Cox returns, plays vital role in 49ers playoff victory

Three and Out: Kap's toughness, Cox's major role

Cox returns, plays vital role in 49ers playoff victory
January 5, 2014, 7:30 pm
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I didn’t play a perfect game, but we got the victory. So I think I did what I needed to do.
Perrish Cox

Programming note: Watch 49ers Press Conference Live Monday at noon on CSN Bay Area, or streaming live right here.


GREEN BAY, Wis. – Ten days ago, the Seattle Seahawks released cornerback Perrish Cox.

Five days ago, the 49ers re-signed Cox. He had been with the 49ers for 28 games, since the beginning of the 2012 season, until the 49ers released him in November to make room for cornerback Eric Wright.

On Sunday, Cox played the entire game as the 49ers remained in their nickel defense against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. He was pressed into action when Carlos Rogers was unavailable due to a hamstring strain.

“They made up for Carlos not playing today,” Rodgers said. “They did a good job.”

The 49ers’ pass defense held Rodgers to 177 yards passing, as he completed 17 of 26 pass attempts. He was also sacked four times in the 49ers’ 23-20 victory over the Packers in the wild-card round of the NFC playoffs at Lambeau Field.

“It’s the craziest time ever,” Cox said. “This whole week, I was thinking I had to be as perfect as I could be. My teammates trusted me, and my coaches trusted me to get out there and play the nickel. And I did my best.

“I didn’t play a perfect game, but we got the victory. So I think I did what I needed to do.”

Cox recorded two tackles and broke up a pass. Wright was healthy enough to play, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said, but the 49ers went with Cox in the important role of the nickel back.

“We figured he’d be playing a lot with Carlos’ situation,” 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said of Cox.

Rogers started every game for the 49ers since signing with the club in 2011. Moreover, he played perhaps the most vital spot in the 49ers’ defense against the slot receiver. So Cox had a difficult chore against Green Bay, which played almost the entire game with three wide receivers.

“Perrish Cox did a great job tonight, being his first week back,” 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis said. “But he understands our defense and what we need to do. We played a great game as a team. It can always be better, but we got the ‘W.’”

[REWIND: Newly re-signed Cox in line to see a lot of action]

The 49ers came up with the key defensive stop in the fourth quarter after Green Bay drove to the San Francisco 9-yard line for a first-and-goal situation. On third down from the 8, Rodgers could not find anyone open and defensive tackle Ray McDonald stopped him for a 2-yard gain on the scramble.

“I think it says a lot about our defense in how we can step up and make plays when it is time,” 49ers outside linebacker Aldon Smith said.

“We just stayed consistent and didn’t panic. A lot of teams don’t know what to do what to do when someone starts to drive on them, and they mess up. We didn’t hit the panic button and that had something to do with why we came out with a win.”

Smith, who battled dehydration and was cramping in the 5-degree temperatures, recorded 1 ½ sacks in the game.

After the 49ers held the Packers out of the end zone in the fourth quarter, kicker Mason Crosby kicked a 24-yard field goal for a 20-20 tie with 5:06 remaining to set the stage for the 49ers’ winning drive.

The 49ers’ offense, led by Colin Kaepernick, Michael Crabtree and Frank Gore, drove 65 yards on 14 plays and used every last second on the clock. Phil Dawson provided the winning points as time expired with a 33-yard field goal.

[MAIOCCO: Kap, 49ers come up clutch to keep season alive]

"We didn't get enough mileage out of our play-action game," Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy said. "Kicking field goals down there obviously factored, too. We knew we needed to score more than 20 points today, and we didn't get that done."