49ers Knock Off Panthers 23-10 to Advance to NFC Title Game


Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) —  Colin Kaepernick threw for 196 yards and one touchdown to lead the San Francisco 49ers to a 23-10 victory over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.  With the win the 49ers advance to their third straight NFC Championship Game.

Playing in his first postseason game, Panthers quarterback Cam Newton completed 16 passes for 267 yards.  He threw a beautiful touchdown pass to Steve Smith in the second quarter, but he was also intercepted twice by San Francisco’s secondary.

“Terrible ending to a great season,” Newton said.

San Francisco took a slim 13-10 lead into halftime against a Panthers team that normally plays well at home.  Kaepernick ran for a four-yard touchdown run midway through the third quarter to help provide some separation.  The Panthers (12-5) failed to score in the second half.

Frank Gore ran for 84 yards on 17 carries for the 49ers, (14-4) who will take on the Seattle Seahawks next Sunday with a return trip to the Super Bowl on the line.

“I think we’re the two teams that everybody was looking at from the beginning,” Kaepernick said. “It’s going to be a knockdown, drag-out game.”

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