MIAMI, Fla. -- The 49ers ran over, around and through both the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers to book their trip to Super Bowl LIV against the Kansas City Chiefs.
The NFC champions used eight straight running plays to break the Vikings' will in the divisional round, and Raheem Mostert went hog wild in putting up a record-breaking rushing performance in the NFC Championship Game.
All the while, tight end George Kittle was having the time of his life helping open holes against some of the NFL's best edge rushers. Kittle blocked Vikings stars Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffen without much problem and then did the same to Za'Darius Smith of the Packers.
Chiefs defensive end Frank Clark will be next up on Kittle's list of blocking targets. While Clark has been impressed with Kittle's blocking chops, he doesn't think the 49ers have seen a talent like his.
"I feel like ... He's just worked hard," Clark said of Kittle on Monday at Super Bowl Opening Night. "He decided that he wanted to further his game and become a run blocker. That's hat off to him. But I feel like his strength is where he catches the ball. That's where he has his biggest impact. That's where he's going to make his plays at this Sunday. I take pride in taking on blockers who feel like they can block. I'm looking forward to the challenge."
"You mentioned Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffen," Clark continued. "Great, great football players. But I don't put myself in the category of no other guy. I don't compare myself to no other defensive end in the league. I feel like my skill set is unique, especially, you talk about Frank Clark when I'm healthy, I don't feel like there are a lot of defensive ends who can compete with me or play football at the level I play at. I play at an extremely high and aggressive level where I don't tolerate a lot of stuff that offensive players try to do. I'm sure he's going to block and do all those good things and make catches and stuff but at the end of the day, Frank Clark is going to be on the field and they have to see me."
Clark then shut down the thought that he is excited about the matchup with Kittle.
"Nah, not really," Clark said. "I'm looking forward to winning the football game and holding the trophy more than the matchup with George Kittle."
During the 49ers' two playoff wins, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo hasn't been asked to do much. The 49ers haven't needed him to. Running the ball with all the ferocity of a runaway avalanche has allowed coach Kyle Shanahan to take the keys from Garoppolo and stuff the ball down his opponents' throats.
Garoppolo likely will need to make plays for the 49ers to take home the Lombardi Trophy, however.
When asked about the 49ers' signal-caller, Clark took off his Louis Vuitton glasses and attempted to give a diplomatic answer. But he didn't sound impressed with what he's seen from Jimmy G.
"I feel like he's still one of the highest-paid players in this league," Clark said. "He gets paid to throw the ball, and they are seeing something they like right now, and that's why they are going with it, and I feel like Jimmy at some point is going to be called upon to make a play and he's going to be forced to throw the ball and I feel like ... that's kind of my answer to that. My senses are telling me that they are not going to run the ball all game. That he's going to be forced to pass the ball on third down and some second-and-longs. So ... that's kind of my idea behind it."
Clark did admit he thinks Garoppolo is capable of making plays and noted how dangerous rookie wide receiver Deebo Samuel and Kittle are in the passing game.
While the matchup with Kittle might not have piqued his interest, it's one Clark will have to win in order to end up holding the trophy Sunday night.
Easier said than done.
Programming note: NBC Sports Bay Area feeds your hunger for 49ers Super Bowl coverage with special editions of “49ers Central” all week (8 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, 9 p.m. Tuesday and 3 p.m. Saturday).
Also tune in at 1 p.m. on Super Bowl Sunday for a two-hour special of "49ers Pregame Live" with Laura Britt, Donte Whitner, Jeff Garcia, Ian Williams, Kelli Johnson, Greg Papa and Grant Liffmann. That same crew will have all the postgame reaction on "49ers Postgame Live," starting immediately after the game.