Saturday, May 26, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

49ers nip Packers in NFC wild-card game

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Under pressure, in sub-zero weather, Colin Kaepernick kept his cool.

Facing a blitz on third and 8, the elusive 49ers quarterback scrambled 11 yards out of trouble to set up Phil Dawson's 33-yard field goal as time expired for a 23-20 win Sunday over the Packers in an NFC wild-card game.

Doesn't matter where or when, the 49ers keep figuring out how to beat Green Bay.

"Didn't think we were going to pull it out, did you?" San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh said.

When Kaepernick and the 49ers face the Packers, the game is never over. Even in the meat locker called Lambeau Field, where the temperature at kickoff was 5 degrees, with a wind chill of minus-10.

No sweat for Kaepernick. He went sleeveless, and he didn't wear gloves either.

"I've played in cold-weather games before," he said. "I feel like it's more mental than anything."

San Francisco plays at Carolina on Sunday in the division round.

Kaepernick threw for 227 yards, including a 28-yard touchdown to tight end Vernon Davis, and ran for 98. Michael Crabtree had eight catches for 125 yards for San Francisco.

In a back-and-forth fourth quarter, the 49ers (13-4) threw the final punch. Kaepernick escaped a blitz to get to the 27 with 1:13 left.

"Just trying to figure out a way to get that first down," he 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 being offside anyway, so had he blocked it, the 49ers would have re-kicked.

Mason Crosby's 24-yard field goal tied it at 20 for the Packers (8-8-1) with 5:06 left.

After a slow start, Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers threw for 177 yards and a touchdown.

"Very disappointing, personally," Rodgers said. "It's frustrating not to play your best game in tough conditions. Defense holds them to 23 points. We should win that game."

Eddie Lacy ran for 81 yards on 21 carries for the Packers, and Frank Gore had 66 yards and a score on 20 carries for the 49ers.

But Kaepernick again was the difference-maker in San Francisco's fourth straight win over Green Bay. He was 16-of-30 with the TD and an interception. For the second year in a row, the Packers' season started and ended with losses to the 49ers.

In a memorable playoff debut last January, Kaepernick ran for a quarterback playoff-record 181 yards and two scores. In the opener in September, he threw for a career-best 412 yards and three scores.

"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."

Comments
The Bucs’ influence inside the Vegas Golden Knights’ runaway success

The Bucs’ influence inside the Vegas Golden Knights’ runaway success

The Stanley Cup final begins Monday in the unlikeliest of places: a city new to major pro sports and suddenly the center of the hockey world, Las Vegas, whose Golden Knights could become the first first-year expansion team to win a championship.And t...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Did the NFL really need a national anthem policy?

Did the NFL really need a national anthem policy?

Before we even get going, let me be clear about something.This is not a column making an argument about whether or not NFL players should be able to kneel in protest during the national anthem.That topic has been debated repeatedly, loudly and passio...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Bucs’ Gerald McCoy welcomes Vita Vea to his rookie school

Bucs’ Gerald McCoy welcomes Vita Vea to his rookie school

TAMPA — Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy has always been generous with his time, staying after practice to work with younger players. That should be a real added benefit for first-round pick Vita Vea.RELATED: More Bucs coverage"That's my M.O.'' Mc...
Published: 05/25/18
The Bucs’ Mike Evans is among the NFL’s best receivers, except when it came to this

The Bucs’ Mike Evans is among the NFL’s best receivers, except when it came to this

TAMPA — Only three players in NFL history have posted 1,000-yard receiving seasons in each of his first four years seasons: Randy Moss, A.J. Green and the Bucs' Mike Evans.RELATED: More Bucs coverageBut by Evans' standards, 2017 was "proba...
Published: 05/25/18
Why interceptions are up at One Buc Place

Why interceptions are up at One Buc Place

TAMPA — If the first few days of OTAs are any indication, the Bucs secondary could be much improved.Completions may be down, interceptions should be up.RELATED: More Bucs coverage"A lot of interceptions,'' coach Dirk Koetter said Thursday' afte...
Published: 05/25/18
Bucs’ Ali Marpet: NFL flip-flopping on anthem policy ‘a little bit odd’

Bucs’ Ali Marpet: NFL flip-flopping on anthem policy ‘a little bit odd’

TAMPA — This much is clear: The National Football League is focused on getting rid of kneeling players.That was the league's announcement Wednesday in requiring players to stand during the national anthem before games or possibly have their tea...
Published: 05/24/18
Bucs sign defensive tackle Vita Vea, cornerback Carlton Davis to four-year deals

Bucs sign defensive tackle Vita Vea, cornerback Carlton Davis to four-year deals

Two high draft picks that could earn starting jobs signed four year contracts with the Bucs Thursday.The team signed Washington defensive tackle Vita Vea, the team's first-round pick.Terms of the deal were not released, but Vea  is expected to r...
Published: 05/24/18
Bucs union rep Ali Marpet questions legality of the NFL’s new anthem policy

Bucs union rep Ali Marpet questions legality of the NFL’s new anthem policy

Bucs offensive lineman Ali Marpet questioned the legality of the NFL's new  policy that requires players to stand for the national anthem if they are on the field during the performance but gives them the option to remain in the locker room if t...
Published: 05/24/18
Licht promotes three in Bucs’ scouting department

Licht promotes three in Bucs’ scouting department

The dust has settled from another NFL draft, and Bucs general manager Jason Licht has made three promotions in his scouting department as a new year of player evaluation begins.Byron Kiefer, entering his 14th season with the Bucs and fourth as a nati...
Published: 05/24/18
NFL’s new anthem policy requires players to stand on sideline or remain in locker room

NFL’s new anthem policy requires players to stand on sideline or remain in locker room

ATLANTA — The NFL and the owners of its 32 teams enacted a new national anthem policy Wednesday designed, they said, to compel players to stand if they’re on the sideline for the playing of the anthem prior to a game."Clearly our objective as a leagu...
Published: 05/23/18