49ers’ game-by-game recap en route to Super Bowl LVIII

San Francisco 49ers' George Kittle (85) makes a touchdown catch against Dallas Cowboys' Jourdan Lewis (2) in the second quarter at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., on Sunday, Oct. 8, 2023. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)
San Francisco 49ers’ George Kittle (85) makes a touchdown catch against Dallas Cowboys’ Jourdan Lewis (2) in the second quarter at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., on Sunday, Oct. 8, 2023. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group) 

LAS VEGAS — The 49ers’ streaky season is ending on a heater as they reach Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas. All the 49ers have to do now is cash out with their long-sought sixth Lombardi Trophy, and their first since the 1994 season. Here is a game-by-game look at that road to the NFL’s ultimate riches:

WEEK 1 at Pittsburgh Steelers: Win, 30-7

It took only 2 ½ minutes for Brock Purdy to throw the first of his two touchdown passes to Brandon Aiyuk. That was a polar opposite scene to last season’s exit on the other side of Pennsylvania, where Purdy’s throwing elbow was injured to doom the NFC title game. “Once I hit that touchdown, I wasn’t thinking (about) surgery,” Purdy said. “It was, ‘Man, we’re here to win. This is it. This is how we’re going to play.’ ” The 49ers leapt out to a 20-0 lead, outgaining the Steelers 223-1 over that hot start.

Nick Bosa’s presence, only days after signing a massive contract, no doubt helped Drake Jackson rack up three sacks. But the biggest production came from Christian McCaffrey’s season-high 152 yards and 22 carries, the best of which was a 65-yard touchdown run 58 seconds after halftime for a 27-7, call-off-the-fight lead. Fourth-quarter chants of “Let’s Go Niners” rang out from the 49ers Faithful, who traveled in mass better than ever this season.

THREE STARS: 1. Purdy (19-of-29, 220 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions); 2. McCaffrey (152 rushing yards, touchdown); 3. Jackson (all three of his sacks this season came this game).

WEEK 2 at Los Angeles Rams: Win, 30-23

Ho-hum, a ninth straight regular-season win over their SoCal rivals. Three overthrows by Purdy foiled potential touchdowns and stirred questions about his elbow. He did not commit a turnover, however, while 49ers cornerbacks Isaiah Oliver and Deommodore Lenoir intercepted Matthews Stafford. A key call came when coach Kyle Shanahan bypassed a chip-shot field goal to have Purdy score on a 1-yard sneak to enter the half with a 17-17 tie. Jake Moody made all three of his field-goal attempts, including a 57-yarder (a 49ers rookie record) for the go-ahead points after halftime.

THREE STARS: 1. McCaffrey (opening-drive touchdown, 51-yard run to end first quarter); 2. Samuel (101 yards from scrimmage, fourth-quarter touchdown run); 3. Isaiah Oliver (interception at the 49ers’ 25-yard line).

WEEK 3 vs. New York Giants: Win, 30-12

It’s a third straight win with 30 points, only this one came in the home opener, in 1994 throwback jerseys, and in the Thursday Night Football spotlight. The Giants blitzed Purdy on 33-of-39 dropbacks, but he passed for 310 yards without an interception. The offense hummed along thanks to professional tackle breaker Deebo Samuel, a black-eyed George Kittle (90 receiving yards) and the NFL-leading rusher, McCaffrey. Moody made three field goals for the third straight game. Javon Hargrave’s home debut featured a sack, and Nick Bosa got his first sack as the NFL’s highest-paid defender.

THREE STARS: 1. Samuel (129 receiving yards, touchdown); 2. McCaffrey (85 rushing yards, touchdown); …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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