Originally written on The Sports Headquarters  |  Last updated 11/20/14
Coming off an agonizing NFC Championship loss, the 49ers felt they were only a few minor tweaks away from getting to the Super Bowl and erasing the bitter taste of 2011. They aimed to shore up their offense by (unsuccessfully) going after Peyton Manning which resulted in a messy situation with off-contract starter Alex Smith who himself was flirting with Miami. All was resolved and the 49ers brought their quarterback at a slightly higher price than initially hoped. Their skill positions were addressed in free agency and the draft with receivers Randy Moss, Mario Manningham and A.J. Jenkins coming to the team in free agency and the draft respectively. While neither of those acquisitions set the world on fire in the red and gold, Jenkins failed to see the field for most of the season, they all provided extra depth and decent contributions when they needed to. Second round pick LaMichael James came on during the season as a kick returner and spot duty running back providing a home run threat that can change momentum on a single play. The 49ers thought they had made enough improvements to get their team over the line but only time would tell if they would be enough. After a – preseason, the 49ers travelled to Green Bay on the opening weekend for an early bout between NFC heavyweights. Randy Moss made his presence felt with a touchdown catch in the 49ers 30-22 victory in Lambeau Field. Their bright start hit the skids in week three against the Minnesota Vikings where they were upset and the team was reminded about the limitations of their offense with Alex Smith under center. They responded perfectly to the loss with a 32-0 thumping of the Jets and a 45-3 win over Buffalo. Their NFC Championship rematch with the Giants turned into a nightmare for them losing 26-3 as Alex Smith had the worst game of the season throwing three interceptions. A seven point win over Seattle on Thursday Night Football before a convincing win over Arizona on Monday Night sent them into their bye at 6-2 and in relatively good shape in terms of a playoff berth. A home game against St Louis after the bye changed the course of the 49ers season mostly for the better, despite the uncertainty in the immediate aftermath of the game. Alex Smith left the game with a concussion thrusting second year backup Colin Kaepernick into the spotlight as the 49ers managed to survive the scrappy Rams and get away with a tie. The big play potential of Kaepernick revitalized the offense and gave them an entirely new dimension thanks to his running ability. Kaepernick’s perfromances in wins over the Bears and Saints convinced the coaching staff that he was worth sticking with for the remainder of the season as the team’s quarterback despite Smith’s return to health. An overtime loss to the Rams and a win over the Dolphins sent them into New England for the game of the year at 9-3-1 and in contention for a first round bye. A win over the Patriots at Gillette Stadium would send a real message to the rest of the league about their Super Bowl credentials. After jumping out to a dominating 31-3 lead, the Patriots fought back to tie the game before San Francisco showed some remarkable resiliency to regain the lead and hold off New England. A demoralizing loss in Seattle the next week sent their playoff hopes spiraling before a lucky break in the final week lead to the 49ers getting the second overall seed and a first round bye. That first round bye proved to be incredibly advantageous as the 49ers were hosting the divisional round match against the Packers instead of making a return trip to Lambeau Field. That Saturday night saw any doubt about coach Harbaugh’s decision to stick with Kaepernick immediately removed. It turned into a coming out party for the young 49ers star as he broke Michael Vick’s rushing record in a playoff game with 181 yards and two scores to complement his 2 scoring passes. All of this came after an interception return for a touchdown on his first drive and it lead to a 49ers victory and a trip to Atlanta for the NFC Championship. Down 17-0 in the second quarter, it looked like that would be the end of San Francisco’s season before a rally lead to the game being competitive again going into the fourth quarter. A Frank Gore touchdown followed by a couple of defensive stands gave the 49ers a victory and a trip to the Super Bowl to erase the memories of their heartbreaking loss last season.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

AUDIO: Reds skipper Bryan Price drops 77 f-bombs in rant

Monty Williams: Warriors home crowd noise 'out of hand'

LT thinks Philip Rivers won’t play for Chargers in 2015

Report: Kevin Ollie 'seriously considered' for Thunder job

Floyd Mayweather: I'm a better fighter than Muhammad Ali

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Video emerges of Warren Sapp talking about prostitute arrest

Chip Kelly in 2011: Tim Tebow is not our team's QB type

NBA commissioner: Sports gambling is 'good for business'

RG3 'wouldn't be bummed' if Redskins don't pick up option

Adrian Peterson would be the death of the Cowboys

Raptors GM fined $35K for comment about Paul Pierce

Cubs will reportedly call up prospect Addison Russell

Brewers' Scooter Gennett shares photo of nasty shower injury

WATCH: Fan at Pirates game hit by foul ball through netting

Hall of Famer Jim Palmer blasts David Ortiz over ejection

WATCH: President Obama leads 'O-H-I-O' chant

Fred Hoiberg shares video of him walking after heart surgery

DeAndre Jordan geeks out at Batman Exhibit

Philly welcomes Tim Tebow with 'tebowing' pretzel

Marshall Henderson trolls Erin Andrews over Stoll arrest

Steve Ballmer turned Lakers locker room into owner's lounge

Alex Rodriguez: Heir to the Empire

The Tim Tebow lottery ticket

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Mayweather: I'm better than Ali

WATCH: Sapp talks prostitute arrest

Jim Palmer blasts David Ortiz

Wayne Taylor Racing No. 10 car wins at Long Beach

Pat Riley takes shot at LeBron?

Philly welcomes Tim Tebow with 'tebowing' pretzel

Stop the Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady debate

Alex Rodriguez: Heir to the Empire

The Tim Tebow lottery ticket

If Tony Parker's not right, it's going to go wrong for Spurs

So the Mets might be contenders

Why Billy Donovan won't go to Oklahoma City

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.