Dawson's FG lifts 49ers past Packers
Green Bay, WI (SportsNetwork.com) - For the second straight postseason, San Francisco is responsible for sending Green Bay packing.
Phil Dawson drilled a 33-yard field goal as time expired to lift the defending conference champion 49ers to a 23-20 victory over the Packers in the Wild Card Round of the NFC playoffs from the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field.
Mason Crosby connected on a game-tying 24-yard field goal with just over five minutes to play, but Colin Kaepernick utilized his arm and his legs to move San Francisco down the field.
The dual-threat quarterback converted a 3rd-and-10 from his own 31 with a 17- yard strike to Michael Crabtree before scurrying 11 yards to the Green Bay 27 on 3rd-and-8 with just over a minute remaining.
Frank Gore then carried the ball on the next three plays, including a 3-yard plunge on 3rd-and-3 that gave San Francisco a fresh set of downs at the 17.
Following another Gore run, the 49ers let the clock run down before calling a timeout with two seconds left to set the stage for Dawson's game-winning kick.
"It is right now," Dawson said when asked if it was the biggest kick of his 15-year career. "I've waited a long time to win a playoff game."
Kaepernick completed 16-of-30 passes for 227 yards and one touchdown with an interception while rushing for 98 yards on seven carries for the red-hot 49ers, who will carry their seven-game win streak into Carolina for Sunday's Divisional Playoff round matchup with the Panthers.
"It was amazing to get the win today," Kaepernick said. "We came back, we fought, we played hard."
Gore rushed for 66 yards and a score on 20 carries, while Crabtree led all receivers with eight catches for 125 yards in the win, San Francisco's first in three postseason trips to Lambeau Field.
Aaron Rodgers returned from a seven-game absence to lead Green Bay to a Week 17 win over Chicago that secured the NFC North crown for the Packers, but the Green Bay quarterback was unable to get revenge for last year's Divisional Playoff round loss to the 49ers despite a solid effort.
Rodgers finished 17-of-26 passing for 177 yards and a touchdown, while fullback John Kuhn added a 1-yard TD run in the setback.
"It's a frustrating way to end a season," Rodgers said. "Very disappointing. Personally it's frustrating not to play your best game."
Kuhn's short touchdown run capped a 12-play, 80-yard march that gave Green Bay a 17-13 lead just under three minutes into the fourth quarter.
Kaepernick countered with a quick 4-play scoring sequence, as he scrambled for 24 yards on 3rd-and-4 from his own 43 before following a defensive holding penalty with a strike down the middle to Vernon Davis, who hauled in the 28- yard score between two defenders in the front of the end zone for a 20-17 San Francisco lead with 10:31 to play.
Kuhn kept Green Bay's ensuing sequence moving with a 8-yard grab on 3rd-and-5 from midfield before Rodgers found Randall Cobb down the left side for a 25- yard pickup to the Green Bay 9.
However, Rodgers was flushed out of the pocket and taken down for a short gain on 3rd-and-goal from the 8, setting up Crosby's game-tying field goal.
Early on, San Francisco's stout defense caused problems for the Packers, who went three-and-out on their first three touches of the tilt.
Kaepernick moved the 49ers inside the Green Bay 10 on each of the team's first two marches, but San Francisco failed to find the end zone on either occasion, with Dawson connecting on field goals of 22 and 25 yards, respectively, to give the visitors a 6-0 lead after the first quarter.
Kaepernick again had his squad in Green Bay territory on the team's third possession, but on 2nd-and-7 from the 29, Tramon Williams picked off a pass and returned it 17 yards to the 30-yard line.
The Packers picked up their initial first down of the game on the ensuing series, as Rodgers found Kuhn for eight yards on 3rd-and-4.
Eddie Lacy then converted four straight 2nd-and-shorts with a series of bruising runs, including a 4-yard surge on 2nd-and-2 that gave Green Bay a 1st-and-goal from the 9-yard line.
Two plays later, Rodgers rolled right and hit Jordy Nelson in the end zone for a 5-yard score and a 7-6 Green Bay lead with 5:50 left in the half.
San Francisco quickly answered, as Kaepernick scampered 42 yards to the Green Bay 13 on the third play of the team's ensuing series before Gore surged in from 10 yards out two plays later to make it 13-7 San Francisco with 2:48 left in the half.
Crosby connected on a 34-yard field goal in the closing seconds of the half to trim the margin to 13-10 heading into halftime.
Crosby has collected 74 career points in the postseason, setting a Green Bay franchise record ... Kuhn recorded his fifth straight playoff game with a touchdown to tie the franchise record held by Dorsey Levens ... San Francisco lost in the playoffs at Lambeau Field in 1997 and 2002 ... San Francisco cornerback Carlos Rogers (hamstring) was inactive, snapping his string of 53 straight starts ... Nelson led Green Bay's receiving corps with seven catches for 62 yards ... Lacy rushed for 81 yards on 21 carries.
01/05 20:48:42 ET