49ers erase 17-point deficit vs. Lions, advance to Super Bowl LVIII

Running back Christian McCaffrey (L) scored two touchdowns in the San Fransisco 49ers' comeback win over the Detroit Lions in the NFC title game Sunday in Santa Clara, Calif. File Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI

Jan. 28 (UPI) -- Christian McCaffrey scored twice and the San Francisco 49ers completed a feverish rally, overcoming a 17-point deficit to beat the Detroit Lions and advance to Super Bowl LVIII on Sunday in Santa Clara, Calif.

The 49ers, who trailed 24-7 at halftime, scored 27-unanswered points in the 34-31 NFC Championship game victory at Levi's Stadium. They will meet the Kansas City Chiefs on Feb. 11 in Super Bowl LVIII.

"It means the world," McCaffrey, who totaled 132 yards from scrimmage on 24 touches, said on the Fox broadcast. "I'm so pumped up to be a part of this organization. ... I'm just proud to be a 49er.

"We've got one more."

The 49ers, who allowed 148 rushing yards in the first half, held the Lions to just 34 over the final two quarters. They also scored on six second-half possessions.

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk completed a 51-yard circus catch to help shift momentum in the NFC Championship game Sunday in Santa Clara, Calif. File Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI

"We just needed the opportunities," 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. "We played as bad of a first half as we could. ... Our guys got the turnovers and kept it rolling."

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel totaled 11 touches for 96 yards from scrimmage against the Detroit Lions on Sunday in Santa Clara, Calif. File Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI

The Lions scored points on four of their first five possessions to jump out to their first-half, three-score advantage. They edged the 49ers 18-8 in first downs, 280 to 131 in total yards and by nearly seven minutes in time of possession over the first two quarters.

Wide receiver Jameson Williams started that offensive surge when he ran for a 42-yard touchdown on the fourth play from scrimmage. Running back David Montgomery doubled the Lions lead with a 1-yard run about 11 minutes later. That run ended an 11-play 62-yard drive.

Coach Kyle Shanahan and the San Francisco 49ers will face the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVIII on Feb. 11 in Las Vegas. File Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI

McCaffrey ran for a 2-yard score on the next drive, but that proved to be the 49ers' only score of the first half.

Running back Jahmyr Gibbs ended the next possession with a 15-yard score to push the Lions advantage to 21-7. Lions kicker Michael Badgley added a 21-yard field goal at the end of the second quarter for a 17-point lead at halftime.

Kicker Jake Moody ended the first drive of the second half with a 43-yard field goal for the 49ers. The Lions failed to convert a fourth-down conversion on the next drive.

Less than 30 seconds later, 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy threw a deep pass that would provide major momentum for the home team.

The 49ers star stepped up to the 40-yard line and launched that throw toward the end zone. The ball sailed over wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk and was nearly intercepted by Kindle Vildor, but the Lions cornerback failed to secure the catch.

The ball then went through Vildor's hands and hit his face mask, bouncing into the air for Aiyuk, who snatched it for a 51-yard circus catch just short of the end zone.

Purdy threw a 6-yard touchdown toss to Aiyuk about seven seconds later to cut the Lions advantage to 24-17. The bad luck continued for the Lions when Gibbs fumbled on the first play of the next drive, giving the ball back to the 49ers.

McCaffrey followed with a 1-yard score with 3:04 remaining in the third quarter, tying the game. The 49ers defense forced a Lions punt on the next drive.

Moody went on to make a 33-yard field goal 5 minutes into the fourth quarter for the 49ers' first lead of the night.

The 49ers defense again stood strong on the resulting possession, stopping another Lions fourth-down conversion attempt. Purdy followed by conducting a 7-play, 70-yard drive to push the 49ers lead to 10 points. Running back Elijah Mitchell ended that drive with a 3-yard scoring run.

The Lions finally scored their first points of the second half with just a 56 seconds remaining in the game. Lions quarterback Jared Goff hit Williams with a 3-yard touchdown toss in the back of the end zone for that score, which cut the deficit to three.

The Lions then failed to recover an onside kick, allowing the 49ers to drain the remaining time off the clock and secure their ticket to the Super Bowl.

Goff completed 25 of 41 passes for 273 yards and a score in the loss. Montgomery logged 113 yards from scrimmage and a score on 17 touches. Williams totaled 67 yards and two scores on just three touches for the Lions.

Deebo Samuel logged 96 yards from scrimmage for the 49ers. Aiyuk hauled in three catches for 68 yards. Purdy completed 20 of 31 passes for 267 yards, one score and an interception. He also ran for 48 yards.

The 49ers and Chiefs will kick off Super Bowl LVIII at 6:30 p.m. EST Feb. 11 in Las Vegas. The game will air on CBS.