GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — While Michael Crabtree partied to rap music in the triumphant San Francisco 49ers' locker room, Colin Kaepernick managed to sneak away through a side door.
Always elusive, that 49ers quarterback.
The defending NFC champions are two wins away from another trip to the Super Bowl after beating the Green Bay Packers 23-20 in a wild-card game Sunday at frigid Lambeau field.
It's on to Carolina next week in the divisional round for the Niners (13-4).
"We owe them," Kaepernick said simply, referring to a 10-9 loss on Nov. 10 to the Panthers.
San Francisco avoided a few close calls. There were a couple potential game-changing interceptions that were dropped by the depleted Packers defense.
In the end, Kaepernick came out on top — again — against Green Bay (8-8-1).
Facing a blitz on third-and-8, he scrambled 11 yards out of trouble to set up Phil Dawson's 33-yard field goal as time expired. He threw for 227 yards, including a 28-yard TD pass to Vernon Davis, and ran for another 98.
Crabtree had eight catches for 125 yards for San Francisco.
"It's a team game and it's going to take a little bit from everybody," Crabtree said. "I think we got those key players and I think we put it together."
Five things learned from the 49ers' fourth straight win over the Packers:
CLUTCH COLIN: In a memorable playoff debut last January, Kaepernick ran for a quarterback playoff-record 181 yards and two touchdowns. In the season opener in September, the strong-armed quarterback threw for a career-best 412 yards and three scores.
This time, Kaepernick did his damage on the ground and through the air.
Kaepernick tore through the Green Bay defense for a 42-yard run, getting a break at one point after Davon House whiffed on a tackle, to set up Gore's 10-yard touchdown run that helped give the 49ers a 13-10 halftime lead.
"It was unbelievable, the way he was getting the edge. I mean, just clutch," Harbaugh said. "Colin Kaepernick, I think we can all agree, is a clutch performer."
Harbaugh said Kaepernick decided to take off after seeing his receivers "were getting grabbed and I think Colin saw that and took matters into his own hands."
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