Christian McCaffrey’s 2nd TD rallies 49ers to playoff win over Packers – Press Enterprise

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By JOSH DUBOW (AP Pro Football Writer)

SANTA CLARA — Christian McCaffrey scored his second touchdown on a 6-yard run with 1:07 to play, and the San Francisco 49ers mounted their first second-half comeback of the season to beat the Green Bay Packers 24-21 in a divisional-round playoff game on Saturday night.

After spending all regular season as front-runners, the Niners (13-5) needed to come from behind for a change, and Brock Purdy and McCaffrey did just enough on the last drive to send San Francisco to its third straight NFC championship game. The Niners will host the winner of Sunday’s game between Tampa Bay and Detroit next weekend for a spot in the Super Bowl.

Purdy went 6 for 7 for 47 yards on the decisive drive, converting a third down with a 10-yard pass to Brandon Aiyuk and throwing a 17-yarder to Chris Conley.

“Obviously it’s four quarters for a reason, you know? So the way I started, it’s like, ‘Man, I’ve got to be better, got to play efficient football,’” Purdy said. “But when it comes down to it, with the season on the line, you’ve got to make it happen for your boys around you.”

McCaffrey finished it off with his run on third-and-short and the 49ers’ defense held on from there, with Dre Greenlaw intercepting Jordan Love for the second time to seal San Francisco’s fifth straight playoff win over Green Bay (10-9).

That last throw across his body was one of the few mistakes by Love, who had given the Packers the lead with two TD passes in the third quarter. But his first full season as the starter in place of Aaron Rodgers had a disappointing ending.

Purdy — who struggled with his accuracy early on a rainy night — threw for 252 yards and a touchdown, and McCaffrey rushed for 98 yards on 17 carries.

“I mean, yeah, the weather. But that’s football, man. You’ve got to overcome that,” Purdy said.

Love put the Niners in the unusual spot of playing from behind. Green Bay converted a third-and-15 when Ambry Thomas was called for a 41-yard pass interference penalty against Bo Melton. Love and Melton connected on the next play for a wide-open 19-yard touchdown aided by Tashaun Gipson slipping on the wet grass in coverage.

After McCaffrey put San Francisco back in the lead with a 39-yard TD run, Green Bay struck quickly thanks to a 73-yard kick return by All-Pro Keisean Nixon that he fumbled, only to have teammate Eric Wilson recover.

Four plays later, Love threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Kraft and the Packers extended the lead to 21-14 on a 2-point conversion pass to Aaron Jones.

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