Sorting the Sunday Pile: Kaepernick shines, Dawson converts for 49ers

Colin Kaepernick ran all over the Packers this season. (USATSI)

Wild Card Weekend: 49ers 23, Packers 20 | Chargers 27, Bengals 10 | Scores

You may have heard something about the freezing conditions at Lambeau Field Sunday. The mercury hovered around zero, which worked out to a wind chil of roughly -15 degrees, but it wasn't enough to prompt Colin Kaepernick to wear sleeves, which serves as a metaphor for this 49ers team. And with the gutty road win, San Francisco will head to balmy Charlotte, NC, to face the Panthers next Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.

* Remember all the talk several months ago about Kaepernick regressing as a passer? He still has some work to do but unlike, say, Andy Dalton, Kap can beat you in other ways. He completed 16-of-30 throws for 227 yards (1 TD, 1 INT), but he also rushed for 98 yards on seven carries.

And it's been Kaepernick's running skills in particular that have plagued the Packers this season.

Here's a 42-yard second-quarter run that led to a Frank Gore touchdown (Gore, incidentally, threw the critical block to spring Kap):

.GIF via Niners Nation

* Kaepernick's most important sequence came on the final drive. It started on the 49ers' 20 with 5:06 on the clock and included passes of 11, 17 and 11 yards, as well as a Kap 11-yard scamper around the left end on 3rd-and-8 that set up Phil Dawson's 33-yard game-winning field goal.

Of course, moments before Dawson's attempt snuck past the right upright, FOX Sports' Erin Andrews relayed this pregame conversation she had with kicker.

Turns out, Dawson wasn't just being modest. He was THIS close to having the kick blocked. It literally went through the arms of a Packers defender.

And here's a still image:

Unbelievable, even if House was offsides. (USATSI)

Yes, we know, Davon House was called for offsides but the feat of actually clearing a space that was no more than 24 inches before the ball made it to the line of scrimmage is pretty remarkable. We can all agree on that, right?

Either way, HUGE conversion:

* Other than the weather, another big storyline coming into this game was that Kaepernick grew up a Packers fan and Aaron Rodgers was a 49ers homer back in Chico, Calif.

* If not for Kaepernick's late-game heroics, we might be talking about Rodgers' fourth-quarter, fourth-down scramble that resulted in a 26-yard Randall Cobb completion. And, really, to call it just a "scramble" is underselling Rodgers' disappearing act.

There are no words.

* No idea if Ric Flair's motivational speech on Saturday night had any bearing on the outcome, but the 49ers should think about making him a part of their weekly preparation process. Plus, Kap really seemed to enjoy it.

* We joke that Jim Harbaugh has a thing for khakis, a fact that remains true even when the wind chill dips well below zero.

We'd like to think Harbaugh got a great deal on these at Rex Ryan's post-lap-band yard sale.

* Because we haven't mentioned it in 45 seconds...

It was cold in Green Bay Sunday. (USATSI)

* The last time the Panthers and 49ers met back in Week 10, Carolina eked out a 10-9 victory.

So, yeah. It's go time.

CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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