(AP) Sam Shields intercepted a pass from Colin Kaepernick and returned it for a touchdown, DuJuan Harris ran 18 yards for another score, and the Green Bay Packers held a 14-7 lead over the San Francisco 49ers after the first quarter of their NFC divisional playoff game Saturday night.
In his 49ers playoff debut, Kaepernick crumbled on San Francisco's first possession. He threw into double coverage and across his body as Shields stepped in front of tight end Vernon Davis and ran 52 yards to put the Packers ahead.
The strong-armed and fleet-footed quarterback made up for his mistake in a hurry. He capped the 49ers' next drive with a 20-yard scamper up the middle for a touchdown before Aaron Rodgers put the Packers back in front.
The amped-up crowd at Candlestick Park endured a flurry of emotions at the start.
With San Francisco looking to return to the NFC title game for the second straight season, Kaepernick's costly error quieted the 49ers faithful. Shields caught Kaepernick's pass for an interception, shook the quarterback to the ground, and scampered down the sideline to give the Packers a quick 7-0 lead.
Kaepernick unclipped his jaw strap and dropped his head to the sideline while Shields waved his hands at the crowd. Rodgers pumped his first on the Packers sideline.
Kaepernick converted two third downs to bring the 49ers back on their next drive. The second-year pro out of Nevada bought time and scurried out of the pocket to find running back Frank Gore for a 45-yard gain. He scrambled 20 yards up the middle on third-and-8 for the tying score with 9:01 remaining in the first.
When Rodgers and the Packers offense finally took the field, they didn't do much. San Francisco stopped the former Berkeley star, who had a contingent of friends and family make the 4-hour trek from his hometown of Chico, on a three-and-out and whipped the crowd back into a frenzy on a crisp night along the bay.
Rodgers didn't waste his next opportunity. He floated a 44-yard pass that James Jones leaped to snatch over two defenders along the sideline. Harris broke through the middle to put the Packers up 14-7 on the next play.
The stakes were high for both quarterbacks in this one.
Rodgers dropped to No. 24 in the 2005 draft after San Francisco selected Alex Smith No. 1 overall. After leading the Packers to a Super Bowl title two years ago, Rodgers was playing in a non-preseason game at Candlestick Park for the first time in his career, ready to eliminate the team he rooted for as a kid.
In an odd twist, Kaepernick was born in Milwaukee and adopted before moving to California at age 4. He began as a toddler Cheesehead, then said he changed allegiances when I got drafted.
Green Bay dropped the season opener against San Francisco 30-22 at Lambeau Field.