There wasn't much value in being the favourite in the Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs.

Three of the four underdogs, the Cincinnati Bengals, San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Rams, prevailed to progress to Conference Championship weekend.

An incredible overtime win over the Buffalo Bills saw the Kansas City Chiefs, the sole favourite to prevail, join them in moving one game away from the Super Bowl.

Despite a victory in a game many have already labelled as the best playoff game of all time, the Chiefs' position in the Super Bowl odds by Stats Perform's rest-of-season projection has gone down, with the Rams leapfrogging them and taking their spot as the team most likely to lift the Lombardi Trophy on February 13.

So how has a week of action in which the Chiefs were victorious flipped the odds against Kansas City?

Hollywood ending in store for LA?

Rest-of-season or, in this case, postseason projection, projects every future game to give a predicted win percentage for each team across its remaining games. Rather than being a simulator of future games, the projections are calculated by looking at each team's quarterback and QB efficiency versus expected – performance in terms of yards added in expected passing situations – as well as team values for pass protection/pass rush, skill position players/coverage defenders and run blocking/run defense.

For the playoffs, the projection has been used to calculate each team's odds of winning a home game against every postseason team, with those predictions then used to forecast each franchise's chances of reaching and winning the Super Bowl.

Last week, prior to the Divisional games, the Chiefs were given a 27 per cent shot to win the Super Bowl for the second time in three seasons, just ahead of the Rams on 26.3 per cent.

Following their respective victories, the Chiefs are viewed as having a 37.84 per cent chance of taking the silverware back to Missouri. The more likely outcome, at least according to ROS, is that the trophy stays at SoFi Stadium with the Rams, whose odds of winning it for only the second time in franchise history have ballooned to 38.21.

It is not a huge margin between the two, but the change at the top is enough to raise eyebrows given how devastating the Chiefs were on offense in defeating the Bills.

But the Rams' position as the new Super Bowl favourite is more a reflection of the potential opponents, rather than a commentary on the merits of the respective teams.

Another nail-biter for the Chiefs

Kansas City already has experience of one nerve-shredding Super Bowl with an NFC West opponent, coming back from 20-10 down in the fourth quarter to beat the 49ers two years ago in Super Bowl LIV.

And ROS expects either a meeting with the Rams or a rematch with the Niners to be similarly tense.

The Chiefs would not be considered favourites in a home game with the Rams, Kansas City given just a 45.2 per cent chance to triumph.

That number improves significantly in a matchup with the 49ers, against whom the Chiefs have 58.2 per cent odds of winning a home game.

It is still not an overly decisive margin, however, and pales in comparison to the Rams' prospects of beating the alternative AFC representative, the Bengals.

Cincinnati would have just a 16.8 per cent shot of winning a road game with Los Angeles, and those odds improve to just 19.8 per cent in a home game.

In other words, while a close game likely beckons for the Chiefs regardless of who wins the NFC Championship Game, an upset win for the Bengals in Kansas City would make the Rams or the Niners (72.1 per cent home game, 67.2 per cent away game) clear favourites to win the Super Bowl on the neutral field site at SoFi Stadium.

The Bengals' status as rank outsiders even after making it this far is in part based on the struggles of an offensive line that ranked 25th in Stats Perform's pass protection win rate and allowed nine sacks in the Divisional Round win over the Tennessee Titans.

San Francisco (first), Los Angeles (second) and the Chiefs (15th) each ranked in the top half of the NFL in pass-rush win rate, meaning Cincinnati will be at a clear disadvantage in the trenches in the AFC Championship Game and in a potential Super Bowl matchup.

The 2021 NFL season has been full of surprises, but the numbers clearly point to the Rams playing in a home Super Bowl against the Chiefs. 

So, is everybody ready for Niners-Bengals?

Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford insists his teammates do not have a mental block when it comes to beating the San Francisco 49ers.

The two teams will do battle on Sunday in the NFC Championship Game, with the winners to face either the Kansas City Chiefs or Cincinnati Bengals in the Super Bowl.

Stafford, who had never previously won a playoff game in the NFL, has led the Rams to victories over the Arizona Cardinals and defending champions the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to reach this stage.

The Rams finished ahead of the Cardinals and the 49ers to win the NFC West this season and go into the game at SoFi Stadium – which will also host the Super Bowl - as narrow favourites.

But that status comes despite the Rams having struggled against their divisional rivals in recent seasons. The Niners have won the last six meetings, including both of the regular season clashes in 2021.

In Week 18, the Rams led 17-0 before the Niners stormed back to win 27-24 in overtime and book their place in the playoffs as a wildcard team.

Stafford has only played in the two most recent games in the six-game streak but was asked if his teammates had a mental block against San Francisco.

"No, we just have got to go out there and play good football," he said.

"We had our chances last time we played them to win the game, whether it was a four-minute situation for us on offense, a two-minute situation on defense and we still had a shot in overtime as well. 

"It's a really good football team. It's two really good football teams going after each other, seen each other twice this year, we’re going to see each other for a third time. 

"Not a bunch of secrets. Just who can step up to the plate and make the plays when we need to make them."

Stafford has found the build-up to the NFC Championship Game more normal than for the Rams' previous two postseason clashes.

"Obviously excited about the opportunity, but going about it kind of as a normal week - it’s the first normal week we've had in a little bit," said the former Detroit Lions QB.

"We played the first playoff game on a Monday and the second one on a short week, so this one just feels like a normal week during the season.

"Obviously a lot at stake. We know that we’re playing a really good opponent that's playing as good a football as anybody in the NFL right now. So it'll be a big challenge for us."

Rams head coach Sean McVay was this week forced to deny Niners boss Kyle Shanahan – who worked with him in Washington - was in his head.

"No," insisted McVay. "What I do have is respect for these guys. They've done a great job. 

"You look at it, you got to play well in that three-and-a-half-hour window that we're allotted. You look at the last time that we played them, we didn't finish the game. 

"This is a really good football team. We have a lot of respect for them. We're competing and preparing to the best of our ability to go out and see if we can advance. 

"But this is a really good team. Kyle is an excellent coach. They have great players, great coaches, good schemes. It's why they're in the NFC Championship."

Shanahan, meanwhile, felt McVay should not have been asked the question.

Asked if he enjoyed the narrative, the Niners coach replied: "Not really. I think that's kind of silly. A question like that is giving Sean and myself way too much credit.

"We're coaches. Watch what's going on out on that field and some of the players out there and the people that are competing.

"To think that it's about Sean and I... I know that he doesn't feel that way and he knows that I don't feel that way.

"The entertainment of this business is cool and stuff, because it brings a lot of fans and makes a lot of money for everybody, but I think that's pretty ridiculous. I don't give coaches that much credit."

Getting wide receiver Cooper Kupp involved is likely to be key for the Rams after he became the first player to win the NFL receiving triple crown since 2005 this season. 

He followed that achievement by putting up 183 receiving yards against Tampa Bay, which was second-most in a playoff game in Rams history behind Tom Fears in the 1950 Divisional Round (198). 

Per Stats Perform data, the Rams have never lost a game, regular or postseason, when Kupp has at least 125 receiving yards (9-0).

Kyle Shanahan insists under-fire San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo deserves more recognition for helping his team to the NFC Championship Game.

The Niners will travel to face NFC West rivals the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday as they bid to reach a second Super Bowl in three years.

They need two straight wins at SoFi Stadium – which will also host the Super Bowl on February 13 – to make history.

The play of Garoppolo has come under scrutiny in the playoffs despite San Francisco's advance.

In their two wins over the Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers, he had zero touchdowns and two interceptions, with passing yard totals of 172 and 131 respectively.

His future has been in doubt ever since the Niners traded up at huge cost to select QB Trey Lance at number three overall in the 2021 draft.

But head coach Shanahan believes the public support shown by Garoppolo's teammates such as George Kittle, Deebo Samuel, Fred Warner and Nick Bosa speaks volumes for his contribution.

"It shows what our guys think of him," Shanahan said. "And it also shows our guys probably are on social media [seeing the criticism].

"They probably feel a need to stick up for him. I know his social media probably hasn't been that great, so I'm glad they're sticking up for him because what they say is the truth."

Garoppolo also led the Niners to the Super Bowl in the 2019 season, resulting in an agonising loss to Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs.

He could only play in six games last season as the whole Niners roster was decimated with injuries but led the team in 15 regular season contests in 2021.

"Jimmy is one of the main reasons we're here," insisted Shanahan.

"He's done an unbelievable job. People don't give him enough credit. We win as a team, and that's why he doesn't always have the same stats that some of these MVP candidates have.

"But Jimmy's a very good quarterback - he doesn't worry about any of that stuff. He doesn't worry about social media. That's why he's a little similar to me.

"He never really changes, and I think that's what people respect the most about him.

"He's gone through some ups and downs while he's been here, like most quarterbacks do, but he's the same guy. And that's why people, first and foremost, respect him as a human, as a person.

"And then the way that he goes and battles on the field, everyone knows how tough he is, everyone knows how hard he'll compete running with the ball and our guys also know he can throw pretty well too."

Garoppolo, who arrived in a trade from the New England Patriots in 2017, has a similar view about outside critics.

Asked if he had a strategy to cope, he said: "Well, friends, family, they always seem to remind me of those things, but I don’t know.

"Just knowing yourself and knowing who you are plays a big part of that, because if you get lost in it and start believing some of those things, it could take you down the wrong road.

"So I don’t know, I think it’s just about knowing yourself as a player, as a person, and as long as these guys in this locker room have faith in me and belief in me, that is all I really care about."

The Niners have won six straight games over the Rams in their regular-season series, with a dramatic comeback 27-24 overtime victory over LA in Week 18 getting them into the playoffs as a wildcard team.

But it is NFC West champions the Rams who go into the contest as narrow favourites having knocked off defending Super Bowl champions the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Divisional Round.

The 49ers, meanwhile, won 13-10 in Green Bay despite failing to score an offensive touchdown.

They were just the ninth team ever to win a playoff game in that way - NFL teams were previously 8-103 in playoff games without a scrimmage touchdown.

Avoiding turnovers is going to be critical. The Rams are 8-0 this year when Matthew Stafford does not throw an interception, while the 49ers are 7-0 when Garoppolo does not throw a pick.

The San Francisco 49ers have been handed a twin boost ahead of Sunday's NFC Championship Game against the Los Angeles Rams with Deebo Samuel and Jimmy Garoppolo taken off their injury report.

Samuel took a helmet to his knee late in the 49ers' win over the Green Bay Packers but was a full participant at practice on Wednesday.

Quarterback Garoppolo has been battling shoulder and thumb complaints, but he also did not appear on the injury report.

"I'm sure it's pretty good," 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters on Wednesday.

"I hear about the thumb more than the shoulder, so that's off the injury report now, so I guess we're good."

Left tackle Trent Williams is in some doubt for the Rams game due to a right ankle issue sustained against the Packers.

"In Trent's mind, there's no way he is not playing," Shanahan said. "That's why he was so crushed last game because he believed he would and his body wouldn't let him.

"Hopefully we'll have some better luck this game. But I know he believes he's playing and so do I, so we'll see how that pans out as the week goes. If he can, he will."

Kyle Shanahan had an inkling that the San Francisco 49ers' special teams would prove pivotal in their shock divisional round win over the Green Bay Packers.

The 49ers gained seven points on special teams and saved three on a night where Robbie Gould's walk-off field goal earned a 13-10 triumph to send San Francisco to the NFC Championship Game.

Green Bay had led for most of the game after AJ Dillon's first-quarter touchdown but the 49ers drew level late when Jordan Willis blocked Corey Bojorquez's punt allowing Talanoa Hufanga to collect the loose ball and run into the end-zone.

The 49ers regained possession with 3:25 to play, with the excellent Deebo Samuel helping drive them into field-goal range before 39-year-old Gould nailed his 45-yard attempt on the final whistle.

"We thought our special teams had an advantage in this game," head coach Shanahan said. 

"We thought they had an opportunity to possibly win us the game. And to be able to say that and to actually come to fruition was huge for those guys and huge for our team."

Gould, who has now succeeded with each of his 20 career playoff field-goal attempts, ensured his boot stayed hot in snowy conditions at Lambeau Field and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo paid tribute to his team-mate, with a little pun thrown in for good measure.

"I always trust Robbie. He's as good as gold, man. He always is," he said.

Garoppolo added: "It's dangerous, man. When a team gets hot, it's dangerous.

"So we've just got to keep this thing going, focus on next week now, and keep this thing rolling.

"It took everything. We knew it was going to. I mean, it was just offense, defense, special teams - everybody stepping up and doing their part. I wouldn't have it any other way."

The stars certainly seemed to align for the 49ers, who lost to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV, with Jimmie Ward having earlier blocked a 39-yard field goal attempt from Mason Crosby on the final play of the first half. Had he made the kick the Packers would have led 10-0.

Victory means the 49ers are headed to their 17th conference championship appearance, the most for any team since the conferences were forged following the 1970 merger.

With the Cincinnati Bengals having beaten the Tennessee Titans earlier in the day, it also meant it was the first time since 2010 both number one seeds lost in the divisional round in the same season.

George Kittle said the 49ers proved they are a "gritty" team to make it this far.

"This team has been through a lot," the tight end said. "We've been through a lot of adversity. 

"We've dealt with a lot. We've lost games by making mistakes. We've won games dirty. This is a gritty team. It's a salty team, and we just keep bouncing back."

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has offered a hint on his future after admitting he does not want to be part of a rebuild.

The top-seeded Packers were eliminated from the NFL playoffs on Saturday after a 13-10 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, with Rodgers failing to throw a touchdown pass.

The 38-year-old MVP contender nearly departed Green Bay last off-season and was pressed on his future following Saturday's elimination.

Rodgers has been with the Packers for 14 seasons for one Super Bowl and is under contract for next season.

"I don’t want to be a part of a rebuild if I’m going to keep playing so a lot of decisions in the next couple of months,” Rodgers said during the post-game press conference.

"I‘m gonna take some time and have conversations with the folks around here, and then take some time away and make a decision - obviously before free agency.

"It’s fresh right now. It’s a little shocking for sure… I haven’t even let the moment sink in yet."

He added: "There's a lot of players whose futures are up in the air, so definitely will be interesting to see which way some of those decisions will go.

"But I'll have the conversations with [Packers general manager] Brian [Gutekunst] in the next week or so and get a little bit more clarity and think about my own future and how much longer I want to keep doing this.

“I think this thing is definitely going to look different in Green Bay moving forward."

Rodgers conceded he would need to mull the "tough decision" but said he was still competitive and determined to play at the highest level.

Packers head coach Aaron LeFleur put his pitch forward, insisting he wants Rodgers to stay. The veteran QB had an outstanding season, with a 68.9 percent completion rate, throwing 4115 yards for 37 touchdowns with only four interceptions.

"Certainly, we want him back here," LaFleur told reporters about Rodgers. "We‘d be crazy to not want him back here.

“He’s going to be the two-time MVP. This guy does so much for our football team. Not only what you guys see on Sundays or every game day, but what he does in that locker room and how he leads.

“I know what he puts into this thing and I’m certainly extremely disappointed that we couldn’t get over the hump for not only him, but for everybody in that locker room.”

The Green Bay Packers had a special teams' nightmare before Robbie Gould's final-whistle field goal clinched the San Francisco 49ers a spot in the NFC Championship Game with a 13-10 win in snowy conditions at Lambeau Field on Saturday.

The Packers had led for most of the game after AJ Dillon's first-quarter touchdown but the 49ers drew level late when Jordan Willis blocked Corey Bojorquez's punt allowing Talanoa Hufanga to collect the loose ball and run into the end-zone.

The 49ers regained possession with 3:25 to play, with Deebo Samuel helping drive them into field-goal range before 39-year-old Gould nailed his 45-yard attempt on the final whistle.

Samuel had 10 carries for 39 yards along with three catches for 44 yards and two kick returns for 59 yards, while 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo completed 11 of 19 passes for 131 yards with one interception.

San Francisco will face either the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Championship Game, while it is season over for Aaron Rodgers' Packers.

Rodgers completed 20 of 29 passes for 225 yards but with no touchdowns, with running back Dillon scored their TD after a 10-play drive.

The Packers might have led 10-0 at the main break after Adrian Amos' pick, with Rodgers finding Aaron Jones for 75 yards although his run was curtailed. In the same drive, Green Bay kicker Mason Crosby had his 39-yard attempt blocked by Jimmie Ward on the half-time whistle.

The 49ers got on the board with Gould's third-quarter field goal, before the late drama with the veteran sealing their passage into the NFC Championship Game.

Jimmy Garoppolo appears set to be available for Saturday's NFC divisional round clash with the Green Bay Packers despite an injury scare, according to San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan.

The 49ers quarterback was not listed on the franchise's injury report on Thursday and is expected to play through a sprained right shoulder and thumb.

San Francisco had more good news with linebacker Fred Warner also not on the injury report after a sprained right ankle while defensive end Nick Bosa is close to clearing concussion protocols to mark his return.

"He threw the ball great. He's looked as good as he did the week before," Shanahan said about Garoppolo.

"Jimmy's been playing through some things. But that's why he's full go because he's good enough to go and we don't treat it any differently."

Garoppolo had been added to the 49ers injury report on Monday with Shanahan revealing he had a "slightly" sprained throwing shoulder from the 23-17 win over the Dallas Cowboys.

The QB offered no guarantees on Tuesday and was limited in practice that day but was listed as a full participant on Wednesday and Thursday.

"It's playoff football," Garoppolo said earlier in the week. "We know what time it is and there ain't no time to rest right now."

The San Francisco 49ers prevailed in the Wild Card round as they renewed a storied rivalry with the Dallas Cowboys. Now, they will be underdogs again as they lock horns with a postseason foe more familiar to them in recent years.

While the Niners' 23-17 upset win over the Cowboys was the first postseason meeting between the two teams since the 1994 campaign, playoff clashes between San Francisco and the Green Bay Packers have been more habitual of late.

Green Bay and the 49ers have faced off in the postseason in every decade since their first playoff meeting in the 1995 campaign, last doing so on January 19, 2020 when San Francisco won a 37-20 rout in the NFC Championship Game.

That scoreline carried on a trend in this matchup. The 49ers and Packers have split their eight all-time meetings in the postseason, but the Niners have won each of the last three. In those three games, they have outscored Green Bay by an average of 11.3 points (35.0-23.7). 

Saturday's game at Lambeau Field is expected to be much closer, with most backing the top-seeded Packers to turn the tide.

Green Bay won the Week 3 matchup at Levi's Stadium, though the Packers needed a last-gasp field goal from Mason Crosby, following some vintage Aaron Rodgers heroics, to avoid defeat.

Rodgers is the favourite to retain the NFL's MVP award and enters this game in blistering form. 

He has thrown for multiple touchdowns and no interceptions in each of his last seven games, the second-longest such streak in NFL history (Tom Brady, nine straight in 2010).

The three-time MVP threw 37 touchdowns and just four picks this season, the most passing touchdowns with four interceptions or fewer in a single season all-time. 

Yet Rodgers is going against a Niners defense playing its best football of the season. San Francisco held the Cowboys' number one-ranked offense (407 yards per game) to 307 total yards, with Dak Prescott completing only 53.5 per cent of his passes as he was pressured more than any other quarterback in the Wild Card round, coming under duress 25 times.

San Francisco's deep defensive front would appear to have the edge this weekend, too. The 49ers' finished the regular season ranked first in Stats Perform's pass rush win rate metric - boasting a win rate of 32.6 per cent - while the Packers were 23rd with a pass protection win rate of 72.6 per cent.

The Packers will hope the potential return of left tackle David Bakhtiari can redress the balance but if it does not then the contest could tilt in the favour of San Francisco. When under pressure this season, Rodgers completed 49.6 per cent of his passes. Among quarterbacks with at least 100 attempts under duress, the only two to fare worse were rookies Zach Wilson (41.7 per cent) and Trevor Lawrence (45.7 per cent).

If the Niners pressure Rodgers and get the Packers behind the chains and playing catchup on the scoreboard, then they will look to control the clock by keeping the ball on the ground with All-Pro wide receiver Deebo Samuel and rookie running back Elijah Mitchell.

Samuel scored the first rushing touchdown by a 49ers receiver in postseason history to put San Francisco 23-7 ahead against the Cowboys, while his 72 yards on the ground were the most in the playoffs by any wideout in the Super Bowl era.

Mitchell rushed for 96 yards last weekend, a 49ers rookie playoff record. The Niners are 7-1 when Mitchell rushes for at least 75 yards this season and 1-3 when he plays and does not.

A long night may be in store for the 49ers and their secondary should Rodgers stay on schedule, and that could mean history for his favourite target, Davante Adams.

Adams has had exactly nine receptions in each of his last three playoff games. That is tied for the longest streak of postseason games with nine-plus catches in NFL history (Julian Edelman, 2015-2016).

With at least nine catches in four of his five games against San Francisco (regular and postseason), he is a strong bet to break that record. Adams failing to do so would be a major indicator of Green Bay suffering another nightmare against a team that has continually haunted them in the playoffs.

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott has taken to social media to apologise for comments he made about the officials following their last-gasp 23-17 playoffs defeat to the San Francisco 49ers.

Prescott felt he had spiked the ball in time to get one more shot at a game-winning touchdown in a bizarre ending to their Wild Card round loss.

The officials ruled that Prescott had not spiked the ball in time, as NFL rules state the ball must be spotted by an official which umpire Ramon George attempted to do, colliding with Prescott and Tyler Biadasz causing a delay that prevented the QB from getting a Hail Mary away.

Prescott was asked after the game about fans throwing objects at the officials, to which he replied: "Credit to them, credit to them."

However, the Cowboys quarterback apologized for those comments on Tuesday via a Twitter post.

"I deeply regret the comments I made regarding the officials after the game on Sunday. I was caught up in the emotion of a disappointing loss and my words were uncalled for and unfair," Prescott said.

"I hold the NFL Officials in the highest regard and have always respected their professionalism and the difficulty of their jobs. The safety of everyone who attends a game or participates on the field of a sporting event is a very serious matter.

"That was a mistake on my behalf, and I am sorry."

In his pool report after the game, referee Alex Kemp insisted umpire George had done everything correctly in spotting the ball.

The referees association posted on Tuesday via their official Twitter account: "The NBRA condemns the comments by Dak Prescott condoning violence against game officials.

"As an NFL leader, he should know better. We encourage the NFL to take action to discourage this deplorable behavior in the future."

Confusion reigned at the end of the San Francisco 49ers' dramatic Wild Card victory over the Dallas Cowboys, but Kyle Shanahan only had a brief doubt his team would have to face a Hail Mary in a bizarre finish.

The Niners controlled the game and held a Dallas offense that had averaged over 400 yards per game in the regular season to just 307 in their 23-17 success.

Yet San Francisco gave the Cowboys a chance to complete a remarkable comeback with 32 seconds left after their failure to execute a quarterback sneak on fourth and inches turned possession back to Dallas.

The Cowboys promptly drove to San Francisco's 41-yard line in just three plays, before a bemusing play call from Dallas to run the ball with quarterback Dak Prescott despite having no timeouts sealed the game for the Niners.

Prescott and the Dallas offense frantically tried to get set up to spike the ball to stop the clock and prevent time from expiring. However, Prescott handed the ball to center Tyler Biadasz to spot the ball.

NFL rules state the ball must be spotted by an official and umpire Ramon George ran in to do just that, colliding with Prescott and Biadasz in the process and leading to a delay that prevented Prescott from spiking it before the clock hit triple zeros, meaning the 49ers never had to face a Hail Mary from the 24-yard line that could have settled a thrilling contest in the Cowboys' favour.

Shanahan and the Niners strode onto the field in celebration after time ran out, with the Niners head coach admitting to brief concern time would be put back on the clock.

"I thought it was over because I saw it live," Shanahan said. "I was very confident it was done. I was just nervous.

"Sometimes when you're real confident you think you see it right. Sometimes it changes. So you're never fully sure until they let you know."

Explaining the false start from tackle Trent Williams that kept the game alive and negated a successful quarterback sneak from Jimmy Garoppolo, Shanahan added: "We just shifted to an unbalanced [line].

"It was on the silent count and it was quarterback sneak all the way, but Jimmy got really excited because of the look. Didn't let Trent get set. He's got to let him get set.

"It ended up not being a problem, though it would have been a struggle to answer that one if it was."

The Niners will next face the top-seeded Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on Saturday in a rematch of a Week 3 encounter in which the Packers prevailed on a last-second field goal after some late Aaron Rodgers heroics.

"I'm sure I'll be thinking a lot about it here on the plane," Shanahan said. "But they've had a hell of a year. I'm glad we get an opportunity to go up against them again.

"They've been unbelievable. So, we'll rest up here. We'll enjoy this plane ride, and we'll get back to work right when we land."

Dak Prescott felt he had spiked the ball in time to get one more shot at a game-winning touchdown in a bizarre ending to their Wild Card round defeat to the San Francisco 49ers.

Prescott and a Cowboys offense that led the NFL in yards per game was frustrated by an excellent performance from San Francisco's defense as Dallas suffered a 23-17 upset loss.

In a rollercoaster finish, the 49ers appeared to have clinched the game with a fourth-down quarterback sneak from Jimmy Garoppolo, however, a false start penalty negated that play and allowed the Cowboys to gain possession with 32 seconds left. 

They efficiently moved down to San Francisco's 41-yard line in three plays but the Cowboys then inexplicably called a quarterback run play with Prescott despite having no timeouts.

That set up a mad dash to spike the ball and prevent time from expiring, however, Prescott handed the ball to center Tyler Biadasz to spot the ball. NFL rules state the ball must be spotted by an official and umpire Ramon George ran in to do just that, colliding with Prescott and Biadasz in the process and leading to a delay that prevented Prescott from spiking it before the clock hit triple zeros, meaning a potential game-winning Hail Mary never came to fruition.

"I thought I did [spike the ball in time],” Prescott said. "I didn't hear what the ref said, what their announcement was. I just saw them running off the field and the Niners running on the field and celebrating, so understood what had happened.

"We were going to get some yards and get down and clock it. It's something we've practiced over and over again. Ran. Went and got some yards. Went down. As I was getting behind Tyler, saw four seconds left. I thought there was obviously time to make sure everybody was set, and then honestly, just got hit from behind. Still, when I got up [under center], I saw two seconds. I thought I could get the snap and get it down before time expired. I'm not sure what happened other than that."

In his pool report after the game, referee Alex Kemp insisted umpire George had done everything correctly in spotting the ball.

Prescott added: "We've practiced it. You hand it to the center. The umpire, all he has to do is usually come in and tap the ball. Yeah, I mean, don't necessarily know exactly why the hit happened, I guess. I knew he was going to come in and touch the ball. You can say, yeah, he needs to be closer to the ball or whatever. In hindsight, just tough. Yeah, tough to accept.”

"I'd like to get a play off, knowing everything that happened, thinking that I spiked the ball in time,” Prescott said. "I mean with the official getting in the way of the play as well. Tough. Tough. Just tough."

The San Francisco 49ers survived a fourth-quarter comeback from the Dallas Cowboys to claim a dramatic 23-17 upset win in the Wild Card round.

Despite losing Nick Bosa to a concussion and linebacker Fred Warner to an ankle injury, the 49ers' defense held a Cowboys offense that led the NFL in yards per game with 407 to just 17 points, and it was the resistance of that group that ultimately proved decisive.

Yet such a summation does a disservice to a wild finish in which the Niners looked to have won the game several times, only to give the Cowboys hope as this historic rivalry delivered another classic in the first playoff meeting between the two teams since the 1994 season.

Dallas got the ball back with 32 seconds left and needing a touchdown to win and moved to San Francisco's 41-yard line in three plays, but an inexplicable decision to run the ball with quarterback Dak Prescott saw time expire on the game and the Cowboys' season as the 49ers progressed to a Divisional Round meeting with the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.

The 49ers set their stall out with a dominant seven-play, 75-yard drive to start the game that ended with a four-yard touchdown scamper by rookie running back Elijah Mitchell.

San Francisco tacked on two field goals to make it 13-0 before Prescott hit back with a superb 20-yard touchdown pass to Amari Cooper.

Another three-pointer gave San Francisco a 16-7 half-time lead and their defense continued to hold Prescott in check after the break even with star edge rusher Bosa ruled out. 

Prescott was sacked five times and when he was intercepted by K'Waun Williams and versatile wide receiver Deebo Samuel pounced on that turnover with a 26-yard rushing touchdown a blowout appeared on the cards.

Dallas, though, pulled back within 13 points with a Greg Zuerlein field goal and an overthrown interception by Jimmy Garoppolo teed up Prescott to fray the nerves with a five-yard rushing score.

San Francisco's job looked to be done when a deep fourth-down throw from Prescott fell incomplete and the Niners should have been celebrating victory when Garoppolo executed a quarterback sneak on fourth and inches, only for that play to be called back for a false start.

However, the Cowboys could not capitalise on that reprieve despite their initial progress down the field, Prescott and center Tyler Biadasz forgetting that an official needed to spot the ball after his run in the final seconds, with a collision between a referee and Biadasz before he spotted the ball meaning the clock hit triple zeros before the quarterback could spike it to set up a Hail Mary attempt.

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