Former Brown Dawson kicks 49ers to victory over Packers

Associated Press Published:

Associated Press

Three teams won away games on wild-card weekend, with the San Francisco 49ers capping the victorious road shows with a 23-20 win at frigid Green Bay on Sunday.

Phil Dawson's 33-yard field goal as the game ended lifted the defending NFC champs into the divisional round, where they will play at Carolina. That figures to be much warmer than the near-zero temperatures at Lambeau Field.

"It is not that cold," Niners quarterback Colin Kaepernick said. "It is all mental."

Meanwhile, the Chargers and Saints further proved the old adage for the NFL playoffs: "Just Get In."

San Diego took away the ball four times in a 27-10 win at Cincinnati on Sunday that extended the Bengals' losing ways in the postseason to 23 years. The Chargers outscored Cincinnati 20-0 in the second half, handing the Bengals their first home loss this season.

The Chargers next play at AFC top seed Denver next Sunday.

49ERS 23, PACKERS 20

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Former Cleveland Browns star kicker Dawson booted a 33-yard field goal as time expired, and Kaepernick threw for 227 yards and ran for another 98 to lead the San Francisco 49ers past the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night in a frigid NFC wild-card game.

In a back-and-forth fourth quarter, the 49ers (13-4) threw the final punch. Kaepernick escaped a blitz on third-and-8 and scrambled for an 11-yard gain to the 27 with 1:13 left. Dawson nailed the winning kick five plays later.

The defending NFC champions came away with a huge win in conditions that resembled a meat locker. It was 5 degrees at kickoff, and the winds made it feel like minus-10.

San Francisco plays at Carolina next Sunday.

Mason Crosby's 24-yard field goal tied it at 20 for the Packers (8-8-1) with 5:06 left before the 49ers' final drive.

Until then, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers did his best to turn into "Captain Comeback" again. After a slow first quarter, Rodgers finished 17-of-26 for 177 yards and touchdown.

"Very disappointing, personally," Rodgers said. "It's frustrating not to play your best game in tough conditions. Defense holds them to 23 points. We should win that game."

Kaepernick connected with a spinning Vernon Davis down the seam for a 28-yard touchdown pass with 10:39 left. The score quickly answered John Kuhn's 1-yard touchdown run that briefly gave the Packers a four-point lead.

It was the seventh-coldest game at Lambeau Field since 1959, and the fourth-coldest postseason game at the stadium.

CHARGERS 27, BENGALS 10

CINCINNATI — San Diego took advantage of Andy Dalton's three turnovers in the second half, pulling away to a victory that extended Cincinnati's streak of playoff misery to 23 years and counting.

Philip Rivers donned gloves and made accurate throws in the January rain, leading the Chargers (10-7) to their fifth straight win, this one over the last team to knock them off. They'll play next Sunday in Denver, the AFC's top seed.

"The way our defense was playing, as long as we didn't have a disaster and we made plays when they were there, we were going to win this game," Rivers said.

It was a shocking finish for the Bengals (11-6), who won the AFC North, went unbeaten at home and had their top-ranked defense for the playoffs. But, they were outscored 20-0 in the second half.

Dalton, 29-of-51 for 334 yards, fumbled and threw two interceptions in the second half, setting up San Diego's first playoff victory on the road in an open-air stadium since the 1994 AFC title game in Pittsburgh.

"Whatever you do during the regular season doesn't matter once you get to the playoffs," said Dalton, who is 0-3 in the playoffs. "It's disappointing. All the good stuff we did this year, then to come out and not win this game kind of hurts."

Coach Marvin Lewis fell to 0-5 in the playoffs during his 11 seasons as head coach, but is expected to stick around and get another chance to try again.

Rivers finished an efficient 12-of-16 for 128 yards, including a touchdown to Ladarius Green. Danny Woodhead and Ronnie Brown ran for scores.

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