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Outplayed for 50+ minutes on Saturday night, the San Francisco 49ers could see their dream of getting back to the Super Bowl – and first the NFC Championship – slipping away.

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But a gutsy, game-winning drive from Brock Purdy and friends put them on top, 24-21, and San Francisco beat the Green Bay Packers to advance to their third-straight NFC Championship game.

“It’s a testament to our team because the defense got a stop at the end, the field goal kicker missed and it’s like we have what we wanted right in front of us,” said Purdy. “You have to clean the slate. You have to have a clean mind and not try to force anything, take what the defense gives you and find a way. We had time on the clock, so it’s not like you have to be a superhero…It’s do what we call the quarterback pack tells you and go through the progressions and find a way.”

And find a way they did. Purdy, who struggled to find a rhythm most of the game, took the 49ers on a 12-play, 69-yard drive that began with 6:18 left in the fourth quarter and ended with 1:07 left, as running back Christian McCaffrey capped it with a 6-yard touchdown run.

“Christian’s unbelievable,” said 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan. “He told me coming out that that play he was going to score. It was called 18 MIKE. It was part of our openers. We didn’t get to it until the second drive. He goes, that MIKE’s going to score. Now we didn’t get the exact look we wanted. So we were a little surprised on it. But Christian was right, he is a man of his word.”

Heading into the drive, Purdy was 17-of-32 for 205 yards and a touchdown. He proceeded to go 6-of-7 for 47 yards and added a 9-yard run.

“We told each other, ‘There are six minutes left. This can be, if we don’t approach it the right way, this can be the last drive of the season,’” said left tackle Trent Williams. “So, everybody had to put their big boy pants on and march the ball down the field and we did.”

Linebacker Dre Greenlaw sealed the victory with his second interception of the game with 0:34 left, and the NFC’s No. 1 seed lives to see another week.

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The 49ers will play the winner of Sunday’s matchup between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Detroit Lions, and there is a lot to clean up.

The defense gave up 330 total yards, including 136 yards on the ground, an area that has been an issue of late.

“It was unacceptable, the way that we were playing them to start the drives,” said linebacker Fred Warner. “We kept giving up explosive plays and I have to look at it to see exactly what was going on. Like you mentioned, standing up in those red zone opportunities was crucial because imagine if we were giving up touchdowns instead of field goals…That’s something we have to clean up.”

The 49ers also had six penalties for 83 yards, including two pass interference penalties from Ambry Thomas. Both came on third down, with the second coming on 3rd-and-15 with Packers on their own 40-yard line. Thomas was called for a 41-yard penalty and the Packers scored a touchdown on the next play. San Francisco has a CB3 problem and it’s a problem they’re going to need to find a solution for.

On special teams, the 49ers gave up a 73-yard kickoff return to Keisean Nixon, which he fumbled, but the Packers recovered. Jake Moody had a field goal blocked, but he made a 52-yarder to begin the 4th quarter and give the 49ers momentum and life.

Much to clean up, but to the NFC Championship they go.

“Everything is not going to go perfectly in a game,” said defensive lineman Nick Bosa. “There’s going to be mistakes, there’s going to be big plays. But you just have to keep fighting and that’s the type of team that we have. We’re always going to fight until the end. And we were able to get it done today.”

The 49ers lost wide receiver Deebo Samuel to a shoulder injury early in the game. Shanahan did not immediately know the severity, but this is something to keep an eye on, because losing Samuel would be a huge blow to San Francisco.