San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) scores a touchdown against the Carolina Panthers in the third quarter of their NFC divisional
San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) scores a touchdown against the Carolina Panthers in the third quarter of their NFC divisional playoff NFL game at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C. on Sunday, Jan. 12, 2014. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group) ( Nhat V. Meyer )

MAKING THE GRADE

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Here is how the 49ers graded in their 23-10 divisional playoff win over the host Carolina Panthers:

Pass offense

Anquan Boldin dominated, with his eight catches for 136 yards and also with a fiery demeanor that defined this team's growing confidence. Colin Kaepernick got the comeback going with a 20-yard completion to Michael Crabtree. Kaepernick had no passes intercepted for the 11th game this season, though he again had a potential pick-six dropped by a defensive back. The offensive line started off shaky but collectively recovered (see: no sacks for Greg Hardy vs. Joe Staley). Vernon Davis has one catch for one yard, for one game-changing touchdown. Grade: A-

Run offense

Frank Gore cut behind Alex Boone's power block (and Anthony Dixon's, too), dashed 39 yards and put this win on ice in the fourth quarter. On Kaepernick's 4-yard touchdown run, he faked a handoff to Gore and showed amazing burst to the goal line. Will Tukuafu's first-series exit because of a sprained knee threw the rushing attack off kilter. The 49ers better be ready to again compensate for his (and Bruce Miller's) loss when they get to Seattle. Grade: A-

Pass defense

Cam Newton wilted against a consistent pass rush that produced five sacks, including 2 1/2 from Ahmad Brooks, who had two sacks last game in Green Bay. Aldon Smith, Justin Smith and Ray McDonald also had their moments. Patrick Willis looked as if he might have a long day against Greg Olsen, but then Willis intercepted a tipped pass. Donte Whitner also picked off Newton, ruining the Panthers' comeback bid. Tarell Brown and Perrish Cox gave up long passes. It will be interesting to see if the secondary will get Carlos Rogers back from a two-game hiatus. Grade: A-

Run defense

Two goal-line stands before halftime? Sure, and kudos to Brooks (and Glenn Dorsey) for a fourth-down stop at the 1. NaVorro Bowman came up big on the second goal-line stand. The Panthers' starting running back, DeAngelo Williams, had only five carries for 13 yards. Newton was their leading rusher with 54 yards. The Seahawks' Marshawn Lynch will pose a much tougher challenge next Sunday. Grade: A

Special teams

Phil Dawson was perfect again, making all three field-goal attempts (none as time expired for the first time in three weeks). Former 49er Ted Ginn Jr. got loose on a couple of returns. LaMichael James, he's on a roll, and that's good news when a Super Bowl berth is on the line (see: 2011 season). Grade: A-

Coaching

Jim Harbaugh apologized for going overboard while trying stopping the clock on Davis' eventual touchdown catch. It made for quite a visual but ultimately was irrelevant. Three conference finals in a coach's first three years: that's a first. Nobody has a problem with Greg Roman and Jim Tomsula interviewing on the eve of a playoff game now, huh? The 49ers have committed only four turnovers in their eight-game winning streak, so that vital message has gotten across well. Grade: A-

-- CAM INMAN