San Francisco fell behind 10-6 in the second quarter but rallied to take a 13-10 lead into halftime. The 49ers then scored the final 10 points in the third and early fourth quarter, with the defense shutting down Cam Newton and co. Newton, making his first playoff start, threw for 267 yards but was sacked five times and threw two interceptions.
Colin Kaepernick wasn't awesome but certainly did his part, going 15 of 28 for 196 yards and one passing touchdown (he ran for another). Frank Gore was the star of the 49ers offense, gaining 84 yards on 17 carries and getting the job done when the clock needed to be bled.
Over at Niners Nation, David Fucillo wrote about Kaepernick's ability to find a way to win:
I'm not a big fan of QB win/loss record because football is a team game. However, it's still impressive how he has done on the road. He faced a big deficit and the loud Georgia Dome last year. Last week he faced the bitter cold at Lambeau. This week he faced a team that held him to his worst performance as a pro in Week 10. He had some early struggles on Sunday, but he settled down and made some huge throws on the 49ers touchdown drives. All in all, it was a good day.
Not surprisingly, the tone was somewhat different on Cat Scratch Reader after the tough loss. Edgar Salmingo Jr. discussed one of the many things that went wrong on Sunday for the home team:
Let us start with goal-to-go offense. Given two drives for a total of 7 possessions at the goal line, they came away with only 3 points. While it did not hurt them much, it did set a tone for the game: that the Niners defense was not going to give up an inch. It took the wind of the Panthers sails, and a little of the energy in the stadium. While credit must be given to the defense, equal amount of criticism should be given to offensive coordinator Mike Shula.