The San Francisco 49ers defeated the Green Bay Packers 19-17 in a dramatic NFC divisional round playoff game on Saturday night. The 49ers now advance to the NFC championship game next weekend.
49ers Stage Comeback in Final Minutes
The 49ers trailed the Packers 17-6 late in the fourth quarter (CBSSports). But San Francisco rallied, scoring 13 unanswered points in under 5 minutes to stun Green Bay and Lambeau Field.
With just over two minutes left, 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy threw a short touchdown pass to pull San Francisco within 17-13 after the extra point. Then, with less than 30 seconds remaining, special teams ace Jordan Mason ran the kickoff back 59 yards to give the 49ers excellent field position at the Packers 21 yard line (NFL.com). This enabled kicker Robbie Gould to kick the game-winning 30 yard field goal as time expired.
The 49ers comeback was shocking after their offense struggled for most of the game. But their defense kept them in it and the team showed incredible mental toughness to never give up.
Chaotic 4th Quarter Features Lead Changes
Saturday night’s game featured three lead changes in the final 9 minutes alone. The Packers had led 17-6 before the 49ers scored to make it 17-13. Then Green Bay responded with a field goal to go up 20-13 with just over 4 minutes left (SI.com). 49ers receiver Jauan Jennings caught a clutch 1 yard touchdown pass from Purdy on 4th down to put San Francisco briefly back on top 20-17. But Green Bay kicker Mason Crosby made a 46 yard field goal with 1:08 remaining to give the Packers a 20-19 advantage. This set up the 49ers last second heroics to win the game.
49ers Overcome Injuries to Key Players
The 49ers were without several injured standouts in this game, including quarterback Trey Lance, running back Christian McCaffrey, and star defenders Nick Bosa and Fred Warner (LATimes). Yet they still found a way to beat the top seeded Packers on the road.
Third string quarterback Brock Purdy continued his impressive play. He made clutch throws despite bitter cold temperatures and a hostile road environment. Rookie RB Jordan Mason filled in capably for McCaffrey with 51 total yards. And the defense bent but didn’t break, coming up with a key interception of Aaron Rodgers in 49ers territory in the 3rd quarter.
|49ers Key Injured Players
|QB Trey Lance
|QB Brock Purdy
|RB Christian McCaffrey
|RB Jordan Mason
|DE Nick Bosa
|DE Charles Omenihu
|LB Fred Warner
|LB Dre Greenlaw
The 49ers now move on to face the winner of Sunday’s Dallas Cowboys vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers game in next weekend’s NFC championship (ESPN TV schedule). If Dallas wins, San Francisco will travel there for the game. If Tampa Bay wins, the 49ers will host the conference championship.
San Francisco will likely again be without Lance, McCaffrey, Bosa and Warner. But they showed in beating the Packers that injuries may not matter. The 49ers are battle-tested and have a knack for making big plays late in games. Whichever team emerges from the NFC will head to the Super Bowl as seasoned veterans ready to win it all.
Social Media Reaction
Fans on social media were buzzing about the 49ers dramatic comeback win:
“What an unbelievable finish! Football at its absolute best.” (Ravens Twitter)
“The heart attacks out here are REAL! Another amazing victory Faithful!” (49ers Twitter)
“You can’t kill these Niners. Left for dead so many times, they pull off miracle after miracle!” (Bleacher Report)
The 49ers once again showed that counting them out is unwise. Their resolve and ability to win games late make them a dangerous team no one will want to face.
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