The San Francisco 49ers survived a nail-biter at Lambeau Sunday night, beating the Green Bay Packers 23-20 on a game ending field goal by ex-Browns kicker Phil Dawson, the exact same score of the previous game against Arizona.
The mighty men survived the brutal cold, the heroic effort of the outmanned Packers, and yet another horseshit effort by the zebras who swung eleven points the Packers way by ignoring a blatant PI on Michael Crabtree in the end zone and another near-death strangling on Ray McDonald that freed Aaron Rodgers to make his miraculous 4th down conversion that led to a 4th quarter TD that gave the Pack a temporary lead in the game.
They also had a little luck on their side, when a Packers’ DB dropped a sure interception on the Niners game ending FG drive.
This was the fourth game out of the past five that the team went down to the final moments with defeat looking more probable than victory before squeezing out a win. They burned the last six minutes off the clock against Seattle, turned defeat into victory with Nate Bowman’s interception against Atlanta, used 26 out of 28 seconds to drive into FG range against Arizona, and yesterday ground the last five minutes off the clock against the Pack.
It makes for great theater. But personally, these are hard games to enjoy. 59 minutes and 58 seconds of pure angst.
The game started off as expected, with the 49ers roaring downfield on three straight opening drives, with Crabtree looking like his old terrific pre-injury self (8 recs, 125 yds). But, partly because of the above mentioned zebras, they only came away with six mere points. You knew then what would come next and how the game was going to play out. Sure enough, one Packer drive to a TD and the entire dominant first quarter was washed away.
The Niners took a narrow 13-10 lead into half time, with the defense looking very wobbly against Rodgers. Both defenses stiffened in the third quarter, or the guys were all freezing to death by then — take your pick. Then came the fourth quarter. The Packers took the lead, the Niners took the lead, the Packers tied it, and Colin Kaepernick took over the game and willed the team to victory, with three critical third down conversions on the final drive.
Kaepernick is looking more and more each week like a guy who refuses to lose a game. Gone is the confused guy with no WRs and no clue from the early part of the season. Whatever it takes, he’s going to get it done. Sunday, his gutty, sleeveless performance stood in stark contrast to the woeful and gutless effort put forth by Andy Dalton of the Bengals, who was chosen just before Kaepernick in the 2011 draft.
Getting out of Green Bay with a win, combined with the Saints victory over the Eagles, set the team up for the best case scenario (at least to us fans) of going to Carolina next week for the Divisional Round, while New Orleans takes on Seattle. And it keeps alive the possibility, however remote, of the NFC Championship game being played at The Dump, Candlestick Park.
And so, while the first four playoff teams pack their bags for the offseason, we get to saunter up to the entertainment bar and utter the classic words, “One more round, please.”