3. Prevent big plays
The defense wasn’t the main reason for the Packers’ struggles against the 49ers. They actually started the game reasonably well. Take away the opening possession where the 49ers started with the ball on the Packers’ two-yard line, and they limited the home team to six points on their next five drives (three punts, two field goals).
But it was a big play that opened the floodgates.
Down 13-0 late in the second quarter, a defensive stop and a quick score before halftime would’ve got Green Bay right back into the contest. Instead, the defense gave up a 42-yard touchdown pass to Deebo Samuel. Following a quick three-and-out on offense, the Packers allowed another big completion to George Kittle, who set up a field goal after a 22-yard reception.
Just like that, the 49ers were up 23-0 at the break.
The offense eventually showed signs of life with a 13-play touchdown drive in the third quarter, making it a two-score game. Desperately in need of a quick stop, the defense gave up a 61-yard touchdown pass to Kittle. Game over.
The Packers have allowed big plays all season long. The defense is giving up 8.2 yards per passing attempt, which is tied for the fifth-most in the NFL. They are also allowing 4.8 yards per carry to running backs, which is also the fifth-most in the league.
Big plays continue to set the defense back, and the Packers need to get that fixed quickly.