The sequel was nearly equal.
The San Fransisco 49ers cliched the NFC’s spot in Super Bowl LIV on Sunday by routing Green Bay in a manner roughly as convincing as their blowout of the Packers during the regular season.
Raheem Mostert became the first player in NFL history to rush for 200 yards and score four touchdowns and the defense dominated Aaron Rodgers for a half in a 37-20 thumping.
The 49ers scored on six consecutive possessions, had to attempt only eight passes and opened a 27-0 lead at halftime.
Eight weeks ago, also at Levi’s Stadium, San Francisco beat Green Bay 37-8 on another nightmarish occasion for Rodgers, the 36-year-old quarterback who is widely considered to be a cinch Hall of Famer.
The 49ers will be appearing in the franchise’s seventh Super Bowl, on Feb. 2 in Miami against Kansas City. San Francisco most recently played for the NFL title in 2013, losing to Baltimore.
In his third season, Kyle Shanahan is looking for his first Super Bowl championship as a head coach. His father, Mike, won two Super Bowls while coaching Denver in the 1990s.
On Sunday, Shanahan’s team was in control from the moment the offense got the ball the second time. Green Bay stopped the 49ers on third and one by stuffing Tevin Coleman to force a three-and-out on the game’s first series.
But, behind the running of Mostert, San Francisco scored on its five remaining possessions of the first half.
Behind a line that was opening gaping holes and with the help of receivers neutralizing defenders downfield, Mostert finished with a team-record 220 yards on 29 carries.
He received the bulk of the work after Coleman left the game in the second quarter because of a shoulder injury and did not return.
All that running allowed the 49ers to play ultra conservatively. Jimmy Garoppolo completed only six passes in eight attempts for 77 yards. Starting just before the two-minute warning of the first half, he went a quarter and a half between throws.
The recipe was similar to the one San Francisco used a week ago. In a win over Minnesota in the divisional round, the 49ers ran 47 times.
Rodgers finished 31 of 39 for 326 yards and two touchdowns. But he also threw two interceptions, turned the ball over when couldn’t handle the center exchange and had another fumble that the Packers recovered.
Mostert has played with five teams, not counting Philadelphia, which signed him as an undrafted free agent out of Purdue in May 2015. The Eagles stashed him on their practice squad before he was signed away by Miami.
He has been with San Francisco since November 2016 but had only 42 career carries until emerging this season as one of the 49ers’ main three options at running back.
And on Sunday, he carried his franchise back to the Super Bowl.
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