The San Francisco 49ers (13-4) closed out the regular season with their 10th straight win on Sunday, beating the Arizona Cardinals, 38-13 and sweeping the NFC West for the first time since 1997.

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That is all well and good, but now it’s playoffs time and the No. 2 seed has its eyes on the Super Bowl.

“That’s the main focus and goal,” said 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy. “…[W]e’re at the point in the season where it’s man, the regular season’s over and now the tournament starts and this is the real ball that really matters…So [head coach Kyle Shanahan] definitely stressed that to us after the game today and we’re already getting ready for what’s to come.”

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The first thing, or team, to come are the division-rival Seattle Seahawks (9-8), who the 49ers will host on Saturday at 1:35 pm PT at Levi’s Stadium. The 49ers clinched the division when they beat the Seahawks, 21-13, at Lumen Field on Dec. 15, while beating them at home, 27-7, on Sept. 18.

Shanahan believes the 49ers have improved since the Dec. 15 game.

“The more we play together, the more our guys stay healthy, the better they get,” Shanahan said. “I think our running game has gotten better with the way we’ve been blocking. I think having Deebo [Samuel] out, having Elijah [Mitchell] out, it’s allowed to put more pressure on other guys, which usually that helps guys,  and I think it has. I think Christian [McCaffrey’s] got a lot more used to our style and I think he’s getting better as it goes. And sometimes it takes time to click and I think we’re getting better with time.”

On Sunday, the 49ers got two very important pieces of their offense back in WR Deebo Samuel and RB Elijah Mitchell, both of whom had been out several weeks.

Mitchell came back swinging with five carries for 55 yards and two rushing touchdowns.

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“I am feeling pretty good physically, it took a little bit, but I was right on track,” Mitchell said. “I’m where I am supposed to be.”

The 49ers head into the playoffs with the rookie Purdy at quarterback. ICYMI, Purdy is a rookie who was the last pick in the 2022 NFL draft. After starting the season as the third-string QB, Purdy came in for the injured Jimmy Garoppolo on Dec. 11, has played like a veteran and is 5-0 as a starter.

Tight end George Kittle had four touchdowns receptions before the Purdy era. He finished the season with 11.

“Brock does a great job of just keeping me in his first read,” Kittle said. “I’ve taken advantage of that opportunity to get open for him to throw it. But when the plays breaks down, he does such a good job of keeping his eyes up and he always looks for the back of the end zone. I think Brock is just a good football player that tries to give his guys a good shot at scoring touchdowns and getting the ball and we’ve been very fortunate to connect on seven of them.”

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Defensive lineman Nick Bosa recorded his league-leading 18.5 sack on Sunday, before being pulled from the game in the second half. Although he had a goal of tying Aldon Smith’s franchise-record of 19.5, Bosa was fine coming out.

“I talked to [Shanahan] early in the week and my main goal was to lead the league and we’ve got a lot more important things to do,” Bosa said.

The 49ers need four more wins to win the Super Bowl, and Bosa sounded like a man who was confident they’d be playing in four more games.

“We’re going to be playing a lot of good teams these next four games,” Bosa said. “We definitely have to lock in.”

And so January/February Madness begins.

“The thing that has remained true through these past 10 games is that it’s a one game season every week,” LB Fred Warner said. “And, obviously, now more than ever, that’s what this is. Win or go home…And now that’s carrying us right over into the postseason, into the tournament, and putting us right where we want to be. And it’s about just recommitting ourselves to what we want at the end of this thing.”

Bosa, who called himself a “hermit” during the season, feels it too.

“It’s hard for 17 games of a regular season when teams are in all in different positions,” Bosa said. “Some teams aren’t playing for anything. Some teams are playing for everything. It’s hard to keep the same grind and focus for the whole 17. But when the playoffs come around, there’s a whole new energy.”

Fun Facts

  • The 49ers defense had four takeaways – two interceptions from Tashuan Gipson Sr., one interception from George Odum and one fumble recovery by Michael Dwumfour on a strip sack by Jordan Willis.
Tracy Sandler

Tracy Sandler

I created Fangirl Sports Network as a place for female sports fans to follow their favorite teams with content and coverage that speaks directly to females. It started with one and then eight and now 32 NFL Fangirls and 15 NBA Fangirls.