Let that numb feeling set in. The San Francisco 49ers continued their recent dominance of the Green Bay Packers with a 23-20 wild card win on Sunday.
It’s hard to find a lot of fault with the way the Packers played, though.
Their defense, which is clearly the weak spot of the team, played one of their best games of the season despite losing starters Sam Shields and Mike Neal during the contest.
That defense held Colin Kaepernick, who threw for more than 400 yards against them in week one, to 227 yards passing. They also held Frank Gore to just 66 yards rushing on 20 carries.
On most days, that would be good enough to win a game.
The Packers’ offense, meanwhile, had a game plan for success. Instead of letting Aaron Rodgers sling it around, they let Eddie Lacy smash into the 49ers’ defense repeatedly and used short passes to move the ball. That’s how both Seattle and Indianapolis beat the 49ers during the sea on.
Lacy bulled his way to 81 yards on 21 carries and Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb came up with opportune catches.
Both teams played a hell of a game, but ultimately, the difference was that the 49ers were able to make plays and run out the clock on their final drive, which led to the game-winning field goal.
The main reason for that was Kaepernick.
He ran for 98 yards on seven carries, but no run was bigger than the one he made to pick up a first down on the final drive.
It was a third down play and the Packers blitzed Jarrett Bush off the corner. Kaepernick was able to avoid him after Bush went to the inside Gore and scrambled for what was the biggest pick up of the day.
While the Packers made plays on offense, they left at least a couple on the field. James Jones failed to catch two very catchable balls that may have turned the game — one on a deep ball and one inside the 49ers’ 10.
Obviously, James Jones doesn’t like to play in the cold.
In the end, the more talented team won. That’s how it’s supposed to go.
A valiant effort and a solid game plan aren’t enough when you just can’t match up. That needs to be fixed in the offseason.
And the offseason is now what’s upon us.