SAN FRANCISCO — In a night where several of the 49ers' postseason records are falling, they surged ahead 38-24 in their playoff opener when Frank Gore scored on a 2-yard touchdown run to open the fourth quarter.
Setting up that touchdown — the 49ers' fifth of the night — was a 44-yard catch by Vernon Davis, his first reception of the night and only his seventh in seven games.
Gore's run also set a franchise record for most rushing yards in a playoff game (258 yards to that point). The previous mark was 211 yards against the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl XIX.
Kaepernick earlier set a NFL record for most rushing yards by a quarterback in a playoff game, as his 56-yard touchdown run gave him 163 yards on 12 carries. Michael Vick held the previous mark with a 119-yard effort in 2005 with the Atlanta Falcons.
That touchdown run by Kaepernick snapped a 24-24 tie with 7:07 remaining in the third quarter. It also eclipsed Roger Craig's previous franchise record of 135 rushing yards in a Jan. 1, 1989 game against Minnesota.
Kaepernick, who had a pair of 50-yard runs in the regular season, had a first-quarter touchdown run and accounted for two earlier touchdown passes to Michael Crabtree.
Kaepernick accounted for one other touchdown: a 52-yard interception return by the Packers' Sam Shields on the game's opening series.
The 49ers' 24-21 halftime lead was erased midway through the third quarter, when the Green Bay Packers' Mason Crosby connected on a game-tying 31-yard field goal.
It was Crosby's first attempt of the night, and it capped a nine-play, 74-yard drive that was keyed by Aaron Rodgers' 30-yard completion to Greg Jennings.
David Akers gave the 49ers a 24-21 lead as the first half expired by making his initial field-goal attempt, a 36-yarder that immediately drew congratulatory headbutts and hugs from his linemen.
Kaepernick's 11th carry of the night went for 9 yards to the Packers' 18-yard line, setting the stage for the embattled Akers, who retained his job after fending off Billy Cundiff in practice over the past two weeks.
The Packers had pulled into a 21-21 tie on Rodgers' first touchdown pass of the night, a 20-yard strike to James Jones.
Kaepernick touchdown passes to Crabtree came earlier in the second quarter to push the 49ers ahead 21-14. Crabtree's second score, a 20-yard reception, came with 5:26 left in the first half. Both Kaepernick-to-Crabtretouchdown drives followed turnovers by the Packers, the later one set up Tarell Brown's interception 9:19 before halftime.
In surging to a 21-14 lead, Crabtree snatched a 20-yard pass from Kaepernick, who kept the drive alive with a 15-yard run on third-and-9. Kaepernick drew a taunting penalty at the end of that run, however, after spiking the ball near Packers safety M.D. Jennings.
Rodgers hadn't thrown an interception since Nov. 2, and it dropped his passer rating to 17.9 (2 of 7, 51 yards). Brown also had an interception in last season's playoff-opening win over the New Orleans Saints.
Crabtree made a 12-yard touchdown to tie the score at 14, and it came three snaps after C.J. Spillman recovered a muffed punt by Jeremy Ross at the Green Bay Packers' 9-yard line.
Ross' fumble spurred memories of the 49ers' last playoff game at Candlestick Park, when two gaffes by Kyle Williams on punt returns led to an overtime loss against the New York Giants in the NFC Championship Game.
Packers had taken a 14-7 lead when DuJuan Harris scored on an 18-yard touchdown run in the final minute of the first quarter. Harris' touchdown run — up the middle past Justin Smith and Donte Whitner — was set up by James Jones' 44-yard, third-down reception on the previous play.
Some 8 ½ minutes earlier, the 49ers tied the score at 7 on quarterback Kaepernick's 20-yard touchdown run, also on a third-down play.
Kaepernick's sixth rushing touchdown this season came with 9:01 remaining in the first quarter following a 49ers timout.
The 49ers fell into a 7-0 hole only 2 minutes, 12 seconds into the game when Packers cornerback Sam Shields returned an interception 52 yards for a touchdown.
That interception came on the game's fourth snap and on Kaepenrick's second pass attempt. Kaepernick threw across his body toward Vernon Davis when Shields instead caught the pass in stride and returned it down the right sideline for a touchdown.
On the 49ers' ensuing series, Kaepernick threw back-to-back incompletions before finding Frank Gore for a 45-yard catch-and-run to the Packers' 22. Three snaps later, Kaepernick found the end zone, and embattled kicker David Akers made the game-tying point-after kick.
Coming off a bye week as the NFC's No. 2 seed, the 49ers (11-4-1) are attempting to advance to their second consecutive NFC Championship Game. They won last season's playoff opener with a 36-32 home win over the New Orleans Saints in a divisional-round thriller.
The third-seeded Packers advanced to Candlestick via last Saturday's 24-10 wild-card win over the Minnesota Vikings. The Packers are looking to avenge losses to the 49ers in the Sept. 9 season opener, as well as in their last playoff visit to Candlestick (a 30-27, wild-card loss on Jan. 3, 1999).