Sun Sentinel
National Football League
PRESEASON
12345
REGULAR SEASON
12345
678910
1112131415
1617   
PLAYOFFS
123PBSB
 
       === Kaepernick, 49ers run over Packers to reach NFC title game ===
 
 San  Francisco, CA  (Sports Network)  - Colin  Kaepernick set  an NFL  rushing
 record  for a quarterback with 181 yards and scored twice as the San Francisco
 49ers beat Green Bay, 45-31, in an NFC Divisional Playoff.
 
 Kaepernick,  who was born in Milwaukee and grew up as a Packers fan, outplayed
 reigning  MVP  Aaron Rodgers and  helped the  49ers reach the NFC Championship
 Game for the second straight year.
 
 Sam Shields picked off Kaepernick's second pass of the game and returned it 52
 yards  for  a score,  but the  second-year player  took over  on the ground by
 running  for touchdowns  of 20 and 56 yards. He also completed 17-of-31 passes
 for  263 yards with a pair of scores to Michael Crabtree, who had nine catches
 for 119 yards. Frank Gore had 119 yards and a TD on 23 carries.
 
 "He  does a great  job of responding. He's done that every time he's thrown an
 interception,   safety,  or  turnover,"  49ers  coach  Jim  Harbaugh  said  of
 Kaepernick.  "He's responded with a scoring drive. That's a rare quality. He's
 shown he's had the ability to come back."
 
 The  performance by Kaepernick in his first playoff game shredded the previous
 QB  rushing  record for any  game, set  by Michael Vick  (173) in 2002. It was
 also the most rushing yards for the 49ers in their postseason history.
 
 "It's  a great accolade.  It means a lot to this team," Kaepernick said of the
 record.
 
 The  NFC West  champion 49ers  will  play either  Seattle or  Atlanta in  next
 Sunday's  NFC Championship  Game. The  49ers,  seeded second,  will host  next
 weekend's  contest if Seattle wins or could play the top-seeded Falcons on the
 road.
 
 Rodgers  finished  26-of-39  for 257  yards  with  a  pair  of scores  and  an
 interception,  but  the NFC North  champions were eliminated from the playoffs
 one week after beating Minnesota in the Wild Card round.
 
 "It's  pretty  frustrating," Rodgers  said. "To  go out and  play like that is
 disappointing. We didn't do enough on offense to help our defense."
 
 One more win by the 49ers would send them to the Super Bowl for the first time
 since the 1994 season. They lost to the Super Bowl champion New York Giants in
 the NFC title game last year.
 
 The 49ers piled up 579 yards and turned what was a close game at halftime into
 a safe margin thanks to the feet of Kaepernick.
 
 Mason Crosby's 31-yard field goal bent inside the right upright with 8:25 left
 in  the third quarter  to cap an 89-yard march for the Packers to tie the game
 at 24.
 
 Less  than two minutes later, Kaepernick broke free down the right sideline on
 a 56-yard scoring run.
 
 "We  didn't  handle  the  read-option  very well  and  we  didn't  handle  the
 quarterback runs from out of the pocket," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said.
 
 The  backbreaking  score by  the 49ers  came on  the first  play of the fourth
 quarter  when  Gore broke off  right tackle  and surged to  the end zone for a
 2-yard  score  to  cap  a  93-yard  drive. The  key  play  in  the  march  was
 Kaepernick's 44-yard connection to Vernon Davis.
 
 After  another  Green Bay  punt,  the  49ers  stretched  their lead  to  three
 touchdowns  courtesy  of Anthony Dixon's  2-yard run to finish another 93-yard
 trek.  San Francisco was able to move the chains on a 4th-and-1 from the Green
 Bay 18 when B.J. Raji jumped offside.
 
 Rodgers threw a 3-yard score to Greg Jennings with 57 seconds remaining.
 
 The  Packers took the lead just four plays into the contest thanks to Shields'
 52-yard interception return. Faced with a 2nd-and-6 from the San Francisco 47,
 Kaepernick  scrambled and tried to get the ball to Davis on the left side, but
 Shields  stepped in front of the veteran tight end and raced down the sideline
 for the easy score.
 
 The  49ers  tied the  contest on  their second  possession when, on 3rd-and-8,
 Kaepernick  stepped up in the pocket and darted to the left side for a 20-yard
 scoring run.
 
 "It's  a  lot easier on  me when other people  are making plays. Our offensive
 line dominated up front," Kaepernick said.
 
 James  Jones made a  leaping, juggling catch for a 44-yard gain down the right
 sideline to set up Green Bay's second score. The completion came on 3rd-and-5,
 and  on the next play, DuJuan Harris found a hole up the middle for an 18-yard
 TD run with 29 seconds left in the opening quarter for a 14-7 difference.
 
 The 49ers took advantage of a muffed punt return from Jeremy Ross early in the
 second  quarter to  tie the game. The  ball went through Ross' hands, and C.J.
 Spillman  pounced  on it at  the 9-yard line. Three  plays later, from the 12,
 Kaepernick  found Crabtree  over the  middle  and the  wide receiver  squeezed
 between defenders to the end zone.
 
 San  Francisco went back in front, 21-14, midway through the second quarter on
 Kaepernick's  20-yard TD pass to Crabtree. Tarell Brown's picked off a bomb by
 Rodgers,  and the  veteran cornerback's 39-yard return set the hosts up at the
 Green Bay 48.
 
 On  3rd-and-9  from the  24, Kaepernick  scrambled up the  middle for 15 yards
 before  being sandwiched by defenders. A fired-up Kaepernick was penalized for
 taunting  after spinning the  ball at the feet of the defenders, but two plays
 later  he threaded the  needle to the goal line for Crabtree, who was in tight
 coverage  with  Shields, putting  the 49ers  ahead again  with 5:26 left until
 halftime.
 
 Rodgers  connected  with Jones on a  20-yard scoring strike with 2 1/2 minutes
 remaining  in  the second quarter,  but the 49ers grabbed  a 24-21 lead at the
 break thanks in part to the speed of Kaepernick.
 
 On  3rd-and-10,  Kaepernick scrambled 18 yards  to the Green Bay 40. The drive
 stalled  before  David Akers kicked  a 36-yard field  goal on the half's final
 play.
 
                                   Game Notes
 
 Before Saturday, the Packers had won four of the five playoff meetings between
 the  teams ...  The 49ers won at Green  Bay, 30-22, in the opening week of the
 season ... Jennings had six catches for 54 yards, while Harris gained 53 yards
 on 11 carries.
 
 
 
 
 
 01/13 02:06:58 ET