THE SANTA CLARA
January 9, 2014
In one of the most frigid games in NFL history, the San Francisco 49ers overcame the Green Bay Packers in the first round of the playoffs this past weekend.
Despite wind-chilled temperatures that felt like minus 15 on the field and a hostile crowd, the Niners ended Green Bay’s season with an imperfect, but decisive performance.
The 49ers’ star quarterback Colin Kaepernick has proven to be a dynamic player as well as one who is very exciting to watch. Although he brings an added dimension to the field with his running ability as he showed Sunday, he is young and has a lot to learn.
San Francisco generated two great drives in the first quarter, but Kaepernick and the 49er offense were unable to score touchdowns, settling for two field goals instead. In such a close game, two touchdown drives would have changed the game entirely.
Nonetheless, for the next two quarters, San Francisco’s offense sputtered while Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers managed to heat up in the bitter cold, eventually closing the gap.
What happened in the final quarter will be remembered by NFL fans for years to come.
The Packers took the lead for the first time early in the final period with a touchdown. San Francisco’s Vernon Davis answered shortly thereafter with a 28-yard touchdown reception to put the Niners back on top.
Still, there were 10 minutes left in the game; plenty of time for Rodgers to put together a drive and end the 49ers’ season.
But the San Francisco defense put up when it really counted. The 49ers held the Packers to a game-tying field goal, leaving Kaepernick with 5:06 left on the clock and a chance to win.
The 49ers’ final drive of the game once again demonstrated the team’s toughness and gritty determination as they put together plays that would keep their Super Bowl dreams alive.
After several completions to wide receiver Michael Crabtree, San Francisco found itself in a tight spot with third-and-8 in Green Bay territory. Kaepernick reminded us why San Francisco is lucky to have him when he took the snap, burst around the left end of the line and sprinted 11 yards for a clutch, game-saving first down.
Frank Gore ran down the clock and inched the 49ers toward a 33-yard field goal attempt.
Phil Dawson, the 49ers’ kicker, delivered in what may be his finest moment — to 49er fans at least — and sealed the hard-fought victory.
With their backs against the wall in sub-zero weather at hostile Lambeau Field, the 49ers proved tough, resilient and poised. Going into Carolina with a seven-game winning streak, the 49ers have sent Cam Newton and his Panthers squad a clear message of what to expect on Sunday.
Sydney Sanchez is a sophomore accounting major.