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  • PAUL KITAGAKI JR. / pkitagaki@sacbee.com

    Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers (12) throws an incomplete pass under pressure from the 49ers' defense during the third quarter.

  • HECTOR AMEZCUA / hamezcua@sacbee.com

    Green Bay didn't need a reminder of how overwhelming he was, but Colin Kaepernick still opted to flex after one of his two rushing TDs.

  • JOSÉ LUIS VILLEGAS / jvillegas@sacbee.com

    Michael Crabtree (15) of the 49ers eludes two Packers on his way to a 20-yard touchdown. "It's just something that happened, you know?" Crabtree said of his connection with Colin Kaepernick.

  • PAUL KITAGAKI JR. / pkitagaki@sacbee.com

    The 49ers' Vernon Davis breaks free for a 44-yard gain in the third quarter on his only catch of the game. The reception set up Frank Gore's two-yard touchdown run.

  • HECTOR AMEZCUA / hamezcua@sacbee.com

    Green Bay's Jeremy Ross (10), formerly of Laguna Creek High School and Cal, fumbles a punt that the 49ers' C.J. Spillman, right, recovers during the second quarter.

  • HECTOR AMEZCUA / hamezcua@sacbee.com

    Colin Kaepernick races 56 yards for a third-quarter touchdown that put the 49ers ahead to stay. He ran for 181 yards and two scores and threw for two touchdowns.

49ers notes: Justin Smith jumps back into fray

Published: Sunday, Jan. 13, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 5C
Last Modified: Friday, Mar. 14, 2014 - 10:22 pm

SAN FRANCISCO – Justin Smith's left arm looked as if it belonged to a lineman. Bloody, scuffed-up knuckles. Black and blue marks on both arms.

And the throbbing? Stay tuned.

Smith made a triumphant return to the 49ers' defensive front Saturday night after missing the previous two games because of a partially torn tendon in his left triceps and a loose bone chip on the same elbow. He wore a brace, had double teams draped over him and then had an expression of relief after San Francisco took apart the Green Bay Packers 45-31 in an NFC divisional playoff game.

"It feels all right, and everything held up," Smith said. "I'll get some X-rays (today) to make sure nothing moved too much. The throbbing? That could come later."

Smith led the 49ers in first-half tackles with three and finished with five. He was a magnet to blockers, moved piles and generally looked as he normally does. He was hurt at New England on Dec. 16, his 185th consecutive start.

Smith said he wanted to play because he understands that reaching the NFC Championship Game is a difficult feat.

"It's hard to get back to that game," he said. "I've been in this league for 12 years. It's hard, and you appreciate that chance."

All-Pro record – Saturday's early score was 49ers 6, Packers 0.

That's the number of 49ers who made the Associated Press' All-Pro first team. For the 49ers, it was a record haul.

Safety Dashon Goldson, guard Mike Iupati, punter Andy Lee, outside linebacker Aldon Smith and inside linebackers Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman made the list. For Iupati, Goldson and Smith, it was the first time they've been honored as All-Pros.

Last season, kicker David Akers, Bowman, Lee, Willis and defensive lineman Justin Smith made the list. This season, Justin Smith was named to the second team, as were linebacker Ahmad Brooks and tackle Joe Staley.

For the Packers, quarterback Aaron Rodgers and linebacker Clay Matthews made the second team.

Redemption for Staley – Left tackle Joe Staley, who was caught by cameras grimacing on the 49ers' sideline, said he suffered a bone bruise on his right forearm early in the game.

That had to have caused some unwanted déjà vu for Staley. In Week 1 against Green Bay, his helmet slammed down against the bridge of his nose early in the game, breaking it and causing it to bleed profusely throughout the contest.

Staley had one of his roughest games of the season, giving up 2 1/2 sacks to Matthews.

Saturday, Staley got redemption. Matthews had a sack, but that was the only sack on Colin Kaepernick as Staley and the rest of the offensive line dominated throughout.

"Going in, I really challenged myself to have a good game," Staley said. "That first week I didn't perform up to my capabilities. I perfected my technique issues – played well."

Vernon sighting – Tight end Vernon Davis, whose quiet year has been a story line throughout the season, had only one catch, but it was big.

The 49ers were waiting for a situation in which Davis was matched up with Packers inside linebacker A.J. Hawk, and they got it at the end of the third quarter. Davis got a step on Hawk and hauled in a Kaepernick pass for 44 yards.

The catch set up Frank Gore's two-yard touchdown run that gave the 49ers a 38-24 lead at the beginning of the fourth quarter.

Fellow tight end Delanie Walker, meanwhile, dropped two passes. Like Davis, he was targeted five times but made only one catch for 17 yards.

Walker, however, recovered the Packers' onside kick at the end of the game.

Brock fills in – Nickel cornerback Chris Culliver was late coming out of the locker room after experiencing cramping at halftime.

Seldom-used Tramaine Brock, who had a pivotal role in last year's NFC Championship Game, filled in before Culliver returned on the 49ers' second defensive series.

Brock had to step in a year ago when starter Tarell Brown was injured against the New York Giants. He was in coverage on Mario Manningham on a late Giants touchdown.

Saturday, Brock made an open-field tackle against wideout Randall Cobb on third down that forced the Packers to go for a Mason Crosby field goal that tied the score 24-24 in the third quarter.

Fumbled chance – Return specialist Jeremy Ross of Laguna Creek High School and Cal was signed to the Packers' practice squad Oct. 17 after being released by New England and Indianapolis. He made the Packers' active roster Dec. 1 because of injuries, but he bobbled his golden chance Saturday.

He fumbled a punt in the second quarter that led to a 49ers touchdown that tied it 14-14.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Joe Davidson



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