(CTN News) – In a divisional-round playoff game on Saturday night, the San Francisco 49ers rallied to beat the Green Bay Packers 24-21 on a six-yard touchdown run by Christian McCaffrey.
San Francisco (13-5) needed to come from behind for a change, and Brock Purdy and McCaffrey did just enough on the final drive to send the Niners to their third straight NFC final. Sunday’s Super Bowl 49ers spot will be decided by Sunday’s game between Tampa Bay and Detroit.
On the decisive drive, Purdy completed 6 of 7 passes for 47 yards. He converted a third down to Brandon Aiyuk and then a 17-yarder to Chris Conley.
The 49ers held on to their fifth consecutive playoff victory thanks to McCaffrey’s run on third-and-short and Dre Greenlaw’s second interception of Jordan Love.
After giving the Packers a lead with two touchdown passes in the third quarter, Love made one of his few mistakes by throwing across his body. Nevertheless, his first full season as Aaron Rodgers’ replacement ended in disappointment.
Playing from behind was an unusual situation for the Niners. Against Bo Melton, Ambry Thomas was called for 41 yards of pass interference, allowing the 49ers and Green Bay to convert third-and-15. On the next play, Love and Melton connected for a wide-open 19-yard touchdown aided by Tashaun Gipson slipping on the wet turf.
Green Bay struck quickly after McCaffrey put San Francisco back in the lead with a 39-yard touchdown run. All-Pro Keisean Nixon fumbled and teammate Eric Wilson recovered it.
A two-point conversion pass to Aaron Jones extended the 49ers Packers’ lead to 21-14 four plays later after Love threw a two-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Kraft.
In 13 seasons, the 49ers Niners have never overcome a second-half deficit to win a playoff game.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, they got a 52-yard field goal from 49ers Jake Moody. It remained four points after rookie Anders Carlson missed a 41-yarder.
Three consecutive drives into the red zone opened the game for the Packers, who moved the ball easily in the first half. However, they couldn’t finish any of them off, settingtwo field goals and being stopped on a fourth-and-1 sneak. In a playoff 49ers game, they became the first team to reach the red zone on all three drives without scoring a touchdown in 20 years.
In response, Purdy hit George Kittle on a 32-yard pass on the run for a touchdown to give San Francisco the lead.
San Francisco missed another chance late in the half, as 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan settled for a 48-yard field goal attempt by Moody that Colby Wooden blocked. This sent the Niners into the half with a 7-6 lead.