Packers Hold 49ers To 90 Rushing Yards, Yield 404 Passing Yards
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It was a week one rematch from last years playoffs that saw a very different game with a similar result.
During last year's playoff victory Colin Kaepernick set an NFL single game rushing record for a quarterback and the San Francisco 49ers set a post-season franchise record for total offensive yards with 579 against the Green Bay Packers.
This year Green Bay gave up another record in the 31-28 loss.
This one a single game career high record, of 13 catches for Anquan Boldin, while holding Kaepernick to just 22 yards rushing, and 90 overall. However, they could not stop Anquan Boldin and the passing attack, yielding 412 passing yards, 208 of them to Boldin.
"We knew they were going to come in ready to play after what happened in the playoffs," Boldin said. "We had to come out and match their intensity."
In one similarity to last season, Green Bay had no answer on third downs, allowing 50% conversion, 9-of-18.
The Packers took their first lead, 28-24, with 8:23 left on the first career touchdown from rookie running back Eddie Lacy. It would be their only lead.
San Francisco answered right back with it's fastest drive of the day, capped by a 1-yard Frank Gore touchdown plunge.
Jeremy Ross made his second poor decision of the game, taking the ensuing kick-off out of the end zone and only making it to the 8-yard line. Three plays later Green Bay punted the ball back to San Francisco.
With 3:00 remaining the 49ers faced 4th-and-2 from the Green Bay 36. Kaepernick rolled out right, and it was perfectly defended by Green Bay. Boldin was blanketed, when he pushed Packer cornerback Tramon Williams off of him to become wide open for a 15-yard gain that sealed the victory.
It was a very physical game. Early in the second quarter Kaepernick ran around the left side when Green Bay linebacker Clay Matthews grabbed him by the shoulder pads and flung him to the ground about 3 yards out of bounds drawing a flag and the ire of the 49ers.
The resulting 49er retaliation was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct, creating offsetting dead ball penalties. However, the officials blew the call, and several others, leading to a replay of the third down, instead of counting the play and advancing it to 4th down.
"First off, it wasn't a very smart play," he said. "I'd already committed to hitting the quarterback. I guess I should've figured he was going to step out of bounds. But it's nothing personal. I went up to him later and was joking around with him."
The resulting play was the first of Kaepernick's three touchdown passes, and a 14-7 lead.
The blown call here, and on the 4th down play in the 4th quarter were very costly mistakes, for Green Bay, by the non-replacement referees.
"The down should have counted," referee Bill Leavy said after the game. "The penalties were both dead ball, and they should have offset at the spot where the runner went out of bounds. And it would have been fourth down."
It was a game of San Francisco scoring and Green Bay answering back as the two offenses combined for 879 yards of offense, 385 for Green Bay.
Despite both teams playing most of the game from the shot-gun, it was also a game of slow methodical 49er drives answered by quick Green Bay drives.
Four of San Francisco's six scoring drives lasted four minutes or more. While Green Bay's longest scoring drive was 2:48.
One of those quick 49er drives came in the second quarter after Lacy suffered his first career fumble handing the ball to San Francisco on the Green Bay 14. 3 plays and 2:18 later, following the scrum, Kaepernick hit Boldin for the 10 yard score.
Tight end Vernon Davis also caught two touchdown passes of 20 and 2 yards, to go with 98 total receiving yards.
The two touchdowns were as many as he caught all last season from Kaepernick.
Boldin, Davis, and the 49er receivers ran free most of the day on the inside. While I don't have the yardage totals for it, most of the passing yardage came from the seams inward, as the Packer safeties and zone was gashed, leaving receivers wide open all afternoon long.
The only Packer receivers to be wide open were underneath the defense. Green Bay showed it's talent with Aaron Rodgers threading needles and Packer receivers making great catches in traffic.
Frank Gore scored the only other San Francisco touchdown from one yard out and finished with a game high 44 rushing yards on 21 carries.
Randal Cobb started the Packer scoring catching a short pass from Rodgers and stretching as far as his 5'10" frame would allow to hit the goal line with the ball, tying the game at seven in the first quarter.
Cobb made 7 grabs for 108 yards and the touchdown.
After the Boldin touchdown Jermichael Finley caught a 12 yard pass form Rodgers in the second quarter for the next tie at 14.
Finley caught five of his eight targets for 56 yards and the score.
The touchdown grab atoned for an earlier drop that was intercepted by 49er safety Eric Reid earlier in the quarter.
Jordy Nelson, working back from a pre-season knee surgery, looked fantastic in the game and fully heeled. He caught his first touchdown in the 3rd quarter from 8 yards out, tying the game for the third time at 21.
Nelson had a team high 130 yards on 7 catches to go with the touchdown.
Lacy ended the game with team highs of 41 yards on 13 totes and the touchdown.
Green Bay had two first half and game turnover to the 49ers none. San Francisco held the ball almost twice as long with 38:35 in time of possession to the Packer's 21:25.
Thankfully there were no major injuries to report, or even minor ones that I am aware of.
Green Bay had great difficulty putting pressure on Kaepernick. Perhaps that was because of the running threat that burned them so badly last season.
I certainly hope that was the case, because Kaepernick was sacked just twice, with as many pressures, while standing back there with all day to throw on the other 35 attempts.
Last years number one pick, Nick Perry, was especially uninspiring. If it was a game plan to bottle Kaep and make him beat the team throwing then I understand Perry's lackluster performance. But if that wasn't the case, Perry will be, and should be, riding the pine from here on out.
I never really liked the idea of Randall Cobb returning kicks, given his importance to the offense, but Ross was absolutely horrid as a returner. In addition to the two poor decisions to bring the ball out of the end zone on kick-offs, he looked ridiculously slow.
I was really disappointed not to see Micah Hyde returning punts over Ross.
The game featured what should end up as two of the best rushing defenses in the NFL. The two teams were held to just 153 combined yards with a long rush of 23 yards.
Until late in the 4th quarter the two teams had just 70 combined rushing yards, with a long run of only 15 yards.
Boldin became just the 6th player in NFL history with multiple 200-yard receiving games.
David Bakhtiari had an up and down first career start at left tackle. The rookie gave up a sack on the first drive and 1.5 on the game, along with four quarterback pressures to Aldon Smith.
The Packers return home for a game against the Washington Redskins in one week, while San Fran travels to Seattle (1-0).