The Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers will face off in the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs next week. It will mark the ninth time the two teams have met in the playoffs in the history of their rivalry. The Green Bay Packers hold the overall lead in the rivalry 38-32-1. The two teams are 4-4 against each other in the playoffs. Three times, the winner of the playoff matchup between these two teams went onto appear in the Super Bowl. Needless to say, this is a playoff rivalry that few teams can match, especially given the fact that they come from different divisions. Here, we are going to revisit each playoff game between the two teams and examine the results.
Game One: 1995 NFC Divisional Round- January 6, 1996
Despite having a long history of matchups prior to 1995, the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers did not meet in the playoffs until the 1995 NFL Playoffs. This first playoff matchup between the two teams pitted the 1994 MVP in Steve Young against the 1995 MVP in Brett Favre. At the time, the San Francisco 49ers were the defending Super Bowl Champions.
The game, however, was never close as the Green Bay Packers struck early and pulled ahead to what was to be an insurmountable lead. Craig Newsome returned a 49ers fumble 31 yards to give the Packers a 7-0 in the first quarter. Minutes later, Brett Favre connected with Keith Jackson for a three-yard touchdown and a 14-0 first quarter lead.
Early in the second quarter, Favre connected with Mark Chmura for a 13-yard touchdown and a 21-0 lead. San Francisco kicked a field goal before halftime to cut the score to 21-3.
In the third quarter, Steve Young rushed for a touchdown to make it 21-10. Chris Jacke kicked two field goals, one in the third and one in the fourth, to make it 27-10. Derek Loville ran one in for the 49ers late in the game to make the score 27-17, which would be the final.
Brett Favre threw for 299 yards and two touchdowns. Steve Young, on the other hand, threw for 328 yards and two interceptions. Robert Brooks had 103 yards receiving and Keith Jackson had 101. Jerry Rice and 117 yards receiving while Brett Jones had 112. Craig Newsome and Mike Prior each picked off Steve Young.
The Packers went onto to lose to the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Championship Game.
Game Two: 1996 NFC Divisional Round- January 4, 1997
In what was one of the muddiest games in recent memory, the Green Bay Packers defeated the San Francisco 49ers in a rematch of the previous year’s divisional round matchup. This time, the game was held at Lambeau Field, but the result and course of the game was very similar.
Desmond Howard got the Packers on the board early with a 71-yard punt return early in the first quarter. Later in the first, Andre Rison caught a four-yard pass from Brett Favre to give the Packers a 14-0 lead. Edgar Bennett added a two-yard touchdown run to make the score 21-0 early in the second quarter.
Unfortunately for the 49ers, Steve Young had to exit the game after the first two series. Young tried to play through a cracked rib, but could not go on in the game. Elvis Grbac eventually got San Francisco on the board with a eight-yard touchdown pass to Terry Kirby. The Packers led 21-7 at halftime.
In the third quarter, Grbac ran for a touchdown himself to cut the score to 21-14. Later in the quarter, Antonio Freeman recovered a fumble in the end zone for a Packers’ touchdown and a 28-14 lead. Edgar Bennett ran for another touchdown in the fourth to make the final score 35-14.
Due to the muddy conditions, there was not much passing from the Packers offense. Brett Favre threw for just 79 yards and the one touchdown. Elvis Grbac threw for 125 yards, a touchdown, and three interceptions. Eugene Robinson had two of the interceptions and Craig Newsome had one.
The Green Bay Packers went on to defeat the Carolina Panthers in the NFC Championship Game and the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXI.
Game Three: 1997 NFC Championship Game- January 11, 1998
For the third straight season, the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers met in the playoffs. This time, though, the game was bigger: the NFC Championship Game. Just like the previous two games, the Green Bay Packers scored early and used their stifling defense to keep the 49ers out of the game.
Unlike the previous games, the scoring did not start early. The only score in the first quarter was a Ryan Longwell field goal to give the Packers a 3-0 lead. Early in the second quarter, Antonio Freeman caught a 27-yard touchdown pass from Brett Favre to give the Packers a 10-0 lead. The Packers and 49ers swapped field goals, making the score 13-3 at halftime.
After no scoring in the third quarter, Longwell added a field goal in the fourth to make the score 16-3. Later, Dorsey Levens rushed for a five-yard touchdown and gave the Packers a 23-3 lead. Chuck Levy returned the following kickoff 95 yards for the lone 49ers touchdown of the game. The final score was 23-10 and the Packers went to their second consecutive Super Bowl.
Brett Favre threw for 222 yards and one touchdown. Antonio Freeman had 107 yards receiving and Dorsey Levens rushed for 114 yards on the ground. Steve Young threw for 250 yards and an interception for the 49ers. A young Terrell Owens had 100 receiving yards against the Packers in this game.
The Packers went on to lost Super Bowl XXXII to John Elway and the Denver Broncos.
Game Four: 1998 NFC Wildcard Game- January 3, 1999
This may have been the fourth consecutive playoffs in which the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers played each other, but everything about this game was different. For one, it was an all-out slugfest with the two teams trading scores all game long. Secondly, and unfortunately for the Packers, the 49ers finally defeated them in the playoffs.
The Packers started the scoring with a Ryan Longwell field goal in the first to jump ahead 3-0. Five minutes later, Steve Young tossed a one-yard pass to Greg Clark for a touchdown a 49ers 7-3 lead. In the second quarter, Antonio Freeman caught a four-yard touchdown from Brett Favre to put the Packers back ahead 10-7. Eight minutes later, Wade Richey, the 49ers’ kicker, made a field goal to tie the game at 10. Dorsey Levens rushed for a two-yard touchdown just ahead of halftime to give the Packers a 17-10 lead at the break.
San Francisco scored 10 unanswered points in the third quarter, a field goal and another touchdown connection between Steve Young and Greg Clark. The 49ers led 20-17 going into the fourth quarter, and that is where things got interesting.
Ryan Longwell made a field goal a few minutes into the quarter to tie the game at 20. The 49ers countered with a field goal of their own to take a 23-20 lead. With less than two minutes left in the game, Brett Favre connected with Antonio Freeman on a 15-yard touchdown that gave the Packers a 27-23 lead. All they had to do was keep the 49ers out of the end zone in the game’s final two minutes.
However, Steve Young marched the 49ers offense down the field and threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Terrell Owens with three seconds remaining in the game. The 49ers defeated the Packers 30-27 in an absolute classic of a game.
The San Francisco 49ers lost in Divisional Round to the Atlanta Falcons, who eventually lost in the Super Bowl to the Denver Broncos.
Game Five: 2001 NFC Wild Card Game- January 13, 2002
After facing each other in the playoffs for four consecutive seasons, the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers had to wait three years to face each other in the postseason again. Much had changed in that time, namely that Steve Young had retired and Jeff Garcia had taken over as the 49ers quarterback. This time, however, the Packers would emerge victorious.
Antonio Freeman caught a first quarter touchdown from Brett Favre, but the extra point was blocked. Green Bay carried a 6-0 lead into the second quarter. Garrison Hearst ran for a two-yard touchdown in the second, giving the 49ers a 7-6 halftime lead. Ryan Longwell kicked a field goal in the third quarter to give the Packers a 9-7 lead. Later in the quarter, Bubba Franks caught a touchdown pass from Favre, but the two-point conversion attempt failed. Green Bay led 15-7.
In the fourth quarter, Tai Streets caught a touchdown pass from Jeff Garcia and then caught the two-point conversion to tie the score at 15. Green Bay, though, scored 10 unanswered points: a Ryan Longwell field goal and a nine-yard touchdown run by Ahman Green. The Packers won 25-15.
Brett Favre threw for 269 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. Jeff Garcia had 233 passing yards, a touchdown, and a pick. Antonio Freeman led all receivers with 84 receiving yards and Ahman Green led all rushers with 86 yards on the ground.
The Packers lost in the Divisional Round against the eventual NFC champion St. Louis Rams. Brett Favre threw six interceptions in that game.
Game Six: 2012 NFC Divisional Round- January 12, 2013
Over a decade passed before the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers met in the playoffs again. Aaron Rodgers took over as the Packers’ quarterback and led them to victory in Super Bowl XLV. Colin Kapernick was the quarterback of the 49ers and ran one of the most dynamic offenses in the NFL at the time.
Much like the later matchups between these two teams, this contest was an all-out slugfest with no clear winner until late in the game. Packers cornerback Sam Shields got the scoring started by returning an interception for a touchdown to give the Packers a 7-0 lead. Kapernick, though, bounced back and ran for a 20-yard touchdown to tie the game. Packers running back Dujuan Harris ran 18 yards for a score to give the Packers a 14-7 advantage at the end of the first quarter.
Michael Crabtree of the 49ers caught two touchdown passes in the second quarter to give the 49ers a 21-14 lead. James Jones caught a touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers to tie the game, but San Francisco kicked a field goal before halftime to go up 24-21.
Mason Crosby tied the game in the third with a field goal before Kapernick rushed 56 yards for another touchdown and a 31-24 lead. Greg Jennings caught a three-yard pass from Rodgers in the fourth to tie the game at 31, but that was all the scoring the Packers could muster.
Frank Gore and Anthony Dixon each had two-yard touchdown runs and the 49ers advanced with a 45-31 victory.
Game Seven: 2013 NFC Wild Card Game- January 5, 2014
Meeting in the playoffs for the second straight year, the results were not much different between the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers. The Packers again struggled to contain the running of Colin Kapernick and the 49ers escaped with a rare visiting team victory at Lambeau Field.
The 49ers were in control for the majority of the game. A pair of 49ers field goals were the lone scoring between the two teams in the first quarter. Early in the second quarter, Jordy Nelson caught a touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers to put the Packers up 7-6. On the very next drive, though, Frank Gore punched in a 10-yard run to put the 49ers back on top 13-7. Mason Crosby hit a field goal as time expired in the half to make the score 13-10.
After both teams put up zeros in the third quarter, John Kuhn scored on a one-yard touchdown run to put the Packers up 17-13. The 49ers responded immediately. Colin Kapernick threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to Vernon Davis and the 49ers went up 20-17. Mason Crosby tied the game with five minutes remaining. However, Phil Dawson made a 49ers field goal as time expired to give San Francisco the 23-20 victory.
The 49ers eventually lost in the NFC Championship to the Seattle Seahawks.
Game Eight: 2019 NFC Championship Game- January 19, 2020
This is a game that many Green Bay Packers fans wish they could forget. Despite the 37-20 final score, the game was never close as the San Francisco 49ers literally ran all over the Packers defense.
The San Francisco 49ers scored the first 27 points of the game. Raheem Mostert had three first half touchdown runs to go with two Robbie Gould field goals. The Packers were facing an uphill battle with a 27-0 halftime deficit.
Aaron Jones scored on a nine-yard pass from Aaron Rodgers in the third quarter to make the score 27-7. Raheem Mostert countered, though, with his fourth rushing score of the day to put the 49ers up 34-7. Aaron Jones scored again on a one-yard touchdown run in the fourth, but the Packers failed to covert the two-point conversion. Trailing 34-13, Jace Sternberger caught an eight-yard pass from Rodgers to make the score 34-20. Robbie Gould added another field goal to make the score 37-20, and gave the 49ers a trip to the Super Bowl, which they eventually lost.
The 49ers were able to win this game despite just eight pass attempts from Jimmy Garappolo. Raheem Mostert had 220 yards rushing and four touchdowns. Aaron Rodgers threw for 326 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. It was the first of two straight NFC Championship losses for the Packers.
Now, with the all-time playoff series tied 4-4, the Packers and 49ers will face off in the Divisional Round of the 2021 NFC playoffs.
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