SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Just like old times, the 49ers are back in the NFC title game.
San Francisco smashed the Minnesota Vikings 27-10 in an divisional-playoff win on Saturday to advance to the franchise’s 16th NFC Championship Game. That mark ties the Pittsburgh Steelers for the most conference title game appearances of any franchise.
Yet this particular achievement has a distinction of its own, a new chapter in the franchise’s storied history with new characters.
For one thing, until Saturday, the 49ers had never hosted a playoff game at Levi’s Stadium. Now, they will get to host another one – against the Seahawks-Packers winner – a week from Sunday.
For another one, this new band of 49ers – coached by Kyle Shanahan and energized by the likes of Richard Sherman, George Kittle, Nick Bosa and Raheem Mostert – has shown just what it means to progress from rags to the riches of the No. 1 seed.
A year ago, the 49ers were at home during the playoffs after a 4-12 finish. Now they are one victory away from Super Bowl LIV.
Three other things we learned from the NFC divisional playoff game at Levi’s Stadium:
1. The Vikings left their offense in the Bayou: After…