Sports Spectrum Magazine Summer 2021

49ers RB Raheem Mostert thanks God after big rushing day lifts S.F. to Super Bowl

Raheem Mostert spent much of Sunday evening running through the Green Bay Packers’ defense as his San Francisco 49ers advanced to Super Bowl LIV with a 37-20 home victory over Aaron Rodgers and company.

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Mostert rushed the ball 29 times for 220 yards and four touchdowns. The fifth-year pro was the only 49er to score a touchdown during the game and was so effective on the ground that starting quarterback Jimmy Garropolo only attempted eight passes, completing six (two of them to Mostert).

“It’s still surreal,” Mostert said in his postgame press conference. “I can’t believe that I’m in this position right now and I did the things that I did tonight.”

The 49ers have used Mostert, Tevin Coleman and Matt Breida in the backfield all season long. Together, the trio helped San Francisco average 235.5 yards per game on the ground, the best rushing attack in the NFL by a healthy margin. Mostert nearly reached that mark by himself on Sunday. His 220 yards on the ground is second only to Eric Dickerson’s 248 in 1986 for the most rushing yards ever in a playoff game.

And even while nearly everyone marveled at his own performance, Mostert’s praise was directed elsewhere.

“I would like to thank God first and foremost for blessing not only myself but everybody in the organization to be in the position that we’re in,” he said during the press conference.

Mostert’s Twitter bio lists Psalm 23:4-6, which says:

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (ESV).

In 2016, Mostert expressed his faith in God’s plan at a tumultuous time in his life and career. He was trying to make his way in the NFL, being signed and then cut repeatedly throughout 2015 and 2016. “God’s plan is the best plan,” he tweeted in September 2016:

In all, Mostert spent time with seven different NFL franchises before finding a home in San Francisco. He went undrafted out of Purdue in 2015 and caught on with NFL teams mostly due to his ability as a kick returner and special teams player. Mostert’s first rushing attempt didn’t come until he was with the 49ers in 2016, and his first rushing touchdown didn’t come until 2018.

His breakout season came in 2019, as he rushed for 772 yards and eight touchdowns on 137 carries. And his breakout game came Sunday. His previous best game in the NFL took place last month, when he rushed for 146 yards and a touchdown against Baltimore.

Now, Mostert and his 49ers teammates hope to replicate Sunday’s performance in the Super Bowl against Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs, a team that just held Tennessee’s superstar running back Derrick Henry to 69 yards. The Big Game is Feb. 2 in Miami, in Mostert’s home state of Florida. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. ET.

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