49ers vs. Lions highlights: How San Francisco advanced to Super Bowl 58 vs. Chiefs

The San Francisco 49ers are headed back to the Super Bowl.

And they have a rematch from the last time they reached the Super Bowl.

Christian McCaffrey scored two rushing touchdowns and had a 25-yard run to set up backup running back Elijah Mitchell’s touchdown to help San Francisco rebound from a 24-7 halftime deficit to defeat the Detroit Lions, 34-31, in the NFC championship game on Sunday.

The 49ers will meet Patrick Mahomes, Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs at Super Bowl 58 in Las Vegas on Feb. 11. The Chiefs won their first Super Bowl matchup, beating the 49ers in Miami in February 2020.

It was San Francisco’s third straight NFC championship game, and fourth in a five-year span. After facing the Chiefs in Super Bowl 54, the 49ers lost to the Los Angeles Rams in 2021 and Philadelphia Eagles last season. It nearly looked like three straight losses.

The Lions stormed out to a 24-7 lead, behind a 42-yard rushing touchdown by receiver Jameson Williams, a 1-yard touchdown by David Montgomery and a 15-yard run by Jahymr Gibbs. Williams added a touchdown catch with 56 seconds left, but Detroit was unable to recover the onside kick on the ensuing possession.

Quarterback Brock Purdy completed 20 of 31 passes for 267 yards for San Francisco, but his 21-yard run in the fourth quarter two plays before Mitchell’s touchdown effectively put the game out of Detroit’s reach.

With the ball on the 3-yard line in the final seconds of the first half, Lions coach Dan Campbell opted for a field goal instead of maintaining his reputation as the NFL’s most aggressive coach in short-yardage situations.

Detroit came out in the second half and did not score another point until the final minute of the franchise’s first conference championship game since the 1991 season.

Purdy found 49ers receiver Brandon Aiyuk for a 51-yard catch that bounced off the helmet of Lions defensive back Kindle Vildor. Aiyuk scored a 6-yard touchdown three plays later.

McCaffrey scored his second rushing touchdown of the game to tie it at 24 with 3:02 left in the third quarter, field goal kicker Jake Moody added his second field goal early in the fourth quarter, and Mitchell’s touchdown gave San Francisco the lead for good.

49ers tight end George Kittle secured the onside kick to secure the Super Bowl berth. — Safid Deen

Winners and losers from NFC championship game


Mobile Brock Purdy: Though he often gets disparaged for being a game manager, 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy unlocked a new wrinkle in his game that helped propel the Niners in their comeback: mobility. Purdy ran the ball five times for 48 yards against the Lions, but, per Next Gen Stats, three of those were scrambles. He gained 52 yards and three first downs on those.

It was just rushing, either. As the Lions had to adapt to his aggressive approach with his legs, he also looked for targets to leak out into space downfield, where he moved the chains. It wasn’t the cleanest day from Purdy, but no one can criticize him for failing to make plays in the second half.

Kyle Shanahan: Over his tenure with the 49ers, Shanahan has faced criticism for coaching teams that could not come from behind to win games. In the last two weeks, Shanahan’s 49ers have faced deficits heading into the fourth quarters. Against the Lions, they entered the third quarter down 17 but then proceeded to drop 27 unanswered points to take a 10-point lead.

What was most impressive was how inevitable it seemed. Despite looking lost on offense, once the 49ers caught a few breaks, they also found their rhythm and returned to their strengths: power rushing with Christian McCaffrey, crossing routes to speedy receivers Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk and efficient, turnover-free football from quarterback Brock Purdy. It’s no surprise the Niners scored on the first five drives of the second half.


Lions' fourth-down calls: This is when being aggressive backfires. The Lions went for it on fourth downs 40 times this season, second-most in the league. It is part of their identity. But it also makes sense to be aggressive with calculation and restraint. Midway through the third quarter, coach Dan Campbell rejected a 45-yard field goal that would’ve given the Lions a 17-point lead and instead opted to go for a pass play on fourth-and-2. It did not work, then the Niners got the break of a wild, 51-yard Brandon Aiyuk reception that set up a touchdown. The 49ers would go on to tie the game after just four minutes of game time after the failed conversion.

Then, midway through the fourth, the Lions had the chance to tie the game with what would’ve been a 47-yard attempt. Campbell again decided to go for it and again Detroit failed to convert. Kicker Michael Badgley still would’ve had to do his part on both kicks, but leaving six potential points off the board was utterly debilitating. — Lorenzo Reyes

NFC championship game highlights

Brock Purdy threw for 267 yards and a touchdown, and the 49ers rallied from 17 points down at halftime to beat the Lions and reach the Super Bowl.

Eminem congratulates Lions on successful season

Eminem was in attendance at Levi’s Stadium to cheer on his hometown Detroit Lions.

Despite the team losing the NFC championship to the 49ers, the rap star congratulated Dan Campbell and his squad after the game.

“So proud of the @Lions,” Slim Shady wrote on X, formerly Twitter. “Thanks 4 an amazing season!!!! We'll b back!!!”

Eminem supported the Lions throughout their historic campaign, which included winning their first division title in 30 years and their first playoff win in 32 seasons. — Victoria Hernandez

Lions vs. 49ers NFC championship game score

  • Lions: 31

  • 49ers: 34

First quarter

Lions touchdown (13:18) — Jameson Williams, 42-yard rush (Michael Badgley extra point)

Lions touchdown (2:34) — David Montgomery, 1-yard rush (Michael Badgley extra point)

Second quarter

49ers touchdown (13:49) — Christian McCaffrey, 2-yard rush (Jake Moody extra point)

Lions touchdown (5:54) — Jahmyr Gibbs, 15-yard rush (Michael Badgley extra point)

Lions field goal (0:07) — Michael Badgley, 21 yards

Third quarter

49ers field goal (11:02) — Jake Moody, 43 yards

49ers touchdown (5:17) — Brandon Aiyuk, 6-yard pass from Brock Purdy (Jake Moody extra point)

49ers touchdown (3:02) — Christian McCaffrey, 1-yard rush (Jake Moody extra point)

Fourth quarter

49ers field goal (9:52) — Jake Moody, 33 yards

49ers touchdown (3:02) — Elijah Mitchell, 3-yard rush (Jake Moody extra point)

Lions touchdown (0:56) — Jameson Williams, 3-yard pass from Jared Goff (Michael Badgley extra point)

49ers 34, Lions 24: Elijah Mitchell might have punched San Francisco's Super Bowl ticket

The Lions’ failed fourth-down attempt came back to bite them.

The 49ers went on a five-play, 72-yard touchdown drive that was capped off by a 3-yard rushing touchdown by running back Elijah Mitchell to give the team a 34-24 advantage. San Francisco’s scoring drive was highlighted by a 21-yard scramble by Brock Purdy and a 25-yard run by Christian McCaffrey on the ensuing play.

Mitchell then punched it in after the two big gains on the ground with 3:02 remaining on the game clock. — Tyler Dragon

49ers 27, Lions 24: Jake Moody gives 49ers first lead of game

It took until the fourth quarter for the 49ers to take their first lead of the game.

Now, can they hang on?

The 49ers used Jake Moody’s 33-yard field goal to take a 27-24 lead with 9:52 remaining.

Brock Purdy was sacked on consecutive plays after getting San Francisco inside the red zone with a 10-yard run down to the 13-yard line. Lions defensive tackle Tyson Alualu and safety Ifeatu Melifonwu converged on the first sack, while defensive tackle Alim McNeill notched the second one.

Purdy started the drive with a 10-yard pass to fullback Kyle Juszczyk, who toe-touched the sideline. Purdy also found tight end George Kittle for a 28-yard catch during the drive. — Safid Deen

Have Lions' Super Bowl hopes slipped away after 49ers dominate third quarter?

The 49ers rallied back all in one quarter.

The 49ers trailed 24-7 at the start of the third quarter and rattled off 17 unanswered points to tie the game 24-24 by the time the third-quarter clock expired.

San Francisco scored points on all three of its possessions in the third quarter and gained 170 total yards. The 49ers defense held the Lions to just three first downs and 42 total yards in the quarter.

The third period was highlighted by a Brandon Aiyuk touchdown catch and a fumble by Jahmyr Gibbs that was recovered by 49ers defensive lineman Arik Armstead.

The 49ers possessed the football for nearly 10 minutes in the third quarter. — Tyler Dragon

49ers 24, Lions 24: Christian McCaffrey score makes it whole new ballgame

Well, look at the scoreboard. We’ve got a tied game in San Francisco.It took four plays for Christian McCaffrey to get into the end zone to tie this game at 24 with 3:02 left in the third quarter.The 49ers took advantage of the fumble they caused on the previous Lions drive, and made this NFC championship game quite interesting down the stretch. — Safid Deen

49ers recover Jahmyr Gibbs fumble

After a slow start, momentum is now on San Francisco’s side.

Lions running back Jahmyr Gibbs fumbled the football on Detroit’s first offensive play following San Francisco’s touchdown. The football was recovered by 49ers defensive lineman Arik Armstead at Detroit’s 24-yard line. — Tyler Dragon

Lions 24, 49ers 17: Brandon Aiyuk's amazing catch sets up his own TD

Brandon Aiyuk made a play that could be a catch of the year candidate.

On first-and-10 from San Francisco’s own 45-yard line, Brock Purdy dropped back and let the ball fly downfield for the wide receiver. The pass bounced off Detroit cornerback Kindle Vildor as the defender fell while trying to grab the interception. When the ball bounced up, Aiyuk made the heads up play and snatched it for the catch to put the 49ers at the Detroit 4-yard line.

Three plays later, Purdy found the former Arizona State standout again for a touchdown. — Victoria Hernandez

Lions WYD?

A third-and-5 run play with receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown? That was the third-down call by the Lions to set up a fourth-and-2 play.And even that play didn’t work well.Lions quarterback Jared Goff stepped away from a sack and found receiver Josh Reynolds, who couldn’t keep Detroit’s drive alive.After opening the second half with a field goal, this is San Francisco’s moment to get back into this game. — Safid Deen

Lions 24, 49ers 10: Jake Moody connects this time

The 49ers desperately needed points on their opening drive in the second half.

San Francisco didn’t get a touchdown, but they did manage to convert a field goal.

Brock Purdy completed three passes during a nine-play, 50-yard drive that ended in a 43-yard field goal by Jake Moody.

Moody had missed a 48-yard field goal attempt in the first quarter.

The 49ers still trail 24-10 early in the third period.  — Tyler Dragon

What does 'WCF' mean on the Lions' jersey?

The Lions bear the initials "WCF" on their left shoulder stripe in honor of William Clay Ford Sr., who became the franchise's controlling owner in 1963. The letters were added to the shoulder in 2017, three years after Ford's death, after the team had worn a "WCF" patch above the numbers to initially commemorate him.

The tribute mimics the "GSH" the Chicago Bears have on their uniform sleeves to honor franchise patriarch George S. Halas. The Kansas City Chiefs also wore "NKH" patches this season to honor franchise matriarch Norma Hunt, who passed away in June 2023. — Nate Davis

Air Tayvis

Kansas City Chiefs fans won’t need to wish on a plane to take them to the Super Bowl.

American Airlines is giving a wink and a nod to Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce with its non-stop route from Kansas City to Las Vegas for the Super Bowl. The outbound flight, which leaves the afternoon of Feb. 10, is AA1989, the year both Swift and Kelce were born and the title of her most recently released (re-recorded) album. The return, a redeye after the Super Bowl, is flight number 87, Kelce’s number.

The pop superstar and the Chiefs tight end have been dating since last summer, and she’s become a regular presence at Kanas City games, including Sunday’s AFC championship. — Nancy Armour

Kristin Juszczyk shows off jersey coat she made for NFC championship

Kristin Juszczyk’s jersey coat that she made for Taylor Swift went viral.

But the pop superstar's outfit was just a blip in the designer's fashion journey. She continued her series of stylish pieces by making herself a long coat for the NFC championship.

Juszczyk, who is the wife of 49ers All-Pro fullback Kyle Juszczyk, gave fans a behind the scenes look at her coat, showing the initial drawing and the final product.

The red coat has Juszczyk’s No. 44 on the back with the words “National Football Conference Championship” stitched below. The number is split in the front by a full-length zipper. There are nameplates on the side of the coat and on the arm. The coat features striped accents along the collar, sleeves and bottom. — Victoria Hernandez

Lions lead 24-7 at halftime

The 49ers got on the board to start the second quarter with a 2-yard touchdown from Christian McCaffrey.

The Lions defense prevented them from doing much more in the half. Brock Purdy threw an interception when he tossed a deep pass to Deebo Samuel and Detroit linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez picked him off.

The Lions converted the turnover into a 15-yard touchdown run from Jahmyr Gibbs.

Detroit marched down the field again in the final minutes of the second quarter and faced fourth-and-goal. Dan Campbell has famously gone for it on fourth down much more than other teams this season, but he settled for a field goal this time.

The Lions are dominating the 49ers with 280 yards of offense compared to 131. Jared Goff has gone 13-of-20 for 145 yards. Nick Bosa has sacked him twice. — Victoria Hernandez

Lions 24, 49ers 7: Dan Campbell bypasses fourth-down try for field goal

Lions coach Dan Campbell saw the ball lined up at the 3-yard line, and thought about it.

No coach in the NFL has been more aggressive. But Campbell decided to be conservative in this instance.

The Lions kicked a field goal to take a 24-7 lead with 10 seconds left before halftime.

Hey, 28-7 would have been great. But 24-7 is better than 21-7 at the half. — Safid Deen

Lions 21, 49ers 7: Interception leads to Jahmyr Gibbs TD

Jahmyr Gibbs’ playmaking ability in the open field was on display after Detroit’s takeaway.

Five plays after Brock Purdy’s interception, the Lions tossed to Gibbs on the right side and the running back maneuvered by San Francisco defenders on the way to a 15-yard touchdown.

The Lions have 113 rushing yards on just 13 carries. — Tyler Dragon

Brock Purdy picked off by Malcolm Rodriguez

49ers quarterback Brock Purdy threw an interception with 8:47 left in the first half, giving Detroit an opportunity to extend its 14-7 lead.

Purdy’s arm collided with Lions defensive end Joshua Paschal on the throw, and linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez returned the interception.

However, Lions safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson was penalized during the return for a blindside hit on 49ers receiver Deebo Samuel to spoil Detroit’s field position.

But it didn’t matter. — Safid Deen

Party in the Motor City

Ford Field was rocking, even though the NFC championship was on the other side of the country.

Detroit Lions fans packed the stadium to watch Sunday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers. It’s the Lions’ first appearance in the NFC title game since the 1991 season, and fans are hoping their long-beleaguered team can make its first-ever trip to the Super Bowl.

The Lions set up four big screens on the field, and also have the game showing on the Jumbotrons. Tickets for the “All Grit” watch party cost $10 and sold out within hours. — Nancy Armour

Lions 14, 49ers 7: Christian McCaffrey puts 49ers on board

The 49ers responded after Detroit jumped out to a 14-0 lead.

Christian McCaffrey and the 49ers went on an eight-play, 75-yard touchdown drive to close their deficit to 14-7.

McCaffrey scored San Francisco’s first touchdown on a 2-yard run up the middle. The versatile running back also had a 28-yard catch that put the 49ers inside the Detroit 10-yard line.

McCaffrey already has 62 yards from scrimmage. — Tyler Dragon

Lions pounce on 49ers early

Detroit scored on the first drive of the game. It only took them four plays and Jameson Williams ran in a 42-yard touchdown.

Jake Moody missed a 48-yard field goal for San Francisco on the ensuing drive.

Detroit did not lay off the gas and scored a touchdown on their next possession, a 1-yard run from David Montgomery.

The Lions have 137 yards of offense with 86 on the ground. The 49ers only have 87 total yards.

Detroit is up 14-0 at the end of the first quarter. — Victoria Hernandez

Lions 14, 49ers 0: David Montgomery adds to Detroit's early lead

“His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy.”

That’s probably how 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan feels after watching the Lions take a 14-0 lead in the NFC championship game.

Lions running back David Montgomery scored on a 1-yard run up the middle with 2:34 left in the first quarter.

The 49ers, who are playing in their third straight title game, are down two touchdowns to the Lions in the first quarter. San Francisco has lost its last two NFC championship games. Safid Deen

Jake Moody misses field goal on 49ers' first drive

The 49ers’ opening drive ended with a missed field goal.

San Francisco conducted a 45-yard drive to reach Detroit's 30-yard line, but kicker Jake Moody sailed a 48-yard field goal attempt wide right.

Moody now has missed three of his last four field goals.

Wide receiver Deebo Samuel, who came in battling a shoulder injury, had one catch for 15 yards on San Francisco’s opening series. — Tyler Dragon

Lions 7, 49ers 0: Detroit strikes on opening drive

The Lions raced out of the gate for a touchdown.

The Lions ran a sweep to wide receiver Jameson Williams on the fourth play of their opening drive, and he took the football and ran 42 yards to the house for the game’s first touchdown.

Detroit’s quick series was just four plays and went 75 yards down the field in just under two minutes.

The Lions have a 7-0 lead early in the first quarter. — Tyler Dragon

Lions vs. 49ers game time

  • The Lions vs. 49ers NFC championship game is set to kick off at 6:30 p.m. ET. The game will be held at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California.

Lions vs. 49ers how to watch

Lions vs. 49ers weather

According to AccuWeather, it is projected to be quite nice for the NFC championship game, with partly sunny skies and a high temperature of 71 degrees on Sunday in Santa Clara, California.

Who is favored, Lions or 49ers?

The top NFL betting apps favor the 49ers over the Lions in the NFC championship game.

Lions vs. 49ers spread   

The 49ers are 7-point favorites over the Lions according to the BetMGM NFL odds.

Lions vs. 49ers over under   

The over-under is 51, according to the BetMGM NFL odds.

Lions vs. 49ers moneyline  

The 49ers are a -350 favorite on the moneyline. Meanwhile, the Lions are a +275 underdog, according to the BetMGM NFL odds.

Lions vs. 49ers predictions: Who will win NFC championship?

USA TODAY Sports' staff picks for the game:

  • Lorenzo Reyes: 49ers 29, Lions 24 — The 49ers simply have the stronger roster, but the Lions actually match up fairly well. Detroit excels at stopping the run, which could limit the effectiveness of Christian McCaffrey. The Lions are certainly weaker on the back end, but San Francisco may be dealt a blow with the health of Deebo Samuel. I think this game stays closer and Detroit covers because the San Francisco secondary has yielded big plays and may have difficulty containing Amon-Ra St. Brown and Sam LaPorta.

  • Tyler Dragon: 49ers 27, Lions 21 — The 49ers are advancing the NFC championship game for the third consecutive season and fourth time in the last five years. While the Lions have exceeded expectations on their way to the conference championship. Watch the battle in the trenches. These two teams excel in that area. But the 49ers have the more complete team and a stout defense headlined by All-Pro linebacker Fred Warner and 2022 NFL Defensive Player of the Year defensive end Nick Bosa. Deebo Samuel’s shoulder injury is concern. The 49ers aren’t the same without the versatile wideout, but San Francisco’s defense is going to make the Lions uncomfortable.

  • Safid Deen: Lions 29, 49ers 26 — Deebo Samuel or not, I don’t think the 49ers are ready for what’s coming to San Francisco this weekend. The Detroit Lions are playing on another level with one of the best run games in the NFL, a quarterback that’s sure of himself and his offense, and weapons across the board on both sides to reach the franchise’s first Super Bowl. Somehow, some way, Brock Purdy or Kyle Shanahan will find a way to cost their team in this one.

  • Victoria Hernandez: Lions 27, 49ers 25 — The 49ers have one of the most well-rounded offenses in the league, but Deebo Samuel's health is a major question mark. I went back and forth on this pick, but the Lions are America's Team right now and if there is a script, they are in the Super Bowl.

  • Jordan Mendoza: Lions 24, 49ers 23 — Will the magical run continue in Detroit? Despite all the weapons the 49ers have on both sides of the ball, they can only go as far as Brock Purdy takes them. The shaky performance against Green Bay is enough to believe the Lions can put the pressure against the 49ers offense, while the passing game is able to exploit the San Francisco secondary. Detroit pulls off the shocker, and plays for the Lombardi Trophy for the first time in team history.

NFC championship game winner faces Chiefs in Super Bowl 58

Patrick Mahomes, Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs are heading back to the Super Bowl.

Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift will be there, too.

Mahomes threw a touchdown to Kelce in the first quarter, Chiefs running back Isaiah Pacheco ran for another, and the Chiefs beat MVP favorite Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens, 17-10, to win the AFC championship game on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.

The Chiefs advance to the Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas on Feb. 11, and await the winner of the NFC championship game. — Safid Deen

Deebo Samuel delights young fan with giveaway

Deebo Samuel delighted one San Francisco 49ers fan even before the NFC championship began.

Samuel was on the field for warmups when he spotted a young fan standing behind the end zone. He tossed his headphones to the boy as he walked toward him, then pulled out a Sharpie and signed them. The boy, who was wearing a Niners jersey and hat, looked stunned as he looked up at Samuel.

The Niners wide receiver’s status for Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions had been in doubt during the week after he injured his shoulder last week against the Green Bay Packers. But Samuel was able to practice without restrictions Friday and was taken off the injury list. — Nancy Armour

Lions vs. 49ers playoff history: An epic old-school playoff 

When the Buffalo Bills rallied from 32 points down to defeat the Houston Oilers in a 1992 AFC wild-card game, it broke a playoff record that was set back in 1957 when the San Francisco 49ers hosted the Detroit Lions in a Western Conference playoff game.

The 49ers hosted the Lions — a 1950s NFL powerhouse that had won two titles earlier in the decade — and stormed out to a 24-7 lead at halftime and tacked on a field goal in the third quarter to go up 27-7. After that, the bottom fell out on the 49ers, whose shot at title glory slipped away and wouldn't be recaptured until the 1980s. Tom "The Bomb" Tracy scored two touchdowns to trim the 49ers' lead to 27-21 entering the fourth quarter, when the Lions added another touchdown and a field goal to pull off the dramatic comeback at Kezar Stadium. A week later, the Lions defeated the Cleveland Browns, 59-14, for the team's last championship. That 1957 dramatic comeback against the 49ers represents the last road playoff win for the Lions.

The 49ers and Lions met one other time in the playoffs, this time during the 1983 season in what was another thriller. Despite a 114-yard, two-touchdown performance from Lions running back Billy Sims, the 49ers pulled out a 24-23 divisional playoff win. San Francisco lost to Washington in that season's NFC championship game. — Jim Reineking

Ex-Lions safety Glover Quin stirs up 49ers fans on airplane

Glover Quin, who played 10 seasons in the NFL including six with the Lions, posted a video on social media of himself having some fun with 49ers fans while entering an airplane.

"Y'all watch this," Quin says as he walks onto the plane. "When I get on the plane, I'm gonna start saying, 'Let's go Lions!"

Quin reverses the view to show plenty of fans wearing 49ers gear, but at least one wearing a Lions jersey. He then starts the chant amid boos and smiles from the San Francisco faithful. — Casey Moore

Detroit construction site replaces American flag with Lions flag

The Motor City is rallying behind their Detroit Lions.

So much so that a local construction site replaced the American flag with one featuring the team’s logo.

According to’s David Harns, the workers at the Hudson’s site skyscraper raised a Lions fan in lieu of the Star-Spangled banner, which they usually fly over the weekends and on game days.

The Hudson project was aiming to be the tallest building in Detroit, but a change of plans in 2020 allowed the Renaissance Center to keep its crown. — Victoria Hernandez

Detroit Opera House breaks out in 'Jared Goff' chants ahead of NFC championship

Taylor Swift is not the only one bridging the gap between the sports and entertainment worlds.

The Detroit Lions have captured non-traditional fans too.

Ahead of the team’s NFC championship game, the Detroit Opera House broke out in chants of “Jared Goff.” The crowd was anticipating an afternoon showing of the hit Broadway musical “Wicked" based on the witches in "The Wizard of Oz."

The quarterback will attempt to throw water and evaporate the 49ers’ reign at 6:30 p.m. ET. — Victoria Hernandez

What was world like last time Lions played in NFC title game?

The date was Jan. 12, 1992. Detroit faced Washington for the chance to advance to the Super Bowl, but it was dominated in a 31-point loss to the eventual league champion. After that, the Lions went 31 seasons without ever reaching the championship round or winning another playoff game.

In that time between NFC championship appearances, the world has drastically evolved. — Jordan Mendoza

49ers playoff history  

The 49ers own a 38-24 all-time record in playoff games. Last week's divisional round win pushed the 49ers past the Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots for the most playoff victories in NFL history. In seven Super Bowl appearances, San Francisco has won five times (Super Bowl XVI, Super Bowl XIX, Super Bowl XXIII, Super Bowl XXIV, Super Bowl XXIX). The 49ers have lost the previous two NFC championship games.

Lions playoff history 

The Lions own a 9-13 all-time playoff record, though the team had lost nine straight playoff games from the 1991 through 2016 seasons before winning wild-card and divisional playoff games this season. In the last two weeks, the Lions have tripled the number of playoff wins they've had since the AFL-NFL merger. The team won a divisional playoff game during the 1991 season for its only playoff victory since the 1957 NFL championship game. Prior to the Super Bowl era, the Lions won four NFL championships (1935, 1952, 1953 and 1957).

NFC title preview: Which 49er do you stop first? Does experience count?

The NFC championship game matchup features a deep, tested team against one that has nothing to lose.

49ers are the anti-heroes of the NFC championship game

People who hate puppies. Anyone who plays videos or takes calls in public without using headphones. The folks who put the milk back in the refrigerator even though there’s only five drops left in the carton.

And now, the San Francisco 49ers.

Yes, the NFC’s No. 1 seed has joined the list of the universally hated this week. The 49ers’ great sin? Besides their stadium? They happen to be playing the Detroit Lions, who’ve become America’s new favorite team after decades of futility, in the NFC championship on Sunday. — Nancy Armour

Dan Campbell has come a long way since The Meathead Speech

Fans got a good glimpse of the energy Dan Campbell brings to the Lions during the 2022 training camp edition of "Hard Knocks," in which he gave some memorable speeches.

The man who promised that the Lions were going to kick teams in the teeth and bite kneecaps in his first press conference with the team did not disappoint.

"It doesn’t matter if you have one (expletive) cheek and three toes, I’ll beat your (expletive)," Campbell told his team.

If you look back at this Lions season, so much of it is embodied in that speech. He was setting the table for this moment. — Mike Freeman

Lions inactives against 49ers

  • Steven Gilmore, CB

  • Charles Harris, DL

  • Hendon Hooker, QB (emergency QB)

  • Jonah Jackson, G

  • Brodric Martin, DL

  • Kalif Raymold, WR

  • Tracy Walker, S

Lions depth chart 


  • WR: Jameson Williams, Antoine Green

  • WR: Amon-Ra St. Brown, Donovan Peoples-Jones

  • LT: Taylor Decker, Dan Skipper

  • LG: Kayode Awosika

  • C: Frank Ragnow, Graham Glasgow

  • RG: Graham Glasgow

  • RT: Penei Sewell, Colby Sorsdal

  • TE: Sam LaPorta, Brock Wright, Anthony Firkser

  • WR: Josh Reynolds

  • QB: Jared Goff, Teddy Bridgewater, Hendon Hooker

  • RB: David Montgomery, Jahmyr Gibbs, Craig Reynolds


  • DL: Josh Paschal, John Cominsky

  • DL: Alim McNeill

  • DL: Benito Jones, Levi Onwuzurike

  • DL: Aidan Hutchinson, Romeo Okwara, James Houston

  • LB: Derrick Barnes, Jack Campbell, Anthony Pittman

  • LB: Alex Anzalone, Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Malcolm Rodriguez

  • CB: Cameron Sutton, Chase Lucas

  • CB: Kindle Vildor, Khalil Dorsey

  • NCB: Brian Branch, Will Harris

  • S: Ifeatu Melifonwu

  • S: Kerby Joseph, C.J. Gardner-Johnson

49ers inactives against Lions

  • Samuel Womack III, CB

  • Ronnie Bell, WR

  • Willie Snead IV, WR

  • Jalen Graham, LB

  • Brandon Allen, QB

  • Curtis Robinson, LB

  • Matt Pryor, OL

49ers depth chart 


  • WR: Brandon Aiyuk, Ray-Ray McCloud III

  • LT: Trent Williams, Jaylon Moore

  • LG: Aaron Banks, Jon Feliciano

  • C: Jake Brendel

  • RG: Spencer Burford, Ben Bartch

  • RT: Colton McKivitz

  • TE: George Kittle, Charlie Woerner, Brayden Willis

  • RB: Christian McCaffrey, Elijah Mitchell, Jordan Mason

  • WR: Deebo Samuel, Jauan Jennings, Chris Conley

  • FB: Kyle Juszczyk

  • QB: Brock Purdy, Sam Darnold


  • LDE: Clelin Ferrell, Chase Young

  • LDT: Arik Armstead, Kevin Givens, Sebastian Joseph-Day

  • RDT: Javon Hargrave, Javon Kinlaw

  • RDE: Nick Bosa, Randy Gregory, Robert Beal Jr.

  • SAM: Oren Burks

  • MIKE: Fred Warner, Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles

  • WILL: Dre Greenlaw, Dee Winters

  • LCB: Charvarius Ward

  • RCB: Deommodore Lenoir, Ambry Thomas, Darrell Luter Jr.

  • NB: Isaiah Oliver

  • FS: Tashaun Gipson Sr.

  • SS: Ji'Ayir Brown, Logan Ryan

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 49ers vs. Lions: Highlights from San Francisco's NFC championship win