49ers beat Panthers 23-10

San Francisco advances to their 3rd consecutive NFC Championship Game

By Matt Kingston - Sports photographer/producer
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Colin Kaepernick and the San Francisco 49ers are headed to the NFC championship game once again.
Kaepernick threw for one touchdown and ran for another as the 49ers shut down Cam Newton and beat the Carolina Panthers 23-10 on Sunday to advance to the NFC title game for the third straight season.
Kaepernick completed 15 of 28 passes for 196 yards while Anquan Boldin had eight catches for 136 yards and Frank Gore ran for 84 yards on 17 carries.  The 49ers will travel to Seattle next Sunday looking for a return trip to the Super Bowl.
The 49ers held Newton in check, intercepting him twice and sacking him five times while stopping the Panthers twice on the 1-yard line in the first half.
Linebacker Ahmad Brooks stopped Newton on a fourth-down sneak early in the second. Later, Brooks vaulted over the line and past Newton - he was called for offsides, but the 49ers showed the Panthers it wouldn't be easy.

San Francisco led 13-10 at the half, and Kaepernick scored midway through in the third quarter on a 4-yard touchdown run off a read option. Kaepernick then imitated Newton's Superman celebration by pretending to rip open his shirt.
It's the second time since 2008 the Panthers have lost at home in the divisional playoffs after winning the NFC South and claiming a first-round bye with the No. 2 seed.

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