Jan 9, 2022; Inglewood, California, USA;  San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) sets to pass the ball in the first half of the game against the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

49ers streak into NFC Championship Game vs. Rams

The San Francisco 49ers have won six straight games against the Los Angeles Rams and seek to maintain that mastery in the postseason when they travel to Inglewood, Calif., to face the fourth-seeded Rams in Sunday’s NFC Championship Game.

Sixth-seeded San Francisco recorded wins of 31-10 at home and 27-24 in overtime on the road in this season’s two regular-season meetings with the Rams. The latter meeting, in Week 18, saw the 49ers overcome a 17-0 deficit to clinch a playoff spot at SoFi Stadium.

The stakes are higher now with San Francisco in its fifth NFC title game in the past 11 seasons and Los Angeles in its second in the past four.

The Rams reached the title game despite blowing a 24-point lead against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the divisional round. Matthew Stafford’s crucial 44-yard pass to Cooper Kupp led to Matt Gay’s decisive 30-yard game-ending field goal in a 30-27 victory.

The 49ers beat the Green Bay Packers 13-10 in the divisional round Saturday without scoring an offensive touchdown, and Robbie Gould’s game-ending 45-yard field goal elevated San Francisco.

As for the Rams’ issues with the 49ers, Kupp said it will be a non-factor on Sunday.

“The Niners have done a great job against us the past few years,” Kupp said after Wednesday’s practice. “You learn from the past and you have to be ready to move forward. We don’t live in a world where we need past motivations.”

San Francisco quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo doesn’t see the streak giving his team an advantage.

“Every game’s different,” Garoppolo said. “So the feel of it, the flow of it, last time we played the Rams when we were down (and) it didn’t feel like we were in control of that one. So I think each one has its own flavor to it.”

Stafford is aiming to give the Rams a better showing after throwing two interceptions in each of the losses to the 49ers.

Stafford was picked off eight times over the Rams’ final four regular-season contests. He has turned that around in the postseason by not tossing any during wins over the Arizona Cardinals and Bucs.

Stafford engineered his 43rd career winning drive in the fourth quarter or overtime of his 13-year career against Tampa Bay, but it was his first in the postseason. He went 0-3 in the playoffs with the Detroit Lions before being dealt to the Rams last offseason.

“It means a lot,” Stafford said of the game-winning drive that began with 42 seconds remaining. “That’s a lot of hard work for a lot of years going into a short amount of time. A lot of hard work this year, too, with some great teammates.

“That’s the thing I’ve loved, and I’ve really appreciated in being a part of this team is how many guys we have pulling the rope in the right direction, doing everything they can to be prepared for those moments.”

Kupp has put together a wide receiver season for the ages. He led the NFL in receptions (145), receiving yardage (1,947) and touchdown receptions (16) and has tacked on 14 catches for 244 yards and two scores in the playoffs.

But San Francisco star defensive end Nick Bosa and his mates shut down Aaron Rodgers and the Packers last weekend after beating the Dallas Cowboys in the opening round of the playoffs.

The 49ers also have top-level confidence after recovering from a shaky 3-5 start, while observing the manner Garoppolo handled things when there were calls for him to be replaced by rookie Trey Lance.

“Jimmy G, you can’t say enough about that guy,” San Francisco tight end George Kittle said. “The (bleep) that he takes, excuse my language, consistently, people just try to pull him down, and all he does is try to deliver. He leads this team, he has a sense of calm in the huddle, he has a sense of calm in the storm, and he allows us to play football at a high level.”

Garoppolo is still dealing with a thumb injury on his throwing (right) hand, but 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said his QB’s previous shoulder injury is no longer an issue. Left tackle Trent Williams (ankle) and running back Elijah Mitchell (knee) were among the players who missed practice on Wednesday.

For Los Angeles, safety Taylor Rapp (concussion) and left tackle Andrew Whitworth (knee) were limited practice participants. Rapp has missed both postseason games and Whitworth sat out versus the Buccaneers, but both appear in line to play Sunday.

The teams have met in the NFC title game once before when the Joe Montana-led 49ers routed the Rams 30-3 in the 1989 conference championship game at San Francisco.

–Field Level Media

Jan 16, 2022; Arlington, Texas, USA; San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa (97) on the field before the game against the Dallas Cowboys in a NFC Wild Card playoff football game at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

49ers DE Nick Bosa clears concussion protocol, will play Saturday

San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa cleared concussion protocol Friday and will play in Saturday’s NFC divisional-round road playoff game against the Green Bay Packers.

Bosa was listed as questionable to play as recently as Thursday after he was injured in Sunday’s wild card-round victory over the Dallas Cowboys when his head collided with the leg of an oncoming teammate. Bosa played in just 23 of 72 snaps against the Cowboys.

Bosa’s 15.5 sacks were fourth in the NFL during the regular season, and he had 21 tackles for loss, which tied the league lead.

Bosa returned to being a full participant in practice on Thursday, along with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who added a right shoulder injury Sunday to a previous thumb injury on his right (throwing) hand. Garoppolo is expected to play against the Packers.

San Francisco also placed cornerback Darqueze Dennard on the active roster along with linebacker Mark Nzeocha. Cornerback Ambry Thomas (knee) and defensive lineman Jordan Willis (ankle) remain questionable.

–Field Level Media

Dec 26, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA;  Houston Texans quarterback Davis Mills (10) drops back to pass against the Los Angeles Chargers in the second quarter at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

49ers go into matchup vs. Texans with uncertainty at QB

The San Francisco 49ers will go into a critical matchup against the Houston Texans with uncertainty at the quarterback position when the clubs meet Sunday afternoon in Santa Clara, Calif.

The 49ers (8-7) enter Week 17 tied with the Philadelphia Eagles for the sixth-best record in the NFC, with three other teams — the Minnesota Vikings, Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints — just a game behind. San Francisco finishes the regular season on the road against the Los Angeles Rams.

At the other end of the spectrum, the Texans (4-11) will take the field tied with the New York Jets and New York Giants for the third-worst record in the league. They will be looking to extend their season-best winning streak to three.

The 49ers used part of their preparation time this week determining whether starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo would be healthy enough to face the Texans.

Garoppolo sustained a Grade 3 sprain in his right thumb during on Dec. 23 during San Francisco’s 20-17 road loss to the Tennessee Titans. He threw one touchdown pass and two interceptions in the game, playing more than half the contest after getting hurt late in the second quarter.

No surgery was deemed necessary, and 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan was prepared to examine Garoppolo’s passing accuracy on a day-to-day basis leading into possibly a game-time decision Sunday.

Garoppolo missed one other game this season with a strained calf. Rookie Trey Lance got the start in a 17-10 home loss to the Arizona Cardinals in Week 5, throwing for 192 yards with one interception while rushing for a team-high 89 yards.

Shanahan insisted during the week that he is confident in Lance and in his team in general if the club must turn to the rookie again.

“I think we can handle anybody being hurt, but you still have to go out and play good football to get a win,” he said. “And it’s not just the quarterback, it’s everybody.”

The 49ers are hopeful of getting leading rusher Elijah Mitchell back from a knee injury in time to face the Texans. In the rookie’s third straight absence, San Francisco was held to 83 rushing yards in the Tennessee loss.

Houston’s back-to-back wins have come after a 2-11 start that included losses to each of the NFC West’s other three teams — 31-5 to the Cardinals, 38-22 to the Rams and 33-13 to the Seahawks.

The Texans put up a season-best point total in a stunning 41-29 home win over the playoff-hopeful Los Angeles Chargers last week. Davis Mills threw for 254 yards and two TDs while Rex Burkhead rushed for 149 yards and two scores in the win.

The trip to the San Francisco Bay Area represents a homecoming for Mills, who played his college ball at Stanford.

If the game turns into a duel between rookie quarterbacks, Texans coach David Culley likes the chances of his experienced guy (nine starts after having been the No. 67 overall selection of the draft) over a one-start rival who was selected 64 picks earlier.

“He never gets rattled,” Culley said of Mills. “He has that calm demeanor about him. He’s always thinking about things and he’s always learning.”

The interconference rivals will be meeting for just the fifth time, with the 49ers having prevailed in three of the first four, including 26-16 in the most recent meeting, at Houston in December 2017.

–Field Level Media

October 4, 2020; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw (99) during the second quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

49ers DL Javon Kinlaw to miss rest of season after knee surgery

San Francisco 49ers second-year defensive lineman Javon Kinlaw underwent knee surgery this week and will be placed on injured reserve, ending his 2021 season.

Kinlaw, 24, missed the 49ers’ season-opening 41-33 victory over the Detroit Lions and was out again in a 30-18 defeat to the Indianapolis Colts in Week 7 because of knee issues.

Knee problems were reportedly a concern after Kinlaw left South Carolina, but the 49ers still made the 6-foot-5, 319-pounder the No. 14 overall selection in the 2020 draft.

“I think the good news is they feel they solved the problem,” 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said Friday. “And obviously, it hurts, him not going to be with us this year. … (The doctor) feels that he found the issue and he thinks that’ll be good news for us next year.”

Kinlaw started 12 of 14 games last season, making 33 tackles with 1 1/2 sacks. He had eight tackles in four games this season.

–Field Level Media

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) fumbles the ball, which was recovered by the Colts, during the second half of the game Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021, at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.

Indianapolis Colts Visit The San Francisco 49ers For Nfl Week 7 At Levi S Stadium In Santa Clara Calif Sunday Oct 24 2021

Colts’ defense forces four turnovers in rain-soaked win over 49ers

Carson Wentz accounted for three touchdowns and Jonathan Taylor rushed for 107 yards and one score to help the Indianapolis Colts record a 30-18 victory over the San Francisco 49ers during a fierce rainstorm Sunday night in Santa Clara, Calif.

Darius Leonard and Al-Quadin Muhammad forced fumbles to set up touchdowns and Xavier Rhodes grabbed an interception prior to the final Indianapolis score in a contest played in a game-long deluge. Wentz rushed for one touchdown and completed 17 of 26 passes for 150 yards and tossed scoring passes to Mo Alie-Cox and Michael Pittman Jr. (four catches, 105 yards) as Indianapolis (3-4) won its second straight game.

Jimmy Garoppolo completed 16 of 27 passes for 181 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions for the 49ers (2-4), who lost their fourth straight game. Elijah Mitchell rushed for 107 yards and one touchdown and Deebo Samuel caught seven passes for 100 yards and a touchdown.

The teams combined to fumble seven times — each club losing two — in the wet conditions. San Francisco committed four turnovers while Indianapolis had two. The Colts outgained the 49ers, 295 to 280.

Muhammad made a huge play when he sacked Garoppolo and forced him to fumble and Kwity Paye recovered at the San Francisco 33-yard line with 4:38 remaining in the third quarter. Less than a minute later, Taylor scampered in from the 5 to give Indianapolis a 20-12 advantage.

San Francisco used an impressive three-play drive to move within two with 13:07 remaining. Garoppolo connected with Samuel for 29 yards, Charlie Woerner for 27 and Samuel for the 14-yard score but a tying two-point pass play was batted away by Leonard.

Michael Badgley booted a 42-yard field goal to give the Colts a 23-18 edge with seven minutes remaining. Rhodes intercepted Garoppolo with 5:20 left, setting up Wentz’s 28-yard scoring pass to Pittman with 2:49 remaining.

Leonard’s forced fumble helped the Colts hold a 13-12 halftime lead. The star linebacker punched the ball away from Samuel and teammate Anthony Chesley recovered at the 49ers’ 28 with 3:02 left.

The Colts cashed in when Wentz scored on a 1-yard run with one minute left.

At the outset, Mitchell scored on a 5-yard run — the extra point was wide — and Joey Slye kicked a 34-yard field goal to give San Francisco a 9-0 lead less than seven minutes into the game. Indianapolis scored on Wentz’s 11-yard pass to Cox nearly three minutes later before Slye boomed a 56-yard field goal with 2:27 left in the first period.

— Field Level Media

Nov 16, 2020; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Bears cornerback Buster Skrine (24) walks off the field after losing to the Minnesota Vikings at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports

49ers sign veteran CB Buster Skrine to 1-year deal

The San Francisco 49ers signed veteran cornerback Buster Skrine to a one-year deal Wednesday.

Terms were not disclosed.

Skrine, 32, was released by the Chicago Bears in March to free up cap space.

He played in 12 games last season (three starts) with the Bears, finishing with 66 tackles, three passes defensed and a forced fumble.

Skrine has nine career interceptions and 573 tackles in 151 games (92 starts) with the Cleveland Browns (2011-14), New York Jets (2015-18) and Bears. He was selected by the Browns in the fifth round of the 2011 draft.

The 49ers also opened the injured reserve practice windows for cornerback Davontae Harris and defensive tackle Maurice Hurst.

–Field Level Media