By CJ Carlson
The San Francisco 49ers are heading to Las Vegas to take on the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl. San Francisco had a horrendous first half of football against the Detroit Lions but rallied late to storm past them in the NFC Championship game.
The first two quarters were entirely dominated by the Lions. They went into the locker room at halftime with a ridiculously strong 24-7 lead. Many of them, including fans, were thinking that this could finally be the year that Detroit marches their way into their first Super Bowl appearance. Instead, they came out horribly flat in the third quarter, losing tons of momentum in the process.
San Francisco 49ers Just Took Over The Third Quarter
San Francisco knocked in a field goal out of the gates in the second half, to cut the lead down to 14. Detroit marched it all the way to the red zone in response and went for a fourth down and short to try and get into the end zone. They dialed up a nice play, and a pass went right off the hands of Josh Reynolds. Fast forward a few plays, and the 49ers were scoring seven more points. Detroit came right back out and watched Jahmyr Gibbs get stripped, and eventually recovered by San Francisco. Once again, they punched it in for seven more points to tie the game up.
In the middle of all of that, there were a few more dropped passes and a punt that would have knocked the 49ers to the one-yard line, had a Detroit player not stepped in the end zone while stopping the ball. But even with all of that, the Lions were down by three points with a few minutes left, in 49ers territory.
They got into a fourth down situation, and head coach Dan Campbell opted to go for it once again, and once again it didn’t convert. Instead of taking the tie game, they risked it, and it didn’t pay off. San Francisco went down and scored a touchdown to essentially put it out of reach, even though Detroit scored another late touchdown.
Detroit, This One Will Hurt
The 34-31 defeat is going to sting for quite some time in Detroit. Mostly because they started out so incredibly hot before crumbling in the second half. Many might contribute this loss to the two fourth down calls from Campbell, but I personally don’t dislike them. The Lions and Campbell wanted to stay true to the philosophy that got them to this point, which was staying aggressive.
The first missed conversion, had it been caught by Reynolds, could have swung the game in Detroit’s favor again and helped them seal it assuming they scored points there. Had that happened, everybody would have loved the decision to go for it.
Sadly, we live in a world where that didn’t happen. Detroit will head into the offseason with a lot to be proud of. Nobody could have anticipated a finish as the three-seed in the NFC, and two playoff wins to go along with it. They’ll continue to grow, build, and mesh together and return next year.
As for the 49ers, they didn’t play well again in the first half, but it didn’t matter. There is so much talent on this team, it’s like you’re constantly waiting for them to turn it up a notch. When they do, it’s a scary sight. Good for Mr. Irrelevant Brock Purdy in making a Super Bowl in just his second season.