Niner Nation write up for each season. I cut out the Packer game
1996 Divisional Round @ Packers
And as if by fate, they were headed back to Green Bay. Young was determined to play and managed to start despite his broken ribs thanks to a combination of courage and painkillers. Unfortunately for the 49ers, he would only last two series before the ribs forced him out of the game. To make matters worse,Bryant Young also had to leave the game early, with an injury to his neck and back.
Again hobbled by injury, the 49ers struggled to keep pace with the Packers for most of the game before finally succumbing to Green Bay in the second half. After three consecutive losses to the Packers, it was becoming clear that the Packers were a healthier and stronger team - and that they might even be more talented and better coached.
The 49ers season, again, was ended without a return to the Super Bowl.
1997 NFC Title Game
The game was a defensive struggle, low-scoring, tense, and dramatic for three full quarters. But in a game featuring Steve Young and Brett Favre, the game would end up being decided on the ground. Up 13-3 in the fourth quarter, the Packers rode the legs of Dorsey Levens to the finish line, racking up over 100 yards on the day scoring a fourth quarter touchdown to ice the game. The 49ers, in contrast, ran for 33 yards total, and scored their only touchdown on a kickoff return
. The loss stung, as the 49ers found themselves sitting once again behind an opponent who simply had their number.
Just as the question had once been "what do the 49ers have to do to beat the Dallas Cowboys? It was now, "what would the 49ers have to do to beat the Green Bay Packers?"
1998 CATCH II
But as that game rolled around, the 49ers were far from a popular pick. Having lost five times in a row to the Packers, including a convincing loss once already this season, missing Bryant Young on the defensive line
, and taking shots for riding one of the league's easiest schedules into the playoffs, the 49ers were given little change to defeat their rivals.
But at home, the 49ers proved that they got to the playoffs for a reason. The first three and a half quarters were a grinding battle, as the two teams exchanged leads, matching each other blow for blow, neither team ever trailing by more than seven. Then the Packers tied the game in the fourth quarter on a Ryan Longwell field goal. The 49ers answered with a field goal of their own. With a 23-20 lead and the clock winding down, it looked as though the 49ers might have their first victory against the Packers in more than two years.
But it wouldn't be that easy. Brett Favre took the Packers all the way down the field and stole a four point lead with a 15 yard touchdown pass to Antonio Freeman. The blow should have been crushing. After what had seemed to be a likely victory, the 49ers were staring at what was almost assuredly a loss. With maybe enough time for one drive, San Francisco got the ball back.
Young answered Favre, marching the 49ers downfield efficiently. Controversy arose when Jerry Rice appeared to fumble the football, but the officials ruled that his knee was down before the ball came out and the play was dead. Replays would show this to be false, but without an instant replay system, the call was final.
Then, in the last minute the 49ers found themselves at the Packers' 25-yard line. Only a touchdown could win the game. As Young dropped back on the final play of the game, his back foot slipped out from underneath him. He stumbled, nearly lost his balance, regained his composure just long enough to look downfield, and fired the football into a sea of green and yellow.
The only red jersey anywhere near the play came down with the pass in the endzone. Terrell Owens' last second reception was quickly dubbed "The Catch II" (but hey, call it "The Throw"). The 49ers had beaten the Packers. Steve Mariucci found Owens and embraced his tearful receiver in celebration of the emotional moment.
2001 Wild Card @ Lambeau
In their first visit to the playoffs in more than two years, the 49ers marched into Green Bay, a familiar and unfriendly place over the last decade. With temperatures as low as 29 degrees, the Green Bay homefield advantage was in full swing on January 13. The game was close in the first half and most of the second, but as the game came closer to its finish it became clear that Brett Favre was playing at the top of his game - and that the top of his game was too much for the 49ers on that day. Despite hanging onto a tie as late as the 4thquarter
, the Packers proved too much for the 49ers and ultimately came away with a 10-point victory.
[ Edited by KEGster on Jan 11, 2013 at 8:53 PM ]