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Monday, January 16, 2012
These 49ers prove they can win many ways

By Mike Sando

The San Francisco 49ers defeated the previously 5-0 Detroit Lions on the road after losing a fumble on their first play and never forcing a turnover.

They ground out a 13-8 victory on the road against a rookie quarterback, Andy Dalton.

They won what turned into a 36-32 postseason shootout against the NFL's hottest quarterback, Drew Brees.

They came back from 20 points down in the second half to beat Philadelphia on the road. They ran away from previously 3-1 Tampa Bay to win a blowout, 48-3.

With the 49ers sitting one victory away from the Super Bowl, I went through their games looking for threads tying together their victories and defeats this season.

Turnovers are generally key for any team; the 49ers led the league in differential. But as the game against Detroit demonstrated, the 49ers could beat a good team on the road without prevailing in that pivotal category. That was one of six games this season the 49ers won after trailing in the fourth quarter.

A few things jumped out over the course of the season, counting playoffs:
Those are a few variables I noticed. There are quite a few others, surely. Which ones matter most in your view?