The San Francisco 49ers survived a scare from the seven seed in the Packers on Saturday night. The Packers had the ball with a chance to win but turned it over.
Green Bay came inches away from advancing to the NFC Championship game. It will now be the 49ers hosting whoever wins Detroit vs. Tampa Bay on Sunday.
49ers Key Performers
Brock Purdy conducted a game-winning drive, which was topped off by Christian McCaffrey with just over a minute left. Purdy, who struggled for much of the game, ended with 252 yards and a touchdown.
Part of the reason for his struggles was due to Deebo Samuel getting hurt in the first half. George Kittle stepped up in his absence, however, going for 81 yards and a touchdown on four catches.
Christian McCaffery also stepped up big time and scored two touchdowns, including the winner. He also had 98 rushing yards and hauled in seven catches for another 30 yards.
Christian McCaffrey vs the Packers:— PFF Fantasy & Betting (@PFF_Fantasy) January 21, 2024
⛏️ 24 touches
⛏️ 128 total yards
⛏️ 2 total TDs
Back in the NFC Championship 🗣️ pic.twitter.com/g0S9lS9No5
Defensively, Dre Greenlaw was a game-changer for the 49ers. He had both interceptions, including the one that iced the game with 45 seconds left. He also led the team in tackles, with eight, had two pass deflections, and even a tackle for a loss.
DRE GREENLAW CALLED GAME pic.twitter.com/c9ujM8fBdy— PFF (@PFF) January 21, 2024
Packers Miscues and Performers
For the Packers, this is a heartbreaking loss. They outplayed the 49ers for most of the game, but missed chances by inches.
In the first half, they were stopped short on a 4th and 1, even though it appeared Jordan Love had gotten it. Then, late in the fourth quarter, rookie kicker Anders Carlson missed a crucial kick that would have put them up seven. If he had made this, the Packers would have probably gone to overtime.
Jordan Love made a very bad mistake on the final play of the game, throwing cross-body late. Before this throw, he had 194 yards and two touchdowns. He did not play his best game, but he had his team in a position to win it.
Aaron Jones was also a game-changer for the Packers, as he rushed for 108 yards on 18 carries. Although he didn’t score a touchdown, he had many key plays, including a long run in the fourth.
Despite all these changes, the 49ers are the ones who move on. They have been one of the best teams all year and will look to continue their winning ways against the winner of Sunday’s game.
Hopefully, Deebo Samuel is not hurt too badly and he will be able to play in the NFC Championship game next weekend. If not, they will rely on players like Brandon Aiyuk, Kittle, and McCaffrey to carry to load.