49ers

Kyle Shanahan, 49ers used Saints' own play to get crucial first down

Kyle Shanahan, 49ers used Saints' own play to get crucial first down

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Saints coach Sean Payton should be blushing after what the 49ers pulled off Sunday in New Orleans.

Earlier in the week heading into San Francisco's big game in the Big Easy, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan made it known that he occasionally steals a play or two from Payton, who also is regarded as one of the best offensive minds in football. In the 49ers' thrilling 48-46 Week 14 win, Shanahan lived up to his word.

Remember that clever fullback option San Francisco utilized late in the second half on a crucial third down play? It definitely should have looked familiar to the opposing sideline.

Just take a look:

Poor Kyle Juszczyk. The Saints' fullback didn't get blown up in their version. That's the definition of taking a hit to make a play, though, as the 49ers not only got a first down as a result of that stolen play, but would go on to score a touchdown on that drive.

[RELATED: Where 49ers stand in playoff picture after win vs. Saints]

While San Francisco got the win, New Orleans managed to drop 46 points on the 49ers, who entered the game with the league's best defense. Don't be surprised if Shanahan steals another play or two that Payton used against him Sunday.

Bay Area hoping San Francisco-Kansas City championship ends well again

Bay Area hoping San Francisco-Kansas City championship ends well again

Madison Bumgarner isn't walking through that door, but the San Francisco 49ers hope to replicate the success the Giants had in their championship matchup against a team from Kansas City.

Six years after the Giants outlasted the Royals in an epic seven-game World Series, the 49ers and Chiefs will clash in Super Bowl LIV in Miami on Sunday, Feb. 2.

While 49ers fans are hoping for the same result, we're sure they are hoping the ending isn't as dramatic.

On Oct. 29, 2014, Bumgarner authored one of the most memorable playoff performances when he pitched five innings out of the bullpen in Game 7 just three days after tossing a four-hit shutout in Game 5.

Bumgarner preserved the one-run lead and World Series crown despite allowing the tying run to reach third base on a single and two-base error.

A little less drama would be perfectly fine for 49ers fans. But that outcome will be tough for Jimmy Garoppolo and Co. considering the firepower the Chiefs possess.

Patrick Mahomes won the MVP last season, Travis Kelce is a two-time All-Pro tight end and Tyreek Hill is one of the most dynamic offensive players in the NFL.

But if there is one defense that can slow down Mahomes and the Chiefs, it's the 49ers. Anchored by a tenacious front seven, the 49ers have one of the stingiest defenses in the league.

[RELATED: Montana's two teams facing each other]

Among the playoff teams that have played at least two games, the 49ers have allowed the fewest total yards (505) and points (30).

SF vs. KC: Part 2 is setting up to be a classic, one San Francisco is hoping goes their way again.

Emmanuel Sanders offers advice to 49ers playing in first Super Bowl

Emmanuel Sanders offers advice to 49ers playing in first Super Bowl

While Emmanuel Sanders is heading to his third career Super Bowl, many of his teammates on the 49ers will be playing in their first when they take on the Chiefs on Feb. 2 in Miami.

In an interview with ESPN's Josina Anderson moments after the 49ers beat the Packers in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday, the veteran wide receiver explained how his mindset changed from his first Super Bowl appearance to his second, and how that will impact how he approaches Super Bowl LIV.

"It's a blessing. It's a blessing," Sanders told Anderson in the 49ers' locker room. "Truthfully, I'm going to enjoy this one, but at the same time, only thing is, we gotta go out and win it. So Miami is gonna be fun, but we gotta go and handle business.

"I remember in 2010 when I went to the Super Bowl, I said I want to make it to the Super Bowl and then we went out there and lost. And then in '15, I said I want to win the Super Bowl and we ended up winning it. Right now, my mentality is we gotta go win the Super Bowl. It's good to make it, but we gotta go win it. That's the only thing on my mind."

Sanders' first Super Bowl appearance came in his rookie season, and he caught two passes for 17 yards in the Pittsburgh Steelers' loss to the Packers in Super Bowl XLV.

Five years later, Sanders caught six passes for 83 yards to help the Denver Broncos beat the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium.

Now, he will try to help the team that calls Levi's home win its sixth Super Bowl in franchise history.

[RELATED: 49ers installing Super Bowl gameplan this week]

So what advice would Sanders give to all the first-time Super Bowl participants on the 49ers?

"Lock in," Sanders told Anderson. "Obviously, this week is going to be big because when we get to Miami, it's going to be a frenzy, so this week, we've got to practice like it is Super Bowl week just so we can stay focused.

"Then next week still have that same mentality, but we know it's going to be crazy out there. All the times that I've been, that first week was the most important week, so that's my message to the guys, just like Kyle [Shanahan] said."

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).