NFL Playoffs

5 winners, losers from 49ers' 24-21 win vs. Packers in NFC divisional round

San Francisco somehow turned it around late after Green Bay's impressive efforts

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Winners find a way.

The No. 1 San Francisco 49ers somehow managed to conquer the hot No. 7 Green Bay Packers 24-21 despite things looking bleak for three-fourths of the game.

San Francisco led 7-6 at the half after questionable time management from head coach Kyle Shanahan, which led to a blocked field goal. Green Bay took control in the second half and led 21-17 late, but couldn't put away the 49ers. And you can't give elite teams one extra chance.

49ers quarterback Brock Purdy led a late drive that Christian McCaffrey capped off with a rushing touchdown, and Jordan Love threw a pick into coverage that sealed it in the ensuing possession.

With the result, the 49ers will host either the No. 3 Detroit Lions or No. 4 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who meet on Sunday.

Let's analyze the game further with five winners and losers:

WINNER: Breaking bad records

The 49ers were 0-30 under Shanahan when trailing by five-plus points entering the fourth quarter. He can change that zero to a one now. San Francisco trailed 21-14 when the final quarter started, with Purdy coming alive when it mattered most. He completed 6 of 7 passes on the game-winning drive; the lone incompletion was a George Kittle drop.

This could've been one of the worst losses in Shanahan's career given the optics and what was at stake, but the 49ers lived to fight another day. The remaining teams, though, will certainly be studying Shanahan's flaws and forcing San Francisco to have to fight from behind.

LOSER: Finishing off games

The Packers had more than their fair chances to end this one. But a missed field goal by Anders Carlson late on and an inability to capitalize in the red zone faltered their chances. Redshirt rookie Jordan Love delivered in the first three quarters but seemed different after his first pick, which was tipped. The 25-year-old finished the game completing 21 of 34 passes for 194 yards, two touchdowns and two picks. He was not sacked against a vaunted 49ers' defensive line.

Even though this game ended on a sour note, the future should still be viewed as extremely bright with Love under center. They had the 49ers on the rope and were arguably the better team for 58 of 60 minutes. That's a plus for the youngest unit in the league, who can only get better.

WINNER: Christian McCaffrey, 49ers

Offensive Player of the Year, anyone? While McCaffrey may not get MVP with Baltimore Ravens' Lamar Jackson the deserved favorite, San Francisco is nowhere near as good this season without the star running back. The league's leading rusher in the regular season delivered when his team needed him the most, rushing for 98 yards on 17 carries and two touchdowns. His first was a 39-yarder and the second a six-yarder to seal it.

Purdy ended the game completing 23 of 39 passes for 252 yards, one touchdown and no picks, although the Packers dropped a few should-be interceptions. But every solid quarterback needs a reliable running back. The 24-year-old Purdy has McCaffrey to lean on.

LOSER: Deebo Samuel, 49ers

Maybe this game turns out different had Samuel been healthy, but one of San Francisco's most versatile weapons left early with a shoulder injury. He kept battling to return but ultimately changed to street clothes at halftime, which helped Green Bay hamper down on Purdy and Co. even more.

But the 49ers also received crucial production from three-string wideout Jauan Jennings, who stepped up with five catches for 61 yards, including some critical ones down the stretch.

It'll get interesting if Samuel is unable to go in the championship game, as the 49ers went on a three-game losing skid in the regular season when he was out due to injury. Detroit or Tampa Bay will look to exploit that.

WINNER: Dre Greenlaw, 49ers

Greenlaw entered the game questionable with an Achilles injury but made two game-changing plays that kept the 49ers in it. The Packers' offense had little trouble carving up San Francisco and didn't punt until late on, but Greenlaw intercepted Love twice to keep it close.

The first was off a tipped mistake from Green Bay while the second sealed the game for the 49ers.

Star linebackers can be the difference makers in tight-knit battles, and the 49ers deploy two in Greenlaw and Fred Warner who have come up big in prior postseasons.

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