SANTA CLARA -- As the Baltimore Ravens proved Saturday night, the No. 1 seed comes with no guarantees.
After wrapping up the NFC West and the NFC’s top seed for the playoffs, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said he gave himself a day to think about what his team accomplished during the regular season.
“It was great how we got home-field advantage,” Shanahan said Saturday, following the 49ers’ 27-10 victory over the Minnesota Vikings in the divisional round of the NFC playoffs.
“(But) once you get that, that is completely over. All you think about is this game. We just got that done. Not trying to go celebrate anything. We celebrated winning the division in the bye week, which was nice. Now, it's can't wait to watch these games tomorrow and find out who we're playing.”
The 49ers took care of business on Saturday to advance to the NFC Championship Game next week against the winner Sunday’s game between the Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers.
Here are the 49ers’ grades from their playoff victory over the Seahawks:
San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers’ run game completely took control of the game in the third quarter with an eight-play, 44-yard drive that featured nothing but running plays. The 49ers imposed their will on the Vikings.
Shanahan’s goal was to run the ball 30 times in the game. They ended up running 47 times for 186 yards. Although the 49ers averaged just 4.0 yards per rushing attempt, they were consistent throughout.
Tevin Coleman gained 105 yards and two touchdowns on 22 rushing attempts. Raheem Mostert added 58 yards on 12 rushing attempts.
Matt Breida started the game but had just 17 yards on eight carries, including a late-game fumble that did not have any impact on the game.
The run blocking, led by offensive linemen Joe Staley, Laken Tomlinson, Ben Garland, Mike Person and Mike McGlinchey, created lanes with their outside zone runs to effectively slow down the Vikings’ defensive front.
The 49ers got off to a good start on the opening drive with Jimmy Garoppolo finding Kendrick Bourne for a 3-yard touchdown pass for a 7-0 lead. The 49ers converted some third downs along the way, but the passing game took a backseat to the team’s running attack.
Garoppolo completed 11 of 19 passes for 131 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He was sacked two times for 9 yards. Nine of his completions went for first downs.
Only four players caught passes for the 49ers. Deebo Samuel and Kendrick Bourne had three receptions apiece for 42 and 40 yards, respectively. The Vikings did a good job on tight end George Kittle, who caught just three passes for 16 yards.
The 49ers’ run offense was very good. Their run defense was even better.
Vikings running back Dalvin Cook is one of the most explosive offensive players in the league. The 49ers completely shut him down. Cook managed just 18 yards on nine rushing attempts. The 49ers had nine tackles for losses.
Linebacker Fred Warner led the 49ers with seven tackles, while Nick Bosa checked in with six tackles. Sheldon Day, DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead also played very well on run downs.
The 49ers sacked Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins six times, and cornerback Richard Sherman came up with a game-changing play with an interception in the third quarter.
Bosa had two sacks, while Dee Ford, Armstead, Buckner and Solomon Thomas registered one apiece. Ford’s presence was a big part of the puzzle for the 49ers with his ability to stretch out Minnesota’s pass protection with his threat as an edge speed rusher.
Cousins completed 21 of 29 pass attempts for 172 yards with one touchdown and one interception. A lot of his yards came late. His big play early came when he found Stefon Diggs deep against cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon for a 41-yard touchdown. That play led to Witherspoon's benching.
Punter Mitch Wishnowsky and Mostert teamed up for a takeaway early in the fourth quarter. Shaky Vikings punt returner Marcus Sherels muffed a difficult punt that Wishnowsky angled toward the right sideline. Mostert recovered the loose ball to set up a 49ers field goal.
Wishnowsky had a very strong 41.5 net average on four punts. He placed two of his punts inside the 20-yard line.
Robbie Gould added field goals of 35 and 21 yards.
It is difficult to get much better than what the 49ers did Saturday.
They should have been more fresh. They should have been more rested. They should have been better.
They were. They were. And they were.
The 49ers almost let the Vikings get back into the game late in the first half with Garoppolo’s interception, but that is when the defense and the running back turned it up a few notches. The 49ers manhandled Minnesota on both sides of the ball.
Now, they are just one victory from an appearance in Super Bowl LIV in Miami.