Wild Card Weekend: 49ers Squeak Past Packers

Colin Kaepernick Carries 49ers Past Packers Once Again – SB Nation

The San Francisco 49ers are off to the divisional round of the playoffs, and while there are tons of factors that went into their 23-20 victory over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, quarterback Colin Kaepernick stands out. In fact, Kaepernick has stood out every time the 49ers have played the Packers in recent seasons.

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San Francisco head coach Jim Harbaugh is 4-0 against the Packers and Kaepernick has been his quarterback for three of those games. On Sunday, Kaepernick had a so-so game throwing the football, with 16 completions on 30 attempts for 227 yards with one touchdown and an interception. But he made a difference on the ground.

Kaepernick kept the ball seven times and put up 98 yards on the ground. On three of San Francisco’s final four drives, Kaepernick rushed for 16 yards on a first down, converted a 3rd-and-short with a 24-yard rush and converted a 3rd-and-long for 11 yards to extend the final drive, which ended with a game-winning field goal.

Sure, he underthrew some passes – he missed a wide open Vernon Davis on more than one occasion — but Kaepernick came through when the game was on the line, and that’s what was important. On the aforementioned last drive of the game, Kaepernick also used his legs to escape the pressure and find Michael Crabtree for a 17-yard reception and a first down.

Extending that final drive to give that field goal more of a chance was a huge deal given the conditions that game was being played in.

Earlier this season, the 49ers bested the Packers in Week 1, though that time it was Kaepernick’s arm that made the difference. Green Bay, having spent the offseason in a highly-publicized search for methods to beat the read option, was locked onto the run and Kaepernick only rushed for 22 yards in that game. But he found Anquan Boldin 13 times for 208 yards and completed 27 of 39 passes for 412 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions.

In fact, there was actually very little read option in that game. Maybe the Packers’ tough talk worked, or perhaps Harbaugh and San Francisco offensive coordinator Greg Roman didn’t want to take the chance. Whatever the case, Kaepernick shredded the Green Bay secondary and got the 49ers’ regular season started with a win.

His biggest game against the Packers was in the divisional round of last year’s playoffs, though. In that game, Kaepernick threw for just 263 yards with two touchdowns and an interception, but broke the single-game record for rushing yards by a quarterback with 16 carries for 181 yards and two touchdowns.

Searching for pictures of that game will bring up tons of snapshots of Kaepernick holding the ball and running, with three or four Packers players chasing him from behind. It certainly felt like that was all that game truly featured in the end.

In all, Kaepernick has accounted for 301 rushing yards against the Packers in three games. In total with rushing and passing, he’s put up 1,203 yards and eight touchdowns. Do keep in mind that Kaepernick grew up a Packers fan.

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Chargers Get Playoff Victory Over Bengals – KNSD

The Chargers, after making it to the playoffs this year for the first time since 2009, are moving on.

San Diego went into Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, where the Bengals had a perfect record at home this season, and came out victorious, 27-10. They will now face Denver next Sunday at 1:40 p.m. local time.

It was a game where turnovers mattered, as expected. Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton, who threw 20 interceptions in the regular season, lost the ball three times (once on a fumble and twice on interceptions). Cincinnati running back Giovanni Bernard was stripped of the ball in the second quarter by linebacker Donald Butler.

Big plays happened when big plays mattered.

In a game where it was supposed to snow — (it didn’t, just rained in the fourth quarter) — the Chargers silenced the critics who didn’t give them a chance all week, who said they didn’t really deserve to be in the playoffs.

Here’s how it went:

The Chargers lost the coin toss and the Bengals deferred, giving San Diego the ball first. Rivers was sacked five plays into the opening drive and the Bengals took the ball, but stalled on their first possession.

On the next drive, the Chargers did what they do best — they controlled the clock on an 11-play methodical drive that was punctuated by a Danny Woodhead run up the middle for a touchdown.

In the second quarter, the Bengals tied the game, marching 60 yards down the field in 10 plays.

Chargers linebacker Donald Butler made a big play at the end of the second quarter when he stripped Bengals running back Giovanni Bernard near the red zone, forcing a fumble. Cornerback Richard Marshall recovered the fumble and the Chargers received the ball with less than two minutes before halftime.

The Bengals forced a three-and-out on the next drive and, on the following possession, kicker Mike Nugent converted a 46-yard field goal. The Bengals led the Chargers 10-7 going into halftime.

The Chargers didn’t pick up a single first down in the second quarter.

But adjustments were made in the locker room.

In the third quarter, Rivers finally connected with a wide receiver for the first time in the game, hitting Keenan Allen for nine yards. The offense found a rhythm and a few plays later, Eddie Royal caught a 33-yard pass. On the next play, Rivers threw a touchdown to Ladarius Green and the Chargers took the lead, 14-10.

After attempting only six passes in the first half, Rivers went 6-for-6 for 68 yards and a touchdown in that third quarter drive.

On the Bengals’ next drive, Andy Dalton fumbled the ball on a head-first slide, giving San Diego possession at Cincinnati’s 46-yard-line. The Chargers capitalized this time with a 25-yard field goal by Chargers kicker Nick Novak, making it a seven point margin.

Dalton turned the ball over again on the next drive, picked off by cornerback Shareece Wright for the third turnover in five drives. The Bengals held San Diego to a field goal, but the Chargers were up by two scores.

Another interception by Dalton on the next drive (this time, picked off by linebacker Melvin Ingram) made it near impossible for the Bengals to come back, and a touchdown by Chargers running back Ronnie Brown with a little more than two minutes to play sealed the win for San Diego.

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Rodgers Leads Packers To Wildcard Victory Over Vick’s Eagles 21-16

Rodgers Leads Packers To Wildcard Victory Over Vick’s Eagles 21-16 – CMR

Sunday’s playoff game in Philadelphia had the visiting Green Bay Packers taking on the Philadelphia Eagles in the second game played on wild card Sunday. In the second NFC game played this weekend, the 10-6 Packers came to repeat the first game win on the Eagles home field this season. The 3rd seed, 10-6 Eagles had expectations with a healthy Vick to see that the results would be different in the second match-up this season.

A win for Michael Vick would undoubtedly define his season and launch the Eagles in to the semi-finals match up against the 4th seeded upstart Seattle Seahawks next week. The Green Bay Packers took advantage of a key offside’s penalty on a third and 7 in the first quarter by the Philadelphia Eagles. The Packers capitalized the drive extension and scored the games first score with a touchdown following a missed field goal try of 41 yards in a strong wind that went right by Eagles place kicker David Akers.

An opportunistic Aaron Rodgers lead the Packers to a 2 touchdown lead on two touchdown passes in the first half. The Eagles fans in the stands were rather quiet and reserved.

Deshawn Jackson, one of Michael Vick’s favorite and explosive targets was injured in the first half, returned after a trip to the locker room and a bike ride on the sidelines. The Eagles had to settle for an David Akers field goal from the 27 yard line at the end of the first half as the Packers defense stiffened when the Eagles got into the red zone. Packers lead 14-3 at the half.

The third quarter put the Packers on the field with the wind at their backs, and the Eagles with the wind in their face. The Eagles special teams made a great play to hold the Packers short of the 20 yard line. The Eagles came up with a key fumble by Rodgers and Michael Vick said thank you very much with a touchdown strike Jason Avant for 27 yards to narrow the Packers lead to 4 points.

On the ensuing kickoff, the Packers off a shaky start drove into the Eagles end of the field and from the 11 yard line, Rodgers flipped it out to Brandon Jackson who weaved his way through the Eagles defense for a touchdown. The momentum quickly shifted from the Eagles back to the Packers. The Eagles put a good drive together, but the Packers defense stiffened on their side of the field and the Eagles punt left the Packers on a 1st and 10 from their own 2 yard line.

The Eagles held the Packers to a three and out and received good field position off the Packers punt close to mid-field. Vick and running back McCoy mounted a drive which resulted in a missed David Akers field goal from 38 yards out. The Eagles stopped the Packers next possession and drove down the field to the 1 yard line. On a 4th and 1, Vick keeps it and scores 6. The 2 point conversion failed because the receiver went out of bounds and came back in. The Packers were up by 5 points with 4:02 remaining. The retry failed after the penalty and Vick rolled his ankle.

The Eagles kicked off to the Packers and the Eagles held strong. The Eagles marched down the field into Packers territory and Michel Vick threw an interception with 37 seconds on the clock. Final score: Packers 21-16 .

The Packer move on in the playoffs and play the 1st seeded Atlanta Falcons next week.

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Looking At The NFL’s Top Teams: Installment 2 – The Packers

The Green Bay Packers played their first game of the 2010 season against the Philadelphia Eagles, a team they were expected to beat, and did by 7 points. However, the offensive squad the Pack faced in the first half of that match was not the one they were confronted with in the second, thanks to a game-ending concussion suffered by the Eagles’ starting quarterback Kevin Kolb at half-time.

Enter Michael Vick, the disgraced convicted felon and former Atlanta Falcons 3-time Pro-Bowler. The Packers’ defense – which was ranked number 1 against the run and 2nd overall in 2009 – failed to contain Vick, either on the ground or in the air, as he scrambled for over 100 yards and completed 16 of 24 passes, nearly matching Aaron Rodgers total passing yardage for the day. Still, The Packers walked away victorious, which leads us to game two.

Let’s face it, to refer to the Buffalo Bills as a sub-par team would be and insult to the consistently mediocre. The Bills are a terrible team, and so it was no surprise when the Packers treated them like $20 hookers during their second game of the season. Beating the Bills by a 34-7 margin was no big shock to me, but doing so did help to dispel the rumors that the Green Machine was losing its defensive prowess.

A hard-fought, low-scoring loss to the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field in game 3 didn’t cause me to question whether or not Green Bay still had one of the league’s most effective defenses, even though Jay Culter managed to scramble for 37 yards against it. Nobody on either side was able to run during that game (besides Culter) and nobody really even tried. Like many Bears/Packers matches before it, the difference in this one came down to penalties, special teams play, turnovers and heart, and the Pack lost the battle on all of those fronts, even though Rogers outgunned Culter by nearly 100 yards.

The Detroit Lions roared into Green Bay… *cough* Okay, so they didn’t so much “roar” as show up, but show up they did, and they gave the packers a headache they didn’t expect during this remarkably challenging bout. The Lions’ quarterback, Shaun Hill, ended up throwing for well over 300 yards against a Green Bay defense that should have held him to 200 yards or less. Hill also ran for over 50 yards, something that white, relatively slow quarterbacks just shouldn’t do… unless they’re possessed by the spirit of Fran Tarkenton. The Pack’s Aaron Rodgers threw for only 181 yards and ran for diddly, but he did complete three touchdown passes, and that was enough to hand them their 3rd win of the season.

Bottom line – The Packers’ defense is less consistent than it was last year, no doubt, but it’s still damned good, and don’ let the statistics trick you into thinking otherwise. The Green Machine may only be rated 10th overall right now, but I’d be shocked stupid if that didn’t change in their favor soon. Beyond that, Aaron Rogers is perhaps the most underrated quarterback in the NFL by most sports pundits who, let’s be honest, tend to know less about football than they do about drinking heavily.

Look for the Packers to go 9 and 7 this (regular) season, and with a little luck, 11 and 5.

By Edward L. Daley (aka DarcPrynce)

Click HERE To Read Installment 1.