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  • Writer's pictureCarter Causky

NFC Championship Recap

On Sunday, January 28th, the Detroit Lions and the San Francisco 49ers faced off for a chance to play in this year's Super Bowl. 

It would be the Lions’ first time ever reaching the Super Bowl and the 49ers would be trying to get back there after a disappointing loss due to injuries in last year’s NFC Championship.

The Lions would receive the ball to start the game and in just over a minute and a half, Jameson Williams scored on a 42-yard rush, making the score 7-0 Lions early on. The 49ers would then get the ball only for the Lions to receive the ball yet again after Jake Moody missed a field goal. The Lions would use this to their advantage.

  David Montgomery would extend their lead to 14-0 on a 1-yard rushing touchdown. No more scoring would happen in the first quarter.

The 49ers would get the ball back after the Lions’ touchdown and would use this possession to go all the way down field to set up a 2-yard rushing touchdown for Christian McCaffrey, making the score 14-7 Lions.

The Lions would get the ball back and punt it, giving the 49ers a chance to tie. Unfortunately Brock Purdy would throw an interception to linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez, giving the Lions a chance to extend their lead. Lions would drive down field and ultimately take advantage of this interception by scoring a touchdown. 

Jahmyr Gibbs with a 15-yard rushing touchdown would make the score 21-7 Lions. After this, the Lions forced a 3 and out, giving them a chance to score before halftime. They would drive down field and take a field goal with just a few seconds left in the half, extending their lead to 24-7. 

The 49ers would get the ball at halftime, but during this period everyone football fans believed the chances of winning were diminished, yet the 49ers never gave up.

Straight out of the half, the 49ers scored a field goal, forcing a Lions’ turnover on downs, and scored a 6-yard passing touchdown to Brandon Aiyuk. Within ten minutes, the 49ers cut the Lions’ three-possession lead to a one-possession lead. They were far from out of this game. Shortly after this, on the first play of their drive, Lions’ running back, Jahmyr Gibbs would fumble, giving the lions the ball at about the 24-yard line. They would take advantage of this by scoring a 1-yard rushing touchdown by Christian McCaffrey, tying the game up at 24. 

The end of the third quarter would come soon after this. 

After a Lions punt, the 49ers would go down field and take their first lead of the game with a Jake Moody field goal, 27-24 49ers. The Lions could just not convert any plays or put any points on the board, as they would turnover on downs on their next drive. The choice to go for it on 4th down in field goal range was very controversial and if it were taken, the game may have gone into overtime, but Head Coach Dan Campbell went for it, and his players could not convert, giving San Francisco the ball back. 

The 49ers would take advantage of this turnover on downs and extend their lead to two possessions with an Elijah Mitchell rushing touchdown. The score would be 34-24 49ers. A game that looked so hopeful for the Lions, had gone down the drain at this point, as they stood almost no chance. 

The Lions would still put up a fight though, by scoring a touchdown pass to Jameson Williams to make the score 34-31. They would have to recover the onside kick to have even the slimmest of chances. 

The ball was kicked, and the Lions almost got it! 

The 49ers ended up barely recovering it and would kneel the rest of the game to reserve their spot in Super Bowl 58 against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Looking back on it, if Head Coach Dan Campbell hadn’t been so aggressive by going for it on 4th down twice, the outcome of this game may have been different. Either way, the 49ers made a great comeback and earned their spot in the Super Bowl with such great plays, management, and never giving up.

Image courtesy of Thomson200 Wikimedia Commons

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