as easy as it looks. The 49ers picked by seven. In San Francisco’s last game they just got by the Seattle Seahawks by the slimmest of margins 26-21 and for the Minnesota Vikings they just got by the New Orleans Saints in the Superdome 26-20 on a pass to Kyle Rudolph from quarterback Kirk Cousins for the win.

#2 The Ravens have been a pick as on odds favorites to make the Super Bowl, they’ve had lots of rest since their last game of the regular season on Dec 29th against the Pittsburgh Steelers in a 28-10 win. It was a game where quarterback LaMar Jackson sat out to rest for the playoffs as Jackson and the Raven are favored to beat the Tennessee Titans this Saturday by 10 points.

#3 The Houston Texans are in Kansas City the Chiefs for Saturday’s playoff match the Chiefs are favored by nine in this one. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mohomes in his last game against San Diego went 16-25 for 174 yards, with one touchdown and one interception.

#4 The Seattle Seahawks are in Green Bay, the Packers are favored by four points this one could be even closer than the odds. This game will feature two of the NFC’s best quarterbacks for Seattle Russell Wilson in NFC Wild Card game was 18-30 for 325 yards and for Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rogers on the last day of the season on Dec 29th vs. Detroit went 27-55 for a whopping 323 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.

Tony does Headline Sports each week at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

NFL Playoffs podcast with Joe Hawkes: A preview look at all four playoff games this weekend

nfl playoffs logo

On the NFL Playoffs podcast with J Hawkes:

Joe will take you through each of the following games with news and analysis:

Saturday

#1 Minnesota @ San Francisco: The Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins can work the offense he’s one of the key reasons why the Vikings are where they are in a huge comeback victory over the Saints last weekend. The 49ers got a narrow win themselves when the 49ers prevented the Seahawks at Century Link Field in Seattle to score in the fourth quarter to insure home field advantage.

#2 Tennessee @ Baltimore: The Tennessee Titans (10-7) battle, scratched and clawed to get this far they take a lot of faith and hope into this next game against the Baltimore Ravens. Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill went 8-15 for 72 yards and a touchdown in the Titans last game against the New England Patriots in a 20-13 win. For the Ravens (14-2) they’ve been picked as favorites to make the Super Bowl and have tons of confidence in their starting quarterback LaMar Jackson who got this far.

Sunday

#3 Houston @ Kansas City: The Houston Texans got a three point win in their last game over the Buffalo Bills 22-19 to advance to the next round of the playoffs. The Texans with quarterback Deshaun Watson under center threw 247 yards against the Bills and had one touchdown. The favored Kansas City Chiefs (12-4) with quarterback Patrick Mahomes under center have been doing it all year. In the Chiefs last game Mahomes threw for 174 yards, went 16-25 and a touchdown.

#4 Seattle @ Green Bay: This game could be the game of the week in the NFL Playoffs this weekend. This game will provide two of the most exciting quarterbacks in football with Russell Wilson going for the Seahawks and Aaron Rogers going for the Green Bay Packers. In Wilson’s last game against the 49ers Wilson went 25-40, 233 yards, and two touchdowns. For the Packers (13-3) quarterback Aaron Rogers in his last game against Detroit went 27-55 for 323 yards and two touchdowns and an interception.

Joe Hawkes podcasts the NFL post season each Friday and will be covering the NFC Division game at Levis Stadium between Minnesota and San Francisco at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Headline Sports podcast with London Marq: Will baseball lose it’s tax exemption status over cutting 42 minor league teams; Patriots and their future; plus more

dodgerblue.com: Rob Manfred MLB Commissioner speaks with the media in undated file photo

On Headline Sports with London:

#1 The fight is on to stop MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred from closing up shop on 42 minor league teams. MLB could face loosing it’s tax exemption status if they drop the teams.

#2 How realistic is it that New England quarterback Tom Brady will retire from football and is this the end of the Patriots as we knew them?

#3 The Sacramento Kings ended their losing streak with a win over the Golden State Warriors Monday then the Kings turned around Tuesday and beat the Phoenix Suns in the Valley of the Sun. Can the Kings keep it going.

#4 For a long time the 49ers Joe Staley who played in only seven games this season this will be his first playoff game since 2013 when the 49ers were in it last.

#5 The Baltimore Ravens who are favorites to make the Super Bowl host the Tennessee Titans. Ravens quarterback LaMar Jackson can do a lot of things. London sets this game up for us.

London Marq does Headline Sports each Wednesday at http://www.sportsrsadioservice.com

Headline Sports podcast with Barbara Mason: A look at this weekends playoff games; Cal tries to get back in win column host Wazuu this Thursday

sfgate.com file photo: Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) drops back to pass as he throws a pass that was fumbled and recovered by the New Orleans Saints in the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game, Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in New Orleans.

On the Headlines podcast with Barbara

#1 Taking a look at NFC Playoff game for Saturday, the Minnesota Vikings who surprised just about everybody with a huge victory over the New Orleans Saints at the Super Dome come to Levis Stadium on Saturday to face the 49ers. Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins threw a overtime four yard touchdown pass for the victory could the Vikings shock the 49ers too?

#2 The AFC Playoff game for Saturday the Tennessee Titans will face the Baltimore Ravens a team favored to make the Super Bowl the Ravens have been tough all year.

#3 On Sunday in the AFC the Houston Texans are in Kansas City to face the rugged Chiefs. The Chiefs with quarterback Patrick Mahomes have been doing it all season.

#4 Seattle got that big victory in Philadelphia on Sunday now head to Green Bay this should one for the ages as this one will be played on a very tough Lambeau Field

#5 Cal’s Men’s basketball has seen some tough times they took a tough loss to the Stanford Cardinal last Saturday and are hoping to turn things around this Thursday at Haas Pavilion against the visiting Washington State Cougars.

Join Barbara each Tuesday for all the latest in Headline Sports at http://www.sportsradioservice.com