Inside 49ers vs. Packers playoff history: ‘Mud Bowl,’ the TO catch and Aaron Rodgers struggles

The Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers will set an NFL record with their 10th head-to-head playoff matchup on Saturday. 

That is why these NFC bluebloods are in prime time. The Packers meet the 49ers at 8 p.m. ET on Saturday at Levi’s Stadium. The game will be televised on Fox. 

This is a new quarterback chapter in the rivalry for Brock Purdy – who led the 49ers to the NFC championship game last season; and Jordan Love – who has a chance to beat the Cowboys and 49ers in back-to-back weeks. 

The winner will advance to the NFC championship game. San Francisco has the most NFC championship appearances with 18. Green Bay is looking for its 10th appearance. This promises to be another exciting high-stakes playoff matchup as a result. 

A look inside the 49ers-Packers playoff rivalry, the quarterbacks who define it and those legendary matchups.

MORE: SN experts make their divisional round picks

How many times have the 49ers and Packers played in the playoffs? 

This marks the 10th playoff meeting between the 49ers and Packers. That’s the most-frequent matchup in NFL history. Three other matchups have nine games apiece. 

That list includes the 49ers-Cowboys, Cowboys-Rams and Packers-Cowboys. Green Bay and Dallas met for the ninth time in the postseason last week, and the Packers won 48-32. 

San Francisco leads the playoff series against Green Bay 5-4, and the 49ers have won the last four playoff meetings. This marks the fifth meeting in the NFC divisional playoffs. The teams have split the previous four. 

49ers vs. Packers: QB records in playoff games 

Purdy and Love will be making their first starts in a playoff rivalry that has featured Hall of Fame quarterbacks such as Favre, Young and eventually Rodgers. Colin Kaepernick and Jimmy Garoppolo are both 2-0 in this series. 

A look at the quarterbacks who started in San Francisco-Green Bay games.                                                                   

Colin Kaepernick 49ers 2-0
Jimmy Garoppolo 49ers 2-0
Brett Favre Packers 4-1
Steve Young 49ers 1-3
Jeff Garcia 49ers 0-1
Aaron Rodgers Packers 0-4

49ers vs. Packers playoff history 

A look at the nine previous postseason meetings between the 49ers and Packers.

MORE NFL PLAYOFFS: AFC & NFC bracket | TV schedule | Power rankings

Packers 27, 49ers 17 (Jan. 6, 1996)

1995 NFC divisional playoffs 

This was the Packers’ arrival under Brett Favre and former 49ers offensive coordinator Mike Holmgren. Wayne Simmons forced an Adam Walker fumble, which Craig Newsome scooped and scored for a quick 7-0 lead. Favre threw first-half TDs to Mark Chmura and Keith Jackson for a 21-0 lead in the second quarter, and the Packers held on for a statement victory against San Francisco and George Seifert. Steve Young had 328 passing yards and two interceptions in the loss. Dallas beat Green Bay 38-27 in the NFC championship game. 

Packers 35, 49ers 14 (Jan. 4, 1997) 

1996 NFC divisional playoffs 

This is the “Mud Bowl” at Lambeau Field. Young tried to play through a cracked rib, but he was replaced by Elvis Grbac in the first quarter. Green Bay’s defense limited San Francisco to 196 total yards. Edgar Bennett had 80 rushing yards and two TDs, and Desmond Howard provided the exclamation point with a 71-yard punt return for a touchdown in an emphatic victory that meant Green Bay would host the NFC championship game. Green Bay advanced to Super Bowl XXXI, where they beat the Patriots 35-21. This is the only time the winner of this playoff matchup eventually won the Super Bowl in the same season. 

Packers 23, 49ers 10 (Jan. 11, 1998) 

1997 NFC championship 

Steve Mariucci replaced Seifert, and the 49ers had home-field advantage for another playoff meeting with the Packers. Young, however, had 250 passing yards and an interception and took four sacks against a tough Green Bay defense led by Reggie White. Dorsey Levins rushed for 114 yards and a 5-yard TD in the third quarter that gave the Packers a commanding 23-3 lead. Favre finished 16 of 27 for 222 yards and a TD with no interceptions. Green Bay advanced to Super Bowl XXXII. Denver beat Green Bay 31-24. 

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49ers 30, Packers 27 (Jan. 3, 1999) 

1998 NFC wild card 

This is the most-memorable game in the series. The Packers took a 27-23 lead with two minutes left on a TD pass from Favre to Antonio Freeman. Young, however, guided a TD drive in response. Jerry Rice was limited to one catch for six yards – a catch that could have been ruled a fumble on the game’s final drive. Yet Young hit Terrell Owens for a 25-yard TD pass with three seconds remaining in what has forever been known as “The Catch II” in San Francisco. The 49ers lost 20-18 to Atlanta in the NFC divisional playoffs. Holmgren resigned as Green Bay’s head coach to take over as head coach and general manager in Seattle. 

Packers 25, 49ers 15 (Jan. 13, 2002) 

2001 NFC wild card 

Mike Sherman picked up his first playoff victory at Lambeau Field in this NFC wild-card matchup. San Francisco led 7-6 at halftime, but Favre – who finished 22 of 29 for 269 yards and a TDs – hit Bubba Franks for the go-ahead score in the third quarter. Green Bay held on to an 18-15 lead in the fourth quarter. Jeff Garcia tried to hit Owens on a deep pass. Mike McKenzie tipped the pass, however, and Tyrone Williams had the clutch interception. Ahman Green’s 9-yard touchdown run sealed the victory. Favre threw six interceptions the following week in a 45-17 loss to the Rams. 

49ers 45, Packers 31 (Jan. 12, 2013) 

2012 NFC divisional playoffs  

Mike McCarthy and Jim Harbaugh were the coaches, and this was the Colin Kaepernick breakout performance. He threw a pick six on his first pass to Sam Shields, and the first half was a fast-paced shootout with Aaron Rodgers, who finished with 257 passing yards, two TDs and an interception. Kaepernick broke a 24-24 tie with a 56-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, and the 49ers would not be stopped. Kaepernick had 444 total yards and four TDs, and Frank Gore added 119 yards and a TD. The 49ers advanced to Super Bowl XLVII, where they lost 34-31 to Baltimore. 

49ers 23, Packers 20 (Jan. 5, 2014) 

2013 NFC wild card 

This game was played in a -10 degree wind chill at Lambeau Field, and the Packers did a better job of containing Kaepernick in a defensive struggle. Rodgers took four sacks, but he led a touchdown drive for a 17-13 lead with 12:16 remaining in the fourth quarter. Kaepernick responded with a 28-yard touchdown pass to Vernon Davis. The Packers tied the game, but Kaepernick drove the 49ers to field-goal range on the final drive, which Phil Dawson sealed with a 33-yard field goal as time expired. San Francisco lost 23-17 to Seattle in the NFC championship game. 

MORE: Ranking 8 remaining QBs by their college careers

49ers 37, Packers 20 (Jan. 19, 2020) 

2019 NFC championship 

The 49ers rushed for 285 yards in a full-fledged blowout. Raheem Mostert scored three first-half TDs, and the 49ers’ running back finished with 220 rushing yards and four TDs. Jimmy Garoppolo passed for just 79 yards. The Packers trailed 27-0 at halftime. Rodgers threw a pair of second-half touchdowns, but the 49ers were simply too much to handle. Kansas City beat San Francisco 31-20 in LIV. This could be seen as the game that started the wheels turning for Rodgers’ exit from Green Bay. “The one thing that is constant in this game is change, and I know there will be some changes this offseason,” he said.

49ers 13, Packers 10 (Jan. 22, 2022) 

2021 NFC divisional playoffs  

Snowy weather did not stop the 49ers from pulling an upset at Lambeau Field in what would turn out to be Rodgers’ last postseason game with the Packers. Green Bay scored on a 6-yard TD run by A.J. Dillon on the game’s opening drive, but they could not extend that lead against the 49ers. The best chance was after a 75-yard pass to Aaron Jones, but a botched field goal at the end of the half would haunt Green Bay.  Talanoa Hufanga returned a block punt for a touchdown with 4:41 remaining, and Rodgers missed an opportunity to respond. Garoppolo led the game-winning field goal drive this time. Robbie Gould kicked a 45-yard field goal as time expired. The Rams beat the 49ers 20-17 in the NFC championship game. 


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