The San Francisco 49ers held on to best the Green Bay Packers in the wild card round on Sunday. San Francisco will advance to the divisional round to take on the Carolina Panthers, while the Packers will go home and steam over their fourth loss to the 49ers in two seasons, and the second playoff elimination in the same time span.
The 49ers were leading for a solid portion of the game before things lit up in the second half. The lead changed hands multiple times, but an extended drive in the final minutes of play was enough to allow the 49ers to kill the clock and kick a last-minute field goal. Phil Dawson drilled the 33-yard attempt as time expired and the rest is history.
Michael Crabtree was a definite highlight for the 49ers. He caught most everything that was thrown his way and moved the chains on some key drives, including catching a 17-yard reception to extend the final drive and keep the 49ers alive. David Fucillo of Niners Nation talks about his performance:
In Sunday's win, Crabtree finished with eight receptions for 125 yards. Each week, Crabtree has looked better and better, and today, he really looked like pre-injury Crabtree. In the early going back in December, you could see he was missing a step. Speed has never been his game, but it was clear he was a little bit slower. Of course, having missed so much time, that should surprise nobody. He has worked himself back into form and we saw him blow up against the Packers.
Still, despite a monster performance from Crabtree and Kaepernick once again beating the Packers with his legs (98 yards rushing), it was a close one. Evan "Tex" Western of Acme Packing Company describes the final drive of the game:
The 49ers took over, and converted a third and ten on a pass to Crabtree just after Micah Hyde nearly intercepted a pass on second down that probably would have gone for a touchdown. Frank Gore found a soft spot in the zone for another first down, crossing midfield as the clock wound down to the two-minute warning. Kaepernick converted a clutch third-down though, as he dodged a blitz from Jarrett Bush, who left the edge uncovered, and ran up the sideline to move the chains. The 49ers were able to run the clock down to three seconds left, and Phil Dawson lined up for a 33-yard field goal. The ball went through Davon House's arms and then through the uprights to end Green Bay's season.