Phil Dawson Kicks Game-winning FG yet Again

Before Phil Dawson walked out onto the frozen tundra for the final play of the 49ers-Packers Wild Card wrap-up game on Sunday afternoon, he received a couple of thuds to his helmet and not much else.

"It's kind of like (being) the guy with the no-hitter going in the dugout," Dawson said. "No one wants to talk to him."

They were all over him afterward.

PHOTO GALLERY:  49ers vs. Packers

"I'm one of his biggest fans," linebacker Joe Staley said of San Francisco's specialist. "For him to have a game-winning field goal again, that guy is great."

This one, from 33 yards out and on the brown "grass" at Lambeau Field, stopped Green Bay in its tracks, 23-20.

"A couple of guys patted me on the head," Dawson said of the sideline atmosphere. "We all have jobs to do, and I knew I had to do mine."

The 15-year veteran was at his best throughout the 49ers postseason opener in frigid Wisconsin. Despite the conditions, he was successful on all three of his three-point tries.

"You can't necessarily prepare for zero degrees and left-to-right wind," Dawson said. "Leather gets hard in cold weather. When it's this cold, the ball doesn't want to go anywhere. That was the challenge that was there for us today.

"At the end of the day, you either make the kick or you don't."

To give Dawson a shot at his final three-point try, the 49ers drove 65 yards in 14 plays spanning five-plus minutes, leaving three ticks on the clock when their kicker emerged from the sideline.

"To put together a drive like that under any condition is big-time," Dawson said, "but especially today with all the factors working against us… getting it into a manageable situation, if there was such a thing tonight."

Still, Dawson had to contend with the elements. Working with a 46-to-47-yard range toward these particular goal-posts, he stood inside the hashes, in the dirt, 33 yards away.

"There's no grass in the middle of the field, not one blade," he said. "I've played on fields that were a lot worse than that in terms of football, so the grounds crew deserves credit."

Dawson, who spent the first 14 seasons of his NFL career in Cleveland, was able to dig his cleats into the dirt and end his first career postseason game with a victory.

"I waited a long time to win a playoff game. Finally got to do it," Dawson said. "It was worth the wait."


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