GREEN BAY, Wis. – The team from California survived the elements to win the modern version of the "Ice Bowl."
49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who was born in Wisconsin and didn't wear long sleeves for the frigid game, had a huge 11-yard run on third-and-8 with 1:07 left to set up a game-winning field goal by Phil Dawson. Dawson's 33-yard kick gave the 49ers a 23-20 victory at Lambeau Field. The 49ers will move on to face Carolina in the next round of the playoffs.
The game was played in bone-chilling cold. The temperature was five degrees at kickoff, with a wind chill of 10 below zero. Both figures dipped as the night went on. That didn't seem to bother Kaepernick, who made some huge plays down the stretch to put the 49ers in position to win.
The 49ers absolutely dominated the first quarter, out-gaining Green Bay 118 yards to 6. But, two trips inside the red zone produced just two field goals. The Packers finally got going after Tramon Williams intercepted Kaepernick, then lowered his shoulder into the quarterback trying to make the tackle. That got the Lambeau crowd going, and on the ensuing drive Aaron Rodgers hit Jordy Nelson for a 5-yard touchdown. The 49ers took a 13-10 lead into halftime.
The quarterbacks traded great plays early in the fourth quarter. Rodgers escaped two 49ers defenders on a fourth and 2 to find Randall Cobb downfield for a first down pass. That led to a touchdown and a Packers lead. Kaepernick grabbed the lead back for the 49ers on a fantastic pass to Vernon Davis with two Packers defenders in coverage. That gave San Francisco a 20-17 lead.
Green Bay tied the game 20-20 with 5:06 left on Mason Crosby's 24-yard field goal. The Packers almost made a game-turning play on the next drive, but cornerback Micah Hyde dropped a potential interception. On the next play, Kaepernick bought time on a third-and-10 and hit Michael Crabtree over the middle to keep the drive alive. Then Kaepernick's run outside to the left on third-and-8 moved the ball to Green Bay's 27-yard line, setting up Dawson for a game-winning kick.
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