The San Francisco 49ers destroyed the Green Bay Packers last postseason 45-31 at Candlestick Park.
The scene was different this time at Lambeau field, with bone-chilling nine degree weather.
Colin Kaepernick and his offense would move the ball well, but settle for two field goals early on.
The 49ers defense was incredible in the first half, not allowing a single passing completion as Aaron Rodgers was harassed and stalled. The coverage of San Francisco’s secondary was immaculate. Packers receivers struggled to get any separation and left Rodgers hanging in the pocket long.
By the time the second quarter rolled around, the 49ers appeared to have control of the pace.
Then came Packers cornerback Tramon Williams. As Kaepernick was orchestrating a drive, he targeted tight end Vernon Davis. Williams was playing zone coverage and kept great view on Kaepernick’s movement, deciphering exactly where the play was going. The moment the ball was released, Williams adjusted his body and leaped over Davis to seize momentum for his Packers.
Green Bay was rolling on offense after that, achieving their first completions and first-downs of the game. Rodgers wouldn’t let the pick go in vain, striking wide-out Jordy Nelson for a five-yard touchdown catch.
Kaepernick grabbed charge on the ensuing drive, having a spontaneous 42-yard run as tailback Frank Gore made a key block. Gore made another play later in the drive as he had a ten yard touchdown run. Kaepernick and the offense responded well with a calm manner after the pick. The run he had can be viewed as a game-changing play, as San Francisco would grip momentum for the entirety of the game.
As halftime arrived, the 49ers defense held the explosive Rodgers and Packers to 140 yards of offense, while Kaepernick and his totaled 208. Both of the rushing attacks were effective as Gore and Packers’ Eddie Lacy each had at least 40 yards, averaging in the range of three yards per carry. Kaepernick was the leading rusher though, with 47 yards and 117 passing yards. The game was tight, the 49ers leading 13-10, but as both run games and defenses were playing well, it would remain close.
San Francisco’s offense appeared flat beginning the third quarter, foolishly wasting a timeout with various breakdowns in their play. Both teams would struggle offensively, going scoreless throughout the third quarter. The 49ers defense was beginning to wear down; Lacy was rushing like a bulldozer, compiling 46 yards after contact.
The fourth quarter possessed all of the electrifying action. On a fourth-and-two, Rodgers swiftly evaded a sack, gunned it to his favorite target receiver Randall Cobb for a 26-yard gain into the goal line. Full back John Kuhn pounded his way through for a one-yard touchdown, giving the Packers a 17-13 lead.
The 49ers awakened in the fourth as well. Kaepernick would regain the lead as he delivered a perfect 28-yard strike to Davis for seven.
Within the final minutes, things got gritty. Both teams were tied 20-20 and rundown.
Kaepernick and his team organized a huge drive with five minutes left, going 65-yards, draining the clock to its final seconds. San Francisco’s kicker Phil Dawson booted the Packers out, ending their season with a 33-yard field-goal.
Kaepernick and the defense played well, but the Packers’ killer today was receiver Michael Crabtree, who racked up 125 receiving yards. Green Bay couldn’t neutralize Crabtree, as he made plays throughout Lambeau and its chilled weather.
Many thought the 49ers would quiver in the cold, but they clawed their way, defeating the native Packers. San Francisco advances to play the Carolina Panthers next week.