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What 49ers' past playoff appearances taught Warner about postseason

What 49ers' past playoff appearances taught Warner about postseason originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

Fred Warner has learned plenty about the NFL playoffs across his six seasons in the league, with the 49ers punching their ticket to the postseason in over half of those campaigns.

As San Francisco prepares for its fourth playoff trip in the past five seasons, the team's star linebacker told NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco how the 49ers can use their past experience under the bright lights this time around.

"I think any time you reach the playoffs, it's about not making the moment too big," Warner told Maiocco on "49ers Talk" after San Francisco's 21-20 loss to the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday at Levi's Stadium. "You be the exact person that you have been all season long to get you up to this point. And in the playoffs, it's not about whoever the best team is. It's whoever plays better on that given day.

"And like I said, we're going to make sure that we're our best version of ourselves when that moment does come."

The 49ers weren't playing for much Sunday after clinching the NFC's No. 1 playoff seed in Week 17. They escaped Week 18 relatively healthy, and now will enjoy a first-round bye as the rest of the conference's playoff teams duke it out during Super Wild Card Weekend this Saturday.

Come the divisional round Jan. 20-21, however, San Francisco will be right back in the thick of the race as they attempt to hoist the franchise's sixth Super Bowl trophy. And while he doesn't yet know who they will play, Warner -- along with the rest of the 49ers' defense -- is ready for the gauntlet to go through Levi's.

"I have really, really high expectations for myself and the defense, because if we truly do want to win a championship, I think defense wins championships," Warner told Maiocco. "And our offense has been playing lights-out all season long. The amount of playmakers and the way Brock [Purdy] is playing is outstanding.

"It's just going to be on us to make sure we hold teams to nothing."

The 49ers' past three playoff appearances with Warner on the team have ended in agony -- a Super Bowl loss during the 2019 season, and NFC Championship Game losses at the end of the 2021 and 2022 campaigns.

This season, San Francisco certainly hopes it can keep the moment in perspective while the team plays as the best version of itself. If Warner has learned anything from his past experiences, that approach will lead to success.

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