SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Andy Lee's nerves came on a full day before San Francisco's playoff opener a year ago, not just leading up to his first punt as is typical each game. Tight end Vernon Davis was surprised at his butterflies stepping onto the NFL's big stage for the first time, too.
Last January, most of the 49ers had never been part of a playoff game and were suiting up for a rookie NFL coach. Jim Harbaugh's team is now a playoff-tested bunch of veterans determined to make this a special postseason run that goes one step further — to the Super Bowl.
The NFC West champion Niners (11-4-1) can get one step closer when they host the Green Bay Packers in the divisional playoffs on Saturday night in a rematch of the season opener won by San Francisco at Lambeau Field.