SAN FRANCISCO — Showing off his strong arm and fleet footwork, San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick shook off a shaky start to his postseason debut and turned in a performance unlike any other to send San Francisco to the NFC Championship Game for the second straight year.
Kaepernick set a playoff record for a quarterback with 183 yards rushing, including two touchdowns on the ground. He threw for 263 yards and two more scores to eliminate Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, 45-31.
The 49ers will host today’s Seahawks-Falcons winner in the NFC Championship Game.
Michael Vick’s 119 yards rushing in Atlanta’s 47-17 win over St. Louis in 2005 had been the most by a QB in a playoff game.
Kaepernick, the second-year pro out of Nevada who supplanted Alex Smith at quarterback in a much-debated move by coach Jim Harbaugh, shook off an interception that Sam Shields ran back 52 yards for a touchdown on San Francisco’s first possession to twice rally the 49ers from a TD behind.
Kaepernick’s 56-yard TD run on a read-option keeper in the third quarter — the longest by a QB in franchise history — gave the 49ers a 31-24 lead. He stopped in the end zone and flexed his right arm, smiling all the way back to the sideline.
The scores mark the fourth time in NFL history a player had two touchdowns rushing and two touchdowns passing in a postseason game.
Kaepernick also tossed touchdown passes of 20 and 12 yards to Michael Crabtree and ran untouched for a 20-yard score. He led another drive that David Akers finished with a 36-yard field goal to put the 49ers ahead 24-21 as the first half ended.
Frank Gore also ran for a 2-yard touchdown three seconds into the fourth quarter to extend San Francisco’s lead to 38-24 and Anthony Dixon ran from two yards out to make it 45-24.
Rodgers attempted to rally the Packers after tossing his own interception. The former Cal star threw a 20-yard scoring strike to James Jones, and DaJuan Harris ran for an 18-yard TD.
Kaepernick’s costly error quieted the 49ers faithful early. Shields stepped in front of Kaepernick’s pass, shook the quarterback to the ground and scampered down the sideline to give the Packers a quick 7-0 lead, but the Kaepernick proved too much in the end.