49ers 30, Packers 22

Sept. 9 at Lambeau Field

Summary: The 49ers' championship season began with a stirring victory at legendary Lambeau Field against one of the preseason Super Bowl favorites. New acquisition Randy Moss scored his first touchdown since 2010.

Big number: 63 -- Distance in yards of 49ers kicker David Akers' NFL-record-tying field goal just before halftime for a 16-7 lead.

He said it: "Knowing that (Green Bay) is the 'hotshot team' or the best team in the last couple years, it just makes a huge statement all across the league." -- 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman

San Francisco 49ers kicker David Akers is congratulated by teammates after kicking a 63-yard field goal during the first half of an NFL football game
San Francisco 49ers kicker David Akers is congratulated by teammates after kicking a 63-yard field goal during the first half of an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)

Notable: Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers reportedly lost a bet on the game with members of the band Boyz II Men, who sang the national anthem, that would require him to wear a 49ers jersey for a week.

49ers 27, Lions 19

Sept. 16 at Candlestick Park

Summary: The 49ers got the upper hand in a battle of physical teams. Quarterback Alex Smith, who suffered a cut on the bridge of his nose during a questionable hit, threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to Vernon Davis to cap a 79-yard drive that helped seal the victory late in the fourth quarter.

Big number: 230 -- Passing yards by Detroit's Matthew Stafford, who threw for over 350 yards in each of his previous four regular-season games.


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He said it: "We knew it'd be a tough, close, aggressive, bell-ringing game, and it was." -- 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh

Notable: Unlike in the previous year's matchup, the postgame handshake between Harbaugh and Lions coach Jim Schwartz went off without incident.

Vikings 24, 49ers 13

Sept. 23 at Mall of America Field

Summary: Among the 49ers' many mistakes, Alex Smith accounted for two fourth-quarter turnovers, safety Dashon Goldson committed two unnecessary-roughness penalties that fueled the Vikings' final touchdown drive, and safety Donte Whitner dropped a potential interception with an open path to the end zone ahead of him.

Big number: 249 -- Consecutive passes Smith had thrown without an interception before his fourth-quarter miscue.

He said it: "They definitely played better than us. This is a tough league. Not too many people go the whole season without this feeling." -- 49ers center Jonathan Goodwin

Notable: Replacement referee Ken Roan twice mistakenly granted Jim Harbaugh challenges after the coach called a timeout in the fourth quarter.

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (C) leaps into the end zone for a running touchdown past New York Jets’ Kyle Wilson during the
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (C) leaps into the end zone for a running touchdown past New York Jets' Kyle Wilson during the second quarter of their NFL football game in East Rutherford, New Jersey September 30, 2012. At right is 49ers Joe Staley (74) and at left is 49ers Alex Boone. REUTERS/Mike Segar

49ers 34, Jets 0

Sept. 30 at MetLife Stadium

Summary: The 49ers' biggest shutout victory since Oct. 4, 2009, featured a foreshadowing of Colin Kaepernick's breakout season. The backup quarterback carried five times for 50 yards and a touchdown in spot duty.

Big number: 145 -- Total yards by the Jets on 50 offensive plays for a 2.9 average.

He said it: "I'm hoping they will use me more and more as the season goes on." -- Kaepernick

Notable: For the second consecutive season, the 49ers won at the end of a back-to-back trip that included a five-day stay in the Youngstown-area of Ohio.

49ers 45, Bills 3

Oct. 7 at Candlestick Park

The Niners’ Aldon Smith (99) celebrates after sacking Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) in the fourth quarter as the San Francisco 49ers beat
The Niners' Aldon Smith (99) celebrates after sacking Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) in the fourth quarter as the San Francisco 49ers beat the Seattle Seahawks 13-7 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, Calif. Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012. (Patrick Tehan/Staff)

Summary: The 49ers rolled up a franchise-record 621 yards, an incredibly balanced 310 passing and 311 rushing. It was the first time the team ever achieved the 300-300 feat.

Big number: 6.1 -- Yards per carry for the 49ers through five games.

He said it: "He's an evil genius, and I love the things he calls up." -- 49ers guard Alex Boone, on offensive coordinator Greg Roman

Notable: The record day could have been bigger if not for a chop-block penalty that nullified a 41-yard reception by Michael Crabtree and a holding call that wiped out a 21-yard catch by Vernon Davis.

Giants 26, 49ers 3

Oct. 14 at Candlestick Park

St. Louis Rams’ Austin Pettis (18) celebrates his touchdown with St. Louis Rams’ Brandon Gibson (11) against the San Francisco 49ers in the
St. Louis Rams' Austin Pettis (18) celebrates his touchdown with St. Louis Rams' Brandon Gibson (11) against the San Francisco 49ers in the fourth quarter at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, Calif., on Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

Summary: Alex Smith threw three interceptions for the first time in the Harbaugh era while the defense failed to produce any take-aways for only the third time in that 22-game span.

Big number: 2 -- Interceptions by Giants cornerback Antrel Rolle on consecutive 49ers possessions early in the second half.

He said it: "We just have to be mature about the situation, mature about what happened and stay together like we always do." -- 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis

Notable: 49ers defensive lineman Justin Smith didn't get called once for defensive holding after being accused by Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride of getting "away with murder" in that regard.

49ers 13, Seahawks 6

Oct. 18 at Candlestick Park

Summary: Frank Gore finished with 131 rushing yards, carrying the load on the 49ers' key touchdown drive as the 49ers took over first place in the NFC West for good.

Big number: 182 -- Yards compiled by Gore, including 51 receiving.

He said it: "Coming off a loss, you sense an urgency that everyone has, and it starts at midnight. No speeches are needed. Everyone understands what we have to do." -- 49ers left tackle Joe Staley

Notable: Tight end Vernon Davis didn't catch a pass for the first time in 59 games, though he provided a key block on fellow tight end Delanie Walker's third-quarter touchdown catch.

49ers 24, Cardinals 3

Oct. 29 at University of Phoenix Stadium

Summary: Alex Smith put on a near-perfect Monday night passing display, completing 18 of 19 passes for 232 yards and three touchdowns. His only incompletion was a short pass that was dropped by tight end Delanie Walker. Smith took the blame for throwing behind Walker.

Big number: 94.7 -- Completion percentage, the best in NFL history for a minimum of 15 attempts, though the official record book requires 20 attempts.

He said it: "It's just a lot of gobble, gobble, turkey from jive turkey gobblers." -- 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, pooh-poohing suggestions that Smith might have been losing confidence in previous weeks.

Notable: Aldon Smith celebrated both of his fourth-quarter sacks with a home run swing in honor of the Giants winning the World Series.

49ers 24, Rams 24

Nov. 11 at Candlestick Park

Summary: A rare tie game featured the biggest turning point of the 49ers' season: a concussion that knocked quarterback Alex Smith from the game in the second quarter.

Big number: 2 -- Potential winning field-goal attempts missed in overtime, a 41-yarder by the 49ers' David Akers and a 58-yarder by the Rams' Greg Zuerlein.

He said it: "When I saw both sides walking off the field, I was like, 'Where's everybody going? Did somebody quit or forfeit?' " -- 49ers safety Dashon Goldson, one of several players unaware an NFL game could end in a tie

Notable: Rams punter Johnny Hekker completed 2 of 2 passes for 40 yards and two first downs on fake-punt plays. One fake came near the end of the second quarter even though the Rams were backed up near their own end zone.

49ers 32, Bears 7

Nov. 19 at Candlestick Park

Summary: Colin Kaepernick shone in his first NFL start, completing 16 of 23 passes for 243 yards and two touchdowns on "Monday Night Football." Linebacker Aldon Smith somehow was overshadowed despite producing 51/2 sacks.

Big number: 0 -- Take-aways by the Bears, who entered with a league-high 30.

He said it: "We all knew what he could do. It was about getting an opportunity, and he was lights-out tonight." -- 49ers receiver Kyle Williams, on Kaepernick

Notable: The Bears also were missing their starting quarterback, Jay Cutler, because of a concussion. Former 49ers star Steve Young, working as an ESPN analyst, noted, "Fifteen years ago, neither quarterback sits out. It's different now -- and for the better."

49ers 31, Saints 21

Nov. 25 at the Superdome

Summary: Ahmad Brooks and Donte Whitner intercepted back-to-back throws by Drew Brees and returned them for touchdowns to spark the victory. Brooks' 50-yard return tied the score at 14 just before halftime. Whitner's 42-yard return made it 28-14 in the third.

Big number: 5 -- Sacks by the 49ers' pass rush, all in the second half.

He said it: "The velocity of the ball is so much different than Alex's, so you've got to get your head around faster." -- 49ers tight end Vernon Davis, who was responsible for one of three consecutive drops of Colin Kaepernick passes.

Notable: Saints defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley was ejected in the fourth quarter for kicking 49ers offensive lineman Alex Boone in the head while Boone lay on the ground during a field-goal attempt.

Rams 16, 49ers 13

Dec. 2 at the Edward Jones Dome

Summary: Colin Kaepernick's off-target pitch on a risky play call cost the 49ers their lead with three minutes left in regulation, and they lost to the Rams in another overtime affair. Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein made a 54-yard field goal in the final minute of overtime.

Big number: 17 -- Yard-line from where Kaepernick pitched the ball over Ted Ginn Jr.'s head, allowing Janoris Jenkins to recover the ball for a Rams touchdown that tied the score at 10 with 3:11 left.

He said it: "That was on us; that was the wrong play to call at that time. I would love to have that one back. Don't blame the players on that one." -- 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh

Notable: Rookie wide receiver A.J. Jenkins, a first-round pick, suited up for the first time since the season opener, but he and Alex Smith were the only active 49ers who didn't play.

49ers 27, Dolphins 13

Dec. 9 at Candlestick Park

Summary: Aldon Smith had two sacks, giving him 191/2 for the season for the franchise record, surpassing Fred Dean's 17½ in 1983. 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick had a 50-yard run for the second consecutive week.

Big number: 124 -- All-purpose yards by rookie second-round pick LaMichael James in his NFL debut.

He said it: "There's no way to stop him. He's like a new-age pass rusher because he's so elusive. You can't really teach a technique to block him. You need two or three guys to really stop him from making an outside move, inside move, spinning." -- 49ers safety Donte Whitner, on Aldon Smith

Notable: Disgruntled running back Brandon Jacobs was a healthy scratch after his latest social-media rants about his lack of action.

49ers 41, Patriots 34

Dec. 16 at Gillette Stadium

Summary: On a rainy Sunday night, the 49ers clinched a playoff berth when Colin Kaepernick connected with Michael Crabtree on a 38-yard catch-and-run that fended off a huge Patriots comeback.

Big number: 28 -- Margin by which the 49ers led before New England rushed back to tie the score at 31 with 6:43 remaining.

He said it: "I love it. To do this in their house, it doesn't get better than that." -- 49ers right tackle Anthony Davis

Notable: 49ers receiver Randy Moss returned to the site of his 2007 career resurrection and promptly scored on a 24-yard catch that gave the 49ers a 7-0 lead.

Seahawks 42, 49ers 13

Dec. 23 at CenturyLink Field

Summary: Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson threw four touchdown passes and his elusiveness in the pocket often made 49ers pass rushers look daffy.

Big number: 185 -- Consecutive appearances made by 49ers defensive lineman Justin Smith before sitting out this game because of an elbow injury.

He said it: "It was a punch in the face. But the thing about it is we still have a chance to win the division, and we're already in the playoffs." -- 49ers cornerback Carlos Rogers

Notable: Two of 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh's former Stanford players did much of the damage for Seattle. Richard Sherman had an interception and returned a blocked field goal for a touchdown, and Doug Baldwin had four receptions for 53 yards and two touchdowns.

49ers 27, Cardinals 13

Dec. 30 at Candlestick Park

Summary: In the regular season finale, the 49ers kept alive their hope for the NFC's No. 2 seed and a bye week, a status that was secured when the Vikings defeated the Packers.

Big number: 172 -- Career-high receiving yards for Michael Crabtree, who had eight receptions and two receiving touchdowns.

He said it: "That was our mission and the thing we wanted to accomplish." -- Jim Harbaugh on winning the division title, his second in a row after inheriting a losing team.

Notable: With 5:57 remaining, quarterback Alex Smith entered to relieve Colin Kaepernick, drawing appreciative applause in his first snaps since a Nov. 11 concussion.

NFC Divisional playoff » 49ers 45, Packers 31

Jan. 12 at Candlestick Park

Summary: Colin Kaepernick ran for 181 yards, the most ever in an NFL game by a quarterback, and passed for 263 yards, running for two touchdowns and passing for two. The stunning performance followed a disastrous start in which his second pass was intercepted by Sam Shields and returned 52 yards for a 7-0 Packers lead.

Big number: 11.3 -- Yards per carry by Kaepernick on 16 attempts.

He said it: "Man, he's fast. To see a guy come across the field at an angle and he eats up the angle, man, that's fast. He's moving." -- 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis, on Kaepernick's 56-yard touchdown run

Notable: Jim Harbaugh became the ninth coach in NFL history to reach a conference final or league championship in each of his first two seasons.

NFC Championship » 49ers 28, Falcons 24

Jan. 20 at the Georgia Dome

Summary: The 49ers erased a 17-point deficit to return to the Super Bowl for the first time in 18 seasons. Frank Gore's 9-yard touchdown run with 8:23 to play finally put the 49ers ahead.

Big number: 10 -- The Falcons' last best chance to retake the lead died at the San Francisco 10-yard line with 1:13 to play.

He said it: "It was an amazing game to watch. One of the best football games I've ever seen." -- 49ers owner Jed York

Notable: Former 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo and his sister, team co-chairwoman Denise DeBartolo York, showed their love during the postgame trophy presentation. "We have been through this thick and thin," DeBartolo York said after her brother accepted the trophy. "The dynasty will prevail."