GREEN BAY, Wis. -- It took Phil Dawson 15 seasons but he finally got to attempt a walk-off field goal in the postseason. Sunday's result: a 33-yarder inside Lambeau Field's uprights as time expired in the 49ers' 23-20, wild-card win over the host Packers.
"I waited a long time to win a playoff game," Dawson said. "I finally got to do it and it was worth the wait."
Dawson never got a chance in his 14 seasons with the Cleveland Browns. He appeared in only one playoff game with them, and he never attempted even a tying field goal a 36-33 loss to Pittsburgh in January 2003.
Now he's won each of the 49ers' past two games with a walk-off kick. He made a 40-yard field goal a week earlier as time expired in a 23-20 win at Arizona.
Dawson's game-winner at Lambeau came off the right hashmark and inside the right goal post. But it nearly got blocked by the Packers' Davon House, who jumped offside.
"I saw, from my perspective, a guy come off the left wing jump prior to the snap, and I hurried up a little bit," said Dawson, who figured his range probably was at maximum 47 yards.
As referee Ed Hochuli announced that the offside penalty would be declined, he mistakenly said the "touchdown" would stand, before correcting himself. Would that have been a first?
"No, I've had a touchdown," said Dawson, who had a 4-yard touchdown run as a rookie in 1999. "My wife will love it. (Hochuli) is her favorite." Defensive tackle Ray McDonald said he got more than held by center Evan Dietrich-Smith while trying to sack Aaron Rodgers on a fourth-quarter play, the one where Rodgers escaped and completed a fourth-down pass to Randall Cobb at the 4. "He was choking me out," McDonald said. "I looked at the ref and just ran off the field. They weren't calling stuff all game."
In the first quarter, McDonald and Aldon Smith shared a sack on Rodgers. Smith also had a third-quarter sack after getting an IV at halftime to cure his leg cramps. Ahmad Brooks accounted for the 49ers' other two sacks. Tailback Frank Gore said the 49ers know the Carolina Panthers pose a major challenge Sunday, especially after the Panthers' 10-9 victory at Candlestick on Nov. 10 when the 49ers offense was held to just 151 total yards.
"They're good, but it's the playoffs, man," said Gore. "We're good, they're good. Those are the games you get ready for, you know? Everybody should be good in this tournament. We've just got to be us, just do whatever it takes to get a win." The 49ers once again burned several timeouts on offense when the play-clock was almost at zero. That included two on their first two possessions of the third quarter: the first when Colin Kaepernick forgot to wear his play-call wrist pad. The 49ers also called timeout on their first possession of the game to avoid a delay penalty.
"It should (be concerning), especially early in the game like that, a playoff game, it's a big game and you never know when you'll need them," Gore said. "But we'll work on that this week, get it done and get ready for Carolina." Rodgers passed for only 177 yards (17 of 26, one touchdown) despite facing a 49ers secondary that played without cornerback Carlos Rogers (hamstring) for the first time in three years. Perrish Cox, who re-signed with the 49ers last week, served entirely as the No. 3 cornerback. Eric Wright (hamstring) suited up but did not play. Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari forced his way back on to the field for a play while being evaluated for a concussion, according to Fox Sports sideline reporter Pam Oliver. The Serra High product apparently took part in an extra-point attempt after getting hurt during John Kuhn's 1-yard touchdown run with 12:06 to play. Bakhtiari was then taken to the locker room for further evaluation. He was eventually diagnosed with a concussion and did not return. Spokesmen for both the NFL and the Packers said they were looking into the report. Eddie Lacy failed to become the first opposing rusher to eclipse the 100-yard mark this season against the 49ers. He had 81 yards on 21 carries, including 26 yards on four consecutive snaps starting a second-half touchdown drive. Kaepernick had a pass intercepted for only the second time in seven games. LaMichael James saved his best return for last, taking back a Packers kickoff 37 yards to set up a fourth-quarter touchdown drive. James averaged 26 yards on three kickoff returns and 10 yards on two punt returns. The announced attendance was 77,525. The game-time temperature of 5 degrees marked the coldest game at Lambeau since 2008 and was the stadium's seventh-coldest ever.