The smoke had barely cleared from Green Bay's 24-10 demolition of Minnesota in an NFC wild card game Saturday when the focus turned to the 49ers at Lambeau Field.
And of course, memories of the 49ers' 30-22 opening weekend defeat of the Packers were still fresh.
"We’re a little thankful that we get the chance to play San Francisco again," fullback John Kuhn told reporters in the postgame locker room, after becoming the only active player in the NFL to score a touchdown in each of the last four postseasons. He also became the first player in Green Bay franchise history to score both a rushing and receiving TD in two different playoff games, also accomplishing it at Atlanta on Jan. 15, 2011.
"They really whooped up on us the first game of the season. We’re looking forward to going out there and playing a better game."
Linebacker Clay Matthews, meanwhile, tied his playoff high with two sacks against Minnesota -- he did it also in that Falcons game two years ago -- in joining Reggie White as the only Packers players with two, two-plus sack postseason games.
"Based on week one when we saw them, I’m sure a lot has changed -- especially at the quarterback position," Matthews said, referring to Colin Kaepernick taking over for Alex Smith.
"Frank Gore is an outstanding athlete. He makes plays for them. You’d like to think they’re going to get it going in that regard, especially with the lack of success (stopping the run) we’ve had in past games. We expect it to be a tough, hard-fought match like it was in Week One."
That day, Gore rushed for a game-high 112 yards, on 16 carries, and the 49ers wracked up 186 rushing yards as a team, on 32 attempts.
Plus, the Packers were not able to pick off Smith, who completed 20 of 26 passes that day for 211 yards and two touchdowns and a 125.6 QB rating. Saturday against Minnesota, though, Packers cornerback Sam Shields had his third career playoff interception, the fourth most in Green Bay history.
Shields said this meeting with the 49ers should not be the same.
"It’s very different, everybody is on the same page," Shields said. "On defense, our whole thing is getting off on third downs and just playing fast."
Back on Sept. 9, the Packers could not get their ground game going, either, rushing for just 45 yards, though Aaron Rodgers passed for 303 yards with two TDs and a pick.
"We’ve just been trying to get better, every day, every game, trying to get better as a team," said receiver James Jones, who caught four passes for 81 yards, including a 10-yard TD pass with 6:05 to play against the 49ers.
"They’re still one of the best football teams in the business. It’s going to be a fight when we go there to their home stadium. They’ve got a good team so it’ll be a tough challenge for us."