Packers vs. 49ers score: San Francisco shocks Green Bay as special teams lead way to NFC title game

The San Francisco 49ers pulled off a shocking upset in the divisional round, coming from behind to defeat the Green Bay Packers, 13-10, at Lambeau Field. 

The 49ers were led by a fantastic performance from DeMeco Ryans' defense, which held Aaron Rodgers and Co. in check throughout the game. Do-it-all offensive weapon Deebo Samuel had a monster game (13 touches for 83 yards, plus a 45-yard kick return), and made the key play at the end, converting a third-and-7 run for a first down to set up Robbie Gould's game-winning field goal.

The Niners had previously tied the game with a huge play on special teams, with Jordan Willis blocking a Packers punt. Talanoa Hufanga picked up the loose ball and it took it into end the zone, tying the game at 10 apiece. The Packers went three-and-out on their ensuing possession, which set up San Francisco's game-winning drive.

Why the 49ers won

The 49ers failed to get an offensive touchdown in the 13-10 victory, yet special teams were the difference in the upset of the NFC's top seed. Just before the half, the 49ers defense gave up a 75-yard pass from Aaron Rodgers to Aaron Jones thanks to a blown coverage by Jimmie Ward. 

Ward made up for it just two plays later with a block on a Mason Crosby field goal to keep the score at 7-0 heading into the half. That wasn't the only blocked kick for the 49ers on the night, as Corey Bojorquez's punt was blocked by Jordan Willis with San Francisco trailing 10-3 in the fourth quarter that was returned for a touchdown and tied the game at 10-10.

The 49ers gained seven points on special teams and took away three. There was the difference in the game. 

Why the Packers lost

The 49ers defense getting five sacks on Aaron Rodgers played a role, but special teams was the Achilles heel. As mentioned earlier, the Packers lost a 10-0 lead before the half with Jimmie Ward blocking Mason Crosby's 39-yard field goal and couldn't retain a 10-3 lead with 4:41 left because they couldn't prevent a punt from getting blocked. 

Not like Aaron Rodgers and the offense played excellent, but it was well enough to win. Ditto with the defense. Special teams gave seven and took away three, resulting in a 13-10 loss. No blocked punt and no blocked kick -- and Green Bay takes this by double digits. 

Turning point

The Packers special teams were an issue throughout the season, and they were the reason the 49ers were able to get back into the game. Holding onto a 10-3 led in the fourth quarter and in command of the game, Green Bay's biggest flaw reared its ugly head as Corey Bojorquez's punt was blocked by Jordan Willis and traveled high in the air where four 49ers were in position to return the loose ball. 

Talanoa Hufnaga picked up the loose ball and easily scored the touchdown from six yards out to tie the game for the 49ers. Green Bay had chances to avenge the punt block with two drives to score in the quarter, but all the momentum was in San Francisco's favor.

That blocked punt gave the 49ers' life. Not bad for a team that didn't have an offensive touchdown in the win. 

Play of the game

The 49ers relied on Deebo Samuel to carry their offense throughout the season and turned to him on the biggest play of the game. Facing a third-and-7 on the Packers 38, the 49ers called a designed run for Samuel on the right side that went for nine yards and the first down.

Instead of wondering if Robbie Gould would have to kick a 50-plus yard field goal, Samuel got the first down and made the winning kick that much easier for a player that  was 19 for 19 in playoff field goal attempts. Two plays later, Gould kicked the winning 45-yard field goal to send the 49ers to the NFC Championship Game. 

Up next

The 49ers (12-7) will travel to the either Los Angeles or Tampa Bay for the NFC Championship Game next Sunday. The Rams and Buccaneers play Sunday. The Packers season ends at 13-5. 

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Robbie Gould is 20 for 20 in his playoff career. Special teams did the Packers in. 

January 23, 2022, 4:09 AM
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Both No. 1 seeds are now out of the playoffs, after the Titans also lost earlier today.

January 23, 2022, 4:09 AM
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The 49ers will meet the winner of tomorrow's Rams-Bucs game in the NFC title game. No matter who wins, the Niners will be going on the road. 

January 23, 2022, 4:09 AM
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The 49ers are going to the NFC Championship Game. What a monumental upset. 

January 23, 2022, 4:09 AM
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What a drive for the 49ers. What a game from Deebo Samuel. What a horrendous loss by the Packers.

January 23, 2022, 4:08 AM
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Now George Kittle is limping off. 49ers are beaten up right now.

January 23, 2022, 4:08 AM
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You have to wonder what is Aaron Rodgers thinking right now. 

January 23, 2022, 4:07 AM
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Probably one more play to try to make this a closer field goal for Robbie Gould. It's about a 47-yarder right now.

January 23, 2022, 4:06 AM
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Deebo's got the Niners where they need to go. What a run. He's limping now but he got the Niners into field goal range.

January 23, 2022, 4:06 AM
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That play looked doomed from the start. The Niners didn't know who was supposed to motion and when. 

January 23, 2022, 4:03 AM
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The 49ers lined Deebo up in the backfield there and motioned Mitchell over to the same side as a tight end. Usually they run Deebo to that side but this time they had him run a pivot route over the middle. Nice design.

January 23, 2022, 4:01 AM
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49ers have the better kicker in Gould too. 

January 23, 2022, 4:00 AM
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That's George Kittle working on DeVondre Campbell in the middle of the field. Campbell is a great athlete but nobody can cover Kittle when he puts on the move like that.

January 23, 2022, 3:57 AM
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San Francisco has to be thinking that the clock needs to run out on this drive. I don't care how shut down Rodgers has been for 3.5 quarters, you can't give him a shot to win in a two-minute drill.

January 23, 2022, 3:56 AM
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Rodgers tried to hit Adams deep down the field but Dontae Johnson and Talanoa Hufanga were both right there in double-coverage. Nice zone blitz design from 49ers DC DeMeco Ryans.

January 23, 2022, 3:55 AM
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I think aaron Rodgers was hoping for a PI there. He wasn't getting it. 49ers knew to stop Adams. 

January 23, 2022, 3:55 AM
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Rodgers left that throw WAY too far inside. K'Waun Williams nearly had himself a pick-six. Randall Cobb didn't come out of that break very well.

January 23, 2022, 3:54 AM
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That's the problem. We can't. 

January 23, 2022, 3:54 AM
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Are we sure we can count on the Packers to make a kick?

January 23, 2022, 3:52 AM
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If Aaron Rodgers loses this game due to special teams...hold onto the ball for the final 4:41 and kick the walk off FG for the winner. 

January 23, 2022, 3:50 AM
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Packers special teams lets them down again! Wow. Jordan Willis with the block and Talanoa Hufanga with the scoop and score. 

January 23, 2022, 3:49 AM
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49ers pressure continues to impress. Armstead gets to Rodgers on 3rd down this time as Rodgers had no time to throw.

AND NOW A BLOCKED PUNT FOR THE SCORE!

January 23, 2022, 3:48 AM
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Arik Armstead is having himself a night. Second sack of the night. Niners will get the ball back for another chance at tying the game.

January 23, 2022, 3:48 AM
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Rodgers tested Josh Norman right away after he came in for Dontae Johnson, but the throw was just a bit off. Left it too far inside.

January 23, 2022, 3:47 AM
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Also: where is Trey Lance? Threat of the QB run would be huge in short yardage -- especially for a Packers defense that gave up a ton of rushing yards to QBs this year.

January 23, 2022, 3:43 AM
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The Niners sent Trent Williams in motion as a lead blocker again... only they ran the ball right up the middle instead of behind Williams. What was the point of that?

January 23, 2022, 3:40 AM
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Adrian Amos makes the Mike Jones tackle on 3rd-and-7. Saved a first down. 

January 23, 2022, 3:39 AM
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Jennings is short of the first down. 49ers have to go for this. They need to capitalize with a touchdown.

January 23, 2022, 3:39 AM
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Eric Stokes allowed Kittle to cross his face on the in-breaking route. That's the one thing you can't do. Big play for the Niners.

January 23, 2022, 3:38 AM
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Back to back screens got completely blown up by the Packers, one in each direction. Where are the touches for Deebo?

January 23, 2022, 3:37 AM
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