The San Francisco 49ers (12-4-1) dealt the Green Bay Packers (12-6) a decisive defeat in the NFC Divisional Round, sending Green Bay out of the playoffs with a 45-31 humbling in San Francisco Saturday night.
It was over when...
Frank Gore bowled over the Packers defense at the goal line on the first play of the fourth quarter, putting the 49ers into the cockpit of a 14-point lead while also completely demoralizing a defense that was exploited from start to finish. The second half was all San Francisco.
- WR James Jones: The search for game balls might start and end with Jones, who caught four passes for 87 yards and a touchdown.
- CB Sam Shields: A first quarter pick-six was more of a gift than a fantastic play from Shields. But giving Green Bay a 7-0 lead early gave the Packers the necessary platform for pulling off a road upset.
The 49ers rushed for 325 yards, including a playoff record 181 from quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Frank Gore rushed for 119...Michael Crabtree was a thorn in the Packers' side for most of Saturday night. The former first-round pick caught nine passes for 119 yards and two touchdowns...The 49ers racked up 581 total yards of offense, the most ever allowed by the Packers in a playoff game...San Francisco had 29 first downs and finished 8-of-13 on third downs...Time of possession was a clear victory for the 49ers, who controlled the clock for 37:47...Kaepernick accumulated 444 yards of total offense...The Packers lost the turnover battle, 2-1...Aaron Rodgers finished 26-of-39 for 257 yards, two touchdowns and a punt interception...Greg Jennings caught a touchdown pass in the fourth quarter of what could be his final game in a Packers' uniform.
--The score stayed close through 40 or so minutes, but the better team on this night was never in question. The 49ers beat the Packers on offense, defense and special teams, and hammered home the win with a dominating second half worthy of a Super Bowl champion.
--Any time you give up 300 or more rushing yards in a playoff game, a win isn't likely to be a conceivable result.
--Dom Capers has never been as throughly embarrassed on a national stage as he was Saturday night. No Packers defense in the Capers era—even in Arizona in 2010—has looked as completely incapable of executing and stopping an opposing offense as the one in San Francisco. Without over-reacting to such an awful performance, it's probably time to have a discussion about the removal of Capers as the defensive coordinator.
--A promising season with 12 total wins ends with a decisive loss at the hands of the NFC's elite. Injuries on both sides of the football made the Packers no match for a complete football team on the road. The gap between Green Bay and San Francisco is sizable.
--Free agency begins in early March. The 2013 NFL draft begins on Thursday, April 25.
Zach Kruse is a 24-year-old sports writer who contributes to Cheesehead TV, Bleacher Report and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He also covers prep sports for the Dunn Co. News. You can reach him on Twitter @zachkruse2 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.