The San Francisco 49ers’ appearance in the Super Bowl is surprising enough.
But even more surprising than their appearance in the Super Bowl is the way they got there — more specifically, how they won the NFC championship game.
The 49ers thoroughly dismantled the Green Bay Packers 37-20, fueled by a first half where they outscored the Packers 27-0.
San Francisco’s vaunted defense helped pave the way, intercepting Aaron Rodgers twice and prying a fumble from him.
But such a dominant win requires success on offense as well.
The 49ers had plenty of success on that side of the ball, but it didn’t come through the air, like most big scoring days occur in the modern NFL.
Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo played a mistake-free game, but threw for only 77 yards and none of the team’s four touchdowns.
Instead, the vast majority of the team’s offensive production came on the ground.
But the 49ers didn’t rely on a big-money star running back to get the job done against Green Bay.
They punched a ticket to their first Super Bowl appearance since 2013 on the back of Raheem Mostert, a player who had been on seven different NFL teams (and cut from six of them) in his 5-year career.
Mostert wasn’t just good in the NFC championship game — he was historic.
There’s a strong case to be made that Mostert’s 220 rushing yards and four touchdowns constitute the best playoff performance by a running back in NFL history.
Only the great Eric Dickerson ever rushed for more yards (248) in a playoff game, but he also only scored two touchdowns and carried the ball five more times than Mostert did.
— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) January 19, 2020
That’s a HAT TRICK for @RMos_8Ball 😏
— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) January 20, 2020
Getting cut from teams is a normal part of professional sports, but it is rare for someone to endure the sheer number of cuts that Mostert has and still come out on top.
After Mostert’s big performance, he explained how he has used the cuts as motivation.
“I actually still have the cut dates and I look at that before every game,” Mostert told reporters.
Raheem Mostert was cut by six different teams before landing on the 49ers.
He still looks at the list of all six teams and the cut date of when they released him for motivation.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 20, 2020
“I would like to thank God first and foremost for blessing not only myself but everybody in the organization to be in the position that we’re in,” Mostert said.
During Super Bowl media availability Monday, Mostert expanded on how God has helped him persevere through his struggles.
He even revealed he has a Bible verse tattooed on his chest.
“I’ve got a Bible verse on my chest — Psalm 23:4-6, and it goes: ‘Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for God is with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.’ And that right there in itself explains my life,” Mostert said.
“Everything that I went through … I’ve been through darkness, and I’ve been able to come out with the light and the good Lord’s prayer and his Word.
Mostert has been vocal about his faith multiple times on social media through the years:
God’s plan is the best plan.
— Raheem Mostert (@RMos_8Ball) September 8, 2016
Thank God for giving the opportunity to live another day! Can’t thank him enough! #Blessed
— Raheem Mostert (@RMos_8Ball) April 16, 2012
Mostert wasn’t the only 49ers running back speaking out about his faith before the Super Bowl.
“I’ve been a big believer since day one. I’m a big believer that everything happens for a reason.”
— Sports Spectrum (@Sports_Spectrum) January 29, 2020
Fellow 49ers running back Matt Breida Sports Spectrum’s Jason Romano this week that he’s been “a big believer since day one.”
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