While a lot of experts predicted that San Francisco would come away with a victory, no one saw this coming. The 49ers absolutely dominated Aaron Rodgers and Co. for a good 60 minutes, proving that they are the team to beat.
If there were any doubts prior to Saturday night, Colin Kaepernick put them to rest. He had the best single-game playoff performance in San Francisco history. Yes, that even includes Steve Young's six-touchdown performance against the San Diego Chargers in Super Bowl XXIX.
Kaepernick put up 444 total yards, including an NFL quarterback-record 181 rushing yards (via the San Francisco Chronicle). Those long runs came on the way to one of the most surprising games I've seen from a young player in my two decades watching the NFL.
In total, San Francisco racked up 29 first downs and a franchise postseason-record 579 total yards.
After handing Green Bay a 7-0 lead, Kaepernick came back and showed us why his skin (tats and all) is about as thick as it comes. He didn't shy away from the difficult pass or struggle making reads after throwing that pick-six. Instead, the second-year quarterback shrugged it off and had the game of his life.
San Francisco dominated in nearly every aspect of the game. Its offensive line held up extremely well, specifically Joe Staley against Clay Matthews, as the battle line was drawn and then reconfigured to the 49ers' benefit.
Michael Crabtree showed us exactly why he is among the best receivers in the NFL. He consistently gave Kaepernick lanes in which to throw the ball and caught nearly everything thrown in his direction. Even when Crabtree did drop a ball, he batted it down to ensure that it wouldn't be intercepted. He made Tramon Williams look about as silly as a top-tier cornerback can look.
While Vernon Davis struggled to get open throughout the game, he was able to find a seam between the hashes on a huge 44-yard strike in the second half. Randy Moss, despite catching just two passes for 25 yards, took defenders down the field with him and left a whole bunch of green for Kaepernick to work with in the passing game.
From a strategic point of view, Mike McCarthy's staff fell short in every imaginable way against Jim Harbaugh and Co. While Green Bay did make an adjustment or two at the half, it was outclassed by what is quickly becoming one of the best coaching staffs in the NFL.
Schematically, Green Bay didn't have an answer for what Greg Roman and the 49ers' offensive coaching staff was calling. Of course, Kaepernick's performance had a lot to do with this.
It doesn't really matter who San Francisco plays in the NFC Championship Game if it performs like it did on Saturday. No team stands a chance of beating the 49ers when they're playing their best football. It really is that simple.
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Despite having the greenest quarterback in the playoffs, San Francisco proved itself to be in a league of its own on Saturday. The performance wasn't only historic, it showed the rest of the NFL that there is a new sheriff in town.
They reside at 4949 Centennial Blvd. in Santa Clara and aren't going to be shot down by anyone if they continue the domination we saw Saturday night.
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