49ers edge Packers 23-20 in frigid wild-card game
- San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis makes a touchdown reception against Green Bay Packers inside linebacker A.J. Hawk (50) late in the NFL wild-card playoff football game, Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014, in Green Bay, Wis. Davis was a high school All-USA player in D.C. and an All-American for the University of Maryland. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) - 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 San Francisco 49ers past the Green Bay 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. 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.
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.
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 four-point lead.
That TD 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.
Eddie Lacy ran for 81 yards on 21 carries for the Packers, while Frank Gore had 66 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries for San Francisco.
But it was Kaepernick who was the difference-maker once again in San Francisco's fourth straight win over Green Bay.