Green Bay Packers 21-24 San Francisco 49ers: Christian McCaffrey seals thriller as 49ers reach NFC Championship Game

Christian McCaffrey’s second touchdown of the game and Dre Greenlaw’s interception in the closing stages saw the NFC No 1 seed San Francisco 49ers advance to the Championship Game; the NFL Divisional Round of the playoffs continues live on Sky Sports on Sunday

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Highlights from the Green Bay Packers against the San Francisco 49ers in the Divisional Round.

Christian McCaffrey’s touchdown with 1.11 remaining and an interception from Dre Greenlaw helped the San Francisco 49ers avoid an upset and snatch a 24-21 win over the Green Bay Packers to advance to the NFC Championship Game.

George Kittle’s second-quarter touchdown was enough to give the 49ers a slender 7-6 lead at half-time in the pouring rain of this Divisional Round clash at Levi’s Stadium, with two field goals from Anders Carlson accounting for the Packers’ points.

However, the game sprang to life in a wild third quarter which saw Green Bay establish a seven-point lead on the back of touchdowns from Bo Melton and Tucker Kraft, plus a successful two-point conversion, which sandwiched one from McCaffrey.

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Jake Moody slotted a field goal to keep the hosts within touching distance while Carlson missed another attempt, but a drive led by second-year quarterback Brock Purdy set up McCaffrey for his second touchdown inside the two-minute warning, followed by Greenlaw intercepting Jordan Love to ensure the NFC’s No 1 seed avoided a shock to the No 7 Packers.

As with their win on the road to the Dallas Cowboys in the Wild Card Round last week, the Packers opted to receive from the coin toss and sought another early touchdown as they put together a 16-play, 45-yard opening drive.

On this occasion though, they had to settle for a 29-yard field goal from Carlson as the 49ers defense held firm. Yet Green Bay’s defensive unit turned up as well to force the hosts to punt on their first possession after Kenny Clark and Preston Smith sacked San Francisco signal-caller Purdy.

However, a failed fourth-and-one conversion by the Packers in the 49ers’ red zone early in the second quarter set up an 86-yard drive by the hosts which was finished with Purdy finding tight end Kittle for a 32-yard touchdown to go in front.

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San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey goes into high gear on a 39-yard touchdown run.

Green Bay kicker Carlson’s second 29-yarder of the night cut the deficit to one point with just over four minutes of the first half remaining, while opposite number Jake Moody saw a 48-yard effort to extend the 49ers’ lead on the penultimate play of the half blocked by Colby Wooden.

San Francisco’s hopes were not helped by Deebo Samuel being forced off the field due to a shoulder injury and then a pass interference penalty against Ambry Thomas on third and 15 gave the visitors field position for Love to fire a 19-yard pass to the uncovered Melton in the endzone for the lead.

The 49ers response was immediate though, with Kittle’s 32-yard gain from Purdy’s pass followed by running back McCaffrey racing 39 yards through the defense for the home side’s second touchdown of the game.

Back came the Pack to retake the lead after a chaotic kick return which saw Eric Wilson recover the ball from a fumble by Keisean Nixon, followed by Love flicking a pass to the right for Kraft to grab for a two-yard touchdown, along with the quarterback finding Aaron Jones for a successful two-point conversion.

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Tempers flare between the Packers and 49ers after Jordon Love is shoved out of bounds.

Moody cut the 49ers’ deficit to four points with a 52-yard field goal at the start of the fourth quarter, while fellow rookie Carlson missed a 41-yard effort with 6.18 remaining on the back of Jones’ 53-yard run.

With the game on the line, Purdy stepped up to the mark by guiding his side up field to set up McCaffrey to run it in. There was still time for Green Bay to launch one last attack, but cornerback Greenlaw’s pick snuffed out their hopes.

Stat leaders

Green Bay Packers

  • Passing: Jordan Love, 21/34, 194 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs
  • Rushing: Aaron Jones, 18 carries, 106 yards
  • Receiving: Romeo Doubs, 4 catches, 83 yards

San Francisco 49ers

  • Passing: Brock Purdy, 23/39, 252 yards, 1 TD
  • Rushing: Christian McCaffrey, 17 carries, 98 yards, 2 TDs
  • Receiving: George Kittle, 4 catches, 81 yards, 1 TD; Jauan Jennings, 5 catches, 61 yards

Scoring summary

Packers 3-0 49ers Anders Carlson 29-yard field goal
Packers 3-7 49ers Brock Purdy 32-yard TD pass to George Kittle (extra point)
Packers 6-7 49ers Anders Carlson 29-yard field goal
Packers 13-7 49ers Jordan Love 19-yard TD pass to Bo Melton (extra point)
Packers 13-14 49ers Christian McCaffrey 39-yard TD run (extra point)
Packers 21-14 49ers Jordan Love 2-yard TD pass to Tucker Kraft (two-point conversion)
Packers 21-17 49ers Jake Moody 52-yard field goal
Packers 21-24 49ers Christian McCaffrey 6-yard TD run (extra point)

What’s next?

The 49ers now host either the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or the Detroit Lions in the NFC Championship Game next weekend for a place in the Super Bowl.

Watch the Detroit Lions take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 8pm Sunday, live on Sky Sports NFL, followed by the Kansas City Chiefs at the Buffalo Bills from 11.30pm.


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