Sunday’s 27-24 win over the Rams not only locked the 49ers into the playoffs, but also provided the team with a valuable lesson.
After having dug themselves into a 17-point deficit in the first half, it looked like the 49ers' season would end in Los Angeles. Low and behold, Kyle Shanahan and his team rallied back to a Week 18 victory, teaching everyone watching and even themselves what this roster is capable of.
Fred Warner and the 49ers' defense held the Rams to their lowest total yards of the season (265 -- 64 yards rushing, 201 yards passing). After being down 17-0, the offense went on to outscore the home team 27-7.
“People were talking about how slim of a chance we had,” Warner said. “At the end of the day, that is just what our season has been. I think that was the perfect type of win heading into the playoffs to let us know it doesn’t matter where we are at in a game, we are never out of it. We just have to make sure we are fighting to the end.”
Many counted the 49ers out of the postseason after losing five out of six games from Weeks 3-9. Instead, Warner et al. kept their heads down, winning the eight of their last eleven games -- twice after going into overtime.
The win over the Rams, however, was even more impactful than the team’s first overtime win in Cincinnati. In Week 14, the 49ers never trailed by more than three points and their playoff life was not in hanging in the balance -- at least not yet.
“That was one of the most special wins I’ve been a part of,” Warner said. “These past couple of days especially right after the game, it was hard to really wrap your mind around everything that went into it, how many people were involved and what it really took."
From offense to defense to special teams, the entire team did their part to ensure they would see the postseason. Next goal: stay on track in order to keep playing football deep into January.