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How 49ers advanced to NFC title game: Key moves, wins, turning point, biggest reasons for success

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Article Summary:

Fresh off an upset of the NFC’s No. 1-seeded Packers in Lambeau, Shanahan, Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers are preparing for their second NFC Championship bid in three years. How on Earth did Shanahan and Co. get here? Let’s review with a look back at their key acquisitions, most important wins and other notable moments from their 2021 campaign:

Key acquisitionsC Alex MackDE Samson EbukamCB Josh Norman

The 49ers didn’t make any major splashes after their 6-10 finish in 2020, relying more on the return of injured starters like QB Jimmy Garoppolo, TE George Kittle and DE Nick Bosa.

Key win

Week 18 vs. Rams: Can you sense a pattern here, with the Rams on deck in the NFC title game? Needing a win to clinch a playoff berth despite their strong finish to the season, the 49ers looked dead in the water against their rivals in this rematch at SoFi Stadium, going into halftime down 17-3 with little working offensively. The victory marked Shanahan’s sixth straight against Sean McVay’s Rams, dating back to 2019.

Biggest reasons for their runThe dynamic ground game: Between Elijah Mitchell and Deebo Samuel, Shanahan has found ways to control the clock and extend drives on the ground.

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