The San Francisco 49ers faced the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship on Sunday

By Jason Duaine Hahn
January 19, 2020 09:45 PM
Advertisement
Credit: Thearon W. Henderson/Getty; Harry How/Getty

The San Francisco 49ers are NFC Champions!

The 49ers quickly took a commanding lead over the visiting Green Bay Packers on Sunday at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California. The home team kept veteran Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers from scoring anything in the first half, and they entered halftime with a massive 27-0 lead.

Green Bay didn’t score their first touchdown until halfway into the third quarter, but that was quickly matched with another touchdown by San Francisco. With a 34-7 lead headed into the fourth quarter, a 49ers victory was all but secured barring a miraculous comeback by the Packers. San Francisco won with a final score of 37-20.

They will now head to Miami to face the Kansas City Chiefs at Super Bowl LIV on Feb. 2. This is their first trip to the Super Bowl since 2013 when they were led by quarterback Colin Kaepernick. They lost 34-31 to the Baltimore Ravens.

Leading up to the championship game, both the 49ers and Packers enjoyed one of their best years in recent memory. They finished atop of the NFC, with the 49ers claiming the No. 1 seed thanks to San Francisco beating Green Bay 37-8 during their only regular-season meeting in November. During that matchup, Rodgers was sacked five times, according to ESPN.

Despite the 49ers’ win during the season, they were cautious heading into Sunday’s game.

“We know it will be different,” 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said. “We know that game got away from them early and that’s definitely not the team we’re going to see this week. Everyone knows how good Green Bay is, how good their coaching staff is, how good their players are, how good their quarterback is.”

Aaron Rodgers
| Credit: Harry How/Getty

“I don’t think they’ve lost a game since then,” he added. “So I think that game really holds zero relevance to what’s going to happen this Sunday.”

The 49ers have been one of the most exciting teams in the league, lead by starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. This season, Garoppolo helped his team get to their first 8-0 start since 1990.

Considering the team’s successful year, Sunday’s game was undoubtedly the most important of Garoppolo’s career.

But Garoppolo has come a long way in his three years in San Francisco — the 28-year-old famously was the back-up quarterback to New England Patriots star Tom Brady from 2014 to 2017.

“I haven’t personally talked to him but things I took away from watching him go through it was the consistency through all of it,” Garoppolo recently said of what he learned from watching Brady. “That traces to your preparation during the week.”

Because of their regular-season loss to San Francisco, the Packers — led by head coach Matt LaFleur — came into Sunday’s game as underdogs despite having an equal regular-season record to the 49ers.

Emmanuel Sanders and Deebo Samuel
| Credit: Sean M. Haffey/Getty

“At the time, they had a two-game lead after that game, plus obviously the tiebreaker, so just calculating things in my head, I figured if we got to the playoffs and made a run we’d probably have to beat them in their place at some point,” Rodgers, 36, recently said of facing the 49ers. “Sure enough we’re back in a situation where we have to do it to get to the Super Bowl.”

“You realize playing against them how good they are,” he added.

But Rodgers, a two-time NFL MVP and Super Bowl XLV champion, had experience on his side heading into the NFC Championship game. The only question that remained was whether it would be enough to hold off the surging 49ers on their home field.

Football fans now have two weeks to go for a new Super Bowl champion to be crowned.