As championship weeks gets underway, San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan wants to make something crystal clear: The Week 12 blowout win over Green Bay means bupkis.
The Niners wiped the floor with the Packers in November at Levi’s Stadium, 37-8, dominating every facet. San Francisco so thoroughly thrashed Green Bay that day that Aaron Rodgers finished the game on the bench watching backup Tim Boyle play out the string.
If any 49ers player or fan wants to use that game to suggest another domination will ensue this coming Sunday, Shanny would like a word.
“The game before never matters,” Shanahan said, via The Athletic. “There’s four teams left and it’s four very, very good teams. It’s going to be a hard game for all of us.”
Fans can and will shout to their heart’s desire, but Shanahan got ahead of any players spouting off.
“Don’t be that stupid,” he said. “That’s not real.”
What is real is that when everything is clicking, San Francisco can be a force. They proved as much in the Divisional Round. With a pass-rush that can upset any apple-cart, a run game that can churn the clock, and a go-to tight end that can tip the field, the 49ers own advantages on both sides of the ball.
In the Week 12 win, the Niners piled up 112 rushing yards before pulling their foot off the gas, George Kittle dominated, generating 129 yards and a TD, and the defense swarmed. Rodgers was sacked five times, fumbled once, and was held to a measly 104 passing yards. A first-series fumble followed by three straight three-and-outs sent the Packers stumbling out of the gate, and they couldn’t recover.
That was the last time Green Bay lost a game.
Expect a different sort of game come Sunday’s NFC Championship Game.
“We know it will be different,” Shanahan said during his Monday press conference. “We know that game got away from them early. That’s definitely not the team we’re going to see this week. Everyone knows how good Green Bay is, how good the coaching staff is, how good their players are, how good their quarterback is.”
“I don’t think they’ve lost a game since then,” he concluded. “I think that game really holds zero relevance to what’s going to happen this Sunday.”
The Packers‘ stellar offensive line is one of the few that might be able to withstand the waves of pass rush the Niners can bring. If Green Bay gives Rodgers time, the savvy old vet still knows the magic spells of playoffs past. If any QB can get hot and will his team to a road postseason win, that man wears a Packers No. 12 jersey.
Shanahan’s reticence to believe a repeat of what he saw last time will occur is warranted. According to the Associated Press, there have been 23 Super Bowl-era games (not including strike-shortened seasons) in which a team won a regular-season match by 28-plus points and faced the same squad in the postseason. The winner is just 14-9 in the rematches.