49ers

49ers' Marcell Harris, Mike McGlinchey make PFF's Team of the Week

49ers' Marcell Harris, Mike McGlinchey make PFF's Team of the Week

The 49ers lost just their second game of the season last Sunday in a battle against the Ravens in Baltimore, but two players still landed on Pro Football Focus' Team of the Week. 

PFF awarded one San Francisco player on each side of the ball this past week. Right tackle Mike McGlinchey represented the offense, while safety Marcell Harris represented the defense. 

McGlinchey was phenomenal in the trenches against a stout Ravens defense. At 6-foot-8, 310 pounds, the former first-round draft pick showed off his athleticism in the 49ers' outside run game, helping prompt running back Raheem Mostert to a career day. 

Mostert, who entered the season as more of a special teams star, rushed for 146 yards on 19 carries. He averaged 7.7 yards per carry, and scored a 40-yard touchdown

McGlinchey earned an 88.4 run-blocking grade from PFF as the 49ers as a whole ran for 174 yards on 29 carries, good for an average of 6.0 yards per carry. The second-year pro had an 88.9 overall grade as he also kept QB Jimmy Garoppolo on his feet all game long. 

While McGlinchey is a former top draft pick, Harris is a whole different story. Taken by the 49ers in the sixth round of the 2018 draft, Harris replaced an injured Jaquiski Tartt and made an immediate impact. 

With Ravens QB Lamar Jackson racing down the field in the third quarter, Harris tackled the speedster, ripped the ball out of his hands and recovered the fumble. It was Jackson's first recovered fumble of the year. 

[RELATED: Warner named NFC Defensive Player of Month for November]

Harris ended the game with two solo tackles, one assist and the forced/recovered fumble. He earned a 91.0 PFF grade in the loss.

The 25-year-old who was promoted from the practice squad in October, now has six tackles, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery this season.

Why Kyle Juszczyk gives George Kittle edge for 49ers' play of the year

Why Kyle Juszczyk gives George Kittle edge for 49ers' play of the year

The 49ers have made it to the Super Bowl, but there were several stops along the way when that outcome didn't appear as likely. Yes, San Francisco was the No. 1 overall seed in the NFC, but only by the slimmest of margins.

Literally inches, you might recall.

Rookie linebacker Dre Greenlaw sealed the top seed for the 49ers -- and a first-round bye -- with his clutch fourth-down stop on the goal line in the final seconds of San Francisco's Week 17 win over the Seattle Seahawks. It undoubtedly will go down as one of the most memorable plays in franchise history, but depending on who you ask, it wasn't even the biggest play of the current season.

There are a few additional contenders, but the most obvious would be tight end George Kittle's 39-yard catch-and-run on fourth-and-2 on the 49ers' game-winning drive to beat the Saints in Week 14. 

Fullback Kyle Juszczyk was on the sideline for both plays, and recently offered his opinion as to which is the 49ers' play of the year. 

"Two legendary plays ... season-defining plays, there," Juszczyk told 95.7 The Game's "Jo, Lo & Dibs" on Tuesday morning. "I'm an offensive guy, though, and I can't lie, when you started talking about the biggest play of the season, the first play that jumped to my mind was George's play in New Orleans, so I'm gonna give that one to George with Dre as a close second. Just two guys putting the team on their back and just willing the team to a win. So, both absolutely phenomenal plays."

[RELATED: Why 'defense wins championships' adage applies to 49ers]

Super Bowl LIV will mark the seventh straight Super Bowl featuring two top-two seeds, further indicating the benefit of a first-round bye. Both Kittle and Greenlaw's clutch plays were absolutely essential to the 49ers achieving that high seed, so really, it's impossible to say which was the play of the year, because San Francisco's season looks a whole lot different without both of them.

Programming note: NBC Sports Bay Area feeds your hunger for 49ers Super Bowl coverage with special editions of “49ers Central” all week (5:30 p.m. Monday and Wednesday; 8:00 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday; 6:00 p.m. Friday).

Teams with defenses like 49ers' have great track record in Super Bowl

Teams with defenses like 49ers' have great track record in Super Bowl

The "Defense wins championships" adage didn't arise out of nowhere. It's a tried and true method tested over multiple decades of different eras of the NFL, and one that bodes well for the 49ers in Super Bowl LIV against the Kanas City Chiefs.

San Francisco finished the regular season with the No. 2-ranked defense in the league behind only the New England Patriots. The Niners have been even better on that side of the ball through two playoff contests, where they've held their opponents to nearly 30 fewer total yards per game. That defense will face arguably its toughest test all year long in Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, but based on history, there is reason to believe it will hold up.

As ESPN's Dan Orlovsky discussed on Tuesday morning's episode of "Get Up", teams with a top-two ranked defense have a very good track record in the Super Bowl. In fact, it has usually taken a Hall of Fame quarterback to overcome that defense.

Kansas City ranked fifth in the NFL during the regular season with an average of 28.2 points per game, but it's worth noting that Mahomes missed two games due to injury, and likely wasn't at full strength for several other contests. He appears to be fully healthy now, as the Chiefs have exploded for an average of 43.0 points per game in the playoffs. For comparison, the 49ers rank second among all postseason teams with an average of 32.0 points per game. While those previous top-two ranked defenses have given up an average of 18 points per game in the Super Bowl, it's unlikely San Francisco will be able to limit the Chiefs' high-flying offense to that degree, but even if they can get close, that might be enough to prove victorious.

[RELATED: 49ers, Chiefs show importance of bye weeks in NFL playoffs]

As great as the historical track record is for the 49ers, that Hall of Fame QB exception to the rule likely will keep the team from puffing its chest too much before the Big Game. Mahomes is only in his third professional season and second as a starting quarterback, but it sure looks like he'll eventually wind up in Canton.

Programming note: NBC Sports Bay Area feeds your hunger for 49ers Super Bowl coverage with special editions of “49ers Central” all week (5:30 p.m. Monday and Wednesday; 8:00 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday; 6:00 p.m. Friday).