Fred Warner

Warner sets 49ers playoff record in epic win vs. Lions

NBC Universal, Inc.

Fred Warner made plays all over the field in the 49ers' 34-31 win over the Detroit Lions in Sunday's NFC Championship Game at Levi's Stadium, recording a game-high 13 tackles in San Francisco's epic victory.

Those 13 tackles increased Warner's career NFL playoff total to 84, making the All-Pro the 49ers' record-holder for postseason tackles, previously held by NaVorro Bowman (78). It also marked Warner's career-high for tackles in a playoff game.

Warner entered Sunday's game vs. the Lions tied with Patrick Willis for the fourth-most playoff tackles in franchise history (71) while jumping past Ken Norton (73) with his double-digit output against the Lions. Dre Greenlaw added seven tackles of his own, increasing his career playoff total to 69, the fifth most in 49ers history.

After a difficult first half that saw the 49ers' defense allow the Lions' offense to run for 148 yards at a clip of over seven yards per carry, Warner and the rest of San Francisco's defense found a way to shut down Detroit's high-powered attack in the second half.

The Lions' offense scored only seven points over the final two quarters of Sunday's game, recording just 34 rushing yards in the second half.

In speaking with NBC Sports Bay Area's Jennifer Lee Chan after the game, Warner detailed the message he gave his teammates in the locker room during halftime. 

"I told the team that there was no more time for pep talks," Warner said. "Offense had the ball up first. They had to go score. Defensively, we had to get a stop and if we didn't, we're not going to Vegas."

Getting a stop is exactly what the 49ers' defense did on the Lions' opening possession of the second half, forcing a turnover on downs after a questionable fourth-down decision by Detroit.

Warner and San Francisco's defense kept Detroit off the scoreboard for the first four Lions possessions of the second half, allowing the 49ers to roar back with 27 unanswered points.

After the 49ers' offense scored a touchdown to cut the Lions' lead to 24-17 with 5:17 remaining in the third quarter, San Francisco's defense delivered a momentum swing that changed the game entirely.

On the Lions' offense's first play of a drive, starting on their own 25-yard line, Tashaun Gipson Sr. forced a fumble that Arik Armstead swiftly recovered, giving San Francisco's offense the ball on Detroit's 24-yard line.

The 49ers' offense quickly found the end zone on a four-play, 24-yard drive, capped off by a one-yard touchdown run by Christian McCaffrey, tying the game at 24-24, improbably erasing a 17-point deficit in under 12 minutes.

While the first half proved challenging, Warner and the battle-tested 49ers' defense delivered when it mattered most. They now turn their attention to their matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVIII on Feb. 11 at Allegiant Stadium.

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