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UPDATE: This is CUE training for Tuesday

About the only way the 49ers’ win Sunday over the Los Angeles Rams could have been any better is if it would have led to a rematch of the two teams in the first round of the playoffs.

Instead, it will be the Dallas Cowboys, and oh won’t the nostalgia be thick all week with everything from “The Catch” and Steve Young’s Candlestick Park victory lap to some heartbreaking title game losses to Jerry Jones’ crew.

It’s pretty apparent the 49ers can beat anybody, so it’s not as if Dallas can’t be conquered on the road. But what the 49ers’ Week 18 win proved is that they’re not going to lose to the Rams.

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The 49ers lost four straight early in the season, then came out of a 3-5 record as a “formula” team. They could beat anyone as long as they ran the ball, controlled the clock and kept things from going sideways. It was never more evident than on Nov. 15 when they beat the Rams 34-10. The 49ers opened with an 18-play touchdown drive, controlled the ball for 39 minutes, and beat the Rams for the fifth straight time.

But here’s the thing – the 49ers are a No. 6 seed with a 10-7 record — but they’re not that team anymore.

They’ve got the Rams’ number for sure, having won six straight times. But the way they did it Sunday strayed from the formula and was the opposite of their Monday night game in Santa Clara. This time the 49ers fell behind 17-0, made mistakes in all three phases and looked for all the world to be a team that would be on the outside looking in when the postseason begins next weekend.

Social media was calling for Trey Lance. I know I wrote them off in the second quarter. The 49ers weren’t going sideways, they were going backward.

Given a window of opportunity when Rams coach Sean McVay went with an empty backfield set on third-and-1 late in the half and Stafford was sacked, Garoppolo led the 49ers to a 42-yard field goal by Robbie Gould at the halftime gun for a 17-3 deficit.

The 49ers got the ball to open the second half, scored on a 75-yard, seven-play drive, and effectively controlled the action the rest of the way statistically in addition to simply being better and tougher.

“Our guys are real resilient and I’m very proud of them,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “I’m just glad we get to go to the tournament and be part of it. It’s hard when you have a season when you lose four in a row. In most places, when you lose four in a row it’s tough to keep guys together.”

But the 49ers did stay together, and are playing their best when it matters most.

“Just to come back the way we did shows the character of this team, just an unbelievable amount of resiliency across the board,” wide receiver Jauan Jennings said. “This team makes it easy to bounce back, because you’ve always got someone in your corner picking you up.”

The following traits make the 49ers a team that is capable of making a deep run into the playoffs, just as was forecast by industry insiders and outsiders starting in the offseason:

– A quarterback in Jimmy Garoppolo who can overcome mistakes and is capable of running a two-minute drill with the game on the line as well as anyone playing the position right now.

The 49ers’ five-play, 88-yard drive which took all of 1:01 to tie the game 24-24 was as good as anything you’ll see from Tom Brady, whom Garoppolo backed up once upon a time before coming to the 49ers. A career-defining moment.

Garoppolo, playing with his sprained right thumb numbed by a painkiller, finished 23 of 32 for 316 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.

A lot of people are going to have to get used to the idea that injury is the only way Lance sees the field the rest of the way.

– An offensive line that even without left tackle Trent Williams can move mountains and a running back in Elijah Mitchell (21 carries, 85 yards) whose entire game is forward progress. Little-used Colton McKivitz stepped in for Williams and held up well.

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– A multi-talented superstar in Deebo Samuel, who had four catches for 95 yards, eight rushes for 45 yards and even threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Jennings. Didn’t run it or catch it like usual. Threw it.

It’s pretty easy to imagine Samuel doing some heroic things on a national postseason stage.

– Hard-blocking, capable receiving targets in tight end George Kittle and wide receivers Brandon Aiyuk (six catches for 107 yards) and Jennings (six catches for 94 yards, two touchdowns).

– A defensive front led by Nick Bosa but with other emerging pass rushers who sacked Matthew Stafford five times for 37 yards in losses and knocked him to the turf on a dozen other pass attempts.

UPDATE: This is an update.

Defensive tackle/end Aric Armstead had 21 / 2sacks. D.J. Jones ahd one and linebacker Fred Warner, Bosa and Arden Key had a half-sack each.

– A middle linebacker in Warner who has returned to his 2020 form, when he was a first-team All-Pro and heir to a Patrick Willis style of play.

– A secondary that has had its struggles, particularly at cornerback, but put aside early-season issues of pass interference and giving up big plays to play much better of late.

Rookie Ambry Thomas has surpassed all expectations in the past two games and even had the game-closing interception in overtime against Stafford. Emmanuel Moseley came back from a high ankle sprain and had an interception.

The 49ers had top-seeded Green Bay beaten until Aaron Rodgers delivered the goods in the end and weren’t playing all that well at the time. They aren’t the same team that lost twice to Arizona. Dallas, Tampa Bay, Philadelphia . . . it’s not hard to envision the 49ers beating any of them.

“That’s the perfect type of win we needed to be headed into this tournament, because it’s not going to be easy,” Warner said. “The NFC is loaded with talent and we have to take it one game at a time, dial-in and we’re going to need everyone, first at Dallas.”

House on 1100 block of Plumas Links Street
Inline photo for our CUE training class. Google Streetview

It’s still a steep hill to climb, but the 49ers look capable of going right back to SoFi Stadium, which was for all intents and purposes a home field Sunday, and playing in Super Bowl LVI

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This is a photo for CUE training class on Tuesday, January 18, 2022. Adrian Kraus AP
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