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Packers Are Uniquely Mismatched Against 49ers

Winning ugly was a lot more fun than what took place Sunday evening. But congratulations to the 49ers! They are a team worthy in every way of being in the Super Bowl, as are the Chiefs. The cream has indeed risen to the top this season with respect to these two teams. They seem to share many things in common, which will make a good TP topic sometime during the long, long offseason.

Do you get the feeling that Kyle Shanahan is building a dynasty? While there will be plenty of time – about the next half year – to analyze all the failings that the Packers displayed on Sunday, I came away more impressed with the Niners than disappointed with the Packers. San Francisco has it all going for them, in virtually every aspect of the game, their roster, and for that matter their entire organization.

We’ll have lots of time to chat about, and give full credit to, the Niners. By analyzing all the things they do right, we should get a good idea of the areas in which Green Bay needs to improve, and what our guys will need to do to reach the top tier that the 49ers now occupy.

As Jimmy Johnson said during halftime, and we at TP have often pointed out, Kyle Shanahan is the best in the league at scheming running plays. I doubt any Green Bay defender would take exception to that.

On Sunday evening I observed the most domineering run attack I’ve ever witnessed, and that’s saying something, though it’s not true that I’m 104 years old.

The Niners were in fact very superior in their line play – both offensively and defensively.

The Psychology of Pressure

Here’s my quick-take on why what you saw happen happened. You’ve heard the expression: “he broke under the pressure?” Well, that applies in spades to big-time athletic events. Heavy and/or relentless pressure will cause an athlete to break down mentally, resulting in mistakes and malfunctions that would not normally occur.

How else do you explain such first-half screw-ups as: two sacks resulting in a loss of umpteen yards and a turnover (just like in Week 12), a muffed kickoff, multiple false starts, a 20-yard shanked punt, an ill-advised intercepted throw directed toward a typically-blanketed Geronimo Allison, and the topper: a dropped routine snap from center that turned the ball over?

Rodgers, the player to whom the most pressure was applied, had the most obvious performance breakdowns, though several of his teammates also succumbed to either the direct pressure of 49ers players or the situational pressure of a conference championship.

Speed Kills

A couple weeks ago, I did a post titled “Ground Attacks Are Ascendant This Postseason.” Little did I realize I was understating things. More recently I pointed out how speedy San Francisco RB Tevin Coleman is, with his 4.39 40-yard dash time. A 49er fan then informed me that “he’s the slowest of the Niners’ three running backs,” and that Matt Breida is the league’s fastest RB. He’s probably right – but I can’t tell the difference in any of the three.

It’s obvious that 48-year-old general manager John Lynch, now in his third year on the job, knew exactly what he wanted in running backs. Lynch was a nine-time Pro-Bowl strong safety, who played for the Bucs and Broncos, and who last played in 2007. The Pack’s Brian Gutekunst is 46. These two guys will likely be keen competitors for decades.

Tevin Coleman, a round 3 pick in 2015, played without great notice for the Falcons for four years, and then signed a 2-year $10 million deal with the Niners last March. After going undrafted in 2017, Breida was one of new GM Lynch’s first acquisitions, in May of that year. Raheem Mostert, whose name is now in several team and league postseason record books, is not only fast, he’s shifty even at nearly full speed.

Mostert, who was picked up from the Bears midway through the 2016 season, suddenly burst out in this his fifth year in the league – would you believe he has yet to start a regular season game in five years and while playing for five teams?

While taking nothing away from these three running backs, it is the melding of these athletes with Shanahan’s brilliant run schemes and play calls that has resulted in such a magical blend. How about that third-and-eight run call? It didn’t really matter which one was in the lineup, the Packers tacklers appeared to be playing in slow motion. Going forward, the Packers’ front office will have to take serious corrective action if the Packers are to ever have a run game on the level of what Shanahan has put together.

I should also salute the Niners’ blockers. The lanes they opened were huge. LaFleur has tried to copy Shanahan’s use of his blocking (and pass-catching) fullback, Kyle Juszczyk. Though the Packers’ Danny Vitale (who was inactive for this game due to injury) is in an early development stage, Juszczyk is now a four-time All-Pro. After this massacre, fullbacks soon might be back in high demand.

Prior to Sunday I had already discussed how GM Lynch (and his predecessor) had come to acquire not just one or two, but four dominant pass rushers. Due to picking high in the draft every year from 2015 through 2018, the Niners drafted: DT DeForest Buckner, the 7th overall pick in 2016; DE Arik Armstead, the 17th overall pick in 2015; and Nick Bosa, the 2nd overall pick in 2019.

Though all were successful selections, Lynch still wasn’t satisfied. He went out last March and stole away Dee Ford, who was the Falcons’ 23rd overall pick in 2014, from the Chiefs.

Lynch obviously believes there’s no such thing as having too many elite pass rushers, or too many speedy running backs.

The Packers’ pass rushers were simply rendered non-factors, as QB Garoppolo only threw eight times. That’s one way to nullify the strength of your opponent.

As impressive as is the Niners defense, their run attack overshadows their defense – at least when they play Green Bay.

Aaron Rodgers reacts during NFC Championship against the San Francisco 49ers

Jan 19, 2020; Santa Clara, California, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) reacts against the San Francisco 49ers during the second half in the NFC Championship Game at Levi’s Stadium. Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Packers High Points

Still, we can all be proud of the effort put forth by some of the Pack’s finest. Davante Adams wound up with 9 catches out of 11 targets, for 138 yards; his 65-yard over-the-shoulder catch was his longest of the year. I’m also proud of Aaron Jones, who worked his tail off to rush for 56 yards and a TD in 12 carries, and who caught 5 of 5 throws for 27 yards and another TD.

Aaron Rodgers’ line was 31 of 39 for 326 yards and 2 TDs and 2 Interceptions; but for that last (desperation) interception, I think his passer rating was close to 110. Of course these numbers don’t make up for a first half that included two big-loss sacks (and a recovered fumble) or the fumbled snap that was lost.

For what it’s worth, the Packers’ total yardage was 358, four more than the 49ers’. Okay, that’s worthless. As you might have heard the announcer say during halftime, in six quarters of football on the season, the Niners outscored the Packers 64 to 8.

Green Bay Packers WR Davante Adams runs after a catch during the 2019 NFC Championship against the San Francisco 49ers

Jan 19, 2020; Santa Clara, California, USA; Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams (17) runs the ball ahead of San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman (25) during the second half in the NFC Championship Game at Levi’s Stadium. Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

The Wonder Is. . .

What I can’t get a handle on is how the Niners can run roughshod over the Packers, but didn’t do the same over the rest of the league in 2019. What is it that makes this team such a mismatch for Green Bay?

They 49ers played the Cardinals (5-10-1) twice in 2019, but only won by 3 and 10 points. The Pack just conquered the Seahawks, but those same Hawks beat the Niners once and literally were within inches of doing it a second time. The Falcons (7-9) beat them. The Steelers (8-8), with Roethlisberger out and Mason Rudolph thrown in at QB, only lost by 4. How did the 49ers offense only score 9 points in blanking the Redskins (3-13)?

Annual Awards

I understand that General Manager John Lynch was named by Executive of the Year by the Pro Football Writers’ Association (PFWA) – well deserved. Soon the 2019 NFL Coach of the Year will be selected, and the frontrunners are said to be John Harbough (Ravens), Sean McDermott (Bills), and Shanahan.

My vote, if I had one, would without hesitation go to Shanahan – though I’d have Matt in second place. As for Harbough, QB Lamar Jackson is a remarkable athlete, but he let his emotions get totally out of control in that postseason loss to the Titans – Harbough should have exercised more control – or if you prefer, guidance – over his budding superstar.

Matt LaFleur on sidelines during NFC Championship in 2019

Jan 19, 2020; Santa Clara, California, USA; Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur reacts against the San Francisco 49ers in the second quarter of the NFC Championship Game at Levi’s Stadium. Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Stay Tuned

For those new to Total Packers, we keep up a lively conversation throughout the off season. In fact, some of the most interesting back-and-forth takes place after things settle down and the tensions and emotions of the weekly struggles lessen for a while. Speculation about the draft (commences April 26) is of course a major topic. I nailed it last year – though Gutekunst failed to heed my advice.

If nothing else, Sunday’s loss should serve to show the front office where we need to invest in personnel. I’m sure that coach LaFleur will also learn greatly from these two painful encounters.

I’ll leave this rambling narrative at this: Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch, in their first years as head coach and GM, went 6-10. In their second year, they finished 4-12. Therefore, I’d say that Gutekunst, in his second year, and LaFleur, having just concluded his first campaign, are off to a very fast and successful start. Well done, guys!

Tags:
Rob Born

I’m with Matt: “You gotta make those chunk plays!”

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95 Comments

  1. Howard January 20, 2020

    I have always felt that looking at individual player stats is what fans of losing teams do. They need something to hold on to, well except for those who are stat geeks. However, I think in the Seattle game the broadcast said Aaron Jones was only one TD from setting a Packer all time record for most TDs in a season. I think Jones scored two TDs yesterday. Congrats to Jones if he set the record.

    Reply
    1. Shawn January 20, 2020

      The NFL doesn’t carry over your stats from the regular season to the post season. That is college shit.

      Reply
      1. Howard January 20, 2020

        Well excuse me Shawn. Thank you for gracing me with your knowledge. I did say IF.

        Reply
        1. PF4L January 21, 2020

          Iltarion

          Reply
          1. Howard January 21, 2020

            PF4L. That was the first thing I thought of also.
            I still should have been more clear. The Fox broadcast did put up the graphic about TDs in the Seattle game. Fox did indicate including post season games. So there is no official NFL record.
            The one thing I do want to point out is Aaron Jones had the most TDs in Packer history during a season (including playoffs). Some may say that is not fair to include the playoffs as others may not have had the extra games. The top 3 are now Aaron Jones, Ahman Green, and Jim Taylor. You could also say that is not fair to Jim Taylor because he played during a 12 game season.
            I look at it like this, Aaron Jones scored his TDs with 324 touches. Ahman Green scored hIs TDs on 461 touches. Jim Taylor scored his TDs on 328 touches.
            So Aaron Jones scored more touchdowns this season (including playoffs) on less touches than Any player in Packer history. Congratulations Aaron Jones.

            Reply
          2. PF4L January 21, 2020

            Yes Sir…..it’s a great accomplishment that was earned.
            *
            It was the perfect storm for it to happen. In past years, half of those TD’s would probably have been Rodgers TD passes in a normal season. Citing the lack of talent this season, i think that Jones got more opportunities and made the most of it. Well deserved.
            *
            It was fun to watch not only because he scored, but because you root for him because he’s a stand up guy.
            *****
            In other insights: We’re having some articles containing 50, 60 plus comments. That’s great to see. They aren’t all positive but that’s ok, because they show passion…..ROCK ON PACKER NATION! Keep the Faith

            Reply
    2. Shawn January 21, 2020

      Why ins’t anyone talking about extending Jones? Everyone is talking about extending Clark, but Jones is in the same spot and looking at FAR less money in his final year. Jones is slated to make 735K next season. If I am Jones’ agent, there is no way I let him on the field for even an OTA snap without a new deal from the Packers. 735K? That would be 24th on the team in salary right now.
      So, whatever you are thinking for the salary cap next season, subtract about $10 mil from that, or you might not have Aaron Jones to feed the ball to.

      Reply
      1. Howard January 21, 2020

        The Packers will be required to pay both Jones and Williams at the lowest restricted free agent salary next year. Both of their salaries will be required to increase to about 2.1 million for each player.
        Both have met the requirements to fall under the proven performance escalator clause of the last CBA. That is they are third round or lower picks and have played 35% of the plays over the last three years. There are some various requirements, but both have met the requirements.
        Good point about the potential for Jones to hold out without a contract extension. If Jones did receive an extension I think the salary cap hit next year wouldn’t be 10 million as some of the monies would be spread out with a signing bonus, and that would lessen the first and maybe second year salary cap hit. However, at some point In future years of the contract you are going to be paying more dollars.

        Reply
  2. Big B January 20, 2020

    Packers won time of possession too!
    Epic defensive failure showing the lack of talent on the DL (Clark exempted) and ILBs- need 4 new guys right there. The problem is we have an aging, expensive, declining QB who needs WR, TE and OL help. Oh yeah, we have no cap space and will draft 30th. The soft schedule and injury free season were a blessing and the Packers took it as far as they could but there is a lot more work to do. I’m afraid there are chunks of sky descending on Lambeau.

    Reply
    1. Kato January 20, 2020

      They will have close to $45 million in cap space if they cut Graham and a guard that got injured this year, his name escapes me. Them signing Patrick to that extension tells me that they might move on from Bulaga, not sure that is a great choice.

      Reply
      1. Howard January 20, 2020

        The extension to Patrick (guard/center) is more of a sign Lane Taylor will be cut, more than moving on from Bulaga. I would like to see the Packers try and keep Bulaga. 2020 is also the final year for Linsley and Bakh contracts. There are some important long term decisions that will need to be made soon regarding the offensive line. I think Milt Hendrickson will help Gutekunst make some good decisions as they will probably include at least a couple of early offensive line draft picks. Graham is gone.
        Remember when looking at the cap space that the Packers will need to pay a proven performance escalator to Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams. It will probably add about 1.5 mil. to the Packers salary cap total.

        Reply
        1. PF4L January 21, 2020

          I’d like to see them sign Bulaga also, but at a cap friendly cost. I can’t see other teams offering him that much with his injury history and beat up knee’s.
          *
          With that said, after paying Billy T 11 million this season, The Packers sold him to us as being able to play any position along the line. Which he said the same 3 days ago on a local sports program. So if Bulaga leaves…i say, lets see.

          Reply
      2. Deepsky January 21, 2020

        Rodgers salary cap hit is $21 million in 2020. After next year, add another $15 million to his salary as it jumps to $36 million. And it goes up even higher the next year. That’s a couple of solid players they’ll lose to keep Rodgers if he doesn’t renegotiate and he doesn’t seem like the type that will take a pay cut. Next year may Rodgers last chance.

        Reply
        1. PF4L January 21, 2020

          Between you and Kato, i don’t know who is more obsessed with anti Rodgers rant, it’s pretty close.

          Reply
        2. KzooPackFan January 22, 2020

          The salary cap will increase by more than that over the next two years. Has been going up $12M per year on average. GB actually manages the cap fairly well, I expect that to continue.

          Reply
          1. PF4L January 22, 2020

            Before you know it, Rodgers will be outside the top ten. It’s cyclical, it’s how it works. A player can sign the largest contract in history, and it’s usually good for 1-3 months.

            Reply
  3. Stiggy January 20, 2020

    Its easy to get wrapped up and forget this was supposed to be a rebuilding year.

    Let’s be frank…this was an 8-8 team that found a way to win some close games more than lose them..typically those games can bounce either way.

    Yesterday was a complete mismatch from top to bottom…the niners has an advantage in nearly every position group as well as coaching. We will have an interesting offseason to say the least.

    ******
    Z smith mentioned that coordinator mike pettine sidnt attempt to make any adjustments to battle the niners rushing attack. Will he be retained? I frankly feel they need to go another direction.
    ********
    Martinez tears likely symbolized an impending departure. If that was his last game in green and gold I wish I him luck.

    *******
    The biggest question to me is what becomes of our illustrious #12 draft pick. The niners had the four elite rushers…at #12 Gary better stop flashing and show some consistency. Ultimately I feel the entire tenure of gute hangs on that lick…especially after watching dk metcalf…ah brown…and deebo samuel excel.

    ******
    Last but not least I apologize to rob. I felt his view the packers needed a more explosive wideout was a bit over the top but he was 100% correct…at leaet we have the greatness known as rashan Gary as a consolation prize.

    Reply
    1. Kato January 20, 2020

      Yeah, I didn’t love Pettine earlier in the season when the defense struggled. Last night’s game reinforces that view for me. The Texans moved on from Crennel after being blown up by Mahomes.
      *****
      This is no slight against Shannahan and the 49ers, but I don’t think they are THAT good to just run the ball like that. Especially since Mostert had like 110 yards before contact. That is a scheme and playcalling issue. Not to mention a coaching issue. That was some of the poorest gap control I have ever seen. I have no clue how else you look that unprepared.
      ******
      You, as a coach play to your players strengths, and try to put your best players on the field. You draft Rashan Gary 9th overall, and he plays like 10% of the snaps. Perhaps it is time to rethink his usage. Maybe he is useful as a 3 technique or 5 technique? He needs to be on the field if you felt he was the 9th best player in the entire draft.

      Reply
      1. PF4L January 20, 2020

        Just opening my mouth without thinking, but.can Gary play ILB, he’s supposed to be off the charts athletic and quick amirite?…Howard, any thoughts?

        Reply
        1. PF4L January 20, 2020

          #12 pick

          Reply
        2. Howard January 20, 2020

          I don’t think he could play ILB. I don’t put much stock in the pre draft mental comprehension tests, but if Gary is even double his reported score I don’t think he could process all the info as a ILB. Plus to me Gary may be quick in a straight line, but not laterally. Gary is to stiff and upright to be a good ILB. Gary would be exposed in coverage and misdirection plays big time.
          The only other position for Gary Besides OLB to me is D line. I do think if Gary played D-line he would be more successful in a 4-3.
          The 4-3 in the Pete Carroll version is what I think would help the Packers defense. However, It is probably past that time. LaFleur has seen and worked under coaches who run both. I wonder what LaFleur is thinking?
          I’m to busy now but I think maybe Rob ,Jason, or some others, should see how the current roster would project in a 4-3. You have to admit some of the better and more physical front 7 defenses recently have used the Carroll type 4-3. You usually don’t run on those defenses.

          Reply
          1. PF4L January 20, 2020

            Plus he was a down lineman Def. end in college, so their trying to convert him to olb. I just don’t get it, sign two free agent olb edge rushers to lottery tickets, then draft a conversion knowing he’ll be on the bench at #12…if that doesn’t scream “i fucked up,” i don’t know what does.
            *
            Kato made a good point, find a way to use him, or….tell us wtf you were thinking with this pick.

            Reply
          2. Skinny January 20, 2020

            I don’t know about that. Have you seen videos of him training? Hes one of the most athletic freaks out there. 280lb men don’t move and turn like that. Im not ruling him out yet.

            Reply
        3. Deepsky January 20, 2020

          That crossed my mind too.

          Reply
    2. Kato January 20, 2020

      Also, even if you pick a receiver at 12, that does nothing to address your defense getting bitch slapped up and down the field by running the ball.

      Reply
      1. PF4L January 20, 2020

        When does it end? In one more year we’ll be celebrating the 10th anniversary of trying to fix the defense. Almost as long trying to find a mlb.

        Reply
        1. MMSUCKS January 20, 2020

          Contrary to popular belief (and sometimes my own), I still question Gutekunst’s ability to single out great players in the draft. He has been with the Packers since 2012 (as an east coast scout), moving up quickly to Dir. of Player Personnel in 2016. Since 2012 Green Bay has basically shit the bed most of the time in the draft. Last year there were a few very good picks (draftee # 12 was NOT one of them) I still wonder if Gutekunst does not have the ability to see the potential in a draftee, but may be very good at seeing developing players BEFORE they hit their big payday’s? A quick scan into the east coast players that the Packers have drafted since 2012 may hold some answers . . . I still believe that Green Bay DOES NOT have great talent scouts and quality assessment abilities for every position of need. They seem to pick OL moderately well, but strike out most of the time with ILB and DL. There must be something to that.

          Reply
          1. PF4L January 20, 2020

            Yea…that “history” hangs with me also. I wanted new blood in the GM position.
            *
            We’ll have to disagree on the 2019 draft, i see two potentials…Savage and Jenkins. Potential in both, but plenty of mistakes through the season. sure…some are to be expected for sure. If there is one thing i learned, is wait and see. I need more than a 1 season sample size.
            *
            As far as Sternberger, i was highly impressed the way he came back and got in Rodgers visual sight line. Great comeback by the rookie. First NFL catch if i’m not mistaken, we’ll have to see a bit more than that though.
            *
            One thing Ted did well early on is pick O line, and always kept Rodgers with receivers.
            *
            I gotta say, the way that game went, i think it’s making everyone in charge re-thinking team needs, on defense, i’m waiting for the offenses turn.

            Reply
          2. Kato January 20, 2020

            Maybe they bring Ted on to help with picking receivers ;)

            So, I watched some interviews, and I think I would like to see Marcedes Lewis back. I think he does provide veteran leadership on the offense, and it seems he wants to come back. He likes the coaching staff and seems to buy in.
            *****
            Another note on Sternberger. He impressed me with his run blocking this year. I thought coming out of college he was going to be more of a Y tight end and be a guy that catches the ball and not be known for his blocking.

            Reply
          3. Skinny January 20, 2020

            A lot of that was on scout Sam Seal who I don’t even know if hes still in the Packer organization anymore considering how many of his players flamed out. They gave that guy so much fucking input in the draft process though back in the Ted years. I remember at times Seal was doing interviews about the guys drafted, lol. That never happens in any other organization. That’s always the position coach or the GM that do that.

            Reply
  4. Ferris January 20, 2020

    That SF 9 point game against Washington was played in a horrible rainstorm. I’m surprised it was not 0-0.

    Reply
    1. Robster January 20, 2020

      This is the only comment responsive to my theme of why others can compete with this juggernaut but we can’t. Maybe the 49ers relax when they face inferior teams?

      Reply
      1. KzooPackFan January 20, 2020

        Is it not so simple as their offensive strength this season, which is a tremendous strength, matches our defensive weakness to a T? We all knew all season GB run defense was not good, and getting the game script to dictate teams having to get away from the run was key to our defense success.

        Big question – how did the coaches not scheme up some answer to that obvious plan of attack from SF? Pretty much did what we always do.

        Reply
  5. PF4L January 20, 2020

    Someone riddle me this, just for shits and grins….What’s Rashan Gary worth on the trade market? That question and answer
    more times than not usually reveals the ugly truth.

    Reply
    1. KzooPackFan January 20, 2020

      I would bet it would be hard to get more than a third rounder for him. Maybe a player, similarly drafted and disappointing, would be a more likely possibility? Teams seem to think draft picks are gold.

      Reply
    2. Kato January 20, 2020

      Not going to lie, I have grown to be on the same page as you with this pick. I don’t understand why, when their defense has struggled at times, they didn’t try to get their best players on the field? If they drafted a guy at 9th overall, they rated him as the best player available at the 9th spot, meaning at worst they had him graded as the 9th best in the draft. I initially assumed he was going to rotate with the Smith’s and be used as a pass rush specialist on third downs and they kick Z inside. Given his usage this year (pretty sure he played in less than 15% of snaps) I am wondering why they picked him. What does be bring to the table? Why the fuck am I seeing Kyler fucking Fackrell in a playoff game being blown off the goddamn ball when you drafted this guy 9th overall?

      Reply
      1. Kato January 20, 2020

        12th overall. I forget

        Reply
    3. Deepsky January 21, 2020

      I wondered too if they can trade him for a receiver. Every year there is always some receiver that wants off their team. By the way Emmanuel Sanders is a UFA this off season and it won’t cost a 3rd and 4th round pick.

      Reply
      1. Kato January 21, 2020

        I kind of am skeptical of signing a 32 year old receiver to a large deal. I am guessing with Rodgers cap number jumping the next two following years the Packers won’t have a whole lot of cap flexibility. They better draft well to have some cheaper replacements for players they will have to cut ties with in 2021 and 2022

        Reply
        1. PF4L January 21, 2020

          He’s a guy that will get 1 year deals, maybe someone throws him a 2 year (with an out). I like him for 3-4 million.

          Reply
  6. Empacador January 20, 2020

    The most puzzling thing is even with the coaching and GM changes, why the Packers continue to let opposing players have career games against them. This isn’t an occasional thing, it’s been seemingly consistent since the SB win. You would think eventually they would maybe get lucky just once and NOT allow someone to abuse them so effortlessly on national TV.
    ..

    Think about this; the 49ers owned the Packers earlier in the decade, went to complete dogshit and are again back on top, while the Packers have pretty much been unable to get over the hump the entire decade. Granted, we don’t know how LaFleur is gonna respond to this since it’s only his first season. But there was some eerily similar play to when McCarthy/Thompson were running the show. The late round draft picks from having a winning season once again won’t be coming to salvage what’s left of Rodgers career.

    ..

    On a positive note, the Packers won’t be flailing around in the Superbowl against the Chiefs with Mahomes at the helm. Chiefs are my pick to win it all.

    Reply
    1. Kato January 20, 2020

      This also puzzles me. I don’t understand what the deal is. It comes down to I think. Coaches that understand their players strengths and weaknesses, and don’t have a rigid system. This is partially why Bill Belicheck has been so successful. His system is an ambeoba. His defense changes week to week based on his opponent. You see it with the offense there too, featuring a different back every week. In the rare instances where he is getting his ass kicked out the gate, like in the super bowl against the Falcons, they made halftime adjustments. I had no such confidence in this coaching staff, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. The Packers defenders reacted to the presnap motion like they had never seen it before and had literally no idea how to approach it. That is a coaching issue, as the 49ers used it on over 80% of their snaps. Fuck, Kyle Shannahan has been using it over 50% of the time the past 4 years. I didn’t notice any meaningful adjustments in the second half to the ball being shoved down their throats

      Reply
    2. Deepsky January 20, 2020

      The 49ers went to the top by losing a ton of games in 2018 and getting Boss.

      Reply
      1. Deepsky January 21, 2020

        Bosa

        Reply
  7. Cheese January 20, 2020

    Uniquely mismatched? Lol. If only I had a computer handy… but it’s probably best I don’t. So many thoughts I wouldn’t even know where to start. Instead, I’ll just forget all of it and go to the beach :)

    Reply
    1. PF4L January 20, 2020

      Your better off :)
      *
      Beach? Where the**** are you Cheese?

      Reply
      1. Cheese January 20, 2020

        I’m visiting some friends in Peru. Apparently it’s becoming tradition to watch the Packers blow NFC Championship games while in South America. I watched the Seattle meltdown in Brazil. Maybe next time I’ll try Argentina.
        .
        Fuck, who am I kidding? I watch the Packers blow NFCCG’s in North America too. It’s just better to do it somewhere warm as it makes for a nice distraction. That, and I don’t have to listen to any obnoxious 49er fans here because no one cares about the NFL lol.

        Reply
        1. PF4L January 21, 2020

          Damn…lol. Lifestyles of the rich and famous. :)

          Reply
          1. Cheese January 21, 2020

            Not at all. Make friends with foreign exchange students and they’ll ask you to come visit for free ;) Also, it doesn’t hurt that the dollar is worth three times the local currency.

            Reply
          2. PF4L January 21, 2020

            Well based on your thoughts, views, and articulation, i’m pretty confident your doing alright . Live well my friend,

            Reply
  8. Kato January 20, 2020

    Pittsburgh had a decent run defense this year despite playing from behind a lot, and San Fran had a fair amount of success running it against them. I think New Orleans had a top 5 run defense and San Francisco averaged well over 7 yards per rush against them. That game was of course a track meet. It is up to championship caliber defensive coaches to come up with a blueprint to shut down their run game and force Garrappolo to beat them, like Green Bay ideally should have done last night, catering to the strength of their team which is their pass rush.

    Reply
  9. Deepsky January 20, 2020

    The Packers are not as bad as this game seemed to indicate.

    First, the 49ers run game targeted Lancaster and Lowry. Lancaster isn’t even just a guy. Second, several big plays were because Shanahan called the perfect play, like the first TD run where an all out blitz came from one side and the 49ers ran it to another. And finally, and I would argue the biggest reason why the Packers lost was because Rodgers played as he always plays against the 49ers, like total crap, like he doesn’t want to beat his favorite team. The first fumble on the 20 yard line was horribly demoralizing and 100 percent Rodgers fault. The interception on the throw to Allison was 100 percent Rodgers fault. 27-0 at halftime. Yeah, the Packers gave up a lot of yards, but if the score is 20 to 7 at halftime or 20 to 10, the Packers would have still been in it.

    Reply
    1. Kato January 20, 2020

      I think it was said they targeted the Smith’s by running directly at them. which is what they say to do with those kind of players. It was always said during Brian Urlachers heyday that you run directly at him rather than try and run outside and have him just move laterally down the line of scrimmage and chase you down for minimal gain.

      Reply
      1. Deepsky January 21, 2020

        Yeah a couple of plays they ran right past the Smiths on the end, it looked like the 49ers game when Kaeparnick was playing and Eric Walden didn’t even see him coming around.

        Reply
  10. Deepsky January 20, 2020

    Also, there were several holds on the 49ers and blocking in the back not called which freed up a lot of the longer runs. The 49ers ran the ball 42 times or something like that never got called for holding even once? Kind of fishy to me.

    Reply
  11. Shawn January 20, 2020

    By DVOA, the Packers were a 10-6 football team, who we all know struggled to stop the run all season. A team can hardly expect to be good against the run when it typically employs three safeties and one linebacker. We can bitch about Pettine all we want, but frankly, this team isn’t even built to stop the run. It is built to stop the pass, as Pettine once now infamously reminded us, and that comment hasn’t aged well. Defenses historically were built to stop the run first for a reason. Its easier to simply hand the ball off than it is to pass it. For Pettine and the Packer brass, hopefully that is a lesson learned.
    The Packers perhaps thought they were ahead of the curve by moving towards a stop the pass first mentality, but this outside zone run offense and Lamar Jackson has shown teams that fast and athletic MLBs are still valuable after all. With QBs now making $35 mil a season, more GMs may see the economic sense in building a running offense with relatively cheap and interchangeable parts rather than gambling a sixth of their salary cap on one player.
    This puts such a MLB as priority #1 for the Packers this offseason. I am a Blake Martinez guy, and I resign him if it is anywhere near cap friendly. He is still a smart, hard-working and consistent player. What he needs is someone with some speed and athleticism beside him. Dion Jones of ATL comes to mind. Sure, if a team over pays, I’m fine with letting Martinez walk, but then you have to replace two MLBs instead of one. That is a tall order when WR, DL, OT, and TE also remain needs.
    Aaron Rodgers is 1-3 in NFC Championship Games and hasn’t played particularly well in any of them. He has 6 TDs, and 7 INTs in those games, and that is from the guy with the best TD/INT ratio in NFL history. Has a Packer QB ever fumbled a snap in a playoff game before? I have my doubts. That is Rex Grossman shit. Rodgers’ inaccurate pass into coverage that was picked before half is almost equally baffling. This is a guy who made his career off risk-adverse decisions. That INT was the nail in the Packers’ coffin. 20-0 is score you can rally from (as Rodgers and the Packers did against the Bears last season), but 27-0 is NOT.
    If Sunday’s ass-whoopin seemed strikingly familiar to the hurt the Falcons put on the Packers in the 2016 NFC Championship Game, there are a couple good reasons for that. Foremost is the fact that Kyle Shanahan was the OC for the Falcons in that game. Ironically, Kyle’s dad, Mike Shanahan, was the coach of the Broncos who’s zone run scheme the Packers’ couldn’t stop in Super Bowl XXXII.

    Reply
    1. Robster January 20, 2020

      You packed a lot into one response, Shawn. The notion that Mike Pettine’s foundational philosophy is in error has been popping up here in the last 24 hours. Focusing on curtailing pass attacks makes perfect sense against most opponents, but it doesn’t work well, unsurprisingly, against a run-dominant team. I like it that you’re a Martinez guy – that makes at least two of us. You’re take on the pitfalls of one-sixth of the player budget going to one player is thought-provoking. Rodgers’ 1-3 record in NFC championships fits into my theory that situational pressure can make a guy perform less well in the post-season that the regular season. QB is of course the position most subject to intense pressure – that comes with that job. We’re all different: Mahomes can throw an interception, and two seconds later you can see that it’s out of his mind and he’s moved on. Rodgers’ body language reveals that when he screws up, he dwells on it – it lays down roots in his brain that begin to grow and take over his mindset.

      Reply
      1. PF4L January 21, 2020

        I think Rodgers did a horrible job of stopping the 9ers run game. No wonder Rodgers is 1-3 in NFCCG’s. Hell…Did you guys see all the things Rodgers did to lose the 2014 NFCCG? He’s horrible.

        Reply
        1. Deepsky January 21, 2020

          Rewatch the game. The ball was right in Rodgers hand on the snap and he dropped it. The Packers were on the 20 yard line, the game was still in reach, a score keeps them in the game. The interception to Allison was also Rodgers fault. There were two defenders behind Allison, Rodgers threw it behind Allison, even if Allison was supposed to keep going straight it would have been intercepted. That put the 49ers almost in the red zone. That’s two SCORES, a 10 point swing that is on Rodgers. You can say the 49ers ran the easily ball on the Packers, and that was shocking, but the 49ers chose to replace the pass with the run, the Packers actually had more yards on offense than the 49ers. The Packers scored on their first possession in the second half, if the score was 24-7 at half time, it would have been 24-14 and the Packers would still have been in it. Instead it was a demoralizing 27-0.

          Reply
          1. PF4L January 21, 2020

            That fumble has been asked and answered. Rodgers threw it behind Allison? Got picked? I don’t know if that’s ever happened before….who does Rodgers think he is throwing interceptions? I’m with you, i want a perfect Aaron Rodgers, or i don’t want him at all.
            ***
            Deep….wouldn’t you have more fun bashing Rodgers ….lets say….on a viking website? Just sayin.

            Reply
          2. Deepsky January 21, 2020

            Understand, I love Rodgers. I think he was the greatest QB in the history of the NFL for many years. But he’s clearly lost it. It’s hard to accept it, I get it. I look at it like those million dollar super cars, where every component is high end and crucial to making it a super car and the fastest car on the road. But everything has to work right for it to be a super car – a failure of one or two components makes it just a car.

            Reply
          3. PF4L January 21, 2020

            Jimmy Garropollo is 1-0 in NFCCG’s. Throwing 8 passes for 77 yards. What a stud.
            *
            Kirk Cousins at 28 million/year. Has one playoff win under his belt. What a stud.
            *
            Where does Rodgers get off making more money than these established superstars?

            Reply
          4. PF4L January 21, 2020

            So what are you saying?…Rodgers is like Lonely Boys car? A 1976 yellow AMC Pacer with bad hub bearings?

            Reply
    2. Cheese January 20, 2020

      Oh snap, Shawn is back and he’s dropping crazy knowledge?!?! Sign me up, por favor.

      Reply
      1. PF4L January 21, 2020

        That’s Iltarion, if you were around back in the day

        Reply
        1. Howard January 21, 2020

          I’m guessing you remember the time when Shawn as the moderator of the site and rightfully informed someone who was posting under different names that they would be banned if they did not stop it. Then later on we find out Shawn was also posting as Iltarion. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

          Reply
          1. PF4L January 21, 2020

            Howard….just for shits and grins, what gave it away for you?

            Reply
          2. PF4L January 21, 2020

            As far as posting under different names….this website doesn’t really have rules…so i’m cool with anything goes. But at the same time, i think if you feel the need to hide behind a different name, it’s kinda sad…but whatever, it happens here a lot, I’ve just never done it, or ever will.

            Reply
          3. PF4L January 21, 2020

            Hell….Lonely Boy would accuse me all the time of being both Monty, and Mordecai….lmao.
            Anyone with half a brain knew that couldn’t be true.

            Reply
          4. Howard January 21, 2020

            PF4L. I remember Shawn getting after Bob(?) who used different titles after his name. We all knew it was the same guy. I then remember later the avatar Shawn used showed up with his other user name iltarion. I remember you specifically asked him about it. At the time I thought you might have been thinking about Shawn’s comment to Bob. I know I was. Can’t remember that iltarion/Shawn ever responded?

            Reply
          5. PF4L January 21, 2020

            He just ignored. I didn’t push the issue, i didn’t care enough.

            Reply
          6. Shawn January 21, 2020

            I posted as Iltarion on the site long before I became a writer and moderator for the site.
            Virtually every writer/contributor who has ever been on the site has had multiple log ins so that they could comment with one and write with the other. There are numerous obvious reasons for that.
            I never denied being Iltarion. By the time someone figured it out, I was already not writing for the site or had reached an agreement with Monty to stop, and therefore, no one gave a shit.
            The rule about the multiple log ins was meant to clean up the comments, which at the time was plagued by trolls. For a time there, frankly, it was like the wild, wild West. People were pretending to be other posters. People with multiple log ins would start arguments with themselves. About every crazy comment board shit you could think of was going down. I did my best to clean it up, and actually, it pretty much worked.

            So, there you go, a little unnecessary explanation of what was going on behind the curtain. Call me Shawn, or Iltarion, or a-hole, I don’t give an eff. Since I’m not contributing to the site anymore, it doesn’t matter what name I use. I am just another jackass in the comments spouting my opinions on the Packers, and that is the one thing that hasn’t changed; I still have a shitload of them. I left because I got bored. And I’m actually kinda surprised how little shit has changed. But, I’m glad to see the site still going, and that the comments regardless of being the same crap are STILL better than the comments on the GBPG or Packers.com.

            Reply
          7. Howard January 21, 2020

            I always looked forward to your film review and game predictions. Your understanding and observations of the game of football has been much appreciated and respected by me over the years.
            I hope you continue to join the rest of us jackasses, assholes, and want to be know it alls with many more comments.

            Reply
          8. PF4L January 21, 2020

            Writers and others (still?) did have different user names (log ins). Used to comment, especially if someone pissed them off or spoke negatively about their article. The bottom line is your still hiding behind a different user name. I just think it’s chicken shit, no matter what color you paint it.
            *
            I know of two writers that would comment under their usual name (not that they didn’t have others,idk) Monty and JP.
            *
            Anytime you see a new name in here, that speaks like they’ve been here for years, is a chicken shit and should be called out by the site. It was done before….once. I can just imagine how many names the Lonely Boy has spoken under.

            Reply
    3. Kato January 21, 2020

      Such a great post. There are a lot of things to unpack from that post. I think the Packers are stuck in a position they have to resign Martinez. He has his shortcomings, but I think he is overall a pretty good player. Everyone wants to replace him with a three down linebacker, well, the elite ones are taken in the top 10 of the draft every year. The lone exception to that rule is Bobby Wagner. Will the Packers find the horseshoe in their ass and get lucky? Part of the reason they have been forced to play a safety at the other ILB spot is no one else on the roster has proven to be good in pass coverage. They took a swing on Oren Burks in the 3rd, reaching a bit for him, but like quarterbacks, teams are looking for those guys to put in their defenses. It appears that he just isn’t picking up on the pro game and that has hurt them. They had an opportunity on two guys a few years ago with big medical red flags on them, Jaylon Smith and Myles Jack, but ultimately decided to pass on them because there was too much risk involved.
      ******
      Rodgers objectively has not been good in NFC championship games. Let’s stop acting childish with stupid statements like “did you see him trying to stop the run game?” Well, did you see Rodgers led offenses score a combined 0 points in the first half of the past two NFC championship games? Yeah, the defense played poorly, that isn’t even debatable, but they played poorly as a team, including Rodgers. He is under the microscope because he is the quarterback, and has been in the top 2-7 paid players in the league in that time period, and when you are highly paid and not playing well in the second biggest game of the year, well the criticism is deserved. The 2010 championship he was awful in, but the defense won that game. 2014? The defense was incredible for over four quarters giving the offense excellent field position several times and ended up kicking field goals. You can blame some individual players, but had the offense done its job, the Packers could have had an insurmountable 24 point lead at the end of the game. At least. Aaron Rodgers is not clear of any blame in that game

      Reply
      1. PF4L January 21, 2020

        Rodgers isn’t perfect, he makes mistakes….everyday it’s the same re-hashed shit with you and Deepsky…every fucking day, EVERY FUCKING DAY…. You don’t like Rodgers? Form a group, make picket signs and go march in front of 1265 Lombardi Ave for a new QB. Maybe get an online petition together to have him traded. Maybe then you can hope for the perfect God like QB you seem to desire.
        *
        Or, maybe you and deepsky can borrow some bus passes, go up to Green Bay, find Rodgers….and set his ass straight.

        Reply
    4. Deepsky January 21, 2020

      There were times Martinez was blocked out the play, but it looked like to me that the 49ers were consistently zone blocking right at Lancaster/Keke/Lowry, whichever one of these JAGs were on the line. These guys were easily blocked out of the play creating huge run lates. Clark usually the got the double team. The running back frequently was untouched beyond the line of scrimmage. The Packers don’t have a nose tackle that is common in a 3-4, this defense is designed to stop the pass which is why the 49ers completely avoided it. The Packers could not afford to get behind early in this game and that’s exactly what happened because of the Rodgers miscues.

      Reply
    5. Kato January 21, 2020

      Very good post Shawn, and there a lot of things to look at here. I have wondered for months and now am even more convinced the monster extension for Rodgers was a mistake.

      Reply
  12. TP4life January 20, 2020

    If anyone thought the Pack had a shot to make the super bowl, you were horribly mistaken. This was the worst 13-3 team I have ever seen. Count your blessings they were somehow able to make it this far. This team is nowhere close to a SB contender. Rodgers is not elite. I’m sorry he’s not.

    Reply
    1. PF4L January 21, 2020

      Oh sweet Jesus Lonely Boy. don’t make a play off my username. JP, ban that masked man!!!

      Reply
  13. Kato January 21, 2020

    I remember a while back, there was a discussion about Peyton Manning not being a playoff quarterback. He was the greatest regular season quarterback of all time. He won two super bowls ultimately, the final one the defense drug him across the finish line. He ultimately lost 13 career playoff games, most all time. I am starting to wonder if Rodgers is in the same mold. Has great regular seasons, may have a great playoff game or two, but ultimately plays poorly at some point.

    Reply
    1. PF4L January 21, 2020

      Have you written a post without the name Rodgers in it?

      Reply
      1. Kato January 21, 2020

        Have you ever blamed the Packers playoff failing on something besides the defense? I am waiting

        Reply
        1. PF4L January 21, 2020

          Smh….i just blamed Rodgers….don’t you pay attention? Do i have to walk you through everything?

          Reply
      2. Kato January 21, 2020

        Perhaps Rodgers isn’t to blame at all in 2014? I seem to distinctly remember the defense giving the Packers offense golden opportunities in the first half, putting the Packers offense in field goal range three times before even having to take a snap? What did they do with those possessions? If that isn’t more, they handed the ball back to the offense with a few minutes left in the game with a chance to run out the clock. Don’t sit here and act like Rodgers has not had a hand in this team’s failings in the past decade. Sure, Rodgers doesn’t play run defense, but last time I checked, the defense had nothing to do with the offense being scoreless in the first half of the past two NFC championship games

        Reply
        1. PF4L January 21, 2020

          Lol….Rodgers is MVP of league in 2014. Has a 12 point lead with 5 minutes to go in the NFCCG, and of course you can’t help yourself, you have to shit on him.
          *
          Sounds about right.

          Reply
          1. Kato January 22, 2020

            So, if you win an MVP during the regular season, you are absolved of any blame for a postseason loss? Tell me, what exactly did Rodgers and the offense do to win that game in regulation? They scored 13 points? (Sorry, not giving them credit for the three other field goals when the defense literally put them in field goal range without even taking a single snap) But sure, blame the defense because the offense couldn’t take advantage of not one, not two, but three absolute gifts from the defense. Not once did they move the ball a mere 20 yards to get to the endzone. Not to mention getting the ball back with a chance to run the clock out and end the game.
            ******
            I am fucking sick of people acting like the Packers organization has failed Aaron Rodgers, and that Rodgers is entitled to having multiple Superbowl rings. They have had opportunities as a team, and while I blame the defense and they are a popular whipping boy, Rodgers deserves a chunk of blame. Going scoreless in the past two halves of championship games isn’t exactly “doing your part” either.

            Reply
          2. PF4L January 22, 2020

            Someone needs a tissue

            Reply
  14. Kato January 21, 2020

    Literally, it has been every excuse under the sun for Rodgers. It is never his fault. Yeah, I don’t think anyone is saying he should be perfect, but for fuck sakes, acting like it is the Packers’ organization fault that they haven’t won more than one super bowl is incredibly dishonest, and there is lots of blame to go around including Mark Murphy, Mike McCarthy, Dom Capers, Brandon Bostic, Clay Matthews hamstring, and Aaron Rodgers himself. Everyone involved has their hands dirty in this failure

    Reply
  15. PF4L January 21, 2020

    Listen….i understand your angst with Rodgers. From back when you wanted him benched years ago for Hundley to now.
    I understand your hurt that Rodgers kept the Packers from advancing to the Super Bowl. I’m sure you thought this was the Packers year.
    *
    Maybe i was wrong, maybe your daily crusade against Rodgers is justified. So my advice to you is to keep doing what you’ve been doing on a daily basis, don’t change a thing, until the day comes where you finally feel better.
    *
    I apologize for getting in the way of the healing process, carry on.

    Reply
  16. Stickman January 21, 2020

    #12 was 31 of 39 for 300+ yards. I think he did his part, i hope we have him for 4 or 5 more yrs. We need a mlb to go with #50

    Reply
    1. Stiggy January 21, 2020

      I hope we have Rodgers for 4-5 more years too but please dont cite garbage time stats as evidence he had a good game.

      Rodgers…like the rest of the team…fucking sucked on sunday… period. He isnt to blame for the loss…the entire team is because they ALl fucking sucked. They frankly embarrassed themselves. At the same time the 49ers are absolute ballers and look like a real championship contender…it should surprise noone that they killed the packers.

      The question is…do we repeat history and keep pettine like we did with mcgravy? They need to learn from thei past mistakes…but they wont. A game plan and lack of adjustment like that should be enough to lose your job..period.

      Reply
      1. KzooPackFan January 22, 2020

        ^^^^^I like all of this.

        Reply
    2. Skinny January 22, 2020

      Yeah but that was all garbage time. The game was already over. He was bringing some serious YMCA football shit Sunday which is what scares me going forward.

      Reply
  17. Skinny January 22, 2020

    Great news! Pettine is back. Looking forward to Shanahan calling out his defensive plays and adjusting accordingly in next years Division or NFC championship game.

    Reply

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