49ers rout Packers to book spot in NFC title game

Sun Jan 13, 2013 1:34am EST
 
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(Reuters) - Quarterback Colin Kaepernick set an NFL rushing record as he outplayed reigning NFL Most Valuable Player Aaron Rodgers to lead the San Francisco 49ers to a 45-31 playoff win over the visiting Green Bay Packers on Saturday.

Fueled by a sensational 181 yards gained on the ground by second-year player Kaepernick, the 49ers broke the game open in the second half for an emphatic win that put them into the January 20 National Football Conference title game.

San Francisco, who "competed like maniacs," according to coach Jim Harbaugh, will face the winner of Sunday's divisional playoff showdown between the top-seeded Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahawks with a berth in the Super Bowl at stake.

Kaepernick, who replaced injured starter Alex Smith midway through the regular season, set a National Football League (NFL) rushing record for a quarterback as he used his long strides to run past defenders on scoring gallops of 56 and 20 yards.

The 6-foot-5 Kaepernick also threw a pair of touchdown passes to Michael Crabtree in the romp.

"Our offensive line did an amazing job today," said the 25-year-old Kaepernick, who eclipsed Michael Vick's previous rushing standard for a quarterback of 173 yards for Atlanta against Minnesota in 2002.

"They shut everybody down inside. Our receivers, our tight ends blocked great outside and our running backs were running hard so it made it easier on me.'

Kaepernick completed 17-of-31 passes for 263 yards, giving him 444 yards in total offense.

Rodgers completed 26-of-39 for 257 yards, two touchdown and one interception, with his second scoring strike coming at the end of the fourth quarter when the game was out of reach.   Continued...

 
San Francisco 49ers Michael Crabtree (R) celebrate a pass reception next to Green Bay Packers Morgan Burnett (L) during the fourth quarter in their NFL NFC Divisional play-off football game in San Francisco, California January 12, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Blake