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May 29, 2024

49ers Defeat Packers to Advance to NFC Championship Game

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Jan 21, 2024

The San Francisco 49ers defeated the Green Bay Packers 20-16 on Saturday night in an NFC Divisional playoff game. The win advances the 49ers to the NFC Championship game next weekend against the winner of Sunday’s Dallas Cowboys vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers game.

49ers Build Early Lead Behind Defense and Special Teams

The 49ers set the tone early with a defensive stop and special teams touchdown on the opening kickoff. Safety Talanoa Hufanga intercepted Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers on Green Bay’s first drive to give San Francisco the ball. The 49ers offense capitalized quickly with a 45-yard touchdown pass from rookie quarterback Brock Purdy to wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk to take a 7-0 lead (view highlight).

On the ensuing kickoff, 49ers special teamer Jordan Mason returned the kickoff 104 yards for a touchdown. After the made extra point, the 49ers lead 14-0 halfway through the first quarter (box score).

The 49ers defense continued their strong start, forcing another Green Bay punt on the next possession. However San Francisco’s offense stalled out on their following drive and was forced to punt it back to the Packers.

Packers Battle Back to Take Halftime Lead

The Packers offense finally got on track at the end of the first quarter. Running back A.J. Dillon scored on a 6-yard touchdown run to cut the 49ers lead to 14-7 with 26 seconds left in the first quarter.

The Packers quickly got the ball back after the 49ers went three-and-out on their next possession. Green Bay methodically drove down the field, aided by three 49ers’ penalties. Aaron Rodgers hit tight end Robert Tonyan for a 21-yard touchdown to tie the game 14-14 halfway through the second quarter.

San Francisco received the kickoff but were forced to punt after just three plays. Savage return man Keisean Nixon muffed the punt and Green Bay recovered at the 49ers’ 37-yard line.

The Packers capitalized on the special teams mistake with Rodgers throwing his second touchdown of the quarter, this time to veteran Randall Cobb to give Green Bay their first lead at 21-14.

The 49ers had one last chance before halftime and drove into Packers territory. However, Purdy was intercepted on third down by safety Adrian Amos with 13 seconds remaining. The teams went into halftime with Green Bay clinging to a 21-14 lead.

49ers Regain Lead in Third Quarter Behind Christian McCaffrey

The 49ers defense forced a three-and-out on the opening possession of the second half. The offense responded with their best drive of the game, marching 79 yards on eight plays. Running back Christian McCaffrey capped it with a 9-yard touchdown run to tie the game 21-21 (view highlight).

1 2 3 4 Final
SF 14 0 7 3 20
GB 7 14 0 3 16

The Packers went three-and-out on their next possession as the 49ers defense continued to confuse Aaron Rodgers. San Francisco drove into Green Bay territory again on the next drive, but had to settle for a 38-yard Robbie Gould field goal to take a 24-21 lead in the third quarter.

The Packers had an opportunity to respond before the quarter ended, but Rodgers threw his second interception of the game when Jimmie Ward picked him off on 3rd-and-5. The 49ers lead held at 24-21 going into the fourth quarter.

Defenses Clamp Down in Fourth Quarter

The fourth quarter turned into a defensive slugfest with both offenses struggling. The 49ers drove to the Packers 30 on their second possession but turned it over on downs after Purdy took a sack on 4th-and-5.

Green Bay’s offense finally showed some life with Dillon breaking off a 34-yard run into 49ers territory on the next possession. However San Francisco held firm in the red zone and the Packers settled for a Mason Crosby 30-yard field goal to tie the game 24-24 with under five minutes remaining.

The 49ers offense went three-and-out, giving Green Bay one last chance for the win. But Nick Bosa sacked Rodgers on 3rd down to force another punt with just 43 seconds left.

Purdy completed a crucial 9-yard pass to Aiyuk on 3rd-and-8 to get into range for a game-winning field goal attempt. Robbie Gould split the uprights from 45-yards out as time expired, lifting San Francisco to the dramatic 20-16 victory.

What’s Next for the 49ers

The 49ers now move on to host the NFC Championship game next Sunday night at Levi’s Stadium. They await the winner of Sunday’s game between the number 2 seed Dallas Cowboys versus the number 5 seed Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

If Dallas wins, San Francisco would host their third straight conference title game against the Cowboys as the 49ers defeated Dallas in last year’s playoffs. But if Tampa Bay upsets Dallas, it would set up a rematch of San Francisco’s 31-7 win over the Bucs during the regular season in December.

Regardless of opponent, San Francisco has positioned themselves as a top Super Bowl contender with Saturday night’s gritty performance. Rookie quarterback Brock Purdy is now 7-0 as a starter since taking over midseason. The versatile offense led by McCaffrey and bolstered by the physical defense has many drawing comparisons to the 49ers’ dominant 2019 Super Bowl run.

The team will rest up this weekend and await their opponent for next Sunday’s championship showdown with a trip to Super Bowl 2024 on the line.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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