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Packers playoff hopes end with loss to 49ers

GREEN BAY - A heavyweight battle between two top-tier NFL programs ended with an all-too-familiar sight for the Packers - a loss to the 49ers.

Phil Dawson's 33 yard field goal as time expired gave San Francisco a 23-20 win on a frigid day at Lambeau Field. It's the second straight Packers season that has ended with a playoff loss to the 49ers.

Dawson's field goal capped a 14-play, 65-yard game winning drive. Colin Kaepernick ran for a first down on third and eight to keep the drive alive and put the 49ers in field goal range.

The Packers dealt with defensive injuries almost from the opening kickoff. Sam Shields and Mike Neal left early in the game, while linebacker Andy Mulumba went out in the second half.

Aaron Rodgers threw a touchdown pass to Jordy Nelson early in the second quarter to give the Packers a 7-6 lead. He also found Randall Cobb on a crucial 4th-and-2 play for 26 yards, setting up a John Kuhn one-yard touchdown plunge that gave the Packers a late lead.

The 49ers responded to Kuhn's score with a Colin Kaepernick touchdown pass to Vernon Davis to retake the lead 20-17. Mason Crosby's field goal five minutes later tied the game and set up the 49ers game winning drive.

The Packers finish the season 8-8-1, with their third straight NFC North division championship. The team was 2-5-1 after Aaron Rodgers injured his collarbone, but Rodgers returned to help the Packers beat the Bears in the regular season's final week, clinching the division title and a home playoff game.

The 49ers will travel to Charlotte to face the Carolina Panthers in the next round.

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