What a battle.
Yes, the Green Bay Packers came up short in a thrilling 34-28 San Francisco 49ers’ victory, however, the Packers have a lot to be proud of in this game. Last time these two teams played the Packers gave up over 500 yards, the majority of that was on the ground.
Today, the Packers held All-Pro running back Frank Gore to 44 yards on 21 carries. They also held Colin Kaepernick to 22 yards on seven rushing attempts. In total the Packers limited the 49ers to 88 yards on the ground on 34 rush attempts (2.5 yards per carry).
We knew coming into the game that the Packers may struggle in coverage with Morgan Burnett and Casey Hayward both out and that they did. Kaepernick and Anquan Boldin lit up the Packers’ secondary for over 400 yards passing.
Two inopportune turnovers cost the Packers dearly as rookie running back Eddie Lacy gave up the ball deep in the Packers’ own territory. Jermichael Finley also dropped a pass that led to 49ers’ rookie safety Eric Reid intercepting the rebound.
These things all added up to the Packers eventually losing to the 49ers Sunday, however, these five reasons are the real reasons the Packers lost a heart breaker to the 49ers.
5.) No running game
Aside from his fumble, Eddie Lacy couldn’t get much going in the running game, to no fault of his own. Time after time the Packers’ offense line struggled to open up holes and when they did it was be called back by three different holding penalties on Josh Sitton. Coming into the game the Packers knew they had to run the football, Sunday they only managed 63 yards on the ground with Lacy gaining 41 of those yards on 14 carries (2.9 yards per carry).
The Packers will have to be better in the future on the ground otherwise their offense will be as predictable as they were last season, which led to an early playoff exit.
In the Mike McCarthy era the Packers have always been a very sound and disciplined football team — today they were not. There is a fine line between getting physical and emotional and being stupid, the Packers were stupid today. It started with Clay Matthews hitting Kaepernick out of bounds, which costed the Packers (illegally, thanks to poor officiating) another play on defense in which the 49ers took advantage of.
The Packers ended the game with 5 penalties for 44 yards, which isn’t horrible, however, the holding calls are what really cost the Packers. They were also sloppy with the ball at times (2 turnovers) which led to seven 49ers points. The 49ers committed no turnovers and one could argue that was the difference in the game.
Kick returner/wide receiver Jeremy Ross also had a few questionable returns in the kicking game. On at least two occasions Ross took the ball out of the end zone on a kick off that put the Packers inside their own 10 yard line to start their drive. That can’t happen, especially more than once in game.
3.) Where was James Jones?
A season ago James Jones killed the 49ers secondary to the tune of eight catches for 168 yards and two touchdowns in two meetings. Today he didn’t have a catch, not only that, he wasn’t targeted once the entire game. That cannot happen if the Packers want to win in the future.
The Packers needed every one of their weapons to step up in what everyone knew would be tight game, Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson and Jermicheal Finely all showed up, Jones didn’t make the flight to San Francisco.
Jones has to be better next week against the Washington Redskins.
Boldin had a field day with the injury depleted Packers’ secondary to the tune of 13 catches for 208 yards and a touchdown on 17 targets.
The Packers had simply no answer for Boldin all day and he made them pay time and time again. Boldin iced the game after a questionable push late in the fourth quarter as a rolling Kaepernick hit Boldin over the middle to cement the 49ers’ win.
The Packers came into the game confident in their secondary and their ability to shutdown the 49ers’ depleted wide receiver position, however, the 49ers were ready to play and burned the secondary all day.
1.) Colin Kaepernick
Whether you like the young man or not, you have to admit the guy can play football. For the second straight meeting Kaepernick out played Aaron Rodgers in game. Kaepernick threw for over 400 yards and added 20 yards on the ground to once again torch the Packers’ defense.
Kaepernick finished the game 27-of-39 for 412 yards and three touchdowns, but the biggest stat for Kaepernick was no turnovers. Kaepernick’s ability to protect the ball has been very impressive in his young career. With guys targeting him, particularly Clay Matthews, Kaepernick was able to stay cool, calm and collected throwing strikes down field all day.
Well, there you have it, a hand full of reasons why the Packers were unable to beat the 49ers in the rematch of the 2013 NFC Divisional round playoff game. Keep it here at Lombardi Ave as we continue to break down this game later today and later in the week.