NFL Playoffs: The San Francisco 49ers beat the freezing cold and the Packers in Green Bay with a 33-yard field goal on the last play of the game to win 23-20 in the last game of the NFL wild-card playoff round on Sunday. In the day’s first game, the San Diego Chargers defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 27-10 to set up a meeting with the AFC’s #1 seeded Denver Broncos next Sunday.
The temperature in frigid Green Bay was 4 degrees Fahrenheit (-15 Celcius), and the wind chill was -10F (-23C), conditions that normally favor the Packers and strike fear in the hearts of opponents who travel to play on Green Bay’s “frozen tundra” in January.
In spite of their superior regular-season record of 12-4 to Green Bay’s 8-7-1, the 49ers found themselves in the position of having to travel to Green Bay by being in the same division with Seattle, who at 13-3 is the NFC’s #1 seed. Non-division winning playoff qualifiers are relegated to wild-card status and seeded lower than all division winners, regardless of records.
But in the end, it was a huge win for the 49ers, who lost last year’s Super Bowl to the underdog Baltimore Ravens in a thrilling, close game.
On Sunday night, San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick made some key plays, none bigger than a 3rd and 8 in the final minute when he escaped a blitz and scrambled for an 11-yard gain to the Green Bay 27, setting up the game-winning field goal after the 49ers ran the clock down to 2 seconds.
The 49ers will play at the NFC’s #2 seeded Carolina Panthers next Sunday.
In today’s first game, the San Diego Chargers win over the Cincinnati Bengals was the only one of the four first-round wild-card games that was not super close. The Bengals imploded with four costly turnovers, quarterback Andy Dawson committing three of them with two interceptions and a fumble.
The win was San Diego’s fifth straight, and they are a hot and confident team playing much better than their overall 9-7 regular-season record. They travel to Denver to take on the AFC’s #1 seeded Broncos next Sunday in the second round, a place where the Chargers already beat the Broncos just a few weeks ago.