49ers win trip to Carolina
49ERS 23, PACKERS 20
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Phil Dawson kicked a 33-yard field goal as time expired, and Colin Kaepernick threw for 227 yards and ran for another 98 to lead the San Francisco 49ers past the Green Bay Packers 23-20 on Sunday night in a frigid NFC wild-card game.
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. Dawson nailed the winning kick five plays later.
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.
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, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers did his best to turn into "Captain Comeback" again. After a slow first quarter, Rodgers finished 17 of 26 for 177 yards and touchdown.
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.
CHARGERS 27, BENGALS 10
CINCINNATI (AP) — San Diego took advantage of Andy Dalton's three turnovers in the second half, pulling away to a victory that extended Cincinnati's streak of playoff misery to 23 years and counting.
Philip Rivers donned gloves and made accurate throws in the January rain, leading the Chargers (10-7) to their fifth straight win, this one over the last team to knock them off. They'll play next Sunday in Denver, the AFC's top seed.
It was a shocking finish for the Bengals (11-6), who won the AFC North, went unbeaten at home and had their top-ranked defense for the playoffs. But, they were outscored 20-0 in the second half.
Dalton, 29 of 51 for 334 yards, fumbled and threw two interceptions in the second half, setting up San Diego's first playoff victory on the road in an open-air stadium since the 1994 AFC title game in Pittsburgh.
Rivers finished an efficient 12 of 16 for 128 yards, including a touchdown to Ladarius Green. Danny Woodhead and Ronnie Brown ran for scores.
COLTS 45, CHIEFS 44
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Andrew Luck threw three touchdown passes after halftime, including a 64-yarder to a wide-open T.Y. Hilton for the go-ahead score with 4:22 left, leading the Indianapolis Colts from a four-TD deficit to an improbable 45-44 comeback victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in an AFC wild-card game Saturday.
Indianapolis (12-5) became the second team in playoff history to win after trailing by 28 or more points, according to STATS. The other: Buffalo over Houston 41-38 in overtime in January 1993. The Colts will travel to either Denver or New England next weekend for the divisional round with four straight wins.
Luck was 29 of 45 for 443 yards, the second-highest total in franchise history for a playoff game, with four TDs and three interceptions. He also picked up a fumble and ran it in for a 5-yard score. Hilton broke a franchise playoff record with 13 catches and 224 yards, finishing with two TDs — including the winner.
Kansas City (11-6) finished its turnaround season with three straight losses, two to the Colts and an eighth straight postseason defeat — none more stunning than this one. The eight straight losses broke a tie with the Detroit Lions for the longest playoff skid.
Alex Smith was 30 of 46 for 378 yards with four TDs and no interceptions on a day he lost his top two running backs, Jamaal Charles and Knile Davis, and starting receiver Donnie Avery to injuries.
SAINTS 26, EAGLES 24
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Shayne Graham, signed by the Saints just over two weeks ago, kicked a 32-yard field goal on the final play to give New Orleans its first road playoff victory.
Graham's fourth field goal sent the Saints (12-5) to Seattle for next Saturday's divisional playoff game against the NFC's top seed. The Seahawks routed the Saints 34-7 during the season.
Drew Brees threw for a touchdown, Mark Ingram rushed for 97 yards and another score, and the Saints' defense slowed Chip Kelly's up-tempo offense just enough. New Orleans had been 0-5 in postseason games outside of the Big Easy since entering the league in 1967.
Philadelphia wound up 10-7 in Kelly's first year as coach. He guided them from worst to first in the NFC East, but they were only 4-5 at home.
Nick Foles hit rookie Zach Ertz for a 3-yard touchdown with 4:54 remaining as Philadelphia rallied from a 13-point deficit to take a one-point lead. But Darren Sproles had a 39-yard kickoff return and a horse-collar tackle brought New Orleans to the Philadelphia 48. Using mostly runs, the Saints ate up the clock and set up Graham's winner.