Colin Kaepernick’s record-breaking performance helped the 49ers in a 45-31 win over the Packers on Saturday night. He ran for 181 yards, which is an NFL all-time single-game record for a quarterback. The 49ers also set a team record with 579 total yards on offense. With tonight’s win, the 49ers will play either the Atlanta Falcons or Seattle Seahawks next Sunday for the NFC Championship game.
“It’s been amazing,” said Kaepernick. “I couldn’t ask for anything more. We made a lot of plays tonight.”
Kaepernick carried the team to end the first half on a positive note. He scrambled for gains of 19, 18 and eight yards to put the 49ers in field goal range. David Akers kicked a 36-yard field goal to end the first half to put the 49ers up 24-21.
In the first half alone, Colin Kaepernick had 107 rushing yards to go with his touchdown.
To start the second half, the Packers found Greg Jennings for a 30-yard gain to midfield. Randall Cobb lined up as a running back gaining 19 yards to put the team in field goal range. Mason Crosby kicked 31-yard field goal to tie the score. The 49ers responded immediately with Kaepernick keeping the ball off a read-option for a 56-yard touchdown run.
“I saw our offensive line play great today,” said Kaepernick. “Our running backs ran well and our receivers ran routes well. It’s easier on me when others are making plays. Our offensive line dominated up front.”
On the next possession after a stop, Kaepernick found Vernon Davis for 44 yards down the field to put the 49ers in the red zone. Frank Gore scored on the ensuing play to put the 49ers up 38-24 to start the fourth quarter.
The 49ers put the exclamation mark on this game by pounding the ball on the ground. Frank Gore and Kaepernick continued to carry the ball combining for 63 yards. Anthony Dixon finished the drive with a two-yard touchdown run in 11 plays, 93 yards and 7:54 taken off the clock to give the 49ers a lead that was insurmountable.
“I think [the Packers] realized they had a lot to deal with,” said Jonathan Goodwin. “We had a great game plan and executed it well. They had a lot coming at them. It was a great game plan by [Greg Roman].”
The Packers opened the scoring when Kaepernick threw an interception returned for a touchdown. Sam Shields read Vernon Davis’ route and picked it off going back 52 yards. Jim Harbaugh said it was important to rebound after an early mistake. Kaepernick didn’t let that play keep him down as he came back strong.
Kaepernick responded on the next drive with a touchdown of his own. The 49ers converted two third downs and Kaepernick finished it off with a 20-yard scramble to tie the score. Frank Gore kept the drive alive with a 25-yard reception on a wheel route.
James Jones caught a miraculous 44-yard reception on third down to put the Packers in the red zone. DuJuan Harris scored on the next play to retake the lead at 14-7.
The 49ers got a gift on special teams after Jeremy Ross muffed a punt and C.J. Spillman recovered the loose ball on the Packers’ nine-yard line. Kaepernick found Michael Crabtree on a slant on third down for a touchdown to even up the score.
Another turnover gave the 49ers great field position when Tarell Brown picked off Aaron Rodgers on a deep throw and returned it to midfield. The 49ers converted two third downs on the ensuing possession with a 14-yard run by LaMichael James and 17-yard scramble by Kaepernick. Crabtree scored his second touchdown with a 20-yard laser pass from Colin Kaepernick to give the 49ers their first lead of the game.
The Packers mixed it up with a 19-yard pass to Jermichael Finley on the next drive. A personal foul penalty for a late hit on Dashon Goldson put the Packers in the red zone. Jones finished the drive with a 20-yard touchdown reception to tie the game 21-21 before Akers’ field goal put the 49ers up going into halftime.
Harbaugh said everyone on the 49ers performed well and he couldn’t be more satisfied.
“It was a great team performance and team victory,” said Harbaugh. “The offense offensively played great, and Colin had a great game. It was an excellent team performance.”
After finishing with a playoff career high of 119 receiving yards and two touchdown catches, Crabtree felt redemption from last year.
“We have a great team,” said Crabtree. “I kept telling myself that I got to make a play and I felt like I had to redeem myself. In every play, I felt like I have something to prove and help get the team a win.”
While Crabtree said he is enjoying this victory, he knows the team will need to prepare for next week. He isn’t worried who the 49ers will be playing next as the team will prepare for the NFC Championship game.
“We feel like we’re in the same place from last year,” said Crabtree. “It’s all about the next game.”
-The 49ers did a good job at preventing large plays on defense. The Packers ran the ball early on, but were unable to throw on the secondary.
-Billy Cundiff was inactive for this game, Harbaugh previously said he put his faith in David Akers as he made his only field goal for 36 yards.
-The pass rush had moderate pressure on Aaron Rodgers, but the defense covered receivers well.
-Justin Smith was active for the game and did a good job at eating blocks.
-The 49ers converted their red zone drives with five touchdowns and one field goal.
-The turnover battle was won by the 49ers when they recovered a muffed punt and when Tarell Brown intercepted Rodgers. All three turnovers in the game led to touchdowns.
-Frank Gore finished with 119 rushing yards and a touchdown run. He averaged 5.2 yards per carry.
-Randy Moss finished the game with two receptions for 25 yards.