It only took 10 games, but the Green Bay Packers’ offense on Sunday finally looked like it did in the preseason – dominant.
Aaron Rodgers threw for 344 yards and two scores while Ryan Grant added 129 yards rushing and a touchdown of his own as the Packers beat the San Francisco 49ers 30-24, improving to 6-4. Wideout Greg Jennings finally returned from hiding too, catching five passes for 126 yards and a score.
The first half was the most complete half of football the Packers have played all season. Granted, the 49ers are pretty awful offensively, but San Francisco gained just 57 yards in the first half compared to Green Bay’s 362 yards. Green Bay had 17 first downs in the half compared to one for San Francisco, and Rodgers threw for the most yards in a single half of his career, with 274 yards.
The defense looked solid, too, despite a near meltdown in the second half made worse by special teams blunders.
But the win was costly for Green Bay. Both Aaron Kampman and Al Harris tore their ACLs and are lost for the season. This is a huge blow to the Packers at this point in the season. Both will be sorely missed.
The Packers held Alex Smith to just 5 yards passing in the first half, but stupid penalties and special teams mistakes by the Packers let the 49ers back into the game in the second half and Smith finished with a solid 227 yards and three touchdowns.
One of the keys to the game was keeping Frank Gore and Vernon Davis in check, and Green Bay did that, for the most part. Gore couldn’t get much going and finished the game with 59 yards rushing and nine yards receiving, plus one score. Davis also scored and caught six passes for 108 yards.
But neither had career games, and the real key to this matchup was the return of the running game and Ryan Grant. He left the game late in the fourth quarter with what appeared to be a stinger, but Grant did very well despite the absence of starting fullback John Kuhn. His 21-yard run late in the fourth quarter kept the Packers’ final drive alive, allowing the team to put the game away after a bizarre challenge by San Francisco coach Mike Singletary left the 49ers without any timeouts. Grant was MVP of this game, in our eyes.
The win puts the Packers back in the thick of the playoffs race with a short week ahead of them. The team next plays at Detroit on Thanksgiving Day before heading back home to play Baltimore.