Phil Dawson kicked a game-winning 33-yard field goal and Colin Kaepernick racked up 227 passing yards along with 98 on the ground to lead the San Francisco 49ers to a 23-20 win over the Green Bay Packers in Sunday night’s NFC wild-card game at frozen Lambeau Field.
Head coach Jim Harbaugh commented on Kaepernick’s game:
“The unique part is how much ground he covers with each stride. … he made some great throws today too.”
The 49ers (13-4) struck first in the back-and-forth battle with two Dawson field goals in the first quarter. But a Kaepernick interception turned into seven points on an Aaron Rodgers to Jordy Nelson touchdown in the second.
Frank Gore (66 rushing yards on 20 attempts) subsequently scored, but a Mason Crosby field goal cut the 49ers’ lead to 13-10 at halftime.
Both defenses held the opposing offenses scoreless in the third, which set up a seesaw battle in the fourth.
A John Kuhn rushing touchdown briefly put the Packers up 17-13, but Kaepernick followed up by hitting Vernon Davis for a 28-yard touchdown pass with 10:39 left.
Rodgers and Co. answered with their own drive that resulted in a Crosby field goal that tied the game at 20-20 with 5:06 remaining.
Kaepernick responded by marching the offense into field goal range doing much of the damage with his own legs.
He also Michael Crabtree who totaled eight receptions for 125 yards on the day to which Harbaugh said:
“Wherever they throw a football, he’ll be catching it.”
Dawson’s kick snuck just inside the right upright as time expired to end the Packers’ (8-8-1) season.
Gore finished with 66 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries while NaVorro Bowman led the defense with 10 tackles. Ahmad Brooks, Aldon Smith and Ray McDonald combined for four sacks.
Kaepernick’s ability to scramble and the inability of the Packers defense to contain him was the difference for San Francisco, which now has four consecutive wins over Green Bay.
However, the 49ers’ bad clock awareness and poor use of timeouts is concerning.
Regardless, Kaepernick was happy about today’s result:
“It was amazing to get the win today. We came back, we fought, we played hard.”
The 49ers play at Carolina next Sunday at 10:00 a.m. PST.