Phil Dawson kicked a 33-yard field goal as time expired to deal
the Packers their third first-round playoff loss under coach Mike
"He can make all the throws," Packers defensive lineman B.J. Raji
said. "With the running, sometimes you have a free hitting like we
had all day in his face and he puts his foot in the ground and
before you know it, he's 15-20 yards down the field, and you're
sitting back like, what's going on? But you have to give him credit
for his mobility."
Kaepernick had 325 total yards, including 98 rushing yards, and he
sent the Packers home from the playoffs for the second straight
The reigning NFC champions set up a rematch with the Carolina
Panthers next Sunday in Charlotte. Carolina scratched out a 10-9
victory at San Francisco on Nov. 10. The 49ers ride a seven-game
winning streak into the divisional playoff meeting.
"We owe them one," Kaepernick said.
Kaepernick froze Green Bay's defense with a pump fake, tucked the
ball and scrambled to his left for the open field, gaining 11 yards
and a pivotal first down to the Packers' 27 on a third-and-6 play
with 1:07 to go.
"The unique part is how much ground he covers," 49ers coach Jim
Harbaugh said. "I think that's unique. I've never seen that before.
But he made some pretty clutch throws today too."
Kaepernick had seven carries for 98 yards and passed for 227 yards.
Wide receiver Michael Crabtree had eight receptions for 125 yards.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was sacked four times but
repeatedly pulled himself off the frozen turf to complete 17 of 26
passes for 177 yards.
"Very disappointing," Rodgers said. "Personally, it's frustrating
not to play your best game. Tough conditions. But defense holds them
to 23 points, we should win that game."
Just before the two-minute warning, Packers cornerback Micah Hyde
dropped a would-be interception that would have set Green Bay up on
the 49ers' side of midfield with two timeouts remaining. There was
nothing but open field in front of the rookie.
"It was just a drop. Nothing was to be thought about. I was there to
make the play and try to climb the ladder to get it and it slipped
out of my hands," Hyde said.
Dawson, who was 11-for-11 in the regular season, kicked his third
game-winner in his first season with the 49ers. It was nearly
blocked, but sailed through the outstretched arms of Packers
cornerback Davon House before angling inside the right upright.
"We were one play away from getting it done today," McCarthy said.
"This is what playoff football is all about."
The Packers tied the game 20-all with 5:09 remaining on Mason
Crosby's 24-yard field goal, the third score in a seven-minute span
in the fourth quarter following a scoreless third. Seven minutes
earlier, the Packers took a 17-13 lead on fullback John Kuhn's
second touchdown run of the season, a 1-yard plunge that capped a
12-play, 80-yard drive kept going by Rodgers' 26-yard connection
with wide receiver Randall Cobb on fourth-and-1 from the 49ers' 20.
That score was matched on San Francisco's next drive. With 10:31
left in the game, Kaepernick hit tight end Vernon Davis for a
28-yard touchdown for the fourth lead change in the game, staking
San Francisco to a 20-17 advantage. Davis was matched up in single
coverage against inside linebacker A.J. Hawk. Kaepernick's 24-yard
run down the left sideline set up the score.
[to top of second column]
"Everybody on the offense, when we had to make a play, we
did," 49ers running back Frank Gore said.
Rookie running back Eddie Lacy, who was limited to 41 yards in
his NFL debut at San Francisco in Week 1, had 21 carries for 81
yards by the middle of the fourth quarter but Green Bay's
offense didn't get another chance.
Crosby's 34-yard field goal as time expired in the first half
cut the Packers' deficit to 13-10.
Trailing 10-7, Kaepernick's season-long 42-yard run slashing off
left guard out of the Pistol formation carried the 49ers to the
12-yard line. Gore punched it in two plays later, charging up
the middle out of a three-tight end formation and easily into
the end zone as San Francisco regained a six-point lead.
The Packers moved the chains for the first time in the game with
a 6-yard completion from Rodgers to Kuhn with 11:42 left in the
second quarter, on a drive that began with cornerback Tramon
Williams' interception of Kaepernick at the Green Bay 13.
Kaepernick said the game-time temperature of 5 degrees, which
dipped to 15-below with the wind-chill factor by the end of the
game, was no factor in the game.
"It's not that cold, it's all mental," he said with a smile,
allowing that left tackle Joe Staley's suggestion that
Kaepernick went sleeveless to expose his tattooed arms was "part
The conversion sent the Packers into the hurry-up with the 49ers
caught in their nickel defense. Rodgers completed five
consecutive passes for 40 yards and Lacy added seven carries for
25 yards to drive inside the 10-yard line. On third-and-goal
from the 5, Rodgers rolled right and fired a touchdown to Nelson
with 5:50 left in the half.
San Francisco ran 25 plays in the first quarter and had the ball
for nearly 10 minutes but led just 6-0 with 2:17 remaining on a
pair of Dawson chip-shot field goals.
Crabtree caught four passes for 70 yards on San Francisco's
"If my life depended on it and someone had to catch a ball, I'd
enlist Michael Crabtree to do it," a well-amped Harbaugh said,
adding that "Michael Crabtree ... he catches everything."
NOTES: Packers LT David Bahktiari (concussion) was replaced by
Marshall Newhouse in the fourth quarter. ... 49ers LB Aldon
Smith (muscle cramps) left the game in the first half but
returned in the third quarter and recorded a quarterback sack.
... The 49ers' four regular-season losses were to teams still
alive in the postseason (Seattle, Indianapolis, Carolina, New
Orleans). ... Packers CB Sam Shields was assisted to the
sideline by trainers and taken to the locker room on a cart with
a knee injury on the 49ers' first offensive possession. He was
replaced by second-year CB Davon House. ... Packers OLB Clay
Matthews (thumb) and 49ers CB Carlos Rogers (hamstring) were
inactive. ... OLB Mike Neal (knee) left for Green Bay after the
first defensive series. OLB Andy Malumba (knee) left the game
briefly in the third quarter. Because of the personnel shortage,
defensive coordinator Dom Capers briefly used four down linemen.
... 49ers PK Phil Dawson kicked a 22-yard field goal to cap San
Francisco's first drive. The 49ers outscored opponents 46-0 this
season on game-opening drives.
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.