Winning on the road in the playoffs is a tough assignment, and the San Francisco 49ers have done so twice now in the 2013 postseason as they've embarked on a vision quest to be just the fourth team in NFL history to win the Super Bowl after winning three consecutive road playoff games (the last being the 2010 Green Bay Packers). The 49ers' next road test will be the team's greatest on this march toward Super Bowl XLVIII.
Greatest on the road ...
Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers
Kaepernick seems agitated that he was selected in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft, and took it upon himself to show the player picked No. 1 overall in that same draft who really is the actual top quarterback in that draft class. Kaepernick was the sixth quarterback taken in the 2011 draft, behind Newton and other notables such as Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert, Christian Ponder and Andy Dalton. To say the 49ers got a gift in Kaepernick in the second round is a monumental understatement.
Fast forward 2.75 years from draft day 2011 and Kaepernick is taking the 49ers to their third consecutive NFC Championship Game appearance following a 23-10 win over the Carolina Panthers in the divisional playoffs. Kaepernick led the charge, throwing for a touchdown and running for another in the win. Following that running touchdown, Kaepernick mimicked Newton's end-zone Superman celebration. With the win, Kaepernick now has more road playoff wins than any other 49ers quarterback (combined). Pro Football Hall of Famers Joe Montana and Steve Young went a combined 1-6 in road playoff games. The great John Brodie provided the team's only other road playoff win. Montana beat the Chicago Bears in the 1988 NFC Championship Game en route to victory in Super Bowl XXIII (Photos).
Keenan Allen, San Diego Chargers
The Chargers' remarkable late-season run came to a crashing end in a 24-17 defeat at the hands of the Denver Broncos. However, the late-game heroics of Allen helped provide a glimmer of hope in the contest's final moments.
Allen's first touchdown -- a nifty over-the-shoulder 16-yard grab in the end zone -- finally put the Chargers on the board early in the fourth quarter. He then was on the receiving end of a 49-yard pass on a fourth-and-5 play. That connection set up Allen's second touchdown -- a 16-yard scoring play in which the rookie extended to break the plane of the goal line.
Allen finished the 2013 season as the only rookie to go over 1,000 yards receiving.
Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
For much of the afternoon at rainy CenturyLink Field, the Seattle Seahawks defense flustered Brees. The Seahawks built a 16-3 lead heading into the fourth quarter, but Brees helped the Saints make it interesting late in the Seahawks' 23-15 divisional playoff win. Brees guided the Saints on a nine-play, 74-yard drive -- during which Brees completed all four of his passes for 52 yards -- that was capped with a 1-yard touchdown run by Khiry Robinson. After Marshawn Lynch seemingly iced the game with a 31-yard touchdown run, Brees brought the Saints back to within a score (plus two-point conversion) with a touchdown pass to Marques Colston.
Previous Greatness on the Road winners:
» Week 1: Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
» Week 2: Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins
» Week 3: Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
» Week 4: Tom Brady, New England Patriots
» Week 5: Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs
» Week 6: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
» Week 7: A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals
» Week 8: Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers
» Week 9: Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles
» Week 10: Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions
» Week 11: Matt McGloin, Oakland Raiders
» Week 12: Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers
» Week 13: Eric Decker, Denver Broncos
» Week 14: Charles Clay, Miami Dolphins
» Week 15: Richard Sherman, Seattle Seahawks
» Week 16: Karlos Dansby, Arizona Cardinals
» Week 17: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
» Wild Card Weekend: Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints
Follow Jim Reineking on Twitter @jimreineking.