GREEN BAY, Wis. (WEAU) -- For the second straight year, 49ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick torched the Packers defense with his fleet feet and his ability to extend plays.
Kaepernick converted crucial plays on third down, and rushed for 98 yards. It was the difference in the game, and will haunt the Green Bay defense into the off season.
"He's fast. He has good receivers also, so guys that are concerned about the receivers catching balls," said Cornerback Micah Hyde. "When all eyes are on the receivers, he just checks it down and runs. He's elusive fast, and so, uh...he did a good job moving the chains today, and, you know, gotta give him credit."
"Kaepernick obviously made the plays today to win," said Defensive Tackle B.J. Raji. "But, uh...they have good players all around, both sides of the ball, and a good coaching staff, so that was a big reason why they won too."
Blame the defense all you want, but ultimately, the Packers offensive struggles in the red zone left critical points off the board.
"I'll take that responsibility upon myself," said Wide Receiver Randall Cobb. "If I score on that last drive, that...that forces them to have to go down and score and puts our defense in a better position. I take blame for putting my defense in that position."
"It's something we'll have to work on in the off-season. For whatever reason, this season, we struggled in the red zone scoring touchdowns. We get down there plenty, just don't punch it in," said Wide Receiver Jordy Nelson. "Kinda the way this season's went, unfortunately, but still able to come back and tie it up, and then give them credit. They made a drive and made enough plays to win the game."
Losing in the playoffs at home is always a bitter pill to swallow, and it wasn't the way the Packers wanted to end their season, but just a few weeks ago, many people didn't even think the Packers would be in the playoffs. As Quarterback Aaron Rodgers pointed out after the game, "team 93" overcame a lot of adversity just getting to Sunday's game.
"Frustrating locker room, everybody's disappointed," Rodgers said. "Tomorrow is the toughest day of the year because it's the end, and guys go their separate ways. Today's probably tied for the toughest as well. It's the last time this group of guys is going to be together. It's frustrating. We...uh...did some great things this year, but we came up a little short."
Rookie Running Back Eddie Lacy may have been the team's MVP this season. He not only won over fans' hearts, but he also won over those of his teammates. After Sunday's game, he embraced his role as a Packer.
"This organization is full of a bunch of cool people," Lacy said. "There's no back-and-forth with each other. Everybody has the business mindset, and it's a family here. Everybody takes care of one another and looks after one another, and, you know, when we get on the field, we play like that."
"It means a lot. You know, like I was saying earlier, we faced a lot in the beginning of the season, and a lot of people thought we wouldn't have even made it this far, and just for us to do that, you know, with what we had to deal with said a lot about us."
Aaron Rodgers put it best: Five straight years in the playoffs, but with four early exits. It's definitely something the team needs to correct in the off-season.