San Francisco 49ers
1946: After five years of petitioning the NFL for a franchise, trucking executive Tony Morabito spent $25,000, and the San Francisco 49ers were named a charter member of the All-America Football Conference. The 49ers played their first game on August 31st against the Chicago Rockets, as roughly 40,000 fans watched the 49ers claim a 34-14 victory at Kezar Stadium. After playing mediocre football most of the season, the 49ers ended their first season with three straight wins to post a solid 9-5 record.
1947: The 49ers became the first professional football team to sign an Asian American when they signed running back Wally Yonamine, hoping that his breakaway speed would disrupt the opposition. The 49ers also opened the year wearing Red & Gold uniforms. As San Francisco rolled to an 8-4-2 record and a second-place finish in the Western Division behind the Cleveland Browns, the uniforms and Yonamine helped.
1948: The 49ers averaged five Touchdowns a game and scored 495 points on the season; the ground game totaled 3,663 yards and averaged 6.5 yards per carrying; quarterback Frankie Albert threw for 2,104 yards and 29 Touchdowns, 14 of which were caught by Allyn Beals who remains the AAFC’s all-time leading scorer with 285 points. The numbers led to an impressive 12-2 record, but no Championship as the 49ers could not catch the Cleveland Browns.
1949: Since the beginning of the AAFC, the 49ers had established themselves as one of the premier teams. The only thing missing from their impressive three-year run was a playoff appearance. That changed on December 4th at Kezar Stadium when the 49ers beat the New York Yankees 17-7, for a berth in the Championship Game with a 9-3 record. The Championship Game put the 49ers up against the Cleveland Browns, the AAFC’s only champion. Though they battled bravely, the 49ers lost, 21-7, to the Browns in their last ever game in the AAFC.
1950: The 49ers are one of three teams from the defunct AAFC to join the NFL. On September 17th San Francisco got its first taste of NFL football when the 49ers fell to the New York Yankees 21-17 at Kezar Stadium. The 49ers would find life rough in the NFL as they lost their first five games on the way to a 3-9 record.
1951: In their second NFL season, the 49ers showed an immense improvement and were in the race until the season’s final day and finished only half a game off the top with a 7-4-1 record. Led by linebacker Hardy Brown and his famed “shoulder tackle,” the club had one of the most formidable defensive units in the league. Meanwhile, quarterback Y.A. Tittle and receiver Billy Wilson were part of an impressive group of rookies on offense.
1952: The 49ers get off a terrific start winning their first five games as running back Hugh McElhanney, establishing himself as one of the league’s top runners. However, the team’s playoff hopes were dashed as the team lost five of their last seven games to finish with a 7-5 record.
1953: Led by a 1,000-yard rushing season from fullback Joe Perry, the 49ers post an impressive 9-3 record. However, they would come up one game short of the Division title, as the Detroit Lions sweep them.
1954: The 49ers get off to a tremendous 4-0-1 start, as Joe Perry becomes the first rusher in NFL history to have back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. Injuries to key players would lead to a second-half slump as the 49ers finished with a 7-4-1 record. Following the season, coach Buck Shaw is replaced by Red Strader.
1955: With Running Back Hugh McElhanney hobbled by a foot injury, the 49ers struggle all season and finish with a disappointing 4-8 record. Following the season coach, Red Strader is fired after just one season and replaced by former quarterback Frankie Albert.
1956: Under new coach Frankie Albert, the 49ers get off to a miserable start losing six of their first seven games. With the playoffs out of the question, the 49ers impressively closed the season, going unbeaten in their final five games to finish with a 5-6-1 record.
1957: Almost every game was a cliffhanger, as the alley-oop pass from quarterback Y.A. Tittle to rookie running back R.C. Owens became a household word. Emotions reached a peak when beloved owner Tony Morabito collapsed and died of a heart attack during a game at Chicago against the Bears on October 27th Trailing 17-7, the 49ers fought back for a great victory, 21-17. They dedicated the win to their fallen owner, as Wide Receiver Billy Wilson caught a pass from Tittle for the winning touchdown in the fourth quarter. The 49ers would finish the season with an 8-4 record, earning a tie for the Western Division with the Detroit Lions. On December 22nd, the 49ers face the Lions with a berth to the NFL Championship Game on the line at Kezar Stadium. The 49ers appeared to have the game in hand, leading 27-7 in the third quarter. However, the Lions would score 24 unanswered points to break the hearts of San Francisco 31-27 to advance to the Championship.
1958: An up-and-down season ends on a high note with victories over the Green Bay Packers and Baltimore Colts. The 6-6 record was made worse by the 33-3 and 56-7 beatings at the Los Angeles Rams’ hands. Following the season, coach Frankie Albert resigns; Red Hickey would replace him.
1959: The 49ers were in contention all season, as quarterback John Brodie came into his own leading a comeback win over the Browns in Cleveland on November 29th. The 49ers would go on to finish the season in third place with a solid 7-5 record.
1960: After playing mediocre football, the 49ers salvage their season and finish with a 7-5 record by winning four of their last five games after coach Red Hickey installed the Shot Gun Offense.
1961: The success of coach Red Hickey’s shotgun offense amazed the football world, as quarterback Billy Kilmer, a passing-running rookie from UCLA, was made to order for the new offense. However, Kilmer would start to struggle, and John Brodie took over again in the “T-Formation’ and had a terrific season as the 49ers finished in second place with a 7-6-1 record.
1962: The 49ers experience frustration from the start of the season and finish with a disappointing 6-8 record. What was most confounding is that the won only one of their seven games at Kezar Stadium, while winning five of seven games on the road.
1963: A 49ers team beset with injuries gets off to a miserable start losing their first three games when coach Red Hickey resigns. Jack Christiansen would replace him, but the 49ers would not only win two games on the season and finish in last place with a terrible 2-12 record.
1964: Injuries hamper the 49ers again as they finish with a miserable 4-0 record, despite having one of the league’s stringiest defenses, which only yielded 230 points on the season. Outstanding rookie performances by receiver Dave Parks, quarterback George Mira, and Linebacker Dave Wilcox also took some of the poor record stings.
1965: John Brodie bounces back from a few injury-plagued seasons to be one of the NFL’s most productive passers with 3,112 yards and 30 touchdowns, as the 49ers rebound after two miserable last-place seasons to finish in fourth place with a 7-6-1 record.
1966: The 49ers play mediocre football all season, amassing a 6-6-2 record. One of their wins comes against the Green Bay Packers, as the 49ers are just one of two teams to beat the eventual Super Bowl Champions.
1967: The 49ers break out of the gate in style, winning five of their first six games, including an October 8th 27-24 upset win over the Rams in Los Angeles. Quarterback John Brodie would go into a slump as the 49ers lost six straight games, ending their playoff hopes. Although they won their final two games of the season to finish with a 7-7 record, the 49ers still fired Coach Jack Christensen at the end of the season, replacing him with Dick Nolan.
1968: John Brodie has a solid season passing for 3,020 yards as the 49ers have one of the top offenses in the NFL. However, the defense struggled with inconsistency as the 49ers dropped their last two games to finish with a 7-6-1 record.
1969: With injuries ravaging the defense, the 49ers get off to a miserable start losing their first five games. The 49ers would finally get their first win of the season on October 26th when they stunned the Colts in Baltimore. The 49ers would finish with a 4-8-2 record, as they finished strongly, winning two of their last three games.
1970: Led by Quarterback John Brodie, who wins the NFL MVP passing for 2,941 yards and 24 touchdowns, the 49ers capture their first Divisional Title with a 10-3-1 record. Also receiving honors was Cornerback Bruce Taylor who won Defensive Rookie of the Year honors. In the Divisional Playoffs at Minnesota, the 49ers held off the Vikings 17-14 after quarterback John Brodie put the game away with a one-yard touchdown plunge with less than two minutes left. Their season ended a week later with a disappointing 17-10 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in the final game at Kezar Stadium.
1971: After winning two of their first three games on the road, the 49ers lose their first game at Candlestick Park, against the Los Angeles Rams 20-13. The 49ers would rebound and would go on to win the NFC West for the second year in a row by posting a 9-5 record. In the Divisional Playoffs, the 49ers would fall behind the Washington Redskins early at Candlestick trailing at halftime 10-3. Quarterback John Brodie would have a spectacular second-half leading the 49ers to a thrilling 24-17 victory. For the second year in a row, the 49ers season ends in disappointment with a 14-3 loss in the NFC Championship Game to the Cowboys in Dallas.
1972: Early season inconsistency is compounded by an injury to quarterback John Brodie in the fifth game of the season, as the 49ers prospects for a third straight NFC Western title fall into doubt. Quarterback Steve Spurrier stepped in for Brodie and turned things around with a brilliant, poised performance to get the 49ers back in the playoff picture by going 5-2-1 over eight games. In the last game of the season, Brodie returned in the fourth quarter and threw two touchdown passes to lead the 49ers to a 20-17 victory over the Minnesota Vikings, as the 49ers won the third straight Division Title with an 8-6-1 record. In the Divisional Playoffs at Candlestick, the 49ers looked poised to return to the NFC Championship leading the Dallas Cowboys 28-13 entering the 4th quarter. However, the Cowboys would score 17 points to break the hearts of San Francisco again.
1973: In what was a disappointing season form the start, the 49ers finish with a 5-9 record after tackling the NFL’s most challenging schedule, with a rash of critical injuries. The season would also mark the end of quarterback John Brodie’s career, who retired after a disappointing turnover plagued season.
1974: The 49ers used five different quarterbacks after an injury to starter Steve Spurrier, a week before the season opened, that sidelined him for most of the year. After winning the first two games, the team lost a team-record seven straight games. They closed the season on an up note, winning four of their last five games to finish the season with a 6-8 record.
1975: A strong defensive performance throughout the season couldn’t offset erratic offense, troubled by an unsettled quarterback situation and a rebuilding offensive line, as the 49ers finished with a disappointing 5-9 record. Following the season, coach Dick Nolan is fired and replaced by Monte Clark.
1976: With new quarterback Jim Plunkett at the controls, the 49ers get off to their best start ever, winning six of their first seven games. A midseason four-game losing streak knocked the club out of playoff contention. The 49ers would win two of their last three games to finish with a solid 8-6 record. Coach Monte Clark is still fired and replaced by Ken Meyer.
1977: Before the start of the season, the 49ers are sold to Ohio businessman Edward J. DeBartolo Jr. The DeBartolo era got off to a shaky start as the 49ers lost their first five games. However, the team would rebound to win five of their next six games, before their early-season troubles arose again, the team lost their last three games to finish with a 5-9 record. Following the season, coach Ken Meyer is fired and replaced by Pete McCulley.
1978: Before starting the season, the 49ers made a blockbuster deal acquiring running back O.J. Simpson from the Buffalo Bills for draft picks. O.J. was held to just 593 yards on the season as he was sidelined most of the season with a shoulder injury. In addition, quarterback, Steve DeBerg struggled, throwing almost three interceptions for every touchdown, as the 49ers got off to a miserable 1-8 start. The 49ers would fire coach Pete McCulley, but under Fred O’Connor, the team could not do any better, finishing with a 2-14 record.
1979: Under new coach Bill Walsh the 49ers would struggle to another terrible 2-14 record. All over, there were signs of improvement as the offense went from one of the worst in the NFL to one of the best despite another disappointing season form O.J. Simpson, a season that would be his last. While O.J. was ending his career, a rookie quarterback from Notre Dame was just getting started debuting with 96 yards at one touchdown pass in 23 attempts, named Joe Montana.
1980: The 49ers showed gradual improvement in their rebuilding program under coach Bill Walsh. A three-game winning streak to open the season, combined with a three-game victory string from Week 12 through Week 14, enabled the 49ers to post a 6-10 season, tripling the number of victories from each of the previous two seasons. Their Week 14 win made NFL history, as Joe Montana, who earned the starting job at the end of the season, led the 49ers to a fantastic 38-35 overtime win over the New Orleans Saints at Candlestick, after the 49ers trailed at halftime 35-7. The comeback was the biggest in NFL history at the time.
1981: The season did not start very well, as the 49ers lost two of their first three games, including a season-opening loss in Detroit to the Lions. The 49ers would lose just one more game the rest of the season and captured the NFC West title with a 13-3 record. Getting the credit for the turnaround was coach Bill Walsh, who was voted the Coach of the Year. Walsh had lots of help as Quarterback Joe Montana passed for 3,565 yards in his first full season as a starter. Also, guiding the turnaround was a vastly improved defense led by rookies in the secondary Cornerback Eric Wright, and Safeties Carlton Williamson and safety Ronnie Lott. In the postseason for the first time in nine years, the 49ers hosted the New York Giants in the Divisional Playoffs. After playing to a 7-7 stalemate in the first quarter, the 49ers pulled ahead in the second quarter by scoring 17 points. After the Giants got to within a touchdown in the fourth quarter, the 49ers put the game away with two quick touchdowns capped by a 20-yard interception return from safety Ronnie Lott, as the 49ers won the game 38-24. In the NFC Championship at Candlestick, the 49ers faced their old nemeses, the Dallas Cowboys. The game would go back and forth all afternoon, as the 49ers looked to be going down again, trailing 27-21 late in the fourth quarter facing the task of driving 89 yards for a Touchdown. The world was introduced to the Montana magic as the 49ers young quarterback drove the 49ers down the field. With less than a minute left, the 49ers faced third down, and goal from the six-yard line, as Joe Montana was flushed from the pocket. Trying to avoid a backbreaking sack, Montana attempted to throw the ball out the back of the end zone. However, Wide Receiver Dwight Clark leaped up and brought the ball down with perhaps the most famous catch in NFL history to give the 49ers a 28-27 lead. The 49ers would go on to hold on for the win, as a dynasty was born.
Super Bowl XVI: In a year of surprises, the 49ers faced the Cincinnati Bengals, who also rose from last place in 1980 in the Super Bowl played in all places Pontiac, a suburb of Detroit. The 49ers would get off to a quick start leading the game 20-0 at halftime. In the fourth quarter, the Bengals began to make a comeback getting to within six points. The 49ers would hold on to win 26-21 as Kicker Ray Wersching added two Field Goals to set a Super Bowl record with four, as Joe Montana was named the game’s MVP. The game’s highlight was a great defensive stand in which the 49ers turned the Bengals away four times from the goal line to hold on to their lead.
1982: The 49ers stumble out of the gate, losing their first two games before a two-month player’s strike cut the season down from 16 games to nine. The 49ers would still struggle when play resumed missing the playoffs with a 3-6 record, as they lost all five games played at Candlestick Park. Despite the disappointing season, Joe Montana had another stellar year passing for 2,613 yards in just nine games, highlighted by five straight games in which he broke the 300-yard barrier.
1983: The 49ers win their final three games of the season to finish with a 10-6 record to win the NFC Western Division for the second time in three years. Leading the rebound was Joe Montana, who had another stellar season passing for 3,910 yards and connecting on 26 touchdowns. In the playoffs, the 49ers host the Detroit Lions in the Divisional Playoffs. The 49er would jump out in front early and led 17-9 entering the fourth quarter. The Lions would roar back, scoring two touchdowns to take a 23-17 lead. Montana would lead a comeback hitting receiver Freddie Solomon on a game-winning 14-yard touchdown pass with two minutes left. In the NFC Championship Game in Washington, the 49ers found themselves at the wrong end of a 21-0 deficit entering the fourth quarter. The 49ers would strike back, scoring on three Joe Montana touchdown passes. However, the Redskins would win the game 24-21 on a Mark Mosley field goal with 40 seconds left.
1984: The 49ers come flying out of the gates, winning their first six games. Their winning streak would end with a 20-17 loss in the final seconds of an October 14th game to the Pittsburgh Steelers at Candlestick Park. That loss would end up being the only loss on the season as the 49ers won the NFC West with a spectacular 15-1 record. The first team to win 15 games in a 16-game season. In the Divisional Playoffs, the 49ers jumped out to a quick 14-0 lead over the New York Giants. The Giants would get back into the game when Joe Montana had an interception ran back for a touchdown. The 49ers would bounce back quickly, scoring on a Montana to Freddie Solomon 29-yard Touchdown pass to take a 21-10 halftime lead. The 49ers defense took over as neither team scored in the second half. In the NFC Championship Game, the 49ers defense was the key as they recorded nine sacks in an impressive 23-0 shutout win over the Chicago Bears.
Super Bowl XIX: The 49ers were back in the Super Bowl as they faced the Miami Dolphins in a battle of superstar quarterbacks. For this battle, the 49ers had the massive advantage of playing a virtual home game in nearby Palo Alto. The 49ers fell behind early 10-7 but would rally back to take a 28-16 halftime lead behind the running of Roger Craig and the passing of Joe Montana. In the second half, the 49ers defense stiffened up, not allowing another point while the 49ers scored ten points in the third quarter to claim their second Lombardi Trophy with a 38-16 victory. Leading the charge to victory was fullback Roger Craig, who scored a rushing touchdown, caught two other touchdown passes, and quarterback Joe Montana, named MVP with 331 yards passing and four touchdowns.
1985: Roger Craig made history by becoming the first player ever to have 1,000 yards rushing and 1,000 receiving yards in the same season. Also making in impact was rookie receiver Jerry Rice, who collects 927 receiving yards in his first season while catching three touchdowns. The 49ers would lose their grip on the division title and settle for the Wild Card with a 10-6 record. In the Wild Card game in New York against the Giants, the 49ers rolled up more offensive yards, but could not cash it in, as their season ended with a disappointing 17-3 loss.
1986: The 49ers season opened up with a 31-7 win over the Buccaneers in Tampa Bay, but the victory was costly as Joe Montana injured his back, which put him on the shelf for two months. While Montana was out, the 49ers threaded water under back up Jeff Kemp, going 4-3-1. When Montana returned, the 49ers caught fire, winning five of their last seven games, including a 24-14 win over the Los Angeles Rams at Candlestick Park, which one them the NFC West title with a 10-5-1 record. Their season came to an abrupt end in the Divisional Playoff in New York. The game was never close as the Giants dominated the game, winning 49-3, as Joe Montana is knocked out in the second quarter.
1987: After losing their season opener in Pittsburgh against the Steelers, the 49ers were staring at a 0-2 start in the face trailing the Bengals 26-20 in Cincinnati. Joe Montana would drive the team down the field and one the game with a last-second touchdown pass. The win was crucial in that the players went on strike, and the NFL used replacement players for the next three games. The 49ers scabs would handle themselves very well, winning all three games before the regulars returned. The 49ers would claim the NFC West with a 13-2 record, as Jerry Rice set a record with 22 touchdown receptions, earning him Offensive Player of the year honors. In the Divisional Playoffs at Candlestick, the 49ers found themselves in a 20-3 hole against the Minnesota Vikings as quarterback Joe Montana struggled. Montana would be benched in the second half as Steve Young came off the bench and got the team back in the game, but it was too late at the season ended with a 36-24 loss.
1988: The 49ers would get off to a solid 5-2 start, but things looked bleak after losing four of their next five games to fall two games out of first with a 6-5 record. Making matters worse was that relationships were being strained between coach Bill Walsh and Joe Montana over the playoff benching in the previous season and management who felt Walsh was overstepping his bounds. As rumors flew around that Walsh was set to be fired, the 49ers won four straight games and won the NFC West with a 10-6 record. In the Divisional Playoffs at Candlestick, the 49ers got revenge by beating the Minnesota Vikings in convincing fashion 34-9. Leading the way to victory was Jerry Rice, who caught three touchdown passes, and Roger Craig, who sealed the game with a record 80-yard touchdown run. In the NFC Championship Game, the 49ers faced the Bears and wind chills 26 degrees below zero at Soldier Field in Chicago. The cold seemed to affect the Bears more as the 49ers defense shut down the Bears, as the team advanced to their third Super Bowl with a convincing 28-3 win.
Super Bowl XXIII: The 49ers were back in the Super Bowl facing the Cincinnati Bengals in Miami. The game was stalemate late into the third quarter as both teams could only manage six points. However, the Bengals would take a 13-6 lead into the fourth quarter after Stanford Jennings returned a kick for a Touchdown. The 49ers would bounce back quickly, tying the game on a Joe Montana to Jerry Rice touchdown pass in the fourth quarter. The Bengals took a 16-13 lead with a little over three minutes left. Making matters worse was that a penalty forced the 49ers to start their last drive on their own eight-yard line. However, Joe was cool under pressure, again methodically driving the 49ers up the field and deep into Bengals territory. With 39 seconds left, Montana coolly hit John Taylor in the middle of the end zone to give the 49ers a dramatic 20-16 comeback victory. Jerry Rice would go on to earn Super Bowl MVP. The season would be the last for coach Bill Walsh who retired after winning his third Lombardi Trophy of the decade.
1989: Under new coach George Seifert the 49ers looked even more robust, winning the NFC West easily with a 14-2 record while winning all eight games on the road. The season was also the best of Joe Montana’s career as he won NFL MVP and Offensive Player of the year honors by passing for 3,521 yards and throwing 28 touchdown passes to just eight interceptions. The 49ers continued to roll in the Divisional Playoff, easily beating the Minnesota Vikings 41-13 at Candlestick Park. In the NFC Championship Game against the Los Angeles Rams, the 49ers fell behind 3-0 after one quarter before scoring three touchdowns in the second quarter to control the game. The 49ers would not look back, winning the game easily 30-3 to advance to their fourth Super Bowl.
Super Bowl XXIV: In New Orleans, the 49ers faced the Denver Broncos in a Super Bowl that was more of a coronation than a contest. The 49ers would grab control of the early, and would not be stopped scoring two touchdowns in each quarter, in a 55-10 blowout win that established the 49ers as one of the greatest teams in NFL history. The game set a record for both most points scored and the largest margin of victory as Joe Montana won a record third Super Bowl MVP while leading the 49ers to a record-tying fourth Super Bowl victory.
1990: With one goal in mind, the 49ers took control of the NFC West early by winning their first ten games. The 49ers undefeated hopes ended with a 28-17 loss to the Los Angeles Rams on November 25th at Candlestick Park. The loss would be a minor bump in the road as the 49ers finished with a 14-2 record for the second season in a row, as Joe Montana captured his second straight MVP. The 49ers quest for a threepeat began in earnest with a 28-10 win over the Washington Redskins in the Divisional Playoffs at Candlestick. The big game would be the NFC Championship as the 49ers faced the New York Giants. The game was a defensive, just like their regular-season matchup, but the Giants managed to stay in the game by hitting field goals. The game turned in the fourth quarter with the 49ers leading 13-9 when Joe Montana was injured on a vicious hit from Leonard Marshall that also caused a fumble. The Giants would take advantage of adding another field goal to get within one point. The 49ers looked to be in good shape running out the clock with a little over two minutes left, but suddenly Roger Craig had the ball stripped, and the Giants had new life. The Giants would get the ball down the field and, with time expiring, nailed their fifth Field Goal of the day to stun the 49ers 15-13, ending their dreams of a threepeat.
1991: With Joe Montana lost for the season, the quarterback job fell to Steve Young, who played well, capturing the NFL passing title. The 49ers would lose six of their first ten games by a total of 26 points. No loss was as agonizing as a stunning last-minute 17-14 loss to the Falcons in Atlanta. The game also saw Steve Young go down with a knee injury. His back up Steve Bono played well as the 49ers won five straight games. Young would come back for the season finale as the 49ers won their sixth straight game to close the season with a 10-6 record. It was not good enough for the playoffs as the 49ers missed the playoffs for the first time in eight years.
1992: With Joe Montana still on the shelf, quarterback Steve Young firmly established himself as the new starter by winning the NFL MVP by passing for 3,465 yards and running for another 537 yards, as the 49ers reclaimed supremacy in the NFC with a 14-2 record. The final game of the season gave rise to quarterback controversy as Joe Montana saw his first action in nearly two years. Once the playoffs started, Montana returned to the bench as the 49ers defeated the Washington Redskins 20-13 in the divisional playoffs at Candlestick Park. The 49ers season would end in disappointment with a 30-20 loss to the Dallas Cowboys at Candlestick with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line. Following the season, the 49ers traded Joe Montana to the Kansas City Chiefs, allowing Steve Young to become the starter without the fear of looking over his shoulder.
1993: With Steve Young passing for 4,023 yards, the 49ers would break the ten-win barrier for the 11th season in a row by finishing with a 10-6 record that also earned them the NFC Western Division Championship. In the Divisional Playoffs, the 49ers slaughtered the New York Giants 44-3, exacting revenge for three frustrating playoff losses, as Ricky Watters ran all over the Giants, scoring four touchdowns. The 49ers season would finish with disappointment with a 38-21 loss to the Cowboys in the NFC Championship Game played in Dallas.
1994: Hoping to get over the top, the 49ers rebuilt their defense signing such stars as Ken Norton Jr. and Deion Sanders. Injuries in the early going had them playing mediocre football early in the season. In a Week 5 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, frustrations boiled over as Steve Young had a screaming match after being benched in a 40-8 loss at Candlestick Park that dropped the 49ers to 3-2. A week later, in Detroit, the 49ers found themselves in a hole again, trailing the Lions 14-0. The 49ers would rally and win the game 27-21, sparking a ten-game winning streak that captured the NFC West title with a 13-3 record. Steve Young would go on to win the NFL MVP as the 49ers captured home-field advantage. Also earning honors was Deion Sanders, who was named Defensive Player of the Year. In the Playoffs, the 49ers continued to roll, beating the Chicago Bears 44-15 in the Divisional Playoffs to set up a rematch with Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Championship Game. After two frustrating season-ending losses to the Cowboys, the 49ers were determined to exact revenge. Within the first five minutes of the game, the 49ers had a stranglehold, scoring 21 points. The Cowboys would come back to make a game of it, but the 49ers would hold them off and advance to their fifth Super Bowl with a solid 38-28 win.
Super Bowl XXIX: The 49ers had reached Miami, where they were overwhelming favorites facing the San Diego Chargers with the Super Bowl on the line. The game was over quickly as the 49ers scored on their first possessions when Steve Young connected with Jerry Rice on a 44-yard TD pass. The 49ers would go on to control the game and the temps and went into halftime leading 28-10. In the third quarter the 49ers added two touchdown passes before the Chargers scored on a kickoff return. As the fourth quarter began, Steve Young salted the game away by throwing his sixth touchdown pass to earn MVP honors, as the 49ers went on to win their record 5th Super Bowl with a 49-26 victory.
1995: The 49ers were dealt a blow when the season started, as they could not re-sign cornerback Deion Sanders. Things would only get worse as injuries snuck up and bit them as they got off to a 5-4 start. Among the fallen was Fullback William Floyd, whose career would never be the same after a server knee injury. Going down was Steve Young, but Elvis Grbac performed well in his absence, helping the 49ers win three key games before Young returned. The 49ers would go on to capture the NFC West again, with an 11-5 record. The 49ers season would end quickly with a stunning 27-17 home loss to the Green Bay Packers in the Divisional Playoffs at the newly renamed 3-Com Park.
1996: Once again, the 49ers were one of the top teams in the NFL, compiling a 12-4 record to break the ten win mark for the 14th season in a row, setting a new NFL record. Two losses to the Carolina Panthers cost them the Division Title, as the 49ers had to settle for the Wild Card. In the Wild Card Game at 3-Com Park, the 49ers hosted the Philadelphia Eagles on a windy and rainy day by the bay. With the field soaked, the offense was hard to come by as the 49ers shut down the Eagles and advanced to Divisional Round with a 14-0 win. A week later, rain again played a factor as the 49ers turned the ball over five times in a disappointing 35-14 loss to the Packers in Green Bay. Following the season, coach George Seifert would resign; Steve Mariucci would eventually replace him.
1997: Things looked bleak after the first game of the season when Jerry Rice injured his knee in a 13-6 loss to the Buccaneers in Tampa Bay. Also experienced pain was Steve Young, who suffered a concussion in the same game. However, Young would shake it off and lead the 49ers to 11-straight wins. Rice also would return earlier than expected, scoring a touchdown in the next to last game of the season. On the play, he reinjures his knee, ending his season. Despite the injuries, the 49ers would still capture the NFC West with a 13-3 record. In the Divisional Playoffs at 3-Com, the 49ers held off a late challenge from the Minnesota Vikings to advance to the Championship Game with a 38-22 victory. A week later, the 49ers season ended with a disappointing 23-10 loss to the Green Bay Packers, on a rain-soaked 3-Com Park.
1998: Steve Young was at it again, passing for 4,170 yards, as the 49ers had one of the most productive offenses in the NFL. While Young led the team with his arm Jerry Rice bounced back for 1,157 yards in receptions while running back Garrison Hearst had a career year with 1,570 yards on the ground. The defense showed some weakness allowing 326 points as the 49ers lost the division crown, despite another solid 12-4 record. In the Wild Card Game at 3-Com Park, the 49ers hosted the Green Bay Packers in a thrilling game that went back and forth. Things looked bleak when the 49ers trailed 27-23 in the waning seconds. In one last moment of glory, Steve Young hit Terrell Owens on a dramatic game 25-yard Touchdown pass that gave the Niners a 30-27 win with three seconds left. In the Divisional Playoffs in Atlanta, the 49ers found themselves behind the eight-ball early as running back Garrison Hearst suffered a broken leg. The 49ers would make a late charge, but it was too little too late as the Falcons won the game 20-18.
1999: The 49ers started the season a man down when Garrison Hearst was placed on injured reserve, missing the entire season while trying to recover his playoff knee injury. Things only got worse during a 24-10 Monday night win over the Cardinals in Arizona when Steve Young suffered a concussion. The concussion would lead to the end of his career, as back up Jeff Garcia won his first start to improve the 49ers record to 3-1. A depleted defense which allowed 453 would become exposed as the 49ers lost eight-straight games and 11 of their last 12 games to finish with a 4-12 record, bringing their string of 16 consecutive ten-win seasons to an end.
2000: In his first full season as a starter, Jeff Garcia established himself as a star by passing for 4,278 yards while throwing 31 touchdown passes. The 49ers young defense was taken advantage of early and often as the 49ers lost eight of their first ten games. The 49ers would win three games in a row, and four of out five games to close the season on a strong note despite a 6-10 record. The season also marked the end of an era as Jerry Rice, the greatest receiver of all-time, was let go following the season as a Salary Cap casualty. In his final season with the 49ers, Rice scored seven touchdowns while collecting 805 receiving yards.
2001: While the 49ers defense continued to come of age, the 49ers offense was bolstered by the return of Garrison Hearst, who had missed two straight seasons. Hearst had a stellar year rushing for 1,206 yards as the 49ers had a complete, versatile offense. Also aiding the 49ers was quarterback Jeff Garcia who passed for 3,538 yards, as the 49ers emerged as a playoff contender posting an impressive 12-4 record. In the Divisional Playoffs, the 49ers faced the Packers in Green Bay in a game that went back and forth. The 49ers would tie the game 15-15 early in the fourth quarter. However, it was not meant to be as the Packers scored ten unanswered points to pull out a 25-15 victory.
2002: The 49ers quickly grabbed the NFC West’s control by winning seven of their first nine games as the rest of the division struggled. Along the way, Terrell Owens created a league-wide stir when he pulled a marker out of his sock and signed the football for a friend in the stands after catching a Touchdown Pass during a Monday night win over the Seattle Seahawks on the road. However, down the stretch, the 49ers would only play mediocre football as talk of a falling out with Coach Steve Mariucci, and the front office hung over the team much of the final month, as the 49ers won the NFC West with a record of 10-6. In the Wild Card Game, it looked as if the late-season struggles would continue as they fell behind 38-14 midway through the third quarter at 3-Com Park against the New York Giants. Quarterback Jeff Garcia would spark a stirring comeback as the 49ers scored 25 unanswered points to take a 39-38 lead. They would have to survive a failed Giants field goal attempt to hold on and advance to the next round. In the Divisional Playoffs, the 49ers would fall behind early again, trailing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the road 28-6 at halftime. This time there would be no comeback as the 49ers were mauled by the eventual Super Bowl Champions 31-6. Following the playoffs, the 49ers would fire coach Steve Mariucci despite making it to the second round of the playoffs.
2003: The 49ers kicked off the season in high fashion with an impressive 49-7 win over the Chicago Bears. They would lose their next three games as the upcoming option year of Terrell Owens’ contract weighed on the team early with him continually squabbling with quarterback Jeff Garcia and on the sidelines with assistant coaches. After splitting the next four games, the 49ers season looked heading for disaster as Garcia was sidelined with a back injury. Backup Tim Rattay would lead two straight wins to get the 49ers back to .500 at 5-5. After a shaky performance in a road loss to the Green Bay Packers, the 49ers turned back to Jeff Garcia, who this time would be missing his favorite target as Terrell Owens suffered a season-ending broken collar bone in practice. Without Owens, the 49ers would struggle down the stretch as they finished in third place with a 7-9 record. Following the season, the 49ers would purge their roster, trading Terrell Owens whose chance at free agency was blown by a paperwork error, but rather than keep their talented by the trouble-making star, the 49ers chose to rebuild and, in addition, let go several other key players including quarterback Jeff Garcia, running back Garrison Hearst, and receiver Tai Streets.
2004: On the tenth anniversary of their fifth Super Bowl Championship, the 49ers were a fry cry from their glory days, as an off-season purge of the roster left behind a team that resembled an expansion team as 49ers fans used to contending teams, turned against owner John York, who fans blamed for letting the once golden franchise become tarnished. From the start of the season, it was apparent how bad the 49ers were as they dropped their first three games. On the verge of going 0-4, the 49ers staged a fourth-quarter rally to beat the Arizona Cardinals in overtime 31-28. Still, it would be one tiny ray of hope in an otherwise gloomy season as the 49ers posted a franchise-worst 2-14 record, beating the Cardinals in overtime again in a Week 14 rematch. Following the season, the 49ers began the long road back as they fired Coach Dennis Erickson and replaced him with Mike Nolan, the son of Dick Nolan, who led the 49ers from 1968-1975, taking them as far as the NFC Championship Game twice.
2005: Finishing with the worst record in the NFL allowed the 49ers to draft first, hoping to build a foundation for the future they would select QB Alex Smith out of Utah. With Smith leading the way, the 49ers now have one of the youngest teams in the NFL. They would have to grow up fast as lineman Thomas Herrion, a college teammate of Smith at Utah who was trying for a spot on the team after playing in NFL Europe, died suddenly of a heart attack following a preseason game against the Denver Broncos. When the regular season started, the 49ers, led by Coach Mike Nolan looked to erase the bad memories of 2004 right away as they stunned the St. Louis Rams in the opener 28-25 as Brandon Lloyd and Arnaz Battle caught 2nd Quarter Touchdown passes from Tim Rattay. Week 2 would bring a cold slap of reality as the 49ers were hammered on the road by the Philadelphia Eagles 42-3, with ex-49er WR Terrell Owens racking up 143 yards with two touchdowns. The loss would be the start of a five-game losing streak as Tim Rattay is benched and eventually traded following a 31-14 loss to the Arizona Cardinals in Mexico City. Rattay’s departure cleared the way for top pick Alex Smith, who was not ready, as the 49ers would be outscored in his first two starts 80-20. By the time the losing streak would end in Week 7, Smith would be back on the sideline with an injury as Ken Dorsey started and past for a mere 40 yards as the 49ers defense took advantage of several mistakes by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a 15-10 win. Another seven straight losses followed that win as the 49ers struggled each week to keep the game close. Eventually, Smith would return and would look a little better, finally getting his first touchdown pass after 11 interceptions as the 49ers ended the season with two straight wins to finish at 4-12.
2006: In the 49ers season opener, the Arizona Cardinals opened a new ultra-modern stadium by jumping out to a 21-7 lead. Though the 49ers would not win, they showed the ability to fight back, eventually losing 34-27. In their home opener, the 49ers would be more successful beating the St. Louis Rams 20-17, sparked by a 72-yard touchdown pass from Alex Smith to Antonio Bryant. The young 49ers still had a long road to climb back to respectability as they lost four of their next five games embarrassingly. Like their season opener, the 49ers showed the ability to fight back on the heels of allowing 89 points over two games. The 49ers stunned the Minnesota Vikings 9-3 in an ugly battle of field goals, where neither offense could get anything going. A week later, the 49ers earned their first road win, beating the Detroit Lions 19-13 powered by the running of Frank Gore, who rushed for 159 yards, highlighted by a 61-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. The 49ers would stay hot as they returned home, winning their third straight against the first-place Seattle Seahawks 20-13, as Frank Gore rushed for 212 yards, setting a new 49ers single-game record. After battling their way back to 5-5, the 49ers once again dropped three in a row before facing the Seahawks again on the road on a cold rainy night in Seattle. Trailing most of the game 7-3, the 49ers erupted for three Alex Smith touchdowns in the fourth quarter to complete a stunning two-game sweep of the Seahawks 24-14, keeping their faint playoff hopes alive. A week later, the 49ers would be eliminated as they were beaten by the Cardinals for the second time, 26-20. With nothing else to play for in their final game of the season, the 49ers seemed to relish their role of spoiler, fighting back from an early 13-0 deficit to stun the Denver Broncos in overtime 26-23 on a 36-yard Field Goal by Joe Nedney that sent the Broncos home for the winter as well. While the 49ers still finished below .500, their 7-9 third-place finish was considered something to build upon.
2007: Coming off their strong finish, the 49ers entered the season with playoff aspirations, as they dramatically beat the Arizona Cardinals 20-17 on Monday night in Week 1 as Arnaz Battle scored on an end-around to cap an 86-yard touchdown drive. A week later, the 49ers turned a muffed punt into victory as Dante Hall dropped a punt in the fourth quarter, which helped set Joe Nedney up for a 40-yard field goal to give the 49ers a 17-16 win over the St. Louis Rams on the road. Despite being 2-0, the 49ers offense did not play well, and the bloom would quickly fall off the rose as they went into a quick tailspin, injuring his shoulder, forcing the 49ers to turn to Trent Dilfer quarterback. Dilfer would struggle; Smith would struggle when he returned as the 49ers’ offense stalled as they dropped eight in a row. The 49ers’ offensive struggles would come to an end in the desert as they beat the Cardinals for the second time in overtime 37-31, recovering a Kurt Warner fumble in the end zone after Trent Dilfer had a strong game with 256 yards passing and two touchdown passes. Frank Gore had two rushing touchdowns with 116 yards. However, the 49ers season was lost, as they continued to struggle, losing their next two games. With a third-string quarterback, Shaun Hill, the 49ers would win their last two home games. Still, in the end, the 49ers 5-11 season had the 49ers further away from the playoffs then they were a year earlier, as a draft-day trade had seen the 49ers send their 2008 number one pick to the New England Patriots for in 2007 to draft Joe Staley with the 28th overall pick. Meanwhile, the 49ers other 2007 first-round pick Patrick Willis excelled on defense, leading the team with 174 tackles as he was named Defensive Rookie of the Year.
2008: With former number one draft pick Alex Smith being labeled a bust, J.T. O’Sullivan started the season as the 49ers quarterback. After losing the season opener to the Arizona Cardinals, the 49ers showed some resilience as O’Sullivan overcame seven sacks as the 49ers stunned the Seattle Seahawks on the road in overtime 33-30. A week later, the 49ers would look strong again, beating up the Detroit Lions 31-13. However, the 49ers would drop their next four games, costing coach Mike Nolan his job. The 49ers would name Hall of Famer Mike Singletary, who was serving as an assistant coach. The 49ers would lose Singletarry’s debut as Shaun Hill took over at quarterback in a 34-13 loss to the Seattle Seahawks at Candlestick Park. During the loss, a frustrated Singletarry sent Tight End Vernon Davis to the locker early, while chewing the team out at halftime. The 49ers played considerably better following a bye week but ended up dropping their sixth game in a row to the Arizona Cardinals on the road 29-24. The hard work would start to pay off as the 49ers would win three of their next four games, including a 24-14 win over the New York Jets, who were in playoff contention. After a 14-9 loss to the Miami Dolphins, the 49ers would close the season on a strong note, winning their last two games to post a 7-9 record.
2009: Heading into the season, the 49ers changed their uniforms, returning to the look they had during their glory days. They would start the season on a positive note by stunning the defending NFC Champion Arizona Cardinals on the road 17-13, as QB Shaun Hill led them on an 80-yard touchdown drive to take the lead for good in the fourth quarter. A week later, in their home opener, the 49ers would improve to 2-0 with a 23-10 win over the Seattle Seahawks, as Running Back Frank Gore rushed for 207 yards with which included a 79 yard and an 80-yard touchdown run. The 49ers appeared to be on the way to 3-0 as they led the Minnesota Vikings 24-20 in the final seconds at the Metrodome. With two seconds left, Vikings quarterback Brett Favre would hit Greg Lewis in the back of the end zone to give the Vikings a 27-24 win. The 49ers would show no ill effect as they quickly rebounded to beat the St. Louis Rams at home 35-0 the following week. However, just before the bye week, the 49ers suffered a setback losing to the Atlanta Falcons 45-10. After the bye, the 49ers continued to struggle, as they trailed the Houston Texans 21-0 at halftime. Coach Mike Singletary would bench QB Shaun Hill in favor of Alex Smith, who nearly brought the Niners back as the Texans won the game 24-21. A week later, Alex Smith would start his first game since 2007, as the 49ers dropped to 3-4 with an 18-14 loss on the road against the Indianapolis Colts. After dropping their fourth straight game against the Tennessee Titans, the 49ers used their defense to get back on track against the Chicago Bears, winning 10-6 as they picked off Bears QB Jay Cutler five times, including an interception by Michael Lewis to seal the victory. After splitting their next two games, the 49ers would suffer a 20-17 loss to the Seattle Seahawks as Olindo Mare nailed a 30-yard field goal as time expired. The loss all but ended the 49ers’ hopes of making the playoffs. However, with a 24-9 win at Candlestick Park a week later, the 49ers earned a season sweep of the NFC West Champion Arizona Cardinals, using seven turnovers to confound the Cardinals all game. Following a 27-13 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on the road, the 49ers would close the season by beating up on the Detroit Lions and St. Louis Rams to finish at 8-8.
2010: After a strong finish in 2009, the 49ers began the season with high hopes as they were considered the favorites to win the NFC West. Things would not start smoothly for the 49ers as they suffered a 31-6 loss to the Seattle Seahawks in the season opener. A week later, the 49ers would host the defending champion New Orleans Saints in their home opener on Monday Night Football. The 49ers would put forth a great effort, but came up just short, losing 25-22 on 37 yard Field Goal by Garrett Hartley as time expired. After an ugly 31-10 road loss to the Kansas City Chiefs dropped them to 0-3, the 49ers appeared to be on the verge of a road upset of the Atlanta Falcons leading 14-13, when Nate Clements intercepted QB Matt Ryan. While returning the ball, Clements was stripped by Roddy White, giving the Falcons another chance. The Falcons would win the game 16-14 on a 43 yard Field Goal by Matt Bryant. Returning to Candlestick Park, the 49ers continued to lose close games, dropping to 0-5 with a 27-24 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. The 49ers would earn their first win a week later as they beat the Oakland Raiders 17-9 at Candlestick Park in a Battle for Bay Area bragging rights. Leading the Carolina Panthers 20-13 late in the fourth quarter, the 49ers would give 10 points in the final 1:53, losing 23-20 as back up QB David Carr threw a crippling interception after the Panthers had tied the game. With Alex Smith injured, 2006 Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith would start as the 49ers faced the Denver Broncos in London. Troy Smith would strong as the 49ers scored 21 points in the fourth quarter to win their second game 24-16. After a bye week, Troy Smith would get the start at home, passing for 356 yards as the 49ers edged the St. Louis Rams in overtime 23-20 on Joe Nedney’s 29 yard Field Goal. The 49ers winning way would not continue, as they suffered a 21-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It was the first time they were shutout at Candlestick Park since 1977. The 49ers would rebound to beat the Arizona Cardinals on the road 27-6 a week later but lost RB Frank Gore for the rest of the season with a broken hip. Against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field, the 49ers wasted plenty of good opportunities early and lost 34-16. Alex Smith would return to the starting lineup, passing for 255 yards with three touchdowns as the 49ers beat the Seahawks 40-21 at Candlestick Park. However, the 49ers would lose their next two games to the San Diego Chargers and St. Louis Rams. Following the loss to the Rams, the 49ers decided to part ways with Coach Mike Singletary. With Defensive line coach Jim Tomsula filling in as interim coach, the 49ers would end the season with a 38-7 win over the Cardinals, avoiding last place as they finished the year with a record of 6-10; following the season, the 49ers would name Stanford Coach Jim Harbaugh to be their new head coach.
2011: After hiring Jim Harbaugh, who helped turnaround Stanford, as their new coach, the 49ers began to reevaluate the quarterback position. Perhaps due to the lockout, they had no other choice but to stick with Alex Smith. Meanwhile, they shored up their defense by drafting Aldon Smith and signing free agent Carlos Rogers. To improve the kicking game, the 49ers signed Pro Bowler David Akers from the Philadelphia Eagles. Opening the season against the Seattle Seahawks at Candlestick, Akers paid dividends right away with four field goals. However, it was Ted Ginn Jr. who made the big plays returning a kickoff and a punt for a touchdown as the 49ers won 33-17. The 49ers jumped out to a 14-0 lead against the Dallas Cowboys a week later. After the Cowboys battled back to tie the game, the 49ers took a 24-14 lead in the fourth quarter. However, the Cowboys would fight back again and win the game in overtime 27-24. The 49ers would rebound with a 13-8 win on the road against the Cincinnati Bengals, followed by a 24-23 upset of the Philadelphia Eagles that saw RB Frank Gore make the winning score with 3:12 left as Justin Smith forces a fumble to seal the road win. After a 48-3 rout of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the 49ers continued to play well on the road, stunning the unbeaten Detroit Lions 25-19, as Coach Jim Harbaugh demonstrated his intensity in post-game confrontation with Lions Coach Jim Schwartz. Following the bye week, the 49ers continued their winning ways as they beat the Cleveland Browns and Washington Redskins. In a showdown against the New York Giants, at Candlestick Park, David Akers played a crucial role in getting the early lead with four field goals, while Alex Smith sealed the 27-20 win with two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. A week later, they would earn their eight straight wins against the Arizona Cardinals. The 23-7 win assured the 49ers of their first winning season in nine years as they all but clinched the NFC West. In a special Thanksgiving night game against the Baltimore Ravens, sibling rivalry was the desert as Coach Jim Harbaugh faced his older brother John Harbaugh, the son of a football coach. Both teams played well, and the game was a defensive struggle with each team trading field goals for the first three quarters. The Ravens would win the game with ten unanswered points in the fourth quarter to win 16-6. The 49ers would rebound at home, as they blanked the St. Louis Rams 26-0 to sew up the division championship. After suffering a letdown against the Arizona Cardinals, the 49ers defense showed just how strong they could be as they battled through power outages at Candlestick to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 20-3. The 49ers would close the season with wins against the Seattle Seahawks and St. Louis Rams to finish with 13-3, earning a first-round goodbye. Jim Harbaugh was named Coach of the Year, as the 49ers sent nine players to the Pro Bowl, with six players being named All-Pros.
2011 Playoffs: In the playoffs, the 49ers hosted the New Orleans Saints in a battle of contrasting styles, as the 49ers relied and a bruising defense while the Saints relied on high octane offense. The 49ers defense made a big play early as a bone-jarring hit by Donte Whitner on Pierre Thomas ended a 78-yard drive with a fumble at the 49ers two-yard line. The 49ers would score first as Alex Smith hooked up with Vernon Davis on a 49-yard Touchdown. After Dashon Goldson picked off Drew Brees, Smith doubled the lead to 14-0, finding Michael Crabtree in the end zone. The Saints would quickly battle back as the 49ers took a 17-14 lead into halftime. After the half, the game became a back and forth battled as the two teams traded the lead several times. QB Alex Smith gave the 49ers a 29-24 lead on a 28-yard bootleg with just over two minutes left. The Saints quickly struck back as Drew Brees drove them 88 yards in only 34 seconds, hitting Jimmy Graham from 66 yards to give the Saints a 32-29 lead. From there, it was Alex Smith who coolly and calmly drove the 49ers down the field 85 yards as he found Vernon Davis in the end zone with nine seconds left to win the game for the 49ers 36-32. After the Green Bay Packers were upset by the New York Giants, Candlestick Park would play host to the NFC Championship Game. On a rainy afternoon in San Francisco, the 49ers would strike first as Smith and Davis hooked up for a 73-yard touchdown to take a 7-0 lead. However, the Giants would battle back and take a 10-7 halftime lead. Davis and Smith would be the magic combo again in the third quarter as the 49ers held a 14-10 lead midway through the fourth quarter. A muffed punt by Kyle Williams, playing for an injured Ted Ginn Jr., allowed the Giants to regain the lead. The 49ers would answer with a field goal by David Akers as the game went to overtime tied 17-17. In overtime, Kyle Williams would botch another punt as the Giants won the game 20-17 to advance to Super Bowl XLVI.
2012: After losing an NFC Championship heartbreaker to the New York Giants in overtime, the 49ers improved themselves by signing a pair of players away from the Super Bowl Champs, Mario Manningham and Brandon Jacobs. Starting the season on the road in Lambeau Field, the 49ers got off to an impressive start beating the Green Bay Packers 30-22. The 49ers also put forth a solid effort in their home opener to beat the Detroit Lions 27-19 on Sunday Night Football. After suffering a letdown on the road against the Minnesota Vikings, the 49ers dominated the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills, winning by a combined score of 79-3. They could not keep their momentum going as they struggled all day at home in their rematch with the Giants, losing the game 26-3. Their offense was stagnant four days later in a Thursday night tilt against the Seattle Seahawks. The 49ers defense would keep the Seahawks in check as the 49ers rallied to win the game 13-6, following an easy road win over the Arizona Cardinals. The 49ers came out flat against the St. Louis Rams, at Candlestick Park trailing 14-0 early as quarterback Alex Smith was sidelined in the second quarter with a concussion. Backup Colin Kaepernick would rally the 49ers to a 24-24 tie at the end of three quarters. That would end being the final score as both teams missed several scoring chances in regulation and overtime. It would be the first game in the NFL to end in a tie in five years and the first 49ers-Rams game to have no winner since 1968. A week later, on Monday Night Football, in a battle of backup quarterbacks, Colin Kaepernick would show what he could do on the field, completing16 of 23 for 246 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions in a 32-7 win against a strong Bears. Despite Alex Smith, who led the NFL in quarterback rating, being cleared to play, coach Jim Harbaugh named Kaepernick the starter in Week 12 as the 49ers faced the New Orleans Saints on the road. Kaepernick again was impressive, scoring a TD with his arm and his legs as the 49ers defense returned to interceptions off Drew Brees in a 31-21 win at the Superdome. In the 49ers rematch with the Rams, Kaepernick had his first stumble as a fumble and safety helped the Rams stay in the game. The Rams would tie the game at the end of regulation and winning overtime on a pair of 50 plus yard field goals by Greg Zuerlein. Following a 27-13 home win over the Miami Dolphins, Colin Kaepernick again showed why coach Harbaugh kept in at quarterback. He helped the 49ers build a 31-3 lead over the New England Patriots at Foxboro in a Sunday night showdown between division leaders. The Patriots would rally with four straight Touchdown drives to tie the game 31-31. Kaepernick and the 49ers would get back on track with a 38-yard touchdown pass to Michael Crabtree as the Niners improved to 10-3-1 with a 41-34 win. In primetime again, a week later, the 49ers continued their pattern of losing or tying every third week as they suffered a 42-13 loss to a red hot Seahawks team. They would rebound to beat the Cardinals a week later 27-13 to win the NFC West and earn a first-week playoff bye with a record of 11-4-1.
2012 Playoffs: Colin Kaepernick remained the starter as the 49ers hosted the Green Bay Packers in the Divisional Playoffs round. Under the bright lights of the playoffs, Kaepernick once and for all showed that he was the right quarterback for the 49ers as he had one of the best postseason games in NFL history, leading the 49ers to a 45-31 win over the Packers. The Packers had no solution for Kaepernick who, after having an early pass picked off and returned 52 yards for a touchdown, was unstoppable, passing for 257 yards with two touchdowns and rushing for 181 yards with two touchdowns. Kaepernick’s night was highlighted by a dazzling 56-yard touchdown run in the third quarter that gave the Red and Gold the lead for good at 31-24. Kaepernick would then show off his arm with a 44-yard pass to Vernon Davis, which set up Frank Gore’s two-yard score on the first play of the fourth quarter to all but seal the win. In the NFC Championship Game, the 49ers would face the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome, entering the game a slight favorite despite being on the road. Early on, the Falcons dominated the game, quickly jumping out to a 17-0 lead early in the second quarter. The 49ers would blunt the Falcons momentum scoring two twice to cut the deficit to 17-14, but with Tony Gonzalez scoring off a one-yard pass from Matt Ryan, the Falcons took back the edge 24-14 the half. Receiving the ball in the second half, the 49ers drove the ball 82 yards and got back within a Field Goal on a five-yard score from Frank Gore. Late in the third quarter the 49ers appeared to be driving for the lead before Michael Crabtree was stripped at the one-yard line. The fumble would only momentarily hurt the 49ers’ chances as their defense trapped the Falcons deep in their own territory. On the ensuing punt, the 49ers got the ball at the Falcons 38 after a 20-yard punt return from Ted Ginn Jr. Again. It would be Frank Gore with a touchdown as his nine-yard run gave the Niners the lead 28-24. The Falcons would not go down quietly, driving the ball to the 49ers 13 late in the game. However, two straight incompletions gave them back the ball with 1:13 left. Unable to run out the clock, the 49ers would need one more stop to reach the Super Bowl, as Julio Jones was tackled at the 35 as time expired.
Super Bowl XLVII: The 49ers in the Super Bowl for the six-time were matched up against the Baltimore Ravens at Superdome in New Orleans. The game was a family affair as Coach Jim Harbaugh was facing his older brother John Harbaugh, coach of the Ravens. While the Harbaugh Bowl had center stage, the 49ers quarterback future was one of the distractions that often come with Super Bowl week, with silly remarks made over Colin Kaepernick’s tattoos. In contrast, Alex Smith, who had been quiet about his benching, made clear his desire to leave the 49ers with Kaepernick established as the starter. Early on, it was all Ravens, as they raced out 21-6 halftime lead. Things would get worse after Beyoncé’s halftime show, as Jacoby Jones returned the second-half kickoff 108 yards for a touchdown. The run nearly blew the roof off the Superdome, but moments later, it would be a power failure that would help settle down the 49ers. An overloaded circuit was the cause as half the dome lost power. The Ravens were up 28-6 and were anxious to finish the game tasting victory. Simultaneously, the 49ers took a breath and refocused and began a comeback, scoring 17 points to get back into the game before the end of the third quarter. The Ravens would rebound with a Field Goal in the 4th quarter, but the 49ers kept surging as Colin Kaepernick scored on a 15-yard bootleg. Needing a two-point conversion to tie the game, Kaepernick’s pass fell incomplete as the Ravens maintained a 31-29 lead. The Ravens would get another field goal, as the 49ers continued their second-half charge, driving the ball deep into Ravens territory as they had the ball first and goal at the seven-yard line in the final two minutes. As LaMichael James took the ball down to the two-yard line, Kaepernick threw three incomplete passes as the Ravens held their lead. Punter Sam Koch would take a deliberate safety to milk the clock, as the game ended with a free-kick Ted Ginn Jr was tackled at midfield as time expired with the Ravens winning the Super Bowl 34-31.
2013: After losing Super Bowl XLVII, the 49ers looked to get back to the big game quickly as they opened the season with a 34-28 win over the Green Bay Packers. Once again, Coli Kaepernick had his way with the Packers defense, passing for 412 yards, with three touchdown passes. A week later, the 49ers offense sputtered under the Sunday Night Lights, losing to the Seattle Seahawks 29-3 as Kaepernick and the rest of the Niners offense had trouble with crowd noise in Seattle. Kaepernick was held to 127 yards and was intercepted three times. Coming home, the 49ers struggled again, losing their second straight game for the first time since Jim Harbaugh took over as coach to the Indianapolis Colts 27-7. Looking to get back on track, the 49ers took out their frustrations during a Thursday Night Game with the St. Louis Rams, as Frank Gore led the way running for 150 yards, as the 49ers won the game 35-11. The win was without a key piece of their defense as Aldon Smith took a voluntary leave of absence to enter rehab after an ugly incident away from the field. The 49ers continued to play strong defense without Aldon Smith in Week 4, slamming the Houston Texans 34-3 at Candlestick Park. The 49ers intercepted Matt Schaub three times and recovered a fumble with Tremaine Brock returning one for a touchdown on the game’s first possession. The 49ers would also get four turnovers the following week as they beat the Arizona Cardinals 32-20 to improve to 4-2. The 49ers defense continued to play well without Aldon Smith as they jumped out to a 24-0 lead over the Tennessee Titans on the road. The Titans would score 17 cosmetic points in the 4th quarter, but the Niners won easily 31-17 with Karim Osgood recovering a muffed punt in the end zone. In London, the 49ers would get a fifth straight win by slashing the Jacksonville Jaguars 42-10 as Kaepernick and Gore each had two touchdown runs, while Dan Skuta closed the scoring with a 47-yard fumble return. Coming off their bye week, the 49ers welcomed back Aldon Smith, but lost Tight End Vernon Davis and Safety Eric Reid to concussions, and lost the game to the Carolina Panthers 10-9 as Colin Kaepernick had a nightmarish game completing just 11 of 22 passes for 91 yards. Facing another crucial game against the New Orleans Saints, the 49ers held a 20-17 lead at the Superdome with five minutes left. The Saints rallied to win the game 23-20 on a pair Field Goals. The game would most be remembered for a controversial roughing call against Aaron Brooks on a hit to QB Drew Brees, which kept a Saints drive alive. The 49ers would take their frustration out on the Washington Redskins a week later, winning a Monday Night Game on the road 27-6 as Colin Kaepernick passed for 235 yards with three touchdowns Niners defense limited Robert Griffin III to118 yards with an interception and four sacks. As the season hit the stretch drive, the 49ers were getting healthy as Michael Crabtree, who missed the first 12 games recovering from an Achilles injury and caught a 60 yard pass as the Niners beat the Rams for the second time 23-13. In Week 14, the 49ers faced a must-win against the Seahawks at Candlestick Park, as the Seahawks came in looking to clinch the NFC West. The game was close throughout as the Niners took a 16-14 lead at the half on a Vernon Davis Touchdown catch with six seconds left in the second quarter. The defenses took over in the second half as neither team could get much going; the Seahawks would regain the lead with 6:20 left on a 31 yard Field Goal by Steven Hauschka. The 49ers methodically moved down the field and ran out the clock as Phil Dawson’s 22-yard chip shot delivered a hard-fought 19-17 win. The 49ers would follow up their win over the Seahawks by beating up the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 33-14, as Colin Kaepernick passed for 203 yards with a pair of touchdowns. The following week the 49ers would host the Atlanta Falcons in a Monday Night Game that would be the final game played at Candlestick Park. With a chance to clinch a playoff spot, the 49ers struggled early, trailing 10-3 at the half, the 49ers would take control in the second half with 17 unanswered points. However, the Falcons would not down without a fight as Roddy White scored to make it 20-17. After Frank Gore’s score, the Falcons again fought back with a Tony Gonzalez TD catch to make it 27-24. The Falcons would then get the ball back and get the ball into the red zone and looked to tie or win the game when by Navarro Bowman picked off Matt Ryan and returned it 89 yards to close out 40 years of football with what was called “The Pick at the Stick.” In the regular-season finale, the 49ers jumped on the Cardinals early, scoring 17 unanswered points in the first quarter. The Cardinals would battle back to tie the game as the 49ers were held scoreless over the next two quarters. With the score tied 17-17, Phil Dawson nailed a 56 yard Field Goal with 1:45 left. The Cardinals would battle back and even the score on a Jay Feely field goal with 29 seconds left but left enough time for Colin Kaepernick to move the ball into field goal range, as LaMichael James returned the kickoff 45 yards setting up Phil Dawson to win the game 23-20 with a 40-yard boot. As the 49ers grabbed the fifth seed with a record of 12-4.
2013 Playoffs: The 49ers would begin the playoffs on the Frozen Tundra of Lambeau Field as kickoff temperatures (5 °F) were among the coldest in NFL history. Colin Kaepernick looked unaffected early, driving the Niners down the field twice but could not find the end zone settling for a pair of Phil Dawson chip shots. After the Packers took the lead in the second quarter, Frank Gore was able to find pay dirt with a ten-yard score, as the 49ers led at the half 13-10. After a scoreless third quarter, the two rivals traded touchdowns early in the fourth quarter, with Kaepernick completing a 28-yard TD pass to Vernon Davis after John Kuhn’s bruising one-yard run. The Packers would get even the score with a Mason Crosby field goal, but once again, Kaepernick had the answer driving down the field and running down the clock for Phil Dawson to win the game 23-20 with a 33-yard Field Goal as time expired. Facing the Carolina Panthers who shut them down at Candlestick Park earlier in the season, the 49ers got off to a fast start with two Dawson Field Goals. The Panthers took control of the game in the second quarter with Cam Newton connecting with Steve Smith on a 31-yard TD pass. Trailing 10-6, the 49ers regained momentum on 12 play 80-yard drive completed with a one-yard TD pass to Davis with five seconds left to take a 13-10 lead at the half. The 49ers would not look back, as Kaepernick scored on a four-yard run, while the Niners defense smothered Newton to deliver a 23-10 victory to punch a ticket to the NFC Championship Game for the third straight season. Facing the Seattle Seahawks for the third time, the 49ers got off to a fast start as Aldon Smith sacked Russell Wilson and forced a fumble on the first play from scrimmage. The Niners would only get a field goal out of the excellent field position at the Seahawks 15. The 49ers would expand the lead to 10-0 on a TD run by Anthony Dixon, but with just a 10-3 lead after controlling the first 30 minutes, the Niners made a critical mistake of keeping the Seahawks and their loud fans in the game. The Seahawks would get even the score on a TD run by Marshawn Lynch, but the Niners responded on a beautiful 26 yard TD pass from Kaepernick to Anquan Boldin. The 49ers would hold a 17-13 lead entering the fourth quarter when the game began to slip away as Seattle took the lead for the first time on a pass from Russell Wilson to Jermaine Kearse. With the Seahawks looking to bury the Niners, Navarro Bowman appeared to come up with a big interception at the goal line, but suffering a knee injury on the way down, it was ruled an incomplete pass. However, the Niners defense still managed to turn back the Seahawks after Marshawn Lynch fumbled the handoff. Colin Kaepernick was picked off in the next series, and the Seahawks took a 23-17 lead leading to desperation time. The 49ers would not go down without a fight, as they drove the ball down the field. Kaepernick’s potential game-winning pass to Michael Crabtree was deflected by Richard Sherman and intercepted by Malcolm Smith ending the game with the Seahawks going to New Jersey with a 23-17 win.
2014: After their agonizing loss in the NFC Championship Game, the San Francisco 49ers looked to move into their new stadium and take the next step and return to the Super Bowl. Things looked good early for the Niners as it took less than a minute for them to get into the end zone as Chris Culliver scooped up a DeMarco Murray fumble and returned it 35 yards for a score. The 49ers would jump out to a quick 21-3 lead over the Dallas Cowboys and cruised the rest of the way for a 28-17 win. The 49ers would host the Chicago Bears on Sunday Night Football in the first game at Levi’s Stadium. Once again, the Niners got off to a quick start, leading 17-0 before the Bears found the end zone in the second quarter’s closing seconds. The 49ers would dominate the game most of the night, holding a 20-7 lead before the Bears suddenly scored two touchdowns in 21 seconds, sandwiched around a crucial interception from Colin Kaepernick. With 21 unanswered points, the Bears would win the game 28-20 and spoil the Niners’ new stadium’s regular-season grand opening. Upon examination, the 49ers wounds were all self-sustained as three Kaepernick interceptions and a fumble along with 16 penalties had done all the damage. The 49ers would suffer another second-half meltdown the following week as they allowed 17 unanswered points in a 23-17 road loss to the Arizona Cardinals. The Niners continued to make big mistakes back home, allowing the Philadelphia Eagles to build an early 21-1o lead, allowing points on an interception return, a blocked punt, and a punt return. After a bad second half in the first three weeks, the 49ers outscored the Eagles 16-0 over the last 31 minutes and rallied to win the game 26-20. The 49ers continued their pattern of controlling the time of possession and dominating yards gained, but failure in the red zone started to sound an alarm as they needed to rely on four Phil Dawson field goals to beat the Kansas City Chiefs 22-17 as they managed just one touchdown in four trips inside the Chiefs 20 at Levi’s Stadium. On Monday Night Football against the St. Louis Rams, the 49ers had a bad first half, falling behind quickly 14-0. With the score 14-3, the Niners turned the game around with a dramatic 80-yard catch and run by Brandon Lloyd just before the half. The 49ers would take the momentum and get two more Colin Kaepernick touchdown passes in the third quarter to win the game 31-17. However, looking to continue the momentum into their bye week, the 49ers pass defense was torn apart by Peyton Manning in a 42-17 Sunday Night loss on the road against the Denver Broncos. Returning from the bye week with a record of 4-3, the 49ers suffered their most frustrating loss of the season against Levi’s Stadium’s Rams as their offense stalled in the second half. Despite their struggles, they would be in a position to win down 13-10 with the ball on the goal line in the final seconds before Colin Kaepernick fumbled, trying to get the winning score. The Niners’ second-half struggles continued in Week 10 as an early 14-0 lead against the New Orleans Saints evaporated. Down 24-21, the Niners would rebound and force overtime, where they would win the game 27-24 on a 35-yard Phil Dawson Field Goal as Ahmad Brooks strip-sack of Drew Brees set them up to score at the 17-yard line. The Niners had entered the season with Super Bowl expectations, but as the season was about to hit the stretch drive, trouble was all around. Coach Jim Harbaugh who had been feuding with management was rumored to return to college with his Alma Matter, Michigan. Boosted by the return of Aldon Smith, who served a nine-game suspension for continued off the field, legal troubles, the 49ers defense played an inspired game, intercepting Eli Manning five times during a 16-10 win over the New York Giants at the Meadowlands. The defense also played a key role when the Niners came home for a 17-13 win over the Washington Redskins, as Carlos Hyde won the game with a fourth-quarter touchdown. Hosting the Seattle Seahawks on Thanksgiving, the 49ers offense appeared to be in a Turkey coma, as they managed just 164 yards total offense in a 19-3 loss. Playing the Seahawks again two weeks later, the 49ers suffered an inexcusable letdown, losing to the lowly Oakland Raiders in the battle of the bay 24-13. With rumors of Harbaugh’s exit swirling, second-half meltdowns, and undisciplined penalties, the 49ers season was unraveling, another loss to the Seahawks would finish them. Despite sacking Russell Wilson five times and getting two interceptions, the 49ers second-half woes reared their ugly head again as Seattle rallied to win the game 17-7 after being down at the half 7-3. A week later, the Niners would lose a fourth straight game in overtime to the San Diego Chargers 38-35, as they were outscored 31-7 after holding a 28-7 halftime lead. With Harbaugh set to leave for Michigan, the 49ers would give their coach a win to ride out of town with as they built the injury-riddled Cardinals 20-17, but their 8-8 record was nothing short of a major disappointment.
2015: To say the off-season was a disaster would be an understatement for the San Francisco 49ers, as they not only lost their Coach Jim Harbaugh but saw several players exit as well. The 49ers lost the core of their pass rush as Justin Smith and Patrick Willis retired, while Aldon Smith and Ray McDonald were released after continued trouble off the field. The 49ers would see Chris Borland, the team’s third-round pick in 2014, retired after one season, starting a concern over head injuries. Those same concerns led offensive lineman Anthony Davis to take the entire 2015 season off, while Mike Iupati signed with the division rival Arizona Cardinals. The Niners also said goodbye to Michael Crabtree, who signed with the Oakland Raiders, and Frank Gore, who went to the Indianapolis Colts. The 49ers would make a bizarre choice in replacing Harbaugh, hiring Jim Tomsula, who most felt was ill-prepared to be an NFL head coach. Wearing all black, the 49ers looked to be unaffected by the changes as they opened the season with a 20-3 win over the Minnesota Vikings at Levi’s Stadium as Carlos Hyde had a big game rushing for 168 yards with two scores. The next two games on the road would see things begin to get ugly for the 49ers as they lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers and Arizona Cardinals by a combined score of 90-25. In their Week 3 loss in Arizona, Colin Kaepernick had his first two passes returned for touchdowns, throwing four interceptions in total. Returning home, the 49ers defense had a terrific effort against the Green Bay Packers, sacking Aaron Rodgers three times. Kaepernick continued to struggle as he missed receivers all game and was sacked six times as the Packers won 17-3. Colin Kaepernick would have a much better effort in a Week 5 game at the Meadowlands, but the defense stumbled, allowing 525 yards as Eli Manning passed for 441 yards, including a 12-yard touchdown pass to Larry Donnell to give the Giants a 30-27 win. Kaepernick was solid again in Week 6, passing for 340 yards with two touchdowns as the 49ers beat the Baltimore Ravens 25-20 in a rematch of Super Bowl XLVII. Four days later, it would turn ugly again for the 49ers quarterback, as Kaepernick was sacked six times in a lackluster 20-3 loss to the Seattle Seahawks at Levi’s Stadium. Following an ugly 27-6 loss to the St. Louis Rams, Colin Kaepernick was benched. With Blaine Gabbert starting in Week 9, the 49ers stunned the Atlanta Falcons 17-16 at Levi’s Stadium, with Gabbert hooking up with Garrett Celek on a pair of first-half touchdowns. Gabbert would start the remainder of the season as Colin Kaepernick had surgery to repair his non-throwing shoulder. Following the bye week, the 49ers would lose back to back games to the Seahawks and Cardinals. Trailing 20-13 at Soldier Field in Week 13, Blaine Gabbert broke into the open field and tied the game with 1:42 left. In overtime, the Niners just needed one play as Gabbert hit Torrey Smith for a 71-yard score to beat the Chicago Bears 26-20, earning their first road win of the season. After dropping their next three games, the Niners ended the season with a 19-16 overtime win against the Rams, as Phil Dawson hit four Field Goals. After finishing with a 5-11 record, the Niners decided that Jim Tomsula was not a head coach after all and fired him after one season at the helm.
2016: With Chip Kelly serving as the third coach in as many years for the San Francisco 49ers, the news at the start of the season centered around Colin Kaepernick, who began the season on the bench. Starting in the preseason, Kaepernick began kneeling during the National Anthem to protest against Police Brutality. The season started well for the Niners as they blanked the Los Angeles Rams on Monday Night Football 28-0. It marked a renewal of the San Francisco-Los Angeles rivalry in the NFL, with the Rams return to Los Angeles. In the game, Carlos Hyde led the offense, who rushed for 88 yards with a pair of touchdowns. The Week 1 win would be the high point in the season for the 49ers as things quickly unraveled, starting with a 46-27 loss to the Carolina Panthers on the road in Week 2. After a 37-18 to the Seattle Seahawks in Week 3, the Niners returned home and jumped out to a 14-0 lead over the Dallas Cowboys. Like their season, quick starts were meaningless as the Cowboys won the game 24-17. Following a 33-21 loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Thursday Night Football, Blaine Gabbert was benched in favor of Colin Kaepernick, who had become a lightning rod by now. Not just for his National Anthem protests, which other players across the league adopted, but for incendiary comments about America, while wearing anti-police socks. The Niners would not play any better with Kaepernick, suffering a 45-16 loss to the Buffalo Bills. Returning home, the 49ers jumped out to a 14-0 lead against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 7, only to again quickly lose the lead and the game by a score of 34-17. After a bye, the 49ers losing continued as they were blown out at home by the New Orleans Saints 41-23 to drop to 1-7. In Week 10, the Niners put up their best effort since the start of the season, but came up short again, losing to the Cardinals 23-20 in Arizona. A week later, San Francisco welcomed in native son Tom Brady, who had four touchdowns to lead the New England Patriots to a 30-17 win at Levi’s Stadium. Before a road game against the Miami Dolphins in Week 12, Kaepernick continued to burn bridges across the NFL, praising Cuban Dictator Fidel Castro who died a few days earlier. Kaepernick, amidst a sea of boos, played well in Miami, passing for 296 yards with three touchdowns. Trying to run in the tying score at the end of the game, Kaepernick was stopped by Kiko Alonzo as the Dolphins handed the 49ers a tenth straight loss with a 31-24 win. Kaepernick was unable to play in Week 13, as Blaine Gabbert and the 49ers struggled in the snow, suffering an ugly 26-6 loss to the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Kaepernick returned in Week 14, as the 49ers jumped out to a 14-0 against the New York Jets. However, for the third time at home, a 14-0 lead meant nothing as they lost in overtime 23-17. The losing streak would hit 13 straight games, as they were blown out by the Atlanta Falcons 41-13. The longest losing streak in Niners history came to an end in Week 16, as they rallied from down 21-7 at the start of the fourth quarter to beat the Rams in Los Angeles 22-21. After Colin Kaepernick completed a ten-yard pass to Rod Streeter with 31 seconds left, the Niners went for two and successfully bootleg by Kaepernick. The 49ers would play well in the season finale as they lost to the Seahawks 25-23, finishing 2-14 to equal the worst season in franchise history. Following the season, the 49ers would clean house, firing General Manager Trent Baalke and coach Chip Kelly, as Colin Kaepernick opted out of his contract to become a free agent.
2017: The San Francisco 49ers started off the season with their fourth head coach Kyle Shanahan in four years, as they were looking to reboot a franchise coming off two straight last-place finishes. They started the year by hosting the Carolina Panthers and were defeated 23-3. It was a rough debut for Shanahan and his quarterback Brian Hoyer, who was acquired in the off-season. The 49ers were only able to compile 217 yards of total offense as Hoyer lost a fumble and threw an interception. The next week’s game was just as ugly of an affair up north against the Seattle Seahawks, as the Niners lost 12-9. After only scoring 12 points total in their first two games, the 49ers finally got their offense going in when they hosted the Los Angeles Rams on a Thursday Night. NFL fans were treated to a dramatic 41-39 shootout that came down to a failed two-point conversion with just over two minutes left. The Rams went up 24-13 at halftime, but they could not pull away and stop the 49ers offense from scoring four second-half touchdowns. Special Teams almost ended up being the difference, as Pharaoh Cooper fumbled a fourth-quarter kickoff return, giving San Francisco the ball back in a one-possession game. The 49ers scored a few plays after that and ended up recovering an on-side kick with barely over two minutes left. The comeback ultimately fell short as Aaron Donald sacked to end the Niners’ hopes. San Francisco lost three more consecutive nail-biters on the road, with the first two coming in overtime. Their Week 4 loss to the Arizona Cardinals included a seven-minute drive to open overtime, but the 49ers offense stalled in the red zone as Robbie Gould was forced to kick a 23-yard field goal, his fifth of the afternoon. With only 2:24 left, Carson Palmer drove his team down the field with five completed passes, the last one being a 19-yard touchdown to Larry Fitzgerald to walk off with the 18-15 win. The 49ers nearly spoiled Peyton Manning’s retirement ceremony the next week when George Kittle scored a touchdown to tie their game win the Indianapolis Colts with 20 seconds left in regulation. Still, they lost another close game when Adam Vinatieri nailed a 51-yard field goal to end it 26-23. Hoyer was benched in Week 6 for C.J. Beathard during a 26-24 loss to the Washington Redskins. Coming home, the Niners were massacred by the Dallas Cowboys 40-10, allowing Zeke Elliott to scamper all over them to the tune of 225 total yards and three touchdowns. The 49ers finally found some light in an otherwise dark season on October 30th. The day after a 33-10 loss on the road against the Philadelphia Eagles dropped them to 0-8. They acquired promising quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo from the New England Patriots for a second-round draft pick. C.J. Beathard remained the starting quarterback because Garoppolo needed time to learn the playbook after the surprising midseason trade. Adrian Peterson carried the Cardinals to victory in Week 9 by compiling a career-high 37 carries for 159 yards in a methodical 20-10 win. Kyle Shanahan would finally get his first win in Week 10 as the 49ers beat the New York Giants 31-21. This marked the latest matchup in NFL history between teams with only one combined victory, but it wouldn’t stop the 49ers players from dousing their young coach in Gatorade. Following a week 11 bye, the Seahawks came to Levi’s Stadium. They beat the 49ers, but 49ers fans who stayed the whole way through the 24-13 loss were treated to the abrupt debut of Jimmy Garoppolo after Beathard left with an injury in the final minutes. The Seattle game was their last loss of the season, as Jimmy G finished off the season undefeated as a starting quarterback. In Week 13, Robbie Gould got revenge on his former team, the Chicago Bears, making five field goals that ended up being the difference in a 15-14 win at Soldier Field. A week later, they beat the banged-up Houston Texans 26-16. From there, the 49ers closed out the season winning three straight games against playoff teams. In Week 15, Gould was the hero again, hitting a 45-yard field goal as time expired in a 25-23 win over the Tennessee Titans. A week later, in their final home game, the Niners beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 44-33 in a shootout by the bay, with Garoppolo passing for 242 yards with two scores. The 49ers would close the season with a 34-13 win over the Rams to finish at 6-10. Despite a ten-loss season, the season-ending winning streak combined with the impressive play of Jimmy Garoppolo gave the 49ers organization much to be excited about for the coming years.
Written by Will Petersen
2018: Coach Kyle Shanahan and GM John Lynch were both signed to six-year deals in January of 2017 to take over the mess that is the San Francisco 49ers. The Niners’ first move was signing quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to a five year $137.5 million contract. At the time of its signing, it was the largest contract in NFL history. After taking care of their most important piece, the 49ers looked ahead to free agency to fill many holes on their roster. The big signing was Richard Sherman, who was coming back from an Achilles tear, was also looking to prove himself to teams that he can still be that all-pro cornerback. Also signed that off-season was running back Jerick McKinnon, who signed a four-year deal with the Niners. Free agency was a success in the eyes of the 49ers, who looked forward to the draft, where they had some essential selections to make. The 49ers season began with a tough test against the Minnesota Vikings. Before the season started, the Niners lost a key player as McKinnon suffered a torn ACL in the preseason. Jimmy G had his worst game as a pro throwing three Interceptions and the game losing interception late in the fourth quarter as the Vikings won 24-16. The Niners would rebound with a 30-27 win over the Detroit Lions in the home opener. Undrafted rookie Matt Breida played a key role as he ran for 138 yards with a touchdown. In Week 3, the Niners looked forward to a tough test traveling to Kansas City to play the Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes. The game started back and forth on offense with the 49ers and Chiefs scoring a pair of touchdowns. The game started to go south for the Niners in the second half as the Chiefs surged to a 20-point lead. Jimmy Garoppolo scrambled to the Chiefs 34-yard line for an eight-yard gain in the fourth quarter, but not without the worst possible outcome. Garoppolo attempted to juke the defender and step to the right, and as he did that, he tore his ACL in the process, ending his season. The rest of the Niners season was tough to watch, but not without a few bright spots. After backup CJ Beathard got hurt in Week 8 against the Arizona Cardinals, Nick Mullen’s stepped in to fill the role at quarterback and showed flashes. The Niners went on that season to only compile three more wins after Garoppolo’s ACL injury, beating the Oakland Raiders, Denver Broncos, and Seattle Seahawks. Rookie Fred Warner finished 12th in tackles with 124. Going 4-12 after an injury-riddled year for the 49ers landed them with the second overall pick in the 2019 draft and with a lot of room for improvement to look for through free agency.
Written by Sean Nasti
2019: After a brutal season with Jimmy Garoppolo going down in Week 3 to a knee injury, the San Francisco 49ers looked to get healthy and get back in contention under third-year head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch leading the charge. The 49ers were able to bolster their defensive front by taking DE Nick Bosa from Ohio State with pick number two overall pick. They also added a playmaking receiver in Deebo Samuel in the second round to help reshape the offense. These draft picks proved to be big difference makers for this 49ers team throughout the year. The 49ers did a full 180 and started the season off hot with an 8-0 record with a ferocious defense and high powered running attack on offense. The 49ers offense and defense continued to impress everyone with their quick turnaround from last season and produce impressive performances. Nick Bosa made an immediate impact on the front seven that already included Arik Armstead, DeForest Buckner, Dee Ford, and Solomon Thomas, causing mismatches weekly for opposing offenses. The highlight of the 49ers season was in Week 14, traveling to New Orleans and defeating the New Orleans Saints during a shootout in the Superdome by a score of 48-46. The biggest game of the year was the final Sunday Night game, in which the Niners beat the Seattle Seahawks 26-21 to win the NFC West. Jimmy Garoppolo Finishing with a 13-3 record and the number seed in the NFC, the 49ers proved they were perennial Super Bowl contenders behind their high scoring offense averaging almost 30 points per game, ranking second in the league, and their physical defense allowing just over 19 points per game at eighth in the league. Jimmy Garoppolo proved that he could win as he finished with 28 total touchdowns and 13 interceptions while completing 69.1% of his passes for 3,978 yards. Jimmy G loved having his security blanket and all-pro TE George Kittle grind the offense leading with 85 catches and 1,053 yards along with five touchdowns. Enough cannot be said about Kyle Shanahan’s running back focused offense as all three running backs Raheem Mostert, Matt Breida, and Tevin Coleman. All contributed in significant ways on the ground and through the air as well. Defensive rookie of the Year honors was awarded to Nick Bosa, who finished with nine sacks.
Written by Kristopher “Topper” Korb
2019 Playoffs: After receiving a first-round bye, the San Franco49ers would take on the Minnesota Vikings in the round. The 49ers defense held Vikings RB Dalvin Cook to just 18 rushing yards. The Vikings had to escape their script and depend on QB Kirk Cousins to get them down the field. Led by RB Tevin Coleman racking up 105 yards and two touchdowns, this proved too much for the Vikings to handle. Sticking to what gave them success all season long, the 49ers physical defense and the powerful running attack led them to a 27-10 victory over the Vikings. The 49ers would host the NFC Championship game for the first time since 2011. Facing the Green Bay Packers and Aaron Rodgers is often a scary sight in the playoffs; however, the 49ers were not fazed, and instead, Rodgers looked uncomfortable all game long. Again, learning on their potent rushing attack, the 49ers dominated the ground game behind RB Raheem Mostert’s 220 yards and four. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers was flustered all game, being sacked three times and even fumbling three times as well. The 49ers would win in dominating fashion 37-20 over the Packers and advance to the Super Bowl for the first time since 2012.
Written by Kristopher “Topper” Korb
Super Bowl LIV: Facing their most challenging task on the grandest stage, all the San Francisco 49ers had to game plan for Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. Throughout the first three quarters of the game, the 49ers looked like they were prepared and had all the answers for this playmaking Chiefs offense. Holding onto a 20-10 lead into the fourth quarter with 8:53 left, all looked well for the 49ers until Mahomes found his groove. The Chiefs offense went off and continued to score quickly on three of their last four possessions of the game while the 49ers struggled to move the ball and seemed as if they were too conservative with their lead. The Chiefs sealed the game with a late interception and went on to win Super Bowl LIV 31-20.
Written by Kristopher “Topper” Korb
©MMXX Tank Productions. Stats researched by Frank Fleming, all information team names are property of the National Football League. This site is not affiliated with the San Francisco 49ers or the NFL. This site is maintained for research purposes only. All logos used on this page were from Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos Page.
Page created on July 22 , 2002. Last updated on September 22, 2020, at 11:45 pm ET.