For the third-straight season, the San Francisco 49ers advanced to the NFC Championship game with their 23-10 dominating win over the Carolina Panthers. The 49ers will now travel to Seattle to take on their arch-rivals, the Seahawks for a 3:30 pm (PT) kickoff on Sunday.
[Related: Jim Harbaugh's Locker Room Speech]
Even though the 49ers have lost by a combined score of 71-16 in the past two games in Seattle, this game will be different. One big reason is because Anquan Boldin and Michael Crabtree were not on the field together in the losses. Carolina’s defense found out what a difference it makes in defending the 49ers offense with Boldin and Crabtree on the field together. The Seahawks defense will not know what will hit them on Sunday. Expect big things from both wideouts in the NFC Championship game.
Onward, the Quest for Six continues…
The 49ers offense has scored just one touchdown in its past two games at CenturyLink Field. San Francisco has lost by a combined 55 points in those two games.
With his 1-yard scoring catch in the second quarter, Vernon Davis tied Dave Casper for the most post-season touchdowns (7) by a tight end in NFL history.
Jim Harbaugh became the first head coach in the Super Bowl era to lead his team to a conference championship in his each of his first three seasons.
The Niners became the first NFC team since the 1977 Minnesota Vikings to reach the NFC Championship game in the season after losing the Super Bowl.
San Francisco is now one of 12 teams to have reached the conference championships in three consecutive seasons since 1970.
This is the third time the Niners have reached three straight title games.
We’re doing great things with Coach Harbaugh. We’re healthy. We’re willing to do whatever it takes to win… we’re playing great ball.
Anquan Boldin, who had eight receptions for 136 yards, on the Panthers defensive approach:
They were trying to double Crab. Crab had a big game last week in Green Bay, so I guess they thought they were going to take him out of the game. That’s the good part about our offense. We have weapons all around. You try to take one guy out, we still have two or three guys left.
Jim Harbaugh on Boldin’s catching abilities; stopping short of saying he has the best hands he has ever seen…like he did with Michael Crabtree:
As good as anybody. As good as anybody that’s ever played the game.
Right Alex Boone was asked if Boldin was worth a sixth-round pick:
I think he’s worth a first-round pick and I think the Ravens are really kicking themselves right now.
Safety Donte Whitner on Boldin’s toughness on the field:
He’s one of the toughest guys on this football team. He’s one of the toughest guys in the National Football League.
Linebacker Patrick Willis on Boldin:
We see him do that at practice. I look at ‘Bo’ and say, ‘How does he do it?’ We’re very fortunate to have him.
Whitner on defeating the Panthers:
We felt we could do it again. We knew everything they were going to do. They’re a really good football team … but we were really on our game today, and we really wanted to come in and enforce our will.
Linebacker NaVorro Bowman on the difference between the first-half and second-half for the Niners defense:
As the game goes on, we wake up as a defense. We play even harder. We get stronger. I think we started understanding what they were doing later in the game.
Whitner on the second-half play by San Francisco:
We made up our minds at halftime to go out and force our will on them.
Whitner on advancing to the NFC Championship game:
We expect this. This is not our first time. This felt like another game to us.
Harbaugh on winning on the road:
You’re very proud of your team when you go on the road in a playoff game and beat another very good football team in their stadium. Yes, it does make you feel like a strong, mighty man.
Colin Kaepernick on all of the jawing and trash-talking going on during the game:
I’m not just going to let you say anything you want to me. If you are going to say something to me, I am going to respond.
Kaepernick, who roomed with Panthers QB Cam Newton at the 2011 combine, on his touchdown celebration dance that started off as Newton’s Superman pose, but turned into Kaepernicking:
Just a little shout-out.
Kaepernick had a little fun at the post-game news conference. When Boldin was addressing the media, Kaepernick snuck into the back of the room and picked up a notepad. He asked Boldin,
Anquan, what was your mentality coming into this game?
Recognizing it was his QB asking the question, Boldin responded, trying not to laugh, with the following exchange:
“We talked about that earlier.”
“I wasn’t here, can you please repeat yourself?” Kaepernick said.
The 49ers wideout paused and replied, “Fight.”
After Boldin left the podium, Kaepernick was up next to take questions. Boldin had some fun of his own, asking Kap:
“Colin, why didn’t you throw the ball to Anquan earlier?”
Kaepernick responded: “He was talking about my momma.”’
Harbaugh on what Boldin said to him after he was flagged for a 15-yard penalty after the refs ruled Vernon Davis was out of bounds on a clear TD reception. Luckily for the Niners, the catch was ruled a touchdown and the penalty didn’t affect the Niners:
He said, ‘Coach, we can’t have that, get off the field. That’s the first penalty I’ve ever gotten. Not happy about it, but we dodged a bullet. I’ll try to do better.
Harbaugh on the win:
The team is excited about moving on. Winners stay, losers go home. We want to keep playing. Our team is excited to have that chance at the ultimate chance.
Niners on the goal line stand by the defense:
You could feel the air go out of the stadium. ~ Whitner
We pride ourselves in keeping teams out of the end zone. It was a big statement. It let them know that we came here to play. It was a big momentum swing for us, and that’s what we needed to win this game. ~ Bowman
On Playing the Seahawks in the NFC Championship game:
They don’t like us, and we don’t like them. We know we have to go up there, into a hostile environment. ~ Whitner
We know it’s going to be a dogfight. But we’re built for this. Hopefully we can go win the game that means the most. We look forward to it.”~ Willis
They know us. We know them. Everything is on the line. That says it all. ~ Bowman
Kaepernick on losing the last two games in Seattle by the combined score of 71-16:
That’s in the past. This is a different situation. We have to go out there and win it.