It is simply too good to believe.
Who would have thought at the beginning of the season that Colin Kaepernick would lead the 49ers to the NFC Championship Game, while setting an NFL record for most rushing yards by a quarterback in the postseason?
Kaepernick rushed for 183 yards, which is also the record for most rushing yards for any player in 49er history. In addition, he was 17/31 on passing attempts for an astounding 263 yards. He accounted for four total touchdowns: two on passes to Michael Crabtree and two that he ran in himself.
The Niners ran for a total of 323 yards. Frank Gore had another typical game, with 119 yards on 23 carries, as well as a touchdown.
On the contrary, their defense was outstanding, not allowing Aaron Rodgers and the Packers to develop any rhythm offensively.
The game started off on an ominous note, as Kaepernick threw a pick-six on his second pass of the game. Sam Shields leaped in front of Vernon Davis, intercepted the pass, and ran it back 52 yards untouched for the score.
Those two plays – the interception and touchdown – showed the good and bad side of Kaepernick in a nutshell.
However, the Packers would grab a 14-7 lead at the end of the first quarter on a Dujuan Harris 18-yard touchdown run.
Thankfully, Jeremy Ross channeled his inner Kyle Williams, muffing an Andy Lee punt that was recovered by C.J. Spillman at the Green Bay nine-yard line. Kaepernick then promptly threw a perfect third-down strike to Crabtree to tie the game up at 14-14.
Another turnover came on the ensuing possession, with Tarell Brown intercepting a deep pass by Rodgers, and the 49ers capitalized again. A perfect pass from Kaepernick to Crabtree gave them their first lead, and it was the second time that the duo had hooked up.
The half would end with a 24-21 Niners’ lead. David Akers knocked in a field goal as time expired after the Packers had tied the game back up on a Rodgers to James Jones 20-yard touchdown.
The second half was where the 49ers would explode, showing the world just how dangerous this team can be. With the game knotted at 24, Kaepernick busted open a 56-yard run on a fake handoff that completely fooled the defense. The second-year quarterback sprinted pass Charles Woodson for the touchdown, giving the Niners the lead again.
That lead would never be relinquished.
Gore finished off a 93-yard drive to begin the fourth quarter, pounding it in from two yards out to give the Niners a nice cushion with a two-score lead.
After a Green Bay punt, the 49ers put together a crucial, lengthy, time-consuming drive, concluding in a Anthony Dixon one-yard score. That 11-play, 99-yard drive took nearly eight minutes, leaving the Packers with 3:34 on the clock and essentially put the game out of reach.
As the final horn sounded at Candlestick, the 49ers took a 45-31 victory and advanced to the NFC Championship Game. They will play the winner of the Falcons-Seahawks game on Sunday morning.
Before the playoffs began, Jim Harbaugh was quoted as saying that the 49ers had “three Superbowls” to play.
One down, two to go.