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San Francisco 49ers at Carolina Panthers 1/12/14 NFL Score, Recap, News and Notes

Final Score: San Francisco 49ers 23, Carolina Panthers 10

January 12, 2014

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Kicking off the Sunday action in the Divisional Round of games in the NFL, we had a pretty intriguing matchup happening between the 49ers and the Panthers. San Francisco was coming off a close road victory over the Packers during Wild Card Weekend, and the Panthers were out to defend their home field after a first-round bye and a lengthy absence from the playoffs. As expected, it was a very physical, defense-heavy game deserving of the term “smash-mouth football.”
Let’s take a closer look at some of the key players and stats from the game so that we can determine why things played out the way they did. Afterward, we’ll look ahead to this weekend’s NFC Championship.

What Happened: Most people expected that points would be at a premium in this one, and that was true, especially early on. The 49ers got out to a 6-0 lead after the first quarter on the strength of a pair of Phil Dawson field goals (49 and 33 yards).
In the second, the offenses started to stretch their legs a bit. Carolina got on the board early in the period with a nice 31-yard pass from Cam Newton to Steve Smith. They’d add a field goal later on to take a four-point lead, but it wouldn’t last long. The 49ers would retake control on a 1-yard hookup from Colin Kaepernick to Vernon Davis. At the half, it was 13-10 San Francisco.
The 49ers got back to it in the third, with the only score coming on a 4-yard Kaepernick run that capped an 8-play, 77-yard drive. After some seesawing from both teams that lasted into the fourth, the Niners added another field goal to make it 23-10 midway through the final period.
That score would hold up, and San Francisco would get their second playoff win this season and third consecutive trip to the NFC Championship game.

San Francisco 49ers at Carolina Panthers 1/12/14 NFL Score, Recap, News and Notes

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The Stars: The big winner here was Colin Kaepernick, who did his part in managing the offense to the tune of a 15-of-28 line for 196 yards, two total touchdowns and most importantly no turnovers. Helping out on offense were Frank Gore (17 carries; 84 yards) and Anquan Boldin (eight receptions; 136 yards).
Defensively, the Niners did a great job keeping Cam Newton in check. They came up with a pair of interceptions and five drive-killing sacks.
On the other side, Ted Ginn put up a nice game, with four grabs for 104 yards. Steve Smith also had four catches for 74 yards and a TD.

The Goats: There are a few different things we can point to here, but one of the most glaring is the Panthers’ penalty numbers. They were flagged eight times for 73 yards, many of those coming at very inopportune times which helped the Niners march down the field.
The complete lack of a running game also hurt Carolina. Newton led the team with 54 rush yards. Between the three running backs (Mike Tolbert, DeAngelo Williams and Brandon LaFell), the team only managed 14 carries for 39 yards. That--coupled with the need to play catch-up--caused an over-reliance on the pass and an imbalance on offense. The Panthers had some lengthy drives and opportunities (eight possessions to the 49ers’ nine), but couldn’t cash in.

Injuries: Panthers RB Jonathan Stewart had to sit this one out, which helps explain the lack of a running game. Safety Quintin Mikell ended up leaving the game early.
As for the Niners, they were without CB Carlos Rogers and lost DL Will Tukuafu during the game.

Outlook: Waiting for the 49ers this Sunday are the Seattle Seahawks, who are coming off a win over the Saints on Saturday. We should expect more of the same defense-oriented, low-scoring play in that one. The Niners have their work cut out for them; Seattle is a notoriously difficult environment for visiting teams. (January 19; 6:30 PM ET on FOX.)

For the latest article updates, follow Andrew on Twitter @SCPAndrew.

 

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