Updated 12:20 AM EDT, Wed, May 12, 2021

Colin Kaepernick Leads 49ers Into Next Round of NFL Playoffs, Defeating Green Bay Packers in Frigid Lambeau Field

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Neither sub-zero weather nor the Green Bay Packers defense Sunday afternoon could contain Colin Kaepernick, who made a key first down play that helped set up the game-winning field goal late in the game to propel the San Francisco 49ers into the next round of the NFL Division Playoff round.

Facing a third-and-8 on the Packers' 38-yard line, Kaepernick scrambled out of the pocket to avoid the Packers' intense pass-rush and got a key first-down that set up 49ers kicker Phil Dawson's 33-yard field goal to defeat Green Bay 23-20 as time ran out on the clock.

San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh made it a point to mention he was not worried about his starting quarterback's ability to handle the weather, prior to the game, pointing out that Kaepernick played college football for the University of Nevada Wolf Pack, where he won the Freshman of the Year award in 2007 and a two-time Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year award (2008 & 2010).

"He's played up in Reno," said Harbaugh prior to the game in Lambeau Field, regarding Kaepernick's preparation for the weather conditions. "They had some cold weather games there, cold and windy."

Kaepernick went 16-for-30, slicing the Packer defense both by land and air, throwing for 227 yards and rushing for another 91 yards. Kaepernick also tossed a 28-yard touchdown pass to TE Vernon Davis, while WR Michael Crabtree led the team with caught eight catches for 125 yards.

But the key moment of the game came in the fourth quarter. With the game tied 20-20, Kaepernick, scrambled out of the shotgun formation, flushed out the pocket with 1:13 left in the game, and managed to evade the Packers' blitz, running for an 11-yard gain, moving the chains to put the offense in field goal position to win the game.

"Just trying to figure out a way to get that first down," said Kaepernick. "Had a play called, we didn't get the look that we wanted. It worked out for us."

Kaepernick is now 2-0 against the Packers in the postseason, having defeated Green Bay last year 45-31 after rushing for an NFL record 181 yards last year - including two touchdowns, and 3-0 lifetime after throwing for a career-high 412 yards in Week 1 of the season.

"[He's] somebody that answers in the clutch time of the game, on the important down," said Harbaugh. "He's Kaepernick tough and I think it's pretty awesome."

The 49ers go back on the road next week and take on Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers in the NFL Divisional Playoff round, winners of the NFC South division who earned a first-round bye.

Kaepernick hopes to replicate last year's run to the Super Bowl, where the 49ers fell just short of winning the championship losing 34-31 to the Baltimore Ravens. Kaepernick went 16-for-28, threw for 302 yards, one touchdown, and an interception.

Kaepernick admitted, prior to the start of the season, that he replays the 49ers last drive in the Super Bowl "a million times" in his head - where Kaepernick attempted to bring the 49ers back from a 34-29 deficit, with 2:39 left in the game, with first-and-goal and the ball on the Ravens' seven-yard line.

"The last four plays of that game-it's something I don't think anyone on our team will ever just have that go away," said Kaepernick to Time.com. "I think all of us are, 'What could we have done different?' Should we have checked to a different play? Should we have run a different play?' I mean, there are so many different scenarios - 'what could you have done different to make those five yards work?'"

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