Postseason History of Packers vs. 49ers
It's hard to believe that two franchises that first started playing each other in 1950 didn't have their first playoff game against each other until the 1995 postseason.
But it wasn't until January of 1996 when a young head coach named Mike Holmgren (who was born and raised in San Francisco) led the Packers against the Niners in his boyhood town in the playoffs.
In fact, ironically enough, Holmgren led the Packers against the 49ers for four straight years in the postseason. Those four games turned out to be very memorable, especially the last one, which is now considered a NFL classic.
Green Bay leads the overall postseason series 4-1, as the 12-5 (No. 3 seeded) Packers prepare to take on the 11-4-1 (No. 2 seeded) 49ers at Candlestick Park on Saturday night in a 2012 NFC Divisional Playoff Game.
There will be more irony in this game.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers of the Packers grew up a 49ers fan in Chico, California. Add to that, after playing his college ball at nearby Cal, he thought he was going to be selected number one overall in the 2005 NFL draft by the Niners.
At least, that was the impression Rodgers got from the San Francisco offensive coordinator at the time...Mike McCarthy, who is now his head coach in Green Bay.
His opponent at quarterback for the 49ers is Colin Kaepernick, who was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Kaepernick always dreamed of playing with either the Packers or 49ers when he was a kid.
Bottom line, expect another memorable game on Saturday night.
1995 NFC Divisional Playoff Game at 3Com Park in San Francisco
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Packers 27, 49ers 17
The Packers came into this game as 10.5-point underdogs against the defending Super Bowl champs at 3Com Park on a sunny afternoon.
The game started out very well for the Packers, as linebacker Wayne Simmons forced a fumble, and the recovery was returned by cornerback Craig Newsome for a 31-yard touchdown. The Packers never looked back, as they raced out to an early 21-0 lead.
Quarterback Brett Favre probably had his best postseason game ever as a member of the Packers, as he completed 21-of-28 passes for 299 yards and two touchdowns.
Both wide receiver Robert Brooks and tight end Keith Jackson had over 100 receiving yards in the game, with Jackson also scoring a touchdown.
The Green Bay defense forced three turnovers, and harassed quarterback Steve Young all day long. Young attempted 65 passes in the game, completing only 32 of those attempts.
The victory put the Packers into their first NFC Championship Game eight days later in Dallas versus the Cowboys.
1996 NFC Divisional Playoff Game at Lambeau Field in Green Bay
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Packers 35, 49ers 14
The game was played under soggy conditions at Lambeau Field, and like the year before, the Packers raced to an early lead, mostly thanks to punt returner Desmond Howard.
Howard returned the first punt of the game for 71 yards and a touchdown, and then returned the next punt 46 yards to set up another Green Bay touchdown, when Brett Favre hit wide receiver Andre Rison with a four-yard score.
The Packers scored again after cornerback Craig Newsome picked off an errant pass from quarterback Elvis Grbac pass to set up a 2-yard touchdown run by running back Edgar Bennett, as the Packers increased their lead to 21-0.
Two Green Bay turnovers allowed the 49ers back in the game, as San Francisco cut the margin to 21-14 in the third quarter, but the Packers finished strong to up the score to 35-14.
The Green Bay defense held the 49ers to just 196 total yards in the game.
The victory put the Packers into their second straight NFC Championship Game eight days later against the Carolina Panthers at Lambeau Field, and then on to Super Bowl XXXI in New Orleans, where the Packers would defeat the New England Patriots.
1997 NFC Championship Game at 3Com Park in San Francisco
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Packers 23, 49ers 10
The Packers played in their third consecutive NFC Championship Game when they faced the 49ers at rain-drenched 3Com Park.
It was also the third straight year that San Francisco and Green Bay would meet in the playoffs.
The Packers held a 3-0 lead when safety Eugene Robinson picked off a Steve Young pass and raced 58 yards to the 49ers' 28-yard line. Quarterback Brett Favre took advantage of that turnover when he hit wide receiver Antonio Freeman with a 27 yard touchdown pass.
The Packers upped their lead to 13-3 at halftime, and after a scoreless third quarter, the Packers increased their margin to 16-3, when Ryan Longwell connected on his third field goal of the day. The Packers then put the game away with a five-yard touchdown run by running back Dorsey Levens to put the Packers up 23-3.
The Niners returned the ensuing kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown, but that only kept the score a bit closer.
Levens had 114 yards rushing in the game, as the Packers would be going to their second straight Super Bowl, but this time Green Bay would lose to the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXXII.
1998 NFC Wild Card Playoff Game at 3Com Park in San Francisco
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49ers 30, Packers 27
The Packers and 49ers would be meeting for the fourth consecutive year in postseason play, in a game that is now considered a NFL classic.
The Packers took the lead 3-0 after a 23-yard Ryan Longwell field goal, but the 49ers came right back to take a 7-3 lead after a short 1-yard touchdown pass by Steve Young.
The teams kept trading punches throughout the game, as Brett Favre threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Freeman to retake the lead before San Francisco tied it up again after a field goal.
Dorsey Levens scored on a 2-yard run to put the Packers up 17-10 at the half. The 49ers then scored the only points of the third quarter as they re-took the lead 20-17 entering the final frame.
The Packers were down 23-20 when they got that ball back at their own 11-yard line. Favre drove the Packers down the field, aided by a 47-yard bomb to rookie wide receiver Corey Bradford. The drive culminated with Favre throwing a 15-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Antonio Freeman with just 1:56 left in the game.
The 49ers appeared to have their comeback drive stopped. Safety Scott McGarrahan appeared to have stripped the ball from legendary wide receiver Jerry Rice at the Green Bay 41-yard line with linebacker Bernardo Harris recovering the fumble.
However, the officials ruled that Rice was down and the Niners kept the ball. There was no replay system in the NFL at the time either, as Rice clearly fumbled.
Then with just three seconds remaining in the game, Young hit wide receiver Terrell Owens with a 25-yard touchdown pass between four Green Bay pass defenders that put the 49ers up 30-27. Owens had dropped a number of passes in the game before that game-winning catch.
The defeat for the Packers was painful in many ways. Head coach Mike Holmgren would leave the Packers five days later to become the top dog with the Seattle Seahawks, while future Hall of Famer Reggie White played his final game as a member of the Packers.
2001 NFC Wild Card Playoff Game at Lambeau Field in Green Bay
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Packers 25, 49ers 15
This game would be the Packers' first playoff game since their painful 30-27 loss to the 49ers in the 1998 postseason. The game was back at sunny but chilly Lambeau Field.
The Packers scored the first points of the game, when Brett Favre hit Antonio Freeman with a 5-yard touchdown pass. However, the extra point attempt was blocked.
The 49ers took a 7-6 halftime lead into the locker room, thanks to a 2-yard touchdown run by running back Garrison Hearst.
The Packers came out throwing the ball in the second half, as Favre threw for 226 of his total 269 passing yards in the game. The Packers scored the first nine points of the second half, as Ryan Longwell kicked a 26-yard field goal, and then Favre hit tight end Bubba Franks with a 19-yard touchdown pass. The Packers missed on the two point conversion however.
After San Francisco cut the margin to 15-13 thanks to a Jeff Garcia touchdown pass, the Packers scored the final 10 points of the game, which was culminated by a 9-yard touchdown scamper by running back Ahman Green.
The Green Bay defense held the No. 2 ranked rushing offense to just 71 yards rushing in the game.