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Dawson's FG on final play lifts 49ers over Cardinals

Glendale, AZ (SportsNetwork.com) - Phil Dawson nailed a game-winning 40-yard field goal as time expired and the San Francisco 49ers edged the Arizona Cardinals, 23-20, on Sunday.

Dawson, who had his 27 consecutive made field goals streak snapped earlier in the game, split the uprights from 56 yards out to give San Francisco a 20-17 lead with 1:45 remaining.

The Cardinals, though, answered with a Jay Feely 43-yard field goal to knot the tilt with 29 ticks on the clock.

LaMichael James nearly broke the ensuing kickoff before being dragged down from behind by NFC Pro Bowl special teamer Justin Bethel as the 49ers began at their own 36-yard line.

Colin Kaepernick threw a strike to Anquan Boldin on an outroute for an 18-yard gain before lofting a pass along the right sideline for fourth-round rookie Quinton Patton, who came down with the 29-yard reception over cornerback Antoine Cason.

Dawson's boot came a snap later.

Although San Francisco headed to the desert with its playoff fate already secured following Monday's 34-24 triumph over the Atlanta Falcons, a win coupled with a Seattle Seahawks loss would've allowed the 49ers to win their third straight NFC West title.

Seattle, though, beat the St. Louis Rams Sunday to clinch the division.

The 49ers will settle with the fifth seed instead and will visit the NFC North-champion Green Bay Packers in the wild-card round.

12/29 20:07:20 ET