GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — In the bitter cold on their home turf, the cardiac Packers ran out of fourth-quarter magic.
Aaron Rodgers threw for 177 yards and a touchdown, and a depleted defense held its own against the San Francisco 49ers until dual-threat quarterback Colin Kaepernick once again helped end another season in Green Bay in a 23-20 win.
"Personally, it's frustrating not to play your best game. Tough conditions," Rodgers said. "But defense holds them to 23 points — we should win that game."
Phil Dawson kicked a 33-yard field goal as time expired, and Kaepernick threw for 227 yards and ran for another 98.
In a back-and-forth fourth quarter, the 49ers (13-4) threw the final punch. Kaepernick escaped a blitz on third-and-8 and scrambled for an 11-yard gain to the 27 with 1:13 left.
"Just trying to figure out a way to get that first down," Kaepernick said. "Had a play called, we didn't get the look that we wanted. It worked out for us."
Dawson nailed the winning kick five plays later — but only after nearly being blocked by edge rusher Davon House. He was whistled for offsides on the play, but the 49ers declined the penalty with the win in hand.
The defending NFC champions came away with a huge win in conditions that resembled a meat locker. It was 5 degrees at kickoff, and the winds made it feel like minus-10.
San Francisco plays at Carolina next Sunday in the divisional round.
The Packers pack up for the offseason Monday. A season full of adversity, which included nearly two months without Rodgers because of a left collarbone injury, came to an end.
And yet, Green Bay still finished the season 3-1 with dramatic, come-from-behind wins to nudge its way back into the playoffs.
"This is what playoff football is all about. We've been playing these kind of games here the last month. The confidence never wavered," coach Mike McCarthy said. "We weren't quite good enough today."
Mason Crosby's 24-yard field goal tied it at 20 for the Packers (8-8-1) with 5:06 left before the 49ers' final drive.
Until then, Rodgers did his best to turn into "Captain Comeback" again. After a slow first quarter, Rodgers finished 17 of 26.
Kaepernick connected with a spinning Vernon Davis down the seam for a 28-yard touchdown pass with 10:39 left. The score quickly answered John Kuhn's 1-yard touchdown run that briefly gave the Packers a four-point lead.