NFL Wildcard Game Notes: Keapernick Heroism Lift Niners Over Packers, 23-20

By: Barry Barnes, Founder/Senior Writer

There was an old-fashion football game in Wisconsin with below 0 wind chills. With several big plays down the field, the San Francisco 49ers and Green Bay Packers lined up placing a hat on a hat and they man-up in the trenches as the running games of both squads took center stage.

However, it was the playmaking ability of 49ers’ quarterback Colin Kaepernick that decided the matchup as he led a 5:03 drive to set up kicker Phil Dawson to nail a 33-yard game-winning field goal as time expired for the 23-20 win.

Throughout the game, the Packers would take advantage of the 49ers by going underneath. The Niners consistently attacked quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who finished with 177 passing yards off 17 for 26 attempts and a touchdown, with a four-man rush as they focused on the deep pass. When the 49ers got to Rodgers, he would slip away to extend plays to hit his pass catchers down the field on long drives.

None bigger than in the fourth quarter on fourth-and-2 at the 49ers’ 30-yard line, with 13:28 remaining, when Rodgers did his Eli Manning impression of scrambling away from a gang of Niners to hit wide receiver Randall Cobb on a 26-yard pass to set up full back John Kuhn’s 1-yard touchdown run to take a 17-13 lead. 

Colin Kaepernick/Google Images

Colin Kaepernick/Google Images

For the Niners, quarterback Colin Kaepernick was deadly on third downs as he used his legs to pick up chunks of yardage. Due to the threat of Kaepernick on the ground, the Packers would play tight and the third-year quarterback from Nevada would connect with his pass catchers deep on short drives.

Down 17-13 while facing third-and-4 from the 49ers’ 48-yard line, Kaepernick pump-fake a pass and took off for a 24-yard gain, which set up his 28-yard touchdown pass to tight end Vernon Davis with 10:31 left in regulation to take a 20-17 lead.

After matching wits against the high pressuring Niners’ D, the Packers tied the game at 20-20 off a 24-yard field goal from kicker Mason Crosby with 5:09 left in the contest.

On the eventual final drive of the game, Kaepernick struck again as he converted a third-and-8 from the Packers’ 38 by gaining 11-yards with 1:13 left on the clock.

From there, running back Frank Gore, who finished with 66 yards on 20 carries, pound the rock to eat the game clock down to :3 seconds and Dawson ended the game with his 33-yard kick. 

Google Images

Google Images

Kaepernick completed 16 out of 31 attempts for 227 yards, a touchdown and an interception, topped with a game-high of 98 rushing yards on seven carries.

                                                                Game Notes By Courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

  • Since 1970, only 9 franchises have won 13-or-more games, including the playoffs, in at least three consecutive seasons. The 49ers (13-4) accomplished that feat for the third time in franchise history, the only franchise in the NFL to do so more than once (1996-98; 1987-90; 2011-2013).
  • The 49ers improved their all-time record to 29-19 (.604) in the postseason. San Francisco’s 29 playoff wins are the 4th most in NFL History, and their .596 win percentage is 3rd among teams with 25+ playoff games.
  • The 49ers won their fourth straight against Green Bay, including the last two times the teams have met in the playoffs. San Francisco also improved to 2-1 against the Packers in the Wild Card round, and 4-2 all-time in that round.
  • The 49ers played in their 42nd playoff game since 1980, the most in the NFL during that span.
  • Since the merger in 1970, Harbaugh became the first coach to win 13-or-more games, including the playoffs, in his first three seasons as a head coach [2011: 14-4; 2012: 13-5-1; 2013: 13-4].
  • Harbaugh improved his postseason record as a head coach to 4-2 overall, and 2-0 on the road.
  • The 49ers offense converted 50 pct. (6 of 12) of their 3rd-down attempts, including going 4 for 4 on 3rd down in the 4th qtr.
  • QB Colin Kaepernick completed 16 of 30 for 227 yds. and 1 TD. He also rushed for 98 yds. on 7 carries (14.0 avg).
  • With 98 rushing yds. against GB, Kaepernick (362 yds.) moved into 5th place in franchise history for the most rushing yds. in the postseason.
  • TE Vernon Davis hauled in his 6th career postseason TD on a 28-yd. TD pass from QB Colin Kaepernick. Davis is now t-2nd in NFL postseason history for the most TD recepts. by a TE.
  • Including the postseason, Davis has registered a TD in six of seven games against GB.
  • RB Frank Gore had 20 carries for 66 yds. and 1 TD, marking his 5th career postseason rushing TD.
  • Gore ranks 3rd in franchise history with 548 career rushing yds. in the postseason.
  • With 1 rushing TD, Gore moved into a tie with William Floyd for the 4th most postseason rushing TDs in 49ers franchise history.
  • WR Michael Crabtree hauled in 8 recepts. for a postseason career-high 125 yds., marking his 3rd career 100-yd. game in the postseason.
  • K Phil Dawson connected on 3 of 3 FGAs, including the game-winning 33-yd. FG as time expired.
  • The 49ers defense applied pressure to Packers QB Aaron Rodgers all game and registered 4.0 sacks.
  • LB Ahmad Brooks sacked Rodgers twice and registered a FF, giving him 4.0 career postseason sacks and his first career postseason FF. This marked Brooks’ first multi-sack game in the postseason.
  • LB Aldon Smith notched 1.5 sacks on the day, setting a new career-postseason high. He now has 3.5 career postseason sacks.
  • DT Ray McDonald combined with Smith on a sack of Rodgers. McDonald now has 4.0 career postseason sacks.

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