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