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At the beginning of the season, many people expected the 49ers to have a chance to hoist the Lombardi in Las Vegas. It’s not surprising, but the way the team has made it to the big game sure is.
The question is: What is the most surprising part about the 49ers playoffs?
The slow starts
Coming off the wild card bye week, the 49ers were set with their health and ready to roll. Well, that hasn’t happened in either of the two playoff matchups. The 49ers have stumbled out of the gate offensively and defensively. The first week could have been attributed to rust, but the second week was more of the same.
The Packers’ disadvantage was their run defense. It took the 49ers quite a while before they used it against them, even in the rain. The Lions’ disadvantage was in their secondary, and the 49ers defense struggled to contain the Lions offense.
Make no mistake about it: the 49ers cannot start slow against Kansas City.
The big comebacks
Starting slow has led to comebacks for Brock Purdy and the 49ers. The last two weeks have shown something the 49ers couldn’t show in the regular season: the ability to come back from a large deficit.
In fact, not only have the 49ers not shown this ability, Kyle Shanahan hasn’t either. The narratives have died in two weeks. The biggest games of the season required the 49ers to do the near impossible.
Brock Purdy’s legs
Some of the biggest plays in the NFC Championship game were made by Purdy, but nobody expected them to be on the ground for Purdy. The ability to extend drives is backbreaking for defenses. We’ve seen Lamar Jackson, Patrick Mahomes, and Josh Allen make these types of plays.
Purdy will need to duplicate his success on the ground against the Kansas City defense. His instincts on when to run have been quite the surprise and showed up in the nick of time.
Other teams mistakes
No comeback can be completed without miscues from your opponent. Jordan Love tossed two critical interceptions, Dan Campbell made some questionable decisions on fourth down, Jahmyr Gibbs fumbled the football, and Brandon Aiyuk caught a pass that bounced off a Lions facemask.
Without these plays, the 49ers aren’t 60 minutes from a championship. The Lions and Packers imploded at the right times, and the 49ers capitalized. Many championship teams have had moments like this on the way to winning it all.
What do you think? What’s been the most surprising part about the 49ers playoffs?