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NFL

49ers edge Packers, 23-20, in frigid wild-card game

| Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014, 8:18 p.m.
49ers kicker Phil Dawson celebrates after kicking the winning field goal during the second half of an NFC wild-card game, Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014, in Green Bay, Wis.
USA Today Sports
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) greets Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) following the 2013 NFC wild card playoff game on Jan. 5, 2014 at Lambeau Field. San Francisco won 23-20.

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Home or away. Late summer or during one of the coldest nights of the year.

Doesn't matter where or when — the San Francisco 49ers keep figuring out how to beat the Green Bay Packers.

Phil Dawson kicked a 33-yard field goal as time expired, and Colin Kaepernick threw for 227 yards and ran for another 98 to lead the 49ers past the Packers, 23-20, on Sunday night in a frigid NFC wild-card game.

In a back-and-forth fourth quarter, the 49ers (13-4) threw the final punch. Kaepernick escaped a blitz on third-and-8 and scrambled for an 11-yard gain 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.

The defending NFC champions came away with a huge win in conditions that resembled a meat locker. It was 5 degrees at kickoff, and the winds made it feel like minus-10.

San Francisco plays at Carolina next Sunday in the divisional round.

“They got us the first time,” linebacker NaVarro Bowman said, referring to Carolina's 10-9 win Nov. 10. “What's on our minds is to get them now. It's the playoffs. Win or go home.”

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 a touchdown.

Kaepernick connected with a spinning Vernon Davis down the seam for a 28-yard touchdown pass with 10:39 left. The score quickly answered John Kuhn's 1-yard touchdown run that briefly gave the Packers a 17-13.

But 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.

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