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49ers Earn Rematch with Carolina Panthers

Posted Jan 5, 2014

“Didn’t think that we were going to pull it off, did you?” Jim Harbaugh asked after his team rallied for a comeback victory.

GREEN BAY, Wis. – The 49ers road show will continue in Carolina.

Colin Kaepernick’s mesmerizing plays from the pocket and on the run, plus a stout defensive effort and the clutch right leg of Phil Dawson allowed San Francisco to advance to an NFC Divisional Playoff game against the second-seeded Carolina Panthers.

San Francisco enjoyed a full-team effort to edge the Green Bay Packers 23-20 Sunday at Lambeau Field. The inspired performance sets up a rematch with the Panthers, who beat the 49ers 10-9 in Week 10 at Candlestick Park.

“Didn’t think that we were going to pull it off, did you?” Jim Harbaugh asked the media when he stepped to the podium after his team rallied for a comeback victory.

PHOTO GALLERY:  49ers vs. Packers

Harbaugh was downright giddy after watching his team overcome adverse weather conditions to win his second road playoff game in three seasons leading the team. The 49ers coach even bear-hugged a few members of the media as he headed back into the locker room following his postgame remarks.

Now, Harbaugh’s players will have to carry their coach’s teaching points into the next challenge in Carolina.

Good thing that Harbaugh’s team leaders are already using his words in their own press conferences.

“The key is understanding we’ve just got to win by any means necessary,” defensive co-captain Patrick Willis said after his team earned a right for another game with Carolina. “We have to have a great week of preparation.”

“By any means necessary” is the Harbaugh mantra for the 2013 season. The 49ers stayed true to it throughout the win over Green Bay.

Willis and his 49ers teammates prepared like “madmen” for the Packers and it showed.

An Aaron Rodgers-led offense produced 20 points at home. Green Bay’s signal-caller was sacked four times and was held to 177 passing yards. 

Willis recorded eight tackles. Rookie free safety Eric Reid added eight tackles. All-Pro inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman led the 49ers with 10 tackles.

The defense enjoyed its biggest moment of the game late in the fourth quarter when the unit held Green Bay to a field goal despite being first-and-goal from San Francisco’s 9-yard line.

The Packers tied the game at 20 with a 24-yard Mason Crosby field goal.

“Our guys have done this before,” Harbaugh said of his team's effort. “It’s not the first time they’ve done this.

“Onward now.”

The 49ers will move onward to play the Panthers.

“Heck of a team,” Harbaugh said. “Have a lot of respect for them.

“We’ll start game-planning, we already have… We’ll continue on the plane.”

Willis and all the 49ers who spoke at the podium were asked about the Carolina matchup, but it was the quarterback summed up the team’s feelings best.

“We owe them,” Kaepernick said.

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