When the 49ers and Packers start their divisional playoff game Saturday night in Green Bay, it will put their rivalry at the top of the record book.
This will be the ninth time that San Francisco and Green Bay have played in the playoffs, tying the Rams and Cowboys and becoming the most watched matchup in NFL playoff history. In all of the previous eight games, the 49ers have faced either current Packers starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers or their previous starter, Brett Favre.
Here’s a look at all previous 49ers-Packers postseason games (the year is the NFL season after which the game was played):
1995 NFC Divisional Round: Packers win San Francisco 27-17
Many expected George Siefert’s 49ers to make four consecutive NFC Championship games with the Dallas Cowboys as the teams once again finished top two in the NFC. But a familiar face stood ready to stop them: Packers head coach Mike Holmgren, who spent six seasons as the 49ers’ head offensive tackle and worked with 49ers quarterback Steve Young while still in BYU college. On Young’s first pass of the game, Packers defenseman Craig Newsom intercepted a southpaw and returned him for a touchdown, and a Brett Favre-led offense followed up with two rushing touchdowns to make it 21–0 in the second quarter. . While the 49ers gained yards and added a few touchdowns, the Packers forced four losses and made several field goals to upset the highly successful 49ers.
1996 NFC Divisional Round: Packers win Green Bay 35-14
The Packers were the NFL’s class that season, the most points scored and the fewest conceded by any team in the league that season. While the 49ers took the Packers into overtime at Lambeau in the regular season, losing 23–20, this time the Packers took a 21–0 lead, initially driven by Desmond Howard’s 71-yard punt return touchdown. Howard had another 46-yard punt return to set up a Packers short touchdown. The Green Bay defense forced San Francisco to make five passes on the day, including three interceptions by backup quarterback Elvis Grbak, who was called out when a rib injury to Steve Young forced Young out of the game. This would be the last game Seifert would coach in San Francisco, as he retired after the 49ers failed to offer him a contract extension. The Packers won Super Bowl XXXI, their first win since Super Bowl II.
1997 NFC Championship: Packers win 23:10 in San Francisco
According to reports at the time, Seifert left in part because the 49ers found a replacement for him in Steve Mariucci, who was the Packers quarterback coach for four years before leaving for one season as Cal’s head coach. The 49ers also added running back Garrison Hurst and achieved a 13-3 regular season record, the best in the NFC even without Rice for most of the season. But injuries piled up late in the regular season, and while the 49ers looked solid in a divisional round win over the Vikings, the Packers stopped the 49ers’ offense by holding them just 33 yards away, forcing two turnovers and firing Young four. times. once. The 49ers’ only points came from a field goal and a late kickback, but the Packers offense never turned the tide to win the NFC for the second year in a row.
1998 NFC wildcard: 49ers win 30-27 in San Francisco
Those three consecutive playoff losses, plus two losses in the regular season, including one in 1998, made this wild win so cathartic for the 49ers. The lead changed seven times in back and forth play, the sixth change being a Favre 15-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Freeman with 1:55 left to give the Packers a 27–23 lead. Young and the 49ers drove down the field using their final timeout as they reached Green Bay 25 with 14 seconds left. Young’s pass, intended for JJ Stokes, was almost intercepted by the Packers’ Newsom, but the umpires ruled it incomplete, giving the 49ers one last game with eight seconds left. Young flew out of the snap but regrouped and fired into traffic for rising superstar Terrell Owens, who caught the ball on the goal line when he was hit by two Packers at the same time. But Owens held on, and The Catch II gave the 49ers their first playoff victory over Favre and the Packers. The 49ers season will end next week in Atlanta, losing 20-18 to the eventual NFC champion Falcons.
2001 NFC Divisional Round: Packers win Green Bay 25-15
It was the best 49ers ever between the end of Steve Young’s career and the arrival of Jim Harbaugh in San Francisco. his association with Owens. But in the NFC’s top heavyweight last year of the three divisions, the 49ers had the same record as their 12-4 wild card mate Green Bay, but the Packers had the best record in the conferences and became hosts. San Francisco benefited from an extra point missed and Green Bay’s two-point conversion to tie the game at 15–15 early in the fourth round after Garcia connected with Tai Streets for a touchdown and two-pointer. A Packers field goal gave the 49ers a shot at victory and they reached Green Bay 41 with 5:06 left, but Garcia’s deep ball intended for Owens was deflected by Packers cornerback Mike McKenzie straight into the safety of Tyrone Williams for an interception. Green Bay drove down the field for a touchdown and the 49ers botched the subsequent kickoff, which the Packers recovered to seal the game.
2012 NFC Divisional Round: 49ers win 45-31 in San Francisco
It could have been the 2005 NFL Draft playoff game when Northern California boy Aaron Rodgers returned to the Bay to face 49ers first-picked quarterback Alex Smith. But 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh named Colin Kaepernick as his starter at the start of the season when Smith suffered a concussion and left Kaepernick even when Smith was healthy, a decision that paid off in this performance. Kaepernick rushed for 181 yards—the 49ers’ then-record for most yards in a postseason game and still the NFL record for most rushing yards in a game by a quarterback—as well as two touchdowns and rushing for 263 yards and two touchdowns (both to Michael Crabtree) in shootout. Frank Gore added 119 rushing yards and a touchdown overnight for 579 yards for the 49ers offense. After the win, the 49ers hit the road and beat Atlanta to reach their first Super Bowl since 1994, but lost Super Bowl XLVII 34-31 to the Ravens in a matchup between the Harbaugh brothers.
2013 NFC wildcard: 49ers win 23-20 in Green Bay
The 49ers have truly been one of the best teams in the NFL this year, as has Seattle, the NFC West’s rival. The Seahawks finished 13–3, one game ahead of the 49ers, meaning San Francisco had to travel to Green Bay to face the NFC champion North with an 8–7–1 Packers. With a game-time temperature of 5 degrees before kick-off at Lambo, the 49ers and Packers battled it out in close combat, with Mason Crosby’s late field goal equalizing at 20 with 5:06 left. But led by Kaepernick and Frank Gore, the 49ers went on a scoring game with 14 games and 65 yards to finish the rest of the time and hit Phil Dawson with a 33-yard field goal. Kaepernick shone again, throwing for 227 yards (125 of them to Crabtree) and rushing for 98 yards in just seven carries. Phil Dawson hit all five of his shots that day (two extra points, three field goals). The 49ers followed up this game with another road win over the Panthers before losing to the Seahawks for the NFC Championship.
NFC Championship 2019: 49ers win 37-20 in Santa Clara
After years of ineptitude in the post-Harbaugh era, Kyle Shanahan’s 49ers took on the promise they showed in his first two seasons in charge and turned the tide by ending the 2019 regular season as the best team in the NFC. 13-3, including a 37-8 thrashing of the Packers at Levy Stadium. Deftly dispatching the Vikings in the divisional round, the Packers held back the Seahawks to set up another matchup between Rodgers and the team that rejected him. But that game was ultimately all about San Francisco’s rushing offense as Raheem Mostert broke Kaepernick’s 49ers record with 220 yards and four touchdowns. As a team, the 49ers finished with 42 carries for 285 yards and saw Jimmy Garoppolo throw just eight passes as they beat the Packers again and went to their seventh Super Bowl. The 49ers maintained a 20-10 lead after three quarters in Miami, but the Chiefs scored three times to stun San Francisco 31-20 in Super Bowl LIV.