How we see itSan Francisco Examiner columnists offer their predictions for Sunday’s NFC Championship Game:ART SPANDER49ers 17, Giants 14The fantasy train has left the station, and there’s no reason to get off until it arrives at the Super Bowl. After Alex Smith to Vernon Davis on Saturday, anything is possible. And you have got to like that San Francisco defense. TIM LIOTTA49ers 24, Giants 16The Niners will prevail in an old-school, hard-hitting game that features Frank Gore’s first postseason 100-yard rushing game. Read More
How has Jim Harbaugh performed a near-miracle with the 49ers? Here are some of the qualities I’ve observed:1. He always stays positive about his team, often praising players and never criticizing. If a writer frames a question around a critical comment, he will respond with, “You’re saying that, I’m not.” Players always do their best for a coach who has their backs. Read More
The revitalization of Alex Smith’s seemingly sinking career has become one of the most intriguing and unlikely storylines of the NFL postseason.In one calendar year, Smith morphed from an afterthought as a starting QB option to an efficient, smart signal-caller who led the 49ers to one of the most exciting playoff wins in franchise history.And while Smith’s saga steals the lion’s share of the headlines, it’s just one piece of the intricate puzzle that has become this version of the 49ers. Read More
Nothing comes easily against these 49ers. Hidden beneath the accolades and praise heaped upon Vernon Davis, Alex Smith, the defense, coach Jim Harbaugh and his staff, has been the subtle fact that the 49ers make an opponent’s every possession difficult. And that’s before the defense takes the field. Read More
Fans headed to Sunday’s game should pack a poncho and an extra sweater to ensure that wet weather doesn’t dampen their experience.
The first major winter storm will arrive this weekend, drenching the region, National Weather Service forecaster Steve Anderson said.
The brunt of the storm should arrive Friday night, bringing 1 to 2 inches of rain. A short reprieve is expected Saturday afternoon.
On game day, about a half-inch of rain is expected, with showers beginning in the afternoon and continuing into the evening. Read More
The 49ers are 5-7 all-time in NFC championship games. Here’s a breakdown:Jan. 11, 1998 at Candlestick ParkGreen Bay Packers 23, 49ers 10Highlights: The last NFC title game played in The City certainly wasn’t one to remember. Brett Favre and the Packers were too much to overcome. The difference in the contest came in the running game. Green Bay ran for 106 yards, while the Niners managed just 33 yards on 18 carries. Read More
Now it’s not an issue of redemption. Alex Smith has made it through the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, made it past the New Orleans Saints. Now it’s not a matter of words, of arguing his worth.
Now it’s getting to the Super Bowl.
He knows he’s endured, knows he’s survived, knows he’s been called a bust, knows his family recommended against returning to the 49ers when his contract expired at the end of last season and, most importantly, knows in these magical past few months what he has accomplished. Read More
Before Saturday, it had been six years since Carlos Rogers had been in a playoff game.
It was his rookie season, and the cornerback out of Auburn was just beginning what would end up being a long stint with the Washington Redskins.
And that stint is the reason why Rogers, the oldest man in the 49ers’ secondary at age 30, knows Sunday’s opponent so well. Read More
Now that 49ers fans have recovered from Alex Smith’s stirring final act against the New Orleans Saints, which turned an eerily quiet Candlestick Park crowd into a bedlam of unexpected elation, the bigger story can be told. San Francisco’s Super Bowl hopes are alive and well because the trenches are once again their favorite playground. Sure, Alex’s impersonations of Steve Young and Joe Montana with the season hanging in the balance prompted teammate Justin Smith to say, “He’s no game manager, he’s a baller.” Read More
There is no perspective like the one that is learned first hand. And it was probably that perspective that coach Jim Harbaugh, a former NFL quarterback who came a hair short of playing in a Super Bowl, relied on when describing his team.
“These guys are my heroes ... all of them,” Harbaugh said of his players, reflecting on their gallant toppling of the New Orleans Saints on Saturday. “Alex [Smith] was heroic in this game. So was Justin [Smith], so was Donte [Whitner], so was Aldon [Smith], so was Vernon Davis.” Read More