For the third consecutive season, the San Francisco 49ers are playing in the NFC Championship Game. This time around the Niners travel to Seattle to take on the Seahawks in a clash of division rivals (you can find 49ers @ Seahawks tickets from Razorgator.) With a win, San Francisco will advance to the Super Bowl for the second year in a row and for the seventh time in franchise history.
The road to the NFC Title Game for the 49ers has been just that, on the road. In the first-round, the Niners defeated the Green Bay Packers, 23-20, in one of the coldest games ever played in team history. Last week, San Francisco defeated the Carolina Panthers, 23-10, in the Divisional Round for their third-straight road playoff victory.
In the game against Carolina QB Colin Kaepernick was responsible for both of the 49ers touchdowns, recording one passing and rushing TD. WR Anquan Boldin had a game-high 8 receptions for 136 yards to go along with RB Frank Gore‘s 84 rushing yards. On defense, the 49ers did not allow the Panthers to score in three of the four quarters and sacked QB Cam Newton five times by the end of the game. LB Ahmad Brooks led the team with 2.5 sacks, setting a new post-season career-high. San Francisco also intercepted Newton twice, with picks by LB Patrick Willis and S Donte Whitner.
In order for the 49ers to end their two-game losing streak at CenturyLink Field and move on to the Super Bowl, they will need a similar performance on offense and defense like the one they had last Sunday.
Here is a look at the history, numbers and connections behind the NFC Championship Game.
This is the first post-season matchup between the 49ers and Seahawks. The two teams played their first game against each other in 1976, but the rivalry heated up when Seattle moved to the NFC West in 2002. The Niners won the first two games they played as division rivals, however, from 2003-2005 the Seahawks won six straight games. Two of those defeats were blowouts, with the Niners losing by 38 and 34 points.
The 2003-2005 seasons saw the Seahawks emerge as contenders winning the division twice — including a Super Bowl appearance — while the Niners finished in third-place once and fourth-place twice during that span.
In 2006, San Francisco swept Seattle during the season, winning the final game by scoring three touchdowns in the fourth quarter for a 24-14 win. Another memorable game was in Week 5 of the 2007 season. The 49ers were humiliated at home, 23-3, and Alex Smith went down for the season with a separated shoulder on a sack by Rocky Bernard.
Two other notable games were the regular-season openers in 2010 and 2011. The Niners lost in Seattle, 31-6, and Mike Singletary thanked the Seahawks after the game for “kicking our tails” because it was a wake-up call for the team. When it was actually a wake-up call for Niners fans, foreshadowing Singletary was not the right man to coach the team. The 49ers and Singletary would get revenge later in the season with a 40-21 win at home. It was Singletary’s last win as the 49ers head coach.
The 2011 regular-season opener saw the 49ers dismantle the Seahawks, 33-17, with Ted Ginn Jr. returning a kickoff and punt for a touchdown. He collected 268 total return yards in the game.
Last season, the Niners and Seahawks split the season series. San Francisco won the first meeting, 13-6, at home in Week 7. Seattle would get revenge in Week 16, spanking the Niners, 42-13. The win clinched a playoff berth for the Seahawks.
History repeated itself for the Niners in Week 2 earlier this season against the Seahawks. Playing for the second straight time at Seattle, the 49ers were embarrassed and outplayed on national television, losing 29-3. San Francisco was doomed by turning over the football five times. Colin Kaepernick contributed to the loss with three interceptions and one lost fumble, while passing for only 127 yards. The Seahawks put the game away in the fourth quarter with two touchdowns and one field goal.
San Francisco would avenge the early season loss in Week 14 with a 19-17 win over the Seahawks at home. Defense prevailed for both sides, but the 49ers came out on top in a classic seesaw fight. The consistent play by San Francisco’s defense kept the 49ers in the game as they limited QB Russell Wilson to just under 200 yards passing for one touchdown and one interception. Against the rush, the Niners D extended their streak of not allowing a 100-yard rusher, with RB Marshawn Lynch gaining only 72 yards and one touchdown on 20 carries on the ground.
Gore was the MVP of the game as he rushed for 110 yards on 17 carries. Previously, Gore had only gained a 120 total rushing yards in the last three games against the Seahawks. His biggest contribution was a memorable 51-yard gallop in the fourth quarter. On first down at San Francisco’s 31-yard line, Gore escaped from Seattle’s defense on what would be the decisive play of the game. His 51-yard run gave the Niners a first-down at Seattle’s 18-yard line with just over four minutes left to play and set up the game-winning field goal. Phil Dawson made his fourth field goal of the game that gave the 49ers the lead and ultimately the win over their division rivals.
Series History Results (click pic for larger image):
2: Sunday will mark the second time the 49ers have played a division rival in the NFC Championship Game.
7: The 49ers are the first team in NFL history to have at least one 100-yard receiver in 7 consecutive post-season games.
3: In Super Bowl era, Jim Harbaugh became the first head coach to lead his team to the conference championship in each of his first three seasons.
.800: Colin Kaepernick has led the 49ers to a 4-1 record (.800) in the post-season as the starting QB, which is t-3rd best record among all QB’s in the Super Bowl era (min. 5 starts).
36: Harbaugh has won 36 regular season games, which is the 2nd most in NFL history by a coach in their first three seasons.
17: The 49ers are 17-7 on the road since head coach Harbaugh took over in 2011. The 49ers .708 win percentage is t-1st in the NFL during that span.
5: San Francisco has played 5 times on the road in the NFC Championship, with 2 wins and 3 losses.
.429: In the NFC Title Game, the 49ers have a .429 winning percentage (6-8 record).
30: The 49ers scored 30-or-more points in 8 games this season, the most by the team since 1998.
20: San Francisco had 20 rushing plays of 20-or-more yards, ranking 1st in the NFL.
0: The Niners were the only team in the NFL to not allow a 100-yard rusher this season.
25: WR Anquan Boldin ranks 1st among all active players in the NFL with 12 career receptions of 25+ yards.
63: In 13 playoff games, Boldin has recorded 63 receptions for 980 yards and 7 TDs.
14: Last week, LB NaVorro Bowman recorded a team-high 14 tackles and 1.0 sack against the Panthers.
7: TE Vernon Davis is now tied for first in NFL post-season history for the most TD receptions by a tight end with 7.
632: Number of rushing yards in the post-season by Frank Gore since 2011, the most among all NFL players.
4: Kaepernick became the 4th QB in NFL history to win each of his first three playoff starts on the road.
9.4: Kaepernick has averaged 9.4 yards per carry, which is the highest average in NFL post-season history among all players with at least 30 rush attempts.
10: LB Patrick Willis has recorded at least 10 tackles in six of his seven career playoff games.
13: Since 1970, only 9 teams have won 13-or-more games, including the playoffs, in at least three consecutive seasons. The 49ers (14-4) accomplished that feat for the third time in franchise history, the only franchise in the NFL to do so more than once (1996-98; 1987-90; 2011-2013).
44: This weekend, San Francisco will play in their 44th post-season game since 1980, the most in the NFL during that span.
165: All-time playing at CenturyLink Field, the 49ers have been outscored by the Seahawks, 165-323.
8: The 49ers have lost 8 out of 12 games played at CenturyLink Field.
1,038: In 13 career games against Seattle, Boldin has totaled 81 receptions for 1,038 yards and 2 TDs.
1,364: Gore has rushed for 1,364 yards versus Seattle, the most rushing yards against any opponent in his career.
49ers NFC Championship Games by the Numbers and Results:
NFC Championship Games: 14
49ers Record: 6-8 (Home: 4-5 / Away: 2-3)
First Game: 49ers loss 17-10 vs. Dal. (1/3/71)
Last Game: 49ers win 28-24 at Atl. (1/20/13)
Current Streak: Won 1
Longest SF Win Streak: 3 (1/6/85 – 1/14/90)
Last SF Home Win: 49ers win 38-28 vs. Dal. (1/15/95)
Last SF Home Loss: Giants win 20-17 (OT) vs. SF (1/22/12)
Last SF Road Win: 49ers win 28-24 at Atl. (1/20/13)
Last SF Road Loss: Cowboys win 38-21 at Dal. (1/23/94)
Most SF Points: 38; 49ers win 38-28 vs. Dal. (1/15/95)
Most Opp. Points: 38; Cowboys win 38-21 at Dal. (1/23/94)
Total SF Points: 290
Total Opp. Points: 266
Average SF Points: 20.7
Average Opp. Points: 19.0
Largest SF Win: 27; 49ers win 30-3 vs. L.A. Rams (1/14/90)
Largest Opp. Win: 17; Cowboys win 38-21 at Dal. (1/23/94)
Season (Date) W/L Score Site
1970 (1/3) L Dallas 17, San Francisco 10 SF
1971 (1/2) L Dallas 14, San Francisco 3 Dal.
1981 (1/10) W San Francisco 28, Dallas 27 SF
1983 (1/8) L Washington 24, San Francisco 21 Was.
1984 (1/6) W San Francisco 23, Chicago 0 SF
1988 (1/8) W San Francisco 28, Chicago 3 Chi.
1989 (1/14) W San Francisco 30, L.A. Rams 3 SF
1990 (1/20) L N.Y. Giants 15, San Francisco 13 SF
1992 (1/17) L Dallas 30, San Francisco 20 SF
1993 (1/23) L Dallas 38, San Francisco 21 Dal.
1994 (1/15) W San Francisco 38, Dallas 28 SF
1997 (1/11) L Green Bay 23, San Francisco 10 SF
2011 (1/22) L N. Y. Giants 20, San Francisco 17 (OT) SF
2012 (1/20) W San Francisco 28, Atlanta 24 Atl.
Series History Numbers vs. Seahawks:
Postseason Matchups: None
Series Record: Series tied 15-15
Postseason Series Record: None
49ers Home Record vs. Seahawks: 49ers lead series 8-6
49ers Postseason Home Record vs. Seahawks: None
49ers Away Record vs. Seahawks: Seahawks lead series 9-7
49ers Postseason Away Record vs. Seahawks: None
First Meeting: 9/26/76, 49ers win 37-21, at Sea.
First Postseason Meeting: None
Last Meeting: 12/8/13, 49ers win 19-17, at SF
Last Postseason Meeting: None
Current Streak: Won 1
Current Postseason Streak: None
Longest 49ers Win Streak: 4 (12/12/10 – 10/18/12)
Longest Postseason 49ers Win Streak: None
Longest Seahawks Win Streak: 6 (10/12/03 – 12/11/05)
Longest Postseason Seahawks Win Streak: None
Most 49ers Points: 40, (12/12/10), 49ers win 40-21, at SF
Most Postseason 49ers Points: None
Most Seahawks Points: 42 – 2 times (Last 12/23/12), Seahawks win 42-13, at Sea.
Most Postseason Seahawks Points: None
49ers Shutouts: None
Postseason 49ers Shutouts: None
Seahawks Shutouts: 2, (Last 11/12/07), Seahawks win 24-0, at Sea.
Postseason Seahawks Shutouts: None
49ERS (rank) SEAHAWKS (rank)
12-4 (2nd NFCW) Record 13-3 (1st NFCW)
25.4 (11th) Points Per Game 26.1 (t-8th)
323.8 (24th) Total Offense 339.0 (17th)
137.6 (3rd) Rushing Offense 136.8 (4th)
186.2 (30th) Passing Offense 202.3 (26th)
30:35 (11th) Possession Average 29:57 (17th)
17.0 (3rd) Points Allowed Per Game 14.4 (1st)
316.9 (5th) Total Defense 273.6 (1st)
95.9 (4th) Rushing Defense 101.6 (t-7th)
221.0 (7th) Passing Defense 172.0 (1st)
38 (t-18th) Sacks 44 (t-8th)
18 (t-10th) Interceptions 28 (1st)
48.2 (2nd) Punting Avg. (Gross) 41.6 (29th)
+12 (t-4th) Turnover Differential +20 (1st)
- Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin (2007-2010) and cornerback Richard Sherman (2006-2009) went to Stanford and played for 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh.
- Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch (2004-2006) and defensive tackle Brandon Mebane (2003-2006) played at Cal. together.
- 49ers running back Anthony Dixon and Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright were teammates at Mississippi State.
- 49ers running back Kendall Hunter (2007-2009) and Seahawks tackle Russell Okung (2006-2009) attended Oklahoma State together.
- From 2007-2009, Harbaugh (Stanford) and Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll (USC) coached against each other three times in the Pac-10. Harbaugh won two of the three games.
- Carroll is a native of San Francisco and coached for the 49ers from 1995-1996 as the defensive coordinator.
- 49ers offensive line coach Mike Solari held the same position with the Seahawks from 2008-2009.
- Solari and Carroll also worked together with the 49ers from 1995-1996.
- Seahawks linebackers coach Ken Norton Jr. (1994-2000) played for the 49ers.
- 49ers wide receivers coach John Morton coached at USC under Carroll from 2007-2010.
- 49ers’ secondary coach Ed Donatell coached at the University of Washington from 1981-1982 and in 2008.
- 49ers special teams’ assistant Tracy Smith was a coaching assistant with the Seahawks in 2011.
- Seattle fullback Michael Robinson played for the 49ers from 2006-2010.
- After being released by the 49ers this past November, cornerback Perrish Cox signed with the Seahawks for two weeks before being released. The Seahawks re-signed Cox to the active roster on Dec. 12, and then released him again on Dec. 27. The Niners re-signed Cox three days later and he has been an important player in the nickel defense since his return to the team, including in the playoffs.