GREEN BAY–The Packers were still looking for their first down when the first quarter ended at Lambeau Field on Sunday with the 49ers leading, 6-0, in a game the visitors easily could be leading by a lot more.
The 49ers defense forced a three-and-out on the Packers’ opening possession, and the 49ers took possession of the ball at their 27-yard line following a punt.
Colin Kaepernick completed a second-down pass to Michael Crabtree for 14 yards to the Packers 47. Cornerback Sam Shields was injured on the play and he would later leave the field on a cart. It was officially announced that Shields had sustained a knee injury and his return was questionable. Linebacker Mike Neal also sustained a knee injury and his return was questionable.
The 49ers went no-huddle and Kaepernick completed a 13-yard pass to Crabtree to the Packers 32, leaving third-and-2. Kaepernick was sacked for a 4-yard loss, but the 49ers elected not to attempt a field goal, but to go for the first down. Kaepernick then arched a long pass to Crabtree that gained 31 yards to the Packers 4-yard line.
On first down, cornerback Tramon Williams nearly intercepted Kaepernick in the end zone. On second down, Kaepernick rolled to his right and was forced to throw the ball out of the back of the end zone. Kevin House broke up Kaepernick’s third-down pass and Phil Dawson booted a 22-yard field goal that gave the 49ers a 3-0 lead.
Again, the Packers offense was held to a three-play possession, and the 49ers began their next possession on the Packers side of the field following a 29-yard punt.
Frank Gore gained 9 to the 40 and then Gore gained 4 and a first down at the 36. A 9-yard pass to Anquan Boldin left third-and-1, and Gore pounded out 4 yards and a first down at the 23.
Another pass to Boldin gained 12 and a first down at the 11. Eventually, the 49ers were left with a third-and-6 at the 7-yard line and Kaepernick threw incomplete, leaving the 49ers to kick another field goal, 6-0, with 2:17 to play in the first quarter.
The Packers were still looking for their first down on their third possession of the game, which began at the Packers 24. Aaron Rodgers was immediately sacked and fumbled, recovered by T.J. Lang. The 49ers pass rush forced a throw-away on second down, leaving third-and-15. Eddie Lacy carried on third down and the Packers had to punt, again.
San Francisco had the ball at its 41-yard line with :34 to play in the first quarter. The quarter ended following an 8-yard scramble by Kaepernick.
The temperature at kickoff was 5 degrees with a -10 wind chill.
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Kickoff of the NFC wild-card playoff matchup at Lambeau Field is less than an hour away. Here’s a quick rundown on the essentials:
Key pieces missing on defense
The Packers are without LB Clay Matthews, who was by far the team’s best defensive player against the 49ers in Week 1 out in San Francisco. The Packers will be relying on the outside LB trio of Mike Neal, Andy Mulumba and Nick Perry to set the edges against the run and get after the QB, and those three players combined don’t have as much experience at the position as Matthews. It’s a big absence for the Green Bay defense.
On the other side, 49ers CB Carlos Rogers is inactive with a hamstring injury, meaning CB Trumaine Brock joins CB Tarell Brown in the starting lineup. Where Rogers’ injury impacts the 49ers the most is in their nickel defense, where CB Eric Wright — who was questionable this week with a hamstring injury — fills in and recently re-signed CB Perrish Cox is next after him. The Packers have WR Randall Cobb back from his leg injury and he provides a matchup problem for a 49ers team missing a top corner.
On to Carolina
Because of the Saints’ walk-off win over the Eagles on Saturday night, the Packers-49ers winner will travel to Carolina next Sunday for a noon CT divisional playoff game.
The Saints, as the No. 6 seed, will head to No. 1 seed Seattle on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. CT.
It’s cold at Lambeau Field, with temperatures in the single digits and dropping. It may not get as cold during the game as initially forecast, though. It’s possible the temperature will remain at or above zero through most of the game, with the brutal cold arriving later in the evening. Still, wind chills will be in the minus-20 range for most of the game and possibly getting worse.
Four games in franchise history — three in Green Bay, one on the road — had a kickoff temperature of zero or below, so if the game-time temperature remains above zero, this will only come close to being among the five coldest games in team history.
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The following players have been declared as inactive for this afternoon’s Wild Card playoff game between the Green Bay Packers and the San Francisco 49ers at Lambeau Field.
Green Bay Packers
13 WR Chris Harper
16 QB Scott Tolzien
20 CB Jumal Rolle
51 LB Nate Palmer
52 LB Clay Matthews
65 G Lane Taylor
73 C/G JC Tretter
San Francisco 49ers
22 CB Carlos Rogers
46 TE Derek Carrier
54 LB Nick Moody
62 G Ryan Seymour
71 DT Quinton Dial
78 G Joe Looney
84 WR Jon Baldwin
Startling lineup change: 26 CB Trumaine Brock starts for Rogers.
Tags: #SFvsGB, inactives, Playoffs, san francisco 49ers, wild card playoffs
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- Green Bay has an all-time postseason record of 14-4 (.778) at Lambeau Field.
- The Packers have averaged 30.3 points per game in 10 playoff contests under Head Coach Mike McCarthy, which ranks No. 4 in the NFL over that span. That includes the three highest point totals in franchise postseason history (48 at Atlanta, Jan. 15, 2011; 45 at Arizona, Jan. 10, 2010; 42 vs. Seattle. Jan. 12, 2008).
- The Packers have scored 83 second-half points in their last four games, No. 2 in the NFL over that span behind only Philadelphia (92).
- Green Bay has rushed for 110-plus yards in each of its last four games, averaging 143.3 yards on the ground over that span.
- The Packers have posted 12 takeaways in its last five games, which is tied for No. 3 in the NFL over that span.
- Green Bay has recorded two or more takeaways in each of its last five games, its longest single-season streak since a nine-game stretch in 2002.
- QB Aaron Rodgers ranks No. 3 in NFL postseason history (min. 150 attempts) with a 103.6 passer rating, No. 5 with a 66.1 completion percentage and No. 3 with a 1.71 interception percentage (292/5).
- In five career starts vs. San Francisco (including playoffs), Rodgers has completed 130 of 195 passes (66.7 percent) for 1,535 yards and 12 TDs with three INTs for a 104.5 passer rating.
- Rodgers has three career 300-yard passing games in the playoffs, which is tied with Brett Favre for No. 1 in team history. Rodgers has posted a 110-plus passer rating in four of his eight career postseason starts.
- FB John Kuhn has scored a touchdown in each of the last four postseasons (2009-12), the only player in the NFL to accomplish that feat over that span. He is one of three players in franchise history to score a TD in four or more consecutive postseasons (RB Dorsey Levens, five, 1994-98; WR Antonio Freeman, four, 1995-98).
- K Mason Crosby needs five points to surpass K Chris Jacke (73) for No. 1 on the franchise’s all-time playoff scoring list. Crosby has scored in 10 straight playoff games (2007-12), which is tied for the longest scoring streak in team postseason history (Chris Jacke, Ryan Longwell).
- Crosby has made seven consecutive FGs in the playoffs dating back to the 2010 postseason, which is the longest streak in team history.
- CB Sam Shields has posted an interception in each of his last two playoff games. He is tied with four other players for No. 1 on the team’s career playoff list with four interceptions.
Tags: #SFvsGB, Playoffs, san francisco 49ers, what to watch for
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- For the second straight season, the Green Bay Packers (8-7-1, No. 4 seed) and San Francisco 49ers (12-4, No. 5 seed) will meet in the postseason, the first playoff matchup between the clubs at Lambeau Field since a Wild Card contest on Jan. 13, 2002.
- It is the first time the Packers have faced the same opponent in back-to-back postseasons since Green Bay played San Francisco in the playoffs in four consecutive seasons (1995-98). The Packers and 49ers played in an NFC Divisional contest last season at Candlestick Park.
- This will mark the seventh time that the Packers and 49ers have met in the postseason. That is tied for the most games for Green Bay against one opponent in the playoffs (N.Y. Giants, seven). The Packers hold a 4-2 advantage over San Francisco in the postseason series.
- This will be the second meeting this season and the fourth in the last 16 months between the clubs. The Packers visited San Francisco in Week 1 this season, a 34-28 win for the 49ers. It marks the fourth time (1996, 1998, 2012) in the history of the series that the clubs have squared off in both the regular season and the postseason.
- Since 2010, Green Bay has a .695 regular-season winning percentage (44-19-1), No. 1 in the NFC over that span, with San Francisco checking in at No. 2 in the conference with a .664 winning percentage (42-21-1).
- Today’s game will be a matchup of two of the most successful teams in the postseason. Green Bay is 30-18 all-time in the playoffs, a .625 winning percentage that ranks No. 2 in NFL history. San Francisco checks in at No. 5 in the league at 28-19 (.596) in the postseason. The teams have combined for 18 world championships (Green Bay 13, San Francisco 5).
- Including playoffs, the Packers have won 13 of the last 17 games against the 49ers, but San Francisco has emerged victorious in the last three.
BACK IN THE POSTSEASON
- With a thrilling 33-28 win over the Bears last Sunday, the Packers clinched their third straight NFC North title, the first time they have done so since 2002-04. It marked Green Bay’s 21st division crown in franchise history.
- In the 12 seasons of the NFC North (2002-13), Green Bay has captured the division title seven times (2002-04, 2007, 2011-13).
- This marks the Packers’ fifth consecutive playoff appearance (2009-13), one of only two NFL teams (New England) to do so over that span. Green Bay has advanced to the playoffs in six of the last seven seasons.
- Green Bay’s streak of five straight playoff appearances ranks second in franchise history behind only a six-season stretch from 1993-98.
- This is the Packers’ 29th postseason berth in team history and their 16th appearance in the last 21 seasons. Green Bay’s 16 appearances in the free-agency era (since 1993) are the most of any team in the NFL.
- The Packers currently rank No. 3 in NFL history with their 29 playoff appearances, trailing only the N.Y. Giants (31) and Dallas Cowboys (30).
- Today will be Green Bay’s 49th postseason game, which will move them into the No. 3 spot in league history behind only the Cowboys (58) and the Pittsburgh Steelers (54).
- Since the NFL went to a 12-team playoff format in 1990, Green Bay has been the No. 4 seed three other times (1994, 2001, 2003).
- This will be the 11th time that the Packers have played in the Wild Card round in their 16 playoff appearances since 1990. Green Bay has a 7-4 (.636) record in Wild Card games, including a 2-1 mark under Head Coach Mike McCarthy.
- As per team tradition, the Packers alternated game captains each week during the regular season. The team elects captains for the entire postseason.
- Players elected captains were WR Jordy Nelson and QB Aaron Rodgers (offense), S Morgan Burnett and LB A.J. Hawk (defense), and K Mason Crosby and CB Jarrett Bush (special teams).
WEARING THE STRIPES
- Today’s officiating crew includes referee Ed Hochuli (85), umpire Rich Hall (49), head linesman Mark Hittner (28), line judge Ron Marinucci (107), field judge Mike Weir (50), side judge James Coleman (95) and back judge Lee Dyer (27). Alternates include Larry Rose (128), Mike Spanier (90) and Terry Brown (43).
Tags: #SFvsGB, Playoffs, press box notes, san francisco 49ers
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The winner of Sunday’s Packers-49ers wild-card playoff game will travel to Carolina for the NFC divisional playoffs next weekend.
The Saints defeated the Eagles in Philadelphia on Saturday night, so No. 6 seed New Orleans will travel to No. 1 seed Seattle and play next Saturday at 3:30 p.m. CT.
That leaves the Green Bay-San Francisco winner to visit No. 2 seed Carolina next Sunday at noon CT.
For more on the “Road to the Super Bowl,” click here.
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Download the Packers vs. 49ers Wild Card Roster Card here.
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With a high temperature projected in the low single digits, and the low well below zero, Sunday’s NFC wild-card playoff game against San Francisco will be one of the coldest games in franchise history.
Where will it rank? Well, since the Packers began recording official game temperatures in 1959, only two games have featured a kickoff temperature below zero — the Ice Bowl, of course, at minus-13, and the 2007 NFC Championship, at minus-1.
Two other games in team history — one home, one away — were at zero.
Back in the spring of 2011, packers.com compiled this list of the 10 coldest games in franchise history, based on the recorded kickoff temperature. No games played since this list was compiled — until Sunday — have cracked the list.
Here it is: The 10 coldest games in Packers history
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Packers QB Aaron Rodgers’ game-winning TD pass to WR Randall Cobb on fourth down with 38 seconds left in Chicago has been voted the Never Say Never Moment of the Week for Week 17.
Fans voted for one of three moments nominated from the final week of the regular season.
Tags: aaron rodgers
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Earlier this week, 49ers.com’s Taylor Price asked packers.com’s Mike Spofford to answer three questions about the Packers to provide some perspective heading into Sunday’s NFC wild-card playoff matchup.
Spofford then asked Price three similar questions in return. The following is a transcript of those questions and answers:
Which player is most the underrated but essential contributor to Green Bay’s division title?
Spofford: I would say rookie LT David Bakhtiari. When Bryan Bulaga went down with a season-ending knee injury in the preseason, the Packers turned over the QB’s blind side to a rookie fourth-round draft pick and he has impressed. He got a huge test in Week 1 against Aldon Smith, held his own (Smith had a sack on the second play of the game but only ½ sack thereafter) and the Packers haven’t looked back at that position. He has been a factor in the Packers’ improved running game this season, and he has had only two what I would consider rough games – at Cincinnati in Week 3 against Michael Johnson, and at Detroit on Thanksgiving when the entire team played poorly. If not for Eddie Lacy having such a fantastic first season and being talked about as a possible Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate, Bakhtiari would have received more attention as one of the NFC’s top rookies.
Which player is most the underrated but essential contributor to San Francisco’s Wild Card berth?
Price: Alex Boone. Just like your pick with David Bakhtiari, solid offensive line play never gets enough attention. Boone, San Francisco’s starting RG, was the only player on offense or defense to play every single snap this season for the 49ers. That even included emergency duty at left tackle against the St. Louis Rams and Robert Quinn, who recorded 19 sacks on the year. Boone matched up against the man with the second-most sacks in the NFL and shut him out that day. When three-time Pro Bowl LT Joe Staley went down with a knee injury in Week 13, Boone moved back to his collegiate position as a blindside protector and showed he could hold his own. Fortunately for the 49ers, Staley’s injury was minor. He returned to the lineup the following week against Seattle and Boone resumed his duties at RG. Boone’s toughness and tenacity is complemented by the hard-nosed nature of San Francisco’s starting RT Anthony Davis. Together, the right side of the 49ers offensive line is one of, if not the best RG-RT combinations in all of football. The 49ers finished the year averaging 137.6 rushing yards per game, third-best in the league. San Francisco also finished fourth with 18 rushing TDs and sent two linemen, Staley and LG Mike Iupati, to the Pro Bowl. Boone was chosen as a Pro Bowl alternate and should be a perennial Pro Bowler for years to come.
Which one-on-one matchup will have the biggest impact on Sunday’s game?
Spofford: I’m not sure who’s going to be assigned to him, but the Packers’ coverage on TE Vernon Davis will be critical. The Packers are more banged up at linebacker right now than any other position, missing Clay Matthews and with Nick Perry, Mike Neal and Brad Jones all on the injury report last week (only Jones missed the game of those three). A.J. Hawk is the healthiest linebacker but he has had trouble guarding Davis in the past. Green Bay safeties Morgan Burnett and Sean Richardson didn’t play in Week 1, so that would be a change of pace against Davis. If the Packers decide to try a cornerback, the options are rookie nickel Micah Hyde or dime back Jarrett Bush. It will be interesting to see what Dom Capers prefers to do. In Week 1, WR Anquan Boldin had the huge game with 13 catches for 208 yards and a TD, but I look for CBs Tramon Williams and Sam Shields, who are playing well right now, to prevent a repeat of that. Davis had six catches for 98 yards and two TDs in Week 1, and the Packers can’t let that happen again, either.
Price: With the weather expected to be in the single digits, I would think a run-oriented attack would benefit the 49ers against the Packers. With that being said, Frank Gore vs. A.J. Hawk is a matchup that could very well determine Sunday’s winner. The 49ers were bottled up on the ground when they hosted the Packers in Week 1 of the regular season. With Green Bay looking to stop Gore and the zone-read schemes San Francisco employed in last year’s postseason meeting between the teams, the 49ers struggled to run in the 2013 season opener. Gore carried the ball 21 times and only picked up 44 yards on the ground. Gore, however, went on to produce his seventh, 1,000-yard season of his nine-year career and had the second-most TD runs of his career with nine scores. In the regular season finale, Gore carried the ball 13 times for 14 yards against the Arizona Cardinals, the NFL’s No. 1 rush defense in the regular season. Gore’s success on the ground remains a crucial element to San Francisco’s success. The 49ers will keep pounding the run game and use multiple formations and a variety of runners to be productive in this postseason matchup. Gore still remains the centerpiece. It’s worth noting the 49ers are 28-7 when Gore rushes for 100-or-more yards. In the postseason, the 30-year-old back averages 96.4 yards per game. It will be up to Hawk and Green Bay’s run stuffers to limit the production of the future Hall of Fame running back.
How close to 100 percent are Aaron Rodgers and Randall Cobb and what stood out the most from them against Chicago, besides the fourth-down touchdown?
Spofford: Cobb played more than anticipated in his first game back after 10 games off and looked no worse for wear. As soon as he came into the game against the Bears, in the second quarter, he was getting open from the slot. You can see it in the video I posted here. He had only practiced for two weeks before being activated from temporary IR, so his impact with two TDs was somewhat unexpected, but it actually could have been greater after seeing the film. Rodgers wasn’t as deadly accurate as he usually is, but seven games off plus the cold, wind and drizzle in Chicago I’m sure were factors. He made a bad decision on his first INT and then an off-target throw that was deflected on his second, but the mistakes were minimized after that. Those were not easy conditions in which to attempt 39 passes and throw for 318 yards, and it doesn’t sound like the conditions will be any better this Sunday.
What has been the biggest factor in San Francisco’s six-game winning streak to close out the regular season?
Price: In the NFL, you can only go as far as your quarterback will take your team. Colin Kaepernick has quietly put together six really impressive performances and has led the 49ers to the playoffs in his first season as a full-time starter. In the final six weeks of the regular season, Kaepernick posted a 108.6-or-better QB rating in five of those games. The lone exception was in a victory over the NFL’s No. 1 overall defense, the Seattle Seahawks. Furthermore, Kaepernick has been make better decisions with more weapons in the lineup. The combination of Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin has been the team’s best one-two punch at wide receiver since the days of Jerry Rice and Terrell Owens. Those weapons working in tandem with a pass-catching tight end like Vernon Davis (the team’s leader with 13 TDs), allowed Kaepernick to not force the football into tight coverage. San Francisco’s signal-caller was able to attack the matchups he liked the most. Kaepernick finished the six-game winning streak with 10 TD passes and one interception. It was clearly his best stretch of football in the regular season and he closed the year with a 310-yard outing against Arizona. It was the first time he went over the 300-yard mark since his career-high 412-yard effort against the Packers in Week 1.
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