The top-seeded San Francisco 49ers' fifth consecutive playoff win over the seventh-seeded Green Bay Packers, a 24-21 rollercoaster of a contest in the NFC Divisional Round, continued a trend of clutch play for the 49ers come playoff time and another run of late-game playoff misery for the Packers.

Both franchises have 37 playoff wins, tied with the New England Patriots for the most in NFL history, but their recent postseason journeys couldn't be more different. The 49ers will appear in their fourth NFC Championship game in the last five seasons while the Packers suffered their NFL-most fifth playoff loss with a lead in the final five minutes. 

Saturday night was also the second postseason game in a row against the 49ers in which such a defeat has occurred for Green Bay. The Packers led 21-17 with just over six minutes left to play Saturday night, but after rookie kicker Anders Carlson hooked a field goal attempted wide left, the 49ers marched down the field and scored the go-ahead touchdown on a six-yard Christian McCaffrey plunge into the end zone with 67 seconds left to play. A Jordan Love interception on the ensuing drive killed their comeback hopes. 

Green Bay dropped the two teams' most recent meeting prior to this season by a 13-10 score up in Lambeau Field when the Packers were the NFC's top seed, and San Francisco was the sixth seed. They led 10-3 for most of the fourth quarter, but then a blocked punt with 4:41 left in the game was returned for a touchdown by 49ers safety Talanoa Hufanga, which tied the game. Then-San Francisco kicker Robbie Gould drilled the game-winning 45-yard field goal as time expired in what became both Aaron Rodgers' and Davante Adams' final postseason game with the Packers. 

Other Green Bay postseason face plants with the lead in the final five minutes includes a litany of head-scratching defeats. An electrifying 26-20 NFC Divisional Round loss at the Arizona Cardinals occurred in the 2015 season in which they led 13-10 late and then needed Rodgers to hurl back-to-back Hail Mary passes to reach OT before losing the coin toss and their offense not touching the ball in the overtime period.

There's the postseason defeat both Rodgers and former Packers head coach Mike McCarthy have both been on record as calling their worst playoff memory: the 28-22 overtime loss in the 2014 season's NFC Championship game at the Seattle Seahawks. The Packers led 19-7 late, but a botched onside kick recovery by tight end Brandon Bostick opened the door for the Seahawks to take a late lead before Rodgers didn't touch the ball in overtime. 

The one loss that predates the Rodgers era is the 20-17 overtime loss at the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2003 NFC Divisional Round. The Packers took a 17-14 lead on a 21-yard Ryan Longwell field goal with 10:22 remaining, but then they couldn't move the football the rest of the game. The Eagles tied the contest with a 37-yard David Akers field goal with five seconds left in regulation. Green Bay began overtime with the ball, but Brett Favre threw one of his patented, late-career postseason interceptions on a pass intended for receiver Javon Walker that was picked off by Hall of Fame safety Brian Dawkins. Philadelphia then drove down the field before Akers connected on the game-winning 31-yard field goal

Most playoff losses with lead in final five minutes
(Since 2000)

TeamAmount of losses







* 2003 at PHI, 2014 at SEA, 2015 at ARI, 2021 vs SF, 2023 at SF

On the winning 49ers' side, their victory on Saturday night marks their seventh in team history in which they scored a game-winning touchdown in the final two minutes of a game. The 24-21 win against the Packers joins an illustrious and rich 49ers clutch playoff history list that begins with "The Catch" by wide receiver Dwight Clark in in the 1981 NFC Conference championship game against the Dallas Cowboys. The list also includes a more recent moment like Alex Smith's game-winning, 14-yard touchdown pass to tight end Vernon Davis with nine seconds left to play in a 36-32 NFC divisional round victory in the 2011 season over Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints

49ers game-winning touchdowns in final two minutes 
in playoff history

GameGame-Winning Touchdown 

2023 Divisional Round vs. GB

Christian McCaffrey 6-Yd Run

2011 Divisional Round vs. NO

Vernon Davis 14-Yd Rec

2002 Wild Card Round vs. NYG

Tai Streets 13-Yd Rec

1998 Wild Card Round vs. GB

Terrell Owens 25-Yd Rec

Super Bowl XXIII vs. CIN

John Taylor 10-Yd Rec

1983 Divisional Round vs. DET

Freddie Solomon 14-Yd Rec

1981 Conference Championship vs. DAL

Dwight Clark 6-Yd Rec

The 49ers will host the winner of Sunday's Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Detroit Lions showdown in the NFC Championship game on January 28 at 6:30 pm. ET while the Packers' 2023 season comes to an end once again with a heartbreaking stumble.