4:40 PM ET, January 5, 2014
Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI
Phil Dawson's kick lifts 49ers past Packers in frigid wild-card game
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Under pressure in subzero weather, Colin Kaepernick kept his cool.
Facing a blitz on third-and-8, the elusive San Francisco 49ers quarterback scrambled 11 yards out of trouble to set up Phil Dawson's 33-yard field goal as time expired for a 23-20 win Sunday over the Green Bay Packers in an NFC wild-card game.
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Doesn't matter where or when -- the 49ers keep figuring out how to beat Green Bay.
"Didn't think we were going to pull it out, did you?" coach Jim Harbaugh said.
When it's Kaepernick and the 49ers facing the Packers, the game is never over. Even in the meat locker that was Lambeau Field, where the temperature at kickoff was 5 degrees, with a wind chill of minus-10.
No sweat for Kaepernick. He went sleeveless, and didn't wear gloves.
"I've played in cold-weather games before," he said. "I feel like it's more mental than anything."
San Francisco plays at Carolina next Sunday in the divisional round.
In a back-and-forth fourth quarter, the 49ers (13-4) threw the final punch. Kaepernick escaped a blitz to get to the 27 with 1:13 left.
"Just trying to figure out a way to get that first down," Kaepernick said. "Had a play called, we didn't get the look that we wanted. It worked out for us."
Dawson nailed the winning kick five plays later -- but only after nearly being blocked by edge rusher Davon House. He was whistled for being offside on the play, but the 49ers declined the penalty with the win in hand.
Mason Crosby's 24-yard field goal tied it at 20 for the Packers (8-8-1) with 5:06 left before the 49ers' final drive.
Until then, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers did his best to turn into "Captain Comeback" again. After a slow first quarter, Rodgers finished 17 of 26 for 177 yards and touchdown.
Colin Kaepernick ranks fifth in NFL postseason history in rushing yards by a quarterback. The third-year QB has piled up 279 yards on the ground in two playoff games against Green Bay.
Most Rush Yds By QB
|--ESPN Stats & Information|
"Very disappointing, personally," Rodgers said. "It's frustrating not to play your best game in tough conditions. Defense holds them to 23 points. We should win that game."
Kaepernick connected with a spinning Davis down the seam for a score with 10:39 left. The TD quickly answered John Kuhn's 1-yard run that briefly gave the Packers a four-point lead.
That touchdown was set up after Rodgers, in the clutches of a 49ers defender, somehow managed to escape a sack on fourth-and-2 and found Randall Cobb for a 26-yard gain to the Niners 4.
But it was Kaepernick who was the difference-maker once again in San Francisco's fourth straight win over Green Bay. He finished 16 of 30 with the touchdown and an interception.
For the second year in a row, the Packers' season has started and ended with losses to the 49ers. The latest edition of what's turned into a chippy and heated rivalry took place on the worn, frozen turf of Lambeau Field.
An injury-filled season for the Packers came to an end.
A depleted Packers defense -- already playing without linebacker Clay Matthews -- lost two more starters Sunday in cornerback Sam Shields and linebacker Mike Neal -- but still managed to hold its own against the Niners.
"I'm just very proud of this team as far as their ability to continue to overcome adversity," coach Mike McCarthy said. "It hit us at every turn, it hit us again today and these guys just keep fighting and fighting."
In a memorable playoff debut last January, Kaepernick ran for a quarterback playoff-record 181 yards and a pair of touchdowns. In the season opener in September, the strong-armed quarterback threw for a career-best 412 yards and three scores.
This time, he did his damage on the ground and through the air.
Kaepernick tore through the Green Bay defense for a 42-yard run, getting a break at one point after House whiffed on a tackle, to set up Gore's 10-yard touchdown run that helped give the 49ers a 13-10 halftime lead.
"It was unbelievable, the way he was getting the edge. I mean, just clutch," Harbaugh said. "Colin Kaepernick, I think we can all agree, is a clutch performer."
It was the seventh-coldest game at Lambeau Field since 1959, and the fourth-coldest postseason game at the stadium. ... Kuhn has scored a touchdown in each of the last five postseasons. ... After a big day in the season opener against Green Bay, Anquan Boldin was held to three catches for 38 yards.
GREEN BAY, WI - JANUARY 05: Fans gather in the stands prior to the NFC Wild Card Playoff game between the San...(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Team Stat Comparison
Passing 1st downs
Rushing 1st downs
1st downs from Penalties
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
|Yards per play||6.0||4.6|
Comp - Att
Yards per pass
Sacks - Yards Lost
Yards per rush
|Red Zone (Made-Att)||1-4||2-4|
|Defensive / Special Teams TDs||0||0|
|FG||09:00||Phil Dawson 22 Yd||3||0|
|FG||02:17||Phil Dawson 25 Yd||6||0|
|TD||05:50||Jordy Nelson 5 Yd Pass From Aaron Rodgers (Mason Crosby Kick)||6||7|
|TD||02:48||Frank Gore 10 Yd Run (Phil Dawson Kick)||13||7|
|FG||00:00||Mason Crosby 34 Yd||13||10|
|TD||12:06||John Kuhn 1 Yd Run (Mason Crosby Kick)||13||17|
|TD||10:31||Vernon Davis 28 Yd Pass From Colin Kaepernick (Phil Dawson Kick)||20||17|
|FG||05:06||Mason Crosby 24 Yd||20||20|
|FG||00:00||Phil Dawson 33 Yd||23||20|
The 49ers sacked or put Aaron Rodgers under duress on 14 of his 32 dropbacks (44 percent), despite sending five or more pass rushers on just three of Rodgers' dropbacks. All four of the 49ers' sacks came via a standard, four-man rush. Rodgers found success under duress when targeting Randall Cobb, but struggled to find other receivers.[+]
Aaron Rodgers Passing Under Duress or Outside the Pocket
The Packers have lost five of their last eight home playoff games after winning each of their first 13.[+]
Packers at Home in Postseason
Teams trailing at halftime in the Wild Card round went 3-1 this year as the Packers were the only team that failed to rally in the 2nd half. The trend was completely different the last 10 seasons. Teams trailing at halftime of a Wild Card game had gone 8-31, going no better than 1-3 in any one season.
Vernon Davis scored his 14th touchdown of the season in the fourth quarter Sunday. Davis has scored 14 of the 49ers' 22 receiving touchdowns this season, by far the highest percentage of any player in the league.[+]
Colin Kaepernick scrambled four times for a career-high 85 yards Sunday, the second-most scramble yards for a quarterback in a single game this season (Russell Wilson - 91 in Week 5 against the Colts). Kaepernick's two highest single-game rushing totals have come in his two playoff meetings with the Packers, doing most of his damage via scrambles. --In four career playoff games, Kaepernick is averaging 11.0 yards before contact per rush, most among all players with multiple rushes over the last two postseasons.[+]
Colin Kaepernick Rushing, Career in Playoffs
For the 2nd straight postseason against the Packers, Colin Kaepernick had at least 200 passing yards and 95 rushing yards in a game. The only other player with 200 passing yards and 95 rushing yards in a playoff game in the Super Bowl era was Donovan McNabb for the Eagles in 2003 -- also against the Packers.[+]
Colin Kaepernick looked to Michael Crabtree early and often with seven targets in the first quarter, Crabtree's most targets in any quarter in his career. Crabtree also keyed the final drive for the 49ers, catching both passes thrown his way for first downs to keep the clock moving and setup Phil Dawson's game-winning FG. --The duo connected on 5-of-6 pass attempts for 95 yards on throws that traveled more than 10 yards downfield against a Packers defense that finished the regular season with the worst Total QBR allowed among playoff teams on such throws.
Kaepernick was 0-for-4 and sacked once on his red-zone dropbacks, while the 49ers averaged 4.8 yards per rush in the red zone, including Frank Gore's 10-yard touchdown. The 49ers only scored a touchdown on one of four red-zone opportunities Sunday.
Jim Harbaugh said after yesterday's NFC Wild Card game that, "Michael Crabtree catches everything. It's unbelievable." He added a moment later, "If my life depended on it and somebody had to catch the ball, I'd enlist Michael Crabtree to do it." But the numbers don't back up Harbaugh's statement. Crabtree entered the league in 2009. Since then, he has dropped 5.9 percent of his targets, ranked 64th out of 69 qualified wide receivers in that span.[+]
Colin Kaepernick's Total QBR was 88.8, amazingly his lowest in 3 career starts against the Packers. Kaepernick now has an 87.9 Total QBR in 4 career postseason starts, the highest among any QB since 2006 (min. 2 starts)[+]
After going 3-for-3 on field goals today, Phil Dawson has made 32 of his last 33 field goal attempts (97.0%) dating back to Week 5, the highest field goal percentage in the NFL since that time. Dawson's only miss came in Week 17 vs Cardinals...from 24 yards away.
Aaron Rodgers only attempted one pass more than 10 yards downfield in the first half.
Colin Kaepernick has a 91.1 Total QBR in 2 career starts against the Packers. In those 2 games, he has averaged 337.5 passing yards and 101.5 rushing yards with 7 passing and rushing touchdowns combined.[+]
Colin Kaepernick Career vs Packers
Colin Kaepernick was 0-for-4 and has been sacked once in the red zone in the first half against the Packers.
Aaron Rodgers failed to complete a pass on two first quarter attempts Sunday. It was the first time in his career he had no completions when attempting a pass in the first quarter.
Green Bay is 16-4 at home in the playoffs all-time but after winning each of their first 13 home playoff games, they are just 3-4 in their last 7 games.[+]
Packers Home Playoff Games - Team History
Colin Kaepernick was 1-for-5 for 17 yards and an INT on play action in the first half.
At the end of the first quarter, the Packers had as many total yards (6) as the 49ers had points.
The 49ers sacked or put Aaron Rodgers under duress on eight of his 18 dropbacks (44 percent). The 49ers have only sent five or more pass rushers on one of Rodgers' 18 dropbacks (6 percent). During the regular season, the 49ers blitzed on only 19 percent of dropbacks for opposing quarterbacks, second-fewest in the league.
Aaron Rodgers was pressured (sacked or under duress) on all four of his first quarter dropbacks. The Packers improved their protection in the second quarter, with Rodgers under pressure on 4-of-14 dropbacks. Rodgers was also more effective in those situations.[+]
ESPN Stats & Information
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