SANTA CLARA — In his fifth season in the NFL, Raheem Mostert took an unbelievable and unconventional path to a record-setting game in the NFL playoffs.
The 49ers running back has come a long way from bouncing around the league, spending time on seven different rosters for five different teams. In the 49ers' 37-20 win over the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday, Mostert came within 28 yards of equaling Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson’s postseason single-game rushing yard record of 248 yards.
Mostert carried the ball a whopping 29 times for 220 yards and four touchdowns, averaging 7.6 yards per carry. He also racked up the fastest clocked speed during the postseason, reaching a blistering 21.87 miles per hour on his 36-yard touchdown run.
While people outside of the 49ers facility might be surprised by Mostert’s success, his teammates and coaches are not. He has been a special teams stand out in the role of the gunner, so his speed comes as no surprise to them.
Mostert, himself, remains incredibly humble after turning into the go-to ball carrier in a stacked room of running backs. All of the adversity he faced on his journey fuels his motivation.
“You know, I did have a lot of doubters and naysayers, and now I get to actually tell them 'Look at where I'm at now,' ” Mostert said. “I never gave up on my dream. I never gave up on the opportunities when it presented itself. And I always worked hard no matter what.
“And it's crazy that I've been on seven different teams. I actually still have the cut dates. And I look at that before every game. I look at the cut dates when I got cut. The journey's been crazy. Not everybody can deal with that type of stress and pain and agony that I went through.”
With his 220-yard performance, Mostert now holds the highest single-game rushing total in franchise history, postseason or regular season. That mark was previously held by Frank Gore, who rushed for 212 yards against Seattle in November 2006.
It might be no surprise for Mostert in his ability to be effective in the 49ers run game but he was surprised at how close he got to Dickerson’s record. He actually didn’t find out until he spoke to the media after the game.
“Truthfully for you to even say that now is like -- I'm still shocked,” Mostert said. “I can't believe that. Eric Dickerson is the ultimate running back. He's a guy I look up to, even all the other running backs, even with Frank Gore, to even be mentioned with somebody like Eric Dickerson, that's unbelievable.”
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Mostert is also in disbelief that he will be playing in Super Bowl LIV in Miami, his home state.
“Still surreal. You know, I just -- I can't believe that I'm in this position right now and I did the things that I did tonight," Mostert said. "And I would like to thank God first and foremost for blessing not only myself but everybody in the organization to be in the position that we're in, to get the win and to move on to Miami, my home state. And I can't believe it. I'm still being able to play at my home state. This is so surreal right now.”
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)