49ers advance to NFC Championship game after block punt

Green Bay – In sub-zero temperatures the 49ers advance to the National Football Conference Championship game next weekend. The cold weather and snow delayed their best performance on offense but the defense and special teams showed up right on time.  A blocked punt late in the fourth tied the game and put the San Francisco back in the game.

A successful 45-yard field goal by Robbie Gould kicked with .04 seconds left in the game sealed the 49ers 13-10 win over the Green Bay Packers. An unbelievable game in unbearable weather, the San Francisco defense never quit and made stops when they needed despite a slow start. Jimmy Garoppolo finished with 11-for-19 for 131 yards and had one interception. The 49ers are 4-0 on defeating the Packers.

“We thought our special teams had an advantage in this game,” Kyle Shanahan said. “We thought they had an opportunity to possibly win us the game. To be able to say that and actually come to fruition and those guys pulled it off was huge for our team.”

San Francisco Special Teams made a spectacular play, Corey Bojorquez punt was blocked by Jordan Willis and rookie Talanoa Hufanga rushed for a 6-yard touchdown to tie the game 10-10 with 4:41 left in the game. Green Bay was unable to move the ball and Gould kicked the winning field goal as time expired. Despite four sacks and five penalties for 40 yards the 49ers prevailed.

After the team got off to a slow start they failed to score until the third quarter when Gould kicked a 29-yard field goal to make it a 7-3 game. Once Garoppolo got his offense going at the two-minute warning. Garoppolo avoided his 4th sack but rushed his pass intended for George Kittle that was intercepted by Adrian Amos. That was Garoppolo’s second red zone interception this season.

The Packers who got off to a perfect start on opening drive, AJ Dillon rushed for a 6-yard touchdown on a 10 play drive where Aaron Rogers threw 5 passes to make it a 7-0 game. However, that was it for the Packers offense, the next opportunity came late in the second quarter after Garoppolo’s interception. Mason Crosby was set to kick a 39-yard field goal but it was blocked by Jimmie Ward to end the half.

“We came into Lambeau against the No. 1 seed in the NFC, it’s snowing, MVP quarterback, one the best recovers playing the game, high-powered offense, and we hold them to 10 points,” said Fred Warner. “It’s one of those things that we’ll remember forever. I don’t think everybody kind of knows the gravity of it now, but it’s something we’ll look back on.”

San Francisco defense allowed just 67 yards on the ground, fewest rushing yards allowed by the 49ers in a postseason game since the team allowed 62 rushing yards vs Green Bay January 19, 2020 NFC Championship game. The unit also sacked Rodgers 5 times, marking the first time since 1984 postseason [9.0 vs. Chi. (1/6/85 – NFC-C) & 6.0 vs. NYG (12/29/84 – NFC-D)] that the San Francisco registered 5.0-or-more sacks in consecutive postseason games [5.0 at Dal. (1/16/22 – NFC-WC)].

“We find ways, wether it’s running, passing, defense stepping up big, special teams today,” Garoppolo said. “That’s what makes a good football team. That what we are.”

The 49ers have now reached the Conference Championship game for the 15th time since 1980, which is tied for the most in the NFL and for the 2nd time in in 3 seasons. San Francisco will face the winner of the Los Angeles Rams vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers game that is scheduled for tomorrow at 12 noon PST in Tampa, Florida. 

Photo by 49ers/Twitter

Malaika Bobino

Malaika Bobino, an Oakland, California native, is a Bay Area sports journalism powerhouse and influencer. With nearly two decades of experience at both the Oakland Post and the Huffington Post, she is always on the front lines of the iconic Bay Area sports scene. Bobino covered the Oakland A’s postseason trips, all three of the San Francisco Giants World Series, was present for all three Golden State Warriors three NBA Championships and covered the 49ers last two Super Bowl appearances

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