Fred Warner

Warner explains how 49ers' playoff ‘scars' now motivate them

NBC Universal, Inc.

The pain of the 49ers’ loss in last season’s NFC Championship Game is gone but not forgotten.

The scars from how San Francisco’s 2022 campaign ended still can be seen by Fred Warner, which makes this season’s playoff run just slightly more meaningful.

“You always remember those moments,” the All-Pro linebacker said during the 49ers’ playoff bye week. “I think it’s important during those times like last year in Philly. You see the confetti going down. You see them with their hats and T-shirts on the stage. They’re happy, and you’re standing there watching it all happen.”

The 49ers suffered devastating injuries to quarterback Brock Purdy and backup Josh Johnson in that game, greatly lessening their chances of overcoming the Eagles and reaching the Super Bowl. Warner said San Francisco’s defense still believed it could do enough to walk away from Philadelphia with a win. 

That obviously wasn’t the case, though, and the Eagles prevailed 31-7 after scoring 24 unanswered points to close the game.

Warner said the defeat feels like it happened yesterday and an eternity ago, all at the same time.

“I could put myself right back there in that moment, and the part that sucks is that you can’t just blink and you’re right back into having an opportunity to go back and do it again,” Warner said. “You start from ground one — OTAs, minicamp, training camp.

“You got to build the team back up again, and it feels like just yesterday we were doing that, but you blink, and we’re here. It’s the start of the playoffs, and we’re here right back where you want to be, with an opportunity to do something special with the right type of guys.”

The 49ers added a few pieces to their roster last offseason, but the core group that lived through that devastating loss in Philly remains. The experience not only gives them confidence as they embark on their next playoff journey, which starts Saturday with a 5:15 p.m. PT divisional-round home game against the Green Bay Packers, but it also provides a stronger sense of purpose.

“I think that’s what the scars are for,” Warner said. “You remember those moments. So, it’s like, how can I not give my all to this? How can I not make sure it’s everything to me, my teammates and, obviously, to the coaches? That’s what those scars are for.”

Download and follow the 49ers Talk Podcast

Contact Us