Stick to baseball. Sunday night’s Packer- 49er game turned into a game for the ages. It had a bit of everything. Fantastic plays executed to perfection. Blunders and failed strategy. Four sacks, a fumble recovery and an interception by the defense. Questionable calls by the officials on both sides, enough to get every fan screaming at their TV, computer, or iPad. Eight first downs in the game came from penalties, three for the Packers and five for the 49ers. The Packers were flagged for seven penalties for 87 yards. San Jose had four flagged penalties for 86 yards. If you are a Packer fan, the calls and non-calls seemed to go against the Green and Gold at crucial times, adding to the nail biting. Yet in the end, on the road, trailing by one point with 37 seconds left on the clock, facing first and ten at their own 25 yard line, Aaron Rodgers and company awed a national audience. Mason Crosby’s 3-3 night was capped off with the 51 yard game winner as time expired.
If you are a Packer fan full of angst over the special teams kickoff coverage, the referees and the questionable decision to go for it on fourth down at the three yard line when up ten; let it go. Enjoy this victory. It was hard fought. There were plays on both the offense and defense that were impressive.
The Packers had to overcome an injury to Kris Barnes and scary hits to Davante Adams and Chandon Sullivan. The Packers started the game without their two best offensive lineman, David Bakhtiari and Elton Jenkins. Their best pass rusher, Za’Darius Smith, is also sidelined. They started an offensive line that had little NFL starting experience. From left tackle to right guard the Packers starters had the following NFL starting game experience prior to this game. Yosh Nijman: zero; Jon Runyan: one; Josh Meyers: two; Royce Newman: two. This group, I dub them, “The Newbies” faced one of the most feared defensive front sevens in the NFL. It wasn’t perfect, but they should be proud of this victory. They battled, they allowed Rodgers to stay clean almost the whole game. Let’s be honest, Packer fans who saw the starting lineup pregame and predicted this win were too inebriated to read the lineup card. Did any fan look at that fledgling o-line and predict they would give up only one sack for 8 yards? If you now are claiming clairvoyance like that you better have said it out loud and can name the person who heard you because most of us had visions of Rodgers on a stretcher.
Then the game started. The Pack started fast and were ahead 17-0 until the kickoff team gave up a 68 yard return that ended with a Crosby push out of bounds at the GB 32. This began a momentum change that allowed the 49ers to score two touchdowns in the next 8 minutes and twenty seconds of the second and third quarters. The Pack increased their lead to ten points on a ten play, 86 yard, touchdown drive ending with a nice TD route and catch by Marquez Valdez-Scantling. They held onto their lead until late in the fourth quarter. Then Aaron, Davante and the “Newbies” pulled out a miracle. MVS had a nice game. Three receptions for 59 yards and a TD. Lazard opened the game with a great catch and sold a PI call later to keep a drive going. But this night belonged to Davante Adams. Twelve catches for 132 yards, one TD and two crucial catches after being targeted in the head by 49er Jimmy Ward. Adams was laid out for over two minutes. Flashes of previous hits that Adams has taken ran through Packer fans’ minds. He seemed to lay on the turf for an eternity and the first TV shot of someone trying to manipulate his neck was sickening. For that man to get up and return to make the clutch catches that set up Mason Crosby’s winning field goal just added to the magic of this win for coach LaFleur and the Packers.
On defense, Rashan Gary stepped up his play even if the stats don’t show it. The entire defensive line seemed to rise to the challenge. Garoppolo had pressure on a regular basis. His fumble will go down in the stat book as unforced, but it was Kenny Clark in his face that caused the turnover. Rookie Eric Stokes took over at corner and played like a rookie with real promise. One flag seemed questionable on the replay and he did have one pass defensed.
Garoppolo had some nice passes but made just enough bad plays to justify the 49ers failed attempt to cast him off for Rodgers and then draft Trey Lance to replace him. His line: 25-40, 257 yards, an interception and a fumble lost. His QB rating was 87.2. Rodgers QB rating was 113.3. Tonight, 113.3 was the lucky number. The Packers, behind “The Newbies” out rushed the 49ers 100 yards to 67 yards. LaFleur and Rodgers stuck to the run even though it was slow going in the first quarter. Then, as the game wore on the the defense from San Jose wore down, and holes began to open for Jones. (19 carries for 82 yards, a 4.3 average) A.J. Dillon had six carries for 18 yards and two catches for 8 yards.
The Packers now lead the North with a record of 2-1. Enjoy this week Packer fans, next up: the Steelers at Lambeau.
Good article Paul! Hats off to one of the most unsung players on the team. Old gray beard-(Crosby); gets it done! AGAIN1 Another one of TTs’ finer draft picks.
Far and away Matt LaFleur’s best coached game as HC. We were physical on both sides of the ball and came ready to play for all 4 quarters. That’s going to be quite the OL once Bahktari returns to LT in three weeks. With Jenkins at LG, Myers at center, Runyan at RG, Turner at RT. Josh Myers gets better every week. Come playoff time Eric Stokes should be seasoned enough not to be a liability. Joe Barry’s defense seems to be getting its footing. For those bitching about Preston Smith, and there were many, he had a major impact. Lots of positives here.
Bitching about Preston Smith isn’t allowed now?
Did he outplay his contract last season? Was he a bargain?
Let me know when you deem critiquing a player, allowed in here, ok boss?
Is critiquing Rodgers ok?
If Stokes is a liability, WTF has Kevin King been?
If Stokes gives up something, at least he’s “there”.
Also…It’s Stokes 3rd NFL game (in his life), all told, he’s hardly a liability.
Looks like a buddy star to me.
Liability? Give the kid s break.
Does anyone want to bring up Rodgers completion percentage of passes over 20 yards, or should we save that for a different game?
I’m happy Preston got his 1st sack of the season, at this pace he’s going to end up at 6-7.
Side note: Myles Garrett had more sacks Sunday, than P. Smith had all last season.
But Kudos, Smith had a sack, and some pressures.
Thanks for doing the job you’re paid to do in this one game out of 17.
Lets wait till the end of the season to crown players.
If you want to crown Rodgers for that legendary performance, i guess i can let that slide.
The best part of this game was Kevin King not playing. He needs to go on IR with that “illness”
When does the 2020 draft start contributing?
Where’s all the off season talk about Quadzilla truckin over mofo’s?
I was looking forward to that, plus how DeQuara was going to give defenses fits with all the ways MLF will be using him.
My apologies…DeQuara had a catch last season, he’s already got one catch this season for 4 yards….
I almost can’t wait to see what he does next season.
Runyan has a shot to stick around even after Bahk and Jenkins return.
He should then replace Newman who is awful.
Not sure how Newman beat out Patrick but ok.
I just don`t understand Coach not taking the three points in the first half and on the road. I`m starting to think this guy loses his mind in big moments of the game. Last playoff game and now this! What`s a fan to think?
I still don`t understand not taking the three points in the first half and being on the road at that. I`m thinking Coach loses he mind in big moments! Last year in the playoff game and now this!!! What`s a fan think.
You got a valid point Stickman. Playing a quality team on the road, you take the points every time they come available. When they didn’t kick the FG, I was hoping that it wouldn’t bite em in the ass later in the game. It almost did! Lombardi’s mantra was taking the points whenever they had the opportunity. Maybe, MLF doesn’t trust the D yet, and he was worried about the Niners ability to score at will. Another thing that is puzzling, is they don’t pound the rock inside the 5 yard line. With Dillon and Jones’ ability, not running the ball down there tells me that they don’t trust the OL. ???????
I understand why LaFleur tries to manufacturer extra points. I just believe you don’t chase extra points early in games. I guess that is old school thinking and LaFleur is more into the analytics. As I commented previously LaFleur going for 2 and basically losing 1 point in the 3rd quarter of the NFCCG impacted the Packers logic on their final goal line series. The Packers had to consider they needed to score twice down 8 rather than 7. Two point conversions and goal line plays were not very successful during the game.
Usually when you play good teams with good defenses as a visitor you should take the points early in the game. There is no need to give the opponent and their fans a win to build on after you have been playing so well. I guarantee the extra three points would have changed the way the game played out in the fourth quarter, although I’m happy with the outcome.
If you want to talk about Preston Smith and last year PF4L. Then let’s talk about Aaron Rodgers and first and goal at the 8 in the 4th quarter of the NFCC game. The saw cuts both ways. As far Eric Stokes. He’s a rookie. He make some mistakes against the 49ers but wasn’t a liability. He’ll need to improve come playoff time. This is a playoff team that will have to beat the Rams or the Bucs to get to the SB. We’ll need Stokes to be a fast learner and ready to play like a veteran come January.
You going back to last seasons NFCCG for the 40th time?
You said Stokes was a liability, not me cuddle cakes.
“Come playoff time Eric Stokes should be seasoned enough not to be a liability.” – Princess
BTW it’s……He “made” some mistakes…not “He make some mistakes”
This reminds me back when the teacher would ask me to help her with the other students…back in 3rd grade.