49ers punch ticket to Super Bowl after defeating Lions in NFC Championship
History will have to wait for the Detroit Lions after they lost to the 49ers in the NFC Championship, and we break down what it will take for San Francisco to win it all.
The 32 things we learned from the conference championship games of the 2023 NFL season:
1. Super Bowl 58 will be the ninth “rematch” in the game's history and comes four years after the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers met in Super Bowl 54.
2. And while NFL teams change significantly over a four-year period, Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes, TE Travis Kelce and DT Chris Jones, and Niners TE George Kittle, DE Nick Bosa and WR Deebo Samuel are among the top players who also Appearing in Kansas City's 31-20 win at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami capped the 2019 season.
3. The other franchises that met in multiple Super Bowls? Steelers-Cowboys (twice), Washington-Dolphins, 49ers-Bengals, Bills-Cowboys, Giants-Patriots, Patriots-Eagles and Patriots-Rams.
4. One more win and the 49ers will join New England and Pittsburgh as the only franchises with six Lombardi Trophies.
4a. One more win and the Chiefs will become the first team to win two straight Super Bowls since the Patriots in 2003 and 2004.
5. The current gap between repeat winners is 19 years, the longest in the Super Bowl era, which began in 1966.
6. The Chiefs became only the third team to reach the Super Bowl four times in five years, a feat previously achieved by the Bills and Patriots.
7. Kansas City could become the first team since the 2006 Colts to be the third seed in the playoffs and win it all.
8th. Sunday marked the first AFC title game in six years not to be played at Kansas City's Arrowhead Stadium.
8a. It was also the first to be played in Baltimore in 53 years.
9. San Francisco's 19 conference title round appearances are three more than any other franchise.
10. The 49ers' comeback from a 24-7 deficit against the Detroit Lions – which included a run of 27 consecutive points in the second half – tied the record for largest victory in the NFC Championship Game… tied with the 2012 Niners, who survived the Atlanta Falcons.
11. San Francisco's seven-game home winning streak is currently its longest in the playoffs.
12. Super Bowl 58 pits 49ers HC's Kyle Shanahan against Kansas City's Andy Reid in the fourth coaching rematch of Super Sunday.
13. Good news for Reid, all previous games – Pittsburgh's Chuck Noll against Dallas' Tom Landry, Dallas' Jimmy Johnson against Buffalo's Marv Levy and the Giants' Tom Coughlin against New England's Bill Belichick – ended in a sweep.
14. Sunday marked Reid's 11th appearance in a conference championship game. Only Belichick (13) has more.
15. Next, Reid is headed to his fifth Super Bowl, joining Belichick (9) and Hall of Famers Don Shula (6) and Landry (5) as the only head coaches to do so.
16. Mahomes, 28, is expected to become the first quarterback to start four Super Bowls before turning 30.
17. He is also the first person to play in seven straight postseason games without throwing an interception.
18. With 11 catches on Sunday, Kelce surpassed Jerry Rice's record (151) for postseason receptions. Kelce is still going strong and is now at 156.
19. Baltimore TEs Isaiah Likely and Mark Andrews weren't nearly as strong, combining for four receptions and 31 yards.
19a. But we credit Andrews for even taking the field, returning just 10 weeks after suffering leg and ankle injuries that the Baltimore Ravens initially believed would end his season.
20. The Ravens managed just 81 rushing yards on Sunday, the only time all season that the NFL's top-ranked ground attack failed to rush for at least 100 yards.
20a. Baltimore's running backs were only allowed six runs against Kansas City.
21. Sunday's highlight was arguably Baltimore QB Lamar Jackson's 13-yard pass-and-catch, the longest postseason completion by a player alone in the Super Bowl era.
22. Jackson, who ran the ball eight times for a team-high 54 yards, joined Steve Young, Josh Allen, Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick as the only quarterbacks to rush for at least 500 career yards in the postseason.
23. 49ers QB Brock Purdy will try to become the third “Mr. “Irrelevant” winning a Super Bowl.
24. Purdy can also rival Ben Roethlisberger as the only player to win a Super Bowl and play in two conference championship games in his first two seasons.
24a. Purdy has a 4-0 record in playoff games he starts and finishes.
25. Whether it was an extra point or a field goal attempt, Niners rookie Jake Moody has missed a kick in three straight games.
26. The Lions remain one of four NFL teams to never reach the Super Bowl. However, they are the only team in the league that failed to achieve this goal despite being active throughout the season.
26a. The other squads without Super Sunday: Cleveland Browns, Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars.
27. Detroit hasn't won a road playoff game since the 1957 season.
28. The home teams finished the 2023 playoffs with a record of 9-3, with the upcoming Super Bowl classified as a neutral game.
28a. The Chiefs, who had never played away from Arrowhead in the postseason since Mahomes became their starter, had two of the three wins by an away team.
29. Detroit's Jared Goff, who helped the Rams reach Super Bowl 53, fell just short of becoming the fifth quarterback to lead two franchises to the Super Bowl.
30. It's better to prepare the defense, Niners — the Chiefs have scored points in their opener in eight straight postseason games.
31. San Francisco RB Christian McCaffrey's 25 touchdowns this season, including playoffs, surpassed Rice's previous club mark (23 in 1987, although that was a strikeout-shortened season).
32. And as we reach the end, Ravens WR Odell Beckham Jr. says he didn't do it. He caught three balls for 22 yards on Sunday, which may have been his last in a Ravens uniform. However, OBJ said in the locker room afterwards that he plans to continue his career and hopes Baltimore will re-sign him.
Follow USA TODAY Sports' Nate Davis on X, formerly Twitter @ByNateDavis.