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49ers deep-six Packers season, 45-31

Photo: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

49ers deep-six Packers season, 45-31

By Jay Sorgi. CREATED Jan 12, 2013 - UPDATED: Jan 12, 2013

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10:54 p.m.
Mike McCarthy to Larry McCarren:

"Disappointing...three point game at halftime.  For us to let the game totally get away from us in the 2nd half...we'll live with that for the rest of the offseason."

On Kaepernick's perfrormance:
"His production was off the charts.  He was the focus of ours when we came in here.  They got the job done in a high-octane fashion.  We did not."

4th Quarter

10:32 p.m.  49ers' 3rd Drive  :57
Victory formation for San Francisco.  Turn out the lights, the Packers' season is over.

10:19 p.m.  Packers' 2nd Drive  3:29
San Francisco 45, Green Bay 31
Rodgers-Jennings 3 yd TD pass

Rodgers-Finley.  Garbage time.  Hate saying that about the Packers in a playoff game.

"We could be witnessing the final Packers game for a couple of fine wide receivers, Donald Driver and Greg Jennings." - Larry McCarren

After lots of extracurriculars, a James Jones drop, circa 2009-10. 

"Tough to go out this way." - Wayne Larrivee

4th-1 at SF 35: Rodgers with forever and Nelson makes a diving grab...oh-by-the-way yards here.  Pride yards.

"It's a privilege to bring Packers games to you on WTMJ and the Packers Radio Network." - Larry McCarren

Rodgers picked by Brown in the end zone...pass intereference on Brown.  Pride.

2nd-goal at SF 3: Rodgers-Jennings in the corner.  Pride.

10:03 p.m.  49ers' 2nd Drive  11:28
San Francisco 45, Green Bay 24
Dixon 2 yd TD run

A stop isn't the only thing needed here.  A turnover is, deep in 49ers territory. 

Kaepernick gets a block of Brad Jones during a planned run, and they are no longer deep in 49ers territory.  Kaepernick is nearing 200 yards himself on the ground.

Walker.  Wide open.  Bad zone coverage.  17 yards.  The season is dripping away.

Gore -  huge hole.  26 yards with great downfield blocks.  The 49ers are preparing the dagger.

"This possession is fitting the 49ers' script to a tee." - Larry McCarren

Gore sweep...flaggage as Matthews got held and tackled.

3rd-19 at GB 37: Kaepernick to Crabtree, and almost a first down, thanks to a pick play.

4th-1 at GB 18: Encroachment.  Packers.  Game over.

Gore.  Inside the five.  The guillotine for the Packers season is ready.

1st-goal at GB 2: Gore...stopped up the middle.

2nd-goal at GB 2: Dixon...that does it.  Brewers pitchers and catchers report Feb. 12

9:55 p.m  Packers' 1st Drive  14:57
Now is when an MVP plays like an MVP.  When you're 14 points down on the road in a playoff game and a miracle is needed.

Rodgers start by getting some rhythm on a seven yard pattern, then go no-huddle.

Rodgers to Finley for a first down.  Don't forget the run game, guys.

3rd-3 at GB 35: "This is critical." - Larry McCarren

Nelson...phew...first down. 

The Niners aren't even thinking of going run defense here.  Either run the ball or drop back pass.  Don't go play action.

Shovel - Harris...managable third down.  Good job there, but the Packers must convert.

3rd-4 at 50 yard line: Jennings....AGH!  He was wide open and the ball went off his fingertips.  Slightly overthrown, but that could be a catch and a ball in the red zone.

The ball falling off his fingertips seems symbolic of this whole game.

9:42 p.m.  49ers' 1st Drive  continued from 3rd Quarter
San Francisco 38, Green Bay 24
Gore 2 yd TD run

"That was a tad too easy." - Larry McCarren

3rd Quarter

9:44 p.m.  49ers' 3rd Drive  5:00
3rd-2 at SF 15: Without Pickett in the lineup due to injury, San Francisco can slam the middle with the run.

Kaepernick to Crabtree.  Beats Williams.  First down.  A broken record.

"I do not like the smell of this at all." - Wayne Larrivee

Fiaggage early on a deep pattern down the near sideline, and Williams grabs Davis during the pass pattern.  Horrible day for Tramon.

Kaepernick deep for Davis.  Beaten Hawk.  Red zone.  Game getting out of control.

Red zone.  Gore.  Slamming to the three.  Hope is draining out of the Packers, drop by drop.

9:39 p.m.  Packers' 3rd Drive  7:07
"This is going to have to be a shootout for the Packers to get a win, because the defense does not have a handle." - Wayne Larrivee

3rd-10 at GB 20: A monster third down in the world of momentum for Green Bay.

Rodgers scrambles and gets some good yards himself.  To the 27.  He doesn't have Kaepernick skills to get 80 yards.

3rd-6 at GB 41: Pass breakup by Golston.  49ers now in control, officially.

9:33 p.m.  49ers' 2nd Drive  8:25
San Francisco 31, Green Bay 24
Kaepernick 56 yd TD run

Kaepernick...back shoulder...Crabtree.  He owns Williams.  He had Tramon's ankles breaking.

Another big run play.  Kaepernick.  56 yards.  Ugh.  He's Tebow with an arm.

9:22 p.m.  Packers' 2nd Drive  12:04
Green Bay 24, San Francisco 24
Crosby 31 yd FG

Rodgers to Cobb for the first time tonight, and not much productivity there.  Two yards.  The Niners' secondary has owned Nelson and Cobb.  No catches for them until this drive.

Deep...Jennings!  Huge catch 31 yards downfield while getting body-slammed..

Great job of holding...I mean pass Newhouse to protect Rodgers.

A scrambling Rodgers finds Nelson inside San Francisco turf for nine yards. 

COBB!  BIG RUN!  19 yards on a draw play.  Way to incorporate the little-used one this drive.

3rd-6 at SF 18: Blitz...offsides...but it's 3rd-11 thanks to a false start.  Newhouse SUPER guilty.

3rd-11 at SF 23: Rodgers to Cobb!  Great spin move...bad fumble...and T.J. Lang protects the football and a chance at three points.  Phew.

9:18 p.m.  49ers' 1st Drive  12:58
Kaepernick deep again...and a miss of Moss.  If that's Moss five years ago, that's a touchdown.  Moss has lost a step.

3rd-8 at SF 37:Woodson with a HUGE break on the ball and a rare three-and-out.

9:13 p.m.  Packers' 1st Drive  15:00 left in 3rd quarter
Randall Cobb is doing the returning the rest of the game.

The Niners' run defense is bananas good.  Harris is miraculously able to gain three yards on 1st down.

Josh Sitton lost his Jeff Saturday comes in at right guard.

Harris bounces outside to the right, and Saturday's guy comes off his block to stop him for two yards.

3rd-5 at GB 32: Sack.  Coverage sack.  Willis gets in, beating Kuhn, after the secondary owned the Packers' receivers.

Opportunity at momentum lost in the San Francisco fog.

2nd Quarter

8:44 p.m.  49ers' 3rd Drive  2:33
San Francisco 24, Green Bay 21
Akers 36 yd FG

Play action and Kaepernick doesn't fool Brad Jones.  Assignment football and the Packers play disciplined on that play.

But when he's scrambling and gets Crabtree as an escort, it's easy pickings for 20 yards.

Kaepernick deep...Davis...tip drill!  Burnett saved a big play.  Could have been much worse.

Whoa!  Walker with a circus catch on the sideline, but his hand struck the white painted grass just before his knee did.  Incompletion.  The refs got it right.

3rd-10 at SF 42: Blitz...Kaepernick...with forever to run.  He had a semi-truck space to run through.  "Easy." - Wayne Larrivee.  Into Packers territory.

James with six yards and they can run the ball now, that deep in Packers territory.

Kaepernick...deep...end zone...phew.  Overthrew Ginn, and Shields had him blanketed.

3rd-10 at GB 27: QB draw AGAIN, and finally, Kaepernick gets stopped before the first down line.

8:35 p.m.  Packers' 2nd Drive  5:26
Green Bay 21, San Francisco 21
Rodgers-Jones 21 yd TD pass

Now, Rodgers and company must show up.  If they do and tied it up, the momentum could swing huge!

He runs it himself...and he even loses the football...just momentarily as Smith swipes the ball out, but he thankfully recovers.

Play action and a fantastic diving grab by Finley!  Three defenders within a foot of the ball and Rodgers still got it there.  Incredible on both sides.

Harris with four yards off right tackle...make that 19 yards after a helmet-to-helmet smash by Goldson.  Good call, though 70,000 at Candlestick wouldn't have been able to see it at full speed, hence the boos.

Harris for six yards on a screen pass, despite the tackle of an all-pro by Whitner.

Niners jump the neutral zone....and because they touched a Packer during the offsides malfeasance, refs had to stop the play.

Rodgers - HUGE THROW!  Jones beats Whitner!

8:26 p.m.  49ers' 2nd Drive  9:19
San Francisco 21, Green Bay 14
Kaepernick-Crabtree 20 yd TD pass

Must stop.  Maybe not MUST stop, but it seems like it.

Great tackle by Brad Jones to stop a first down by Ted Ginn, Jr.  Jones is starting to make open-field tackles well.  He's starting to get it.

3rd-2 at GB 39:James breaks through like he's with Oregon and not facing an NFL team.

Phew.  Crabtree was wide open and tipped it.  Darn!  Crabtree tipped it instead of Tramon Williams getting his paws on it.

3rd-9 at GB 24: Kaepernick...runs himself...first down...inside the 10...and a flag on the young man after he tossed the ball right by Walden.  15 yard unsportsmanlike for taunting.  But the play was over.  So it's still a first down.

"For a guy who scored a 37 on the Wonderlic, that is a stupid play." - Wayne Larrivee.  It could cost them four points.  (Field goal instead of touchdown.)

Crabtree. Diving catch.  Uh oh.

8:18 p.m  Packers' 1st Drive  10:59
Cue Randall Cobb for returns the rest of the night.

And cue John Kuhn for a penalty to put the Packers within the 10 yard line.  "Special teams starting to kill Green Bay." - Wayne Larrivee

As the 49ers' chant defense, how does a 93 yard drive sound right now?

Flaggage.  Nelson beat his guy, Culliver, and pass intereference called.  He bumped Nelson during the back-hip throw.  Harbaugh is having a coronary.

Rodgers does his Kaepernick impersonation, but to throw, not to run, to survive and avoida  sack.

3rd-7 at GB 26: Blitz coming and Rodgers bombs against it...Nelson...pick by Brown.  Uh oh.  He breaks tackles, and a "punt" turns into a horrible mistake.

Wayne: "I'm not sure Jordy Nelson's 100%.  He just could not run under that football."

8:07 p.m.  49ers' 1st Drive  continued from 1st quarter
Green Bay 14, San Francisco 14
Kaepernick-Crabtree 12 yd TD pass

Gore can hammer.  Five yards.  Especially when the 49ers' O-line road graders create that much of an opening.

Crabtree left Burnett in the dust for a first down near the 50.  Lots of short throws.  Rhythm.  Lessen the pressure.

Moses knew what Kaepernick was doing with the option run to the right.  Just three yards.   If he doesn't, Kaepernick is running to Santa Clara.

3rd-12 at GB 48: Kaepernick with one of those useless completions to Gore, just three yards, and Brad Jones ate Gore up.

Uh oh.  Muff.  Ross.  "An egregious mistake." - Wayne Larrivee  The 49ers get the ball seven yards from a tie game.

1st-goal at GB 9: Kaepernick tipped...thanks, Claymaker.  But if you get your hands on it under control, you're running to Novato, Calif. and a 14-point lead.

2nd-goal at GB 9: Mishandled snap and Walden got him.  The center seemed to have snapped it way too early.

3rd-goal at GB 12: Kaepernick to Crabtree...easy money.  Ugh.

1st Quarter

8:04 p.m.  49ers' 4th Drive  :29
And the Packers own the momentum, thanks to - surprisingly - the Green Bay run game.

7:57 p.m.  Packers' 2nd Drive  3:13
Green Bay 14, San Francisco 7
Harris 18 yd TD run

Oh, that's not bad by Harris, eight yards on 2nd down.  You'd think Starks is more the power guy, the type of back that could give San Francisco trouble.

3rd-1 at GB 29: Harris again!  There's a run game being developed.

I see what McCarthy's doing - trying to get that great scondary to contract on a running game that might have some punch against a great run defense.

Face mask on Willis.  No penalty ruled on the face mask on Willis.  Uh, incidental?  Nope.

3rd-5 at GB 38: Rodgers deep for Jones!   Fantastic leaping grab!  Two defenders and it wasn't enough!  He tipped the ball and held control.  Over the to pof his defender. 

Harris!  YES!  HUGE!

7:49 p.m.  49ers' 3rd Drive  8:06
Woodson stopped Gore on 2nd down from going 20 yards or so.  A tomahawk tackle cuts Gore to four yards.

3rd-2 at SF 21: Play action.  Kaepernick runs.  Planned play.  13 yard gain.  As good as a pass completion.

There's the Packers' run defense.  Pickett's back in the game and he slammed Gore down after blowing up his blocker.

Uh oh.  Moss.  12 yards.  Still Mr. Dependable, especially with Williams missing a tackle.  He has 1,320 yards and 14 touchdowns in 15 games against the Packers.  That's an MVP season.

And Moss does it again!  A juggling catch for 13 yards.  The man loves seeing green and gold, like a bull loves seeing red.

Larry: "They're eating clock, keeping the ball away from Rodgers."

3rd-8 at GB 40: Kaepernick incomplete, thanks again to Shields doing the job on the comeback pattern.  Drive ender with no points.  Niners tiring out the Packers' defense, but no points out of it.

7:41 p.m.  Packers' 1st Drive  9:09
A tie game when the Packers get the ball the first time all day and after a 49ers possession?  Could be worse.

First offensive play: Jennings.  Seven yard catch.  Simple.  Rodgers enters a groove.  With the 49ers' secondary, especially in nickel, expect a lot of short passing.

3rd-3 at GB 27: Rodgers missing Kuhn.  Rare to see him miss short, particularly twice.  Bowman all over Kuhn, and I think Kuhn also heard Bowman's footsteps.

7:31 p.m.  49ers' 2nd Drive  12:48
Green Bay 7, San Francisco 7
Kaepernick 20 yd TD run

No Ryan Pickett to start the drive due to an injury during the Shields INT return TD.

Kaepernick takes it himself for the first time during the game, but it's not enough for a first down.  Don't know if they have Hawk shadowing him, but he had a bee-line for him.

3rd-3 at SF 27: Kaepernick broken up by Tramon Williams, but they'll rule holding.  Very accurate call.  Check for red paint on Williams' gloves there.

Charles Woodson all over Vernon Davis with a great attack on the 2nd down throw.  He's doing his job against a Pro Bowl caliber guy.

3rd-10 at SF 22, with Green Bay in dime: Kaepernick, finds Gore open down the sidelines.  Woodson lost Gore as he paid attention to Kaepernick.  The threat of the run creates the big pass play.

SACK TIME!  Matthews with a sack at the 29.  That's one that gets them on the cusp of non-field-goal range because of David Akers' horrible leg.  Makes Crosby look like Morten Andersen.

Gore.  Slams inside the 20.  Delay run.  Draw play.  Perfectly executed.

3rd-8 at GB 20: Kaepernick scrambles again...and takes it all himself.  Ugh.

7:25 p.m.  49ers' 1st Drive  15:00 left in 1st quarter
Green Bay 7, San Francisco 0
Shields 52 yd INT return

A smart start for the 49ers - get Kaepernick in a rhythm with a short pass.  Crabtree with a short reception.  They guy Kaepernick depends on.

Pistol formation - rare in the NFL, unless you're Kaepernick or RGIII when healthy.

Gore slices for seven yards on the first true run play.  That's not a good sign.  And it's not a broken tackle.  It's a dominant O-line.

Kaepernick had forever...throws late!  PICK!  SHIELDS!  PICK SIX!


7:23 p.m.
49ers win the toss, and will receive.  Packers say thanks for the second half momentum, 49ers!

7:20 p.m.
Who gets an advantage in a game with a delay?  The team that's less ruffled by changes in situations, by things that can throw you off.  I think that's the Packers with Aaron Rodgers.

I noticed him during the national anthem...his eyes were closed...seemed incredibly focused.

7:14 p.m.
"If there ever is a stadium in need of replacing, it's Candlestick." - Larry McCarren

7:06 p.m.
Due to the madness happening in Denver between the Ravens and Broncos (35-35 in OT at this point), Packers-49ers kickoff has been moved to 7:25 p.m.

6:31 p.m.
McCarthy w/Wayne Larrivee during Packers Gameday:

On the weather:
"A great day for football...a dry surface."

On the previous matchup and the teams:
"We're a well rounded football team...the offense is playing well...the defense has picked up."

On the special teams so far:
"Special teams has been the most consistent unit of our football team.  Defensively, we've gotten stronger...we've got Charles Woodson.  Offensively, we've got a change of thinking...I like the way we've focused on offense the last four or five weeks."

6:19 p.m.
Check out images from the Voice of the Packers, Wayne Larrivee, and TODAY'S TMJ4/NBC26's Lance Allan at Candelstick Park as we begin our divisional playoff photo gallery.

6:09 p.m.
In much less important news, but still noteworthy, favorite Bay Area sons Huey Lewis and the News will sing the national anthem for tonight's game.

Personally, love their music.  Not a fan of their taste in football teams.

5:49 p.m.
Donald Driver is active for the Packers, as is James Starks.  Starks will be the bigger key - a power back, the kind that has penetrated the Niners' defense before.

5:35 p.m.
Jeff Falconio of our Packers Gameday team gives his three keys for tonight's Packers-49ers game.

6:00 a.m.
Now, for the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers, it gets really serious.

In the incredibly-balanced NFL, when you reach the divisional playoff round, the tests become that much larger and more pronounced.  If you pass them, you prove that you have the characteristics of a Super Bowl champion.

Such is the case for the Green Bay Packers as they enter tonight's showdown at Candlestick Park against the San Francisco 49ers, a team built as if it's meant specifically to beat the Packers.

The winner not only reaches the NFL's version of the Final Four - just 120 of football from holding the Vince Lombardi Trophy - but they will do it showing two traits of championship teams: the will and the versatility to play multiple styles of football and win.

Green Bay will have to show both traits, because the 49ers may be the Packers' greatest NFC challenge.

The Packers certainly have the will to meet a challenge head-on, overcome a weakness and make it a strength.

Their defense proved it against the Minnesota Vikings and all-universe running back Adrian Peterson.   He had gashed them for more than 400 yards rushing entering last Saturday night's wildcard game at Lambeau Field.

The Packers wouldn't let him reach the 100 yard mark, putting him under relative wraps in a 24-10 triumph and proving they could stop the run.

Now, will they do the same against San Francisco, a team that drew blood from the Packers' run defense in their 30-22 win over Green Bay in week one?

Additionally, can they accomplish that against an offense with much more balance, versatility and discipline for avoiding turnovers than the Vikings showed?  Colin Kaepernick can put Vikings backup Joe Webb to shame.

Offensively, the Packers certainly have the more explosive unit, but with the exception of games against the Chicago Bears, Green Bay has not fared well against defenses which can create pressure against Aaron Rodgers without having to blitz.

Nor have they done well in games where they face solid run defenses.

San Francisco will throw both at the Packers.  The 49ers are the best defense Green Bay will face all season long.  They owned the Packers' running game in Week 1, a running game that has certainly advanced past such remedial performance.

The Packers must find the will and the offensive versatility to put points up on the board.  They probably will have to do it without the benefit of short fields, since San Francisco is second best at avoiding turnovers.

If they accomplish this feat against a team that seems constructed to halt Green Bay's run towards the Lombardi Trophy, they'll prove they have the stuff it takes to bring their 5th silver statue back to Titletown.