McCaffrey’s late touchdown powers 49ers past Packers into NFC title game

Christian McCaffrey scored his second touchdown on a six-yard run with 1:07 to play, and the San Francisco 49ers made their first comeback of the second half of the season, beating the Green Bay Packers 24–21 in a playoff divisional round match. on Saturday night.

After spending the entire regular season as the frontrunners, the Niners (13-5) had to come from behind for a change, and Brock Purdy and McCaffrey did just enough on the final drive to lead San Francisco to their third straight NFC Championship Game to steer. The Niners will host the winner of Sunday’s game between Tampa Bay and Detroit next weekend for a spot in the Super Bowl.

Purdy went 6 for 7 for 47 yards on the decisive drive, converting a third down to Brandon Aiyuk and then a 17-yarder to Chris Conley.

McCaffrey finished it off with his run on third-and-short and the 49ers defense held strong from there, with Dre Greenlaw intercepting Jordan Love for the second time to seal San Francisco’s fifth consecutive playoff victory over Green Bay (10-9) .

That final throw across his body was one of the few mistakes by Love, who had put the Packers ahead with two touchdown passes in the third quarter. But his first full season as starter in place of Aaron Rodgers had a disappointing ending.

Love had put the Niners in the unusual spot of playing from behind. Green Bay converted a third-and-15 when Ambry Thomas was called for a 41-yard pass interference call against Bo Melton. Love and Melton then connected on the next play for a wide-open 19-yard touchdown, aided by Tashaun Gipson sliding into cover on the wet grass.

After McCaffrey gave San Francisco the lead again with a 39-yard touchdown run, Green Bay struck quickly thanks to a 73-yard kick return from All-Pro Keisean Nixon that he fumbled but teammate Eric Wilson recovered.

Four plays later, Love threw a two-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Kraft and the Packers extended the lead to 21–14 on a two-point conversion pass to Aaron Jones.

The Niners were the first team to make the playoffs in 13 seasons without overcoming a second-half deficit to win a game.

They got a 52-yard field goal from Jake Moody on the first play of the fourth quarter to make it a four-point game, and it stayed that way when rookie Anders Carlson missed a 41-yarder for Green Bay.

The Packers moved the ball with ease in the first half, getting into the red zone on three consecutive drives to open the game. But they couldn’t finish any, scoring two field goals and being stopped on a fourth-and-1 sneak. They became the first team in twenty years to reach the red zone on their first three drives of a playoff game without earning a TD.

The Niners made them pay for it, with Purdy hitting George Kittle on a 32-yard pass on the run for a touchdown that put San Francisco ahead.

But San Francisco squandered another opportunity late in the half when coach Kyle Shanahan wasted time before settling for a 48-yard field goal attempt by Moody that was blocked by Colby Wooden to send the Niners into halftime with a 7-6 lead.