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49ers get Packers; Packers get their wish

Issa

Jan. 13, 2020

Green Bay Packers get another shot at San Francisco — this time for the NFC Championship Game and a trip to the Super Bowl
Green Bay Packers linebacker Blake Martinez made a wish after taking a 37-8 beating from the 49ers on Nov. 24 at Levi’s Stadium.
“We definitely want to see them again,” said Martinez, a fourth-year veteran from Stanford. “We are competitors and we want to be able to show our true selves.”
The Packers will get their wish next Sunday in the NFC Championship Game at Levi’s Stadium. They earned the rematch by beating the Seattle Seahawks 28-23 on Sunday at Lambeau Field.
The No. 1-seed 49ers advanced with a 27-10 win over the No. 6 Minnesota Vikings on Saturday, a triumph that reflected their dominance over the Packers nearly two months ago.
In that first meeting, the 49ers limited the Packers to 198 yards as they went 1-for-15 on third down and 1-for-3 on fourth down.
Aaron Rodgers, the Cal product forever linked to the 49ers for their 2005 draft snub, had one of his worst career outings that last meeting. He was sacked five times, held to a career-low 3.2 yards per attempt, passed for 104 yards (20-of-33) and fumbled on the first-series sack to trigger a 23-0 first-half rout.
“They mixed up their scheme a little bit and played a little more ‘man’ on early downs, some man on third down,” Rodgers said after that loss. “The blitz pattern was something like we expected. They just had good rush patterns.”
Rodgers is 0-2 against the 49ers in playoff action, losing in the 2012 divisional round at Candlestick Park (45-31) and in 2013 wild-card action at chilly Lambeau Field (23-20). He is 4-3 in regular-season action against the 49ers, including an October 2015 win in his first trip to Levi’s Stadium.
The 49ers know not to take Rodgers lightly.
Cornerback Richard Sherman, after the November win, said: “Whenever you play a Hall of Famer like that, you never know. He can go for 400 at any given time and he can take the game over at any given time.”
NFC North counterpart Kirk Cousins and the Vikings struggled mightily against the 49ers defense Saturday. The Vikings were denied a first down on 7-of-11 drives and they totaled just 147 yards, including just 21 rushing yards, the fewest ever allowed in a 49ers playoff game.
Coach Kyle Shanahan reported no serious injuries after the game, and he’s next scheduled to speak with the media on Monday. Asked how much it helps to have already faced either incoming opponent for the NFC Championship Game, Shanahan was indifferent, saying: “You’re familiar with them and they’re familiar with us. We’ll see which one it helps more.”
Packers coach Matt LaFleur got his NFL coaching start with Shanahan on the Houston Texans staff in 2008-09, followed him to Washington as quarterbacks coach for four seasons and then to the Atlanta Falcons in 2015-16.
LaFleur responded to the Packers’ November loss by giving the 49ers “a ton of credit” for outcoaching and outplaying them. “Bottom line, it’s unacceptable and we’ve got to look at ourselves and there’s a lot to correct if we want to be the team that we want to be,” LaFleur said.
The Packers indeed corrected their path. They haven’t lost since then. They’ll bring a six-game win streak – and a revenge-seeking quarterback – with them in their return trip to Levi’s Stadium.
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