The San Francisco 49ers not only topped off their final roster for Saturday, January 28 before pursuing the NFC title, but they’re allowing a former Pro Bowler and $62.5 million defender to experience his first conference title game.
Janoris “Jackrabbit” Jenkins, after 11 seasons and more than 150 games, will spend his next NFL game witnessing his first conference championship contest as he’ll provide depth in the secondary. Jenkins was the lone defensive elevation from the practice squad as announced by the franchise at 4:23 p.m. Eastern.
‘Jackrabbit’ Witnessed High & Low Moments in Playoff Career
Sunday will determine how much the 49ers, especially defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans, will utilize the 34-year-old veteran who was once on a five-year, $62.5 million deal with the New York Giants. But for the 2016 Pro Bowler, he gets an opportunity to help rewrite some postseason heartbreak in his career. Here’s what he’s experienced:
Early bounce by Green Bay: Jenkins, again, put together his first Pro Bowl campaign in 2016 with the 11-5 Giants. However, the Green Bay Packers made quick work of the G-men by trouncing them 38-13 in the Wild Card round. While Aaron Rodgers was sacked five times that game, he still lit up the Giants with four touchdowns. Jenkins delivered just one tackle that game.
The OT loss: Jenkins would return to the playoffs three seasons later in 2019, this time with the New Orleans Saints. But he would witness this kind of heartbreak in Minnesota — the Saints falling in overtime 26-20 when Kirk Cousins connected with Kyle Rudolph for the final 4-yard score. And that was Cousins’ lone touchdown pass of the game. Jenkins ended his Wild Card loss with eight tackles, three solo stops, 0.5 sacks and a forced fumble.
The Final ‘Brees’: Jenkins finally tasted a playoff win in his career by helping get the Saints to hold off the Chicago Bears 21-9 to open the playoffs, with Jenkins delivering five tackles and a pass deflection. But the following week not only witnessed the eventual Super Bowl champs the Tampa Bay Buccaneers roll 30-20, but it became the final NFL game for Super Bowl winning quarterback and longtime face of the franchise Drew Brees.
Losing as a top seed: Finally, last season in Nashville, Jenkins and the Tennessee Titans were the top seed in the AFC. The Titans even sacked Joe Burrow an astonishing nine times. But the Bengals escaped 19-16 through a last second walk-off field goal. Jenkins had two tackles and a pass deflection.
Jenkins, now, has a personal winning streak in the postseason heading into Lincoln Financial Field versus the Philadelphia Eagles. However, he didn’t record any stats against the Dallas Cowboys in the Divisional round win. Now, he’ll be on the field for his first conference title game. And his experience will more than likely come in handy against a loaded group of Eagles wide receivers from DeVonta Smith, A.J. Brown to tight end Dallas Goedert.
Running Game Also Solidified
Offensively, Tevin Coleman was the lone practice squad elevation for the NFC title game. And his addition adds an extra layer to the running back room.
Coleman, 29, was not on the stat sheet in the 19-12 win over Dallas or on the field in the Super Wild Card Weekend 41-23 rout of the Seattle Seahawks. However, the last time he witnessed the NFC title game was the 2019 season — when the 49ers rolled to the 37-20 rout of Green Bay to head to Super Bowl 54. Coleman had six carries for 21 yards that evening at Levi’s Stadium.
Coleman will experience his third career NFC Championship game. His first one was in the 2016 season when he and the Atlanta Falcons walloped the Packers 44-21. Coleman scored on a 3-yard run in the fourth quarter. He now has a chance to go 3-0 in conference title games on Sunday.