San Francisco 49ers Make Special Plays To Edge NFC’s Top-Seeded Green Bay Packers, 13-10, Ending Rodgers’ MVP Campaign

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On January 22, 2012, San Francisco 49ers punt returner Kyle Williams muffed two punts in the NFC Championship Game to help give the New York Giants their ticket to Super Bowl 46.

Ten years later, the 2021-2022 49ers benefitted from two errant special teams plays by the top-seeded Green Bay Packers to pull off an upset win, 13-10, and move on to the NFC Championship Game.

Green Bay’s woes on special teams began with a blocked field goal on Mason Crosby by the Niners defense to keep the Packers’ halftime lead to 7-3.

Both offenses were off their regular-season rhythm. Lead MVP candidate Aaron Rodgers failed to register a score in his alleged final game with the Packers. Rodgers finished the game with 20-of-29 passing for 225 yards.

Rodgers was lukewarm on the night but still sparked chemistry with his lead wideout, Davante Adams. Adams caught nine passes for 90 yards.

Packers running back Aaron Jones was the ultimate performer on the Packers offense: carrying the ball 12 times for 41 yards and contributing through the air with nine catches for 129 yards. Second-year running back AJ Dillon recorded the Packers’ first-quarter touchdown.

San Francisco’s first half revolved around their inability to advance the ball through the air. Niners receivers were victim to Lambeau Field’s brisk conditions: repeatedly dropping passes off their ice-cold mitts.

Jimmy Garoppolo took four sacks by the Green Bay defense and played through a recovering thumb injury in the resilient effort. He finished with 11-of-19 passing for 131 yards, zero touchdowns and one interception.

Green Bay’s Rashan Gary and the rest of the Packers defensive line kept consistent pressure on Garoppolo. By halftime, Garoppolo was sacked three times — twice by Gary. He completed 3-of-9 for 43 yards and one interception after the first two quarters.

A Robbie Gould field goal in the third quarter put the Niners on the scoreboard, 7-3. Mason Crosby’s fourth-quarter score kept the Packers ahead, 10-3.

The game-changing play, and Packers’ second error on special teams, came on a blocked punt, scoop and score by the Niners.

With four minutes left in the game, San Francisco’s Jordan Willis blocked Green Bay punter Corey Bojorquez, allowing Talanoa Hufango to take the ball in for the tie. 10-10. 

Robbie Gould stepped on for the 45-yard field goal — a routine kick for the 39-year-old veteran — to win the game. 

Lead 49ers wideout Deebo Samuel finished with three catches for 44 yards, adding 39 rushing yards on 10 attempts. Rookie running back Elijah Mitchell contributed with 53 yards on 17 carries.

Speaking to the post-game media, Rodgers was noncommittal about returning to Green Bay next season.

“I’m gonna take some time and have conversations with the folks around here, and then take some time away and make a decision — obviously before free agency,” Rodgers admitted.

San Francisco faces off against Sunday’s winner between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Los Angeles Rams. The Niners are 6-0 in their last six games against the Rams.

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Follow along on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela

Written by Alejandro Avila

Alejandro Avila lives in Southern California and previously covered news for the LA Football Network. Jeopardy expert and grumpy sports fan that has watched every movie.


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  1. Why is it that sports fans seem to delight in saying XYZ player “CHOKED” especially in a team sport ?

    An NFL QB’s playoffs success / failure is a TEAM result as is an MLB pitcher or an NBAer. Brady’s many rings are a team result as is Rogers’ lack of … … MAYBE “Choke” applies if Tiger Woods misses a 3′ foot putt
    .on 18 in Augusta on Sunday or Federer double faults at Wimbledon.
    GB’s special teams are being cited as causing yesterday’s defeat … so how is that a “choke” by Rogers?

    • Yeah this game wasn’t on Rodgers. Special teams has to simply block people the 7 times they were on the field, and didn’t. It’s never an individual’s fault…except for the Titans. Yes that was Ryan Tanneyhill’s fault 100%🙂


    So, this is how the NHL chooses to pimp-slap it’s [former] fans… I figured they’d milk Rodgers’ anti-woke comments to get some higher rating for mare than one game, but it looks like they’re not yet to that point. The Woke-FL decided that Aaron (and his new-found cohorts) needed a swift kick in the nuts — again — to remind then the Woke-FL ain’t going for none of that crap!

    Congrats to everyone who tuned in – you got sucker-punched by one of the anti-America Alphabets: NFL, CIA, CDC, NSA, NBA, FBI, etc.! Different letters, same mission!

    (I chose and episode of Ozark and splitting a calzone with the hottest chick I ever met, my wife of 30 years! WINNING!)

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