On Sunday Night Football, the 9-1 San Francisco 49ers hosted the 8-2 Green Bay Packers. While their records may have implied a close contest, that was far from the truth. San Francisco dominated Green Bay on route to a 37-8 victory. Here is the full recap of Packers @ 49ers.
Things started well enough for Green Bay with an initial 1st down reception by Davante Adams. However, 2 plays later, disaster struck for the Packers. On a San Francisco blitz, Fred Warner beat Elgton Jenkins 1-on-1 and got to Aaron Rodgers for the strip-sack. Nick Bosa recovered it and brought the football to the 2-yard line. On the very next play, Tevin Coleman ran in for a 2-yard TD and the 49ers took an early 7-0 lead.
Another turnover almost occurred on the following Packers drive. During a 3rd-down play, Rodgers was targetting Geronimo Allison on a seam route. Unfortunately, Jimmy Graham also ran a route in the same area which caused an extra defender to be close to the ball. While there was no INT, the pass was knocked down. After the play, Rodgers seemed irritated and that may be because Graham ran the wrong play which inadvertently enabled double coverage on Allison.
Green Bay was forced to punt, as was the case on 6 of the team’s 8 offensive possessions during the 1st half.
Extending the Lead
The Packers’ defense found more success than the offense. After allowing the 2-yard TD run, the unit settled in and forced the 49ers to punt on their next drive. Emmanuel Sanders did manage to catch a 15-yard pass to move the offense into the Packers side of half. However, they failed to produce on the ensuing 3rd-down (more on that later) and were forced to punt.
After their defense forced Green Bay to do the same, the 49ers got the ball back. The Packers did succeed at producing a 3rd-down sack during a safety blitz, but a penalty on Kevin King extended the drive. Jeff Wilson ran for 25 yards on the very next play to set up his team inside the Red Zone. While the defense would hold up, San Francisco extended their lead to 10-0 with a FG.
Kicking It Old School
Apparently the new NFL is all about massive offensive totals. Nobody told these defenses as they played an old school low scoring affair for most of this half. After the first 49ers FG, 4 of the next 5 offensive possessions ended in punts. For the Packers offense, they only instance where they did not punt the football in were the strip-sack on the opening drive and a turnover on downs.
While we can certainly blame Green Bay’s offense for this poor showing, full credit goes to the San Francisco defense. And it’s not just the pass rush. Players in the secondary were making plays all game long. Jimmy Ward had great coverage on a Davante Adams 3rd-down pass attempt that went incomplete.
When the Packers took over very early in the 2nd quarter, they were only down 10-0. Marquez Valdes-Scantling, made his first catch in November to get the drive start. It is only of 2 receptions that he has produced in the last 4 games.
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An Allen Lazard play-action end around went for 21 yards and was the Packers longest play from scrimmage in the entire game. That play put Green Bay past midfield for the first time in the contest. However, they could not take advantage of that situation. Davante Adams took a 3rd-down pass and ran to within inches of the line to gain. While they were certainly in FG range, Matt LaFleur decided to keep the offense on the field and go for it. Unfortunately for his team, the offensive line was overpowered by the 49ers pass rush and Aaron Jones was stuffed for no gain.
Eventually, the 2nd quarter would provide more points. The 49ers once again got into FG range. This time it came on the courtsey of 2 George Kittle receptions that totaled 40 yards. The Packers held up on 3rd down and San Francisco could only make it a 13-0 lead.
Armed with just under 3 minutes, and down by two scores, the Packers still had the game well within their grasp. However, they were held to a 3-and-out and were forced to punt yet again.
Not content with a 13-0 lead, San Francisco went on the attack once again. It only took 3 plays and 58 seconds of game time for the 49ers to find the end zone. Deebo Samuel took a Jimmy Garoppolo pass 42 yards for the score and a 20-0 lead.
Good news for the Packers, they got the ball back and another opportunity to put points on the board before halftime. Bad news, the San Francisco defense forced another 3-and-out and gave their offense the ball with enough time to get into FG range and extend their lead to 23-0 at the break.
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The 2nd half began quite well for Green Bay. The defense forced a 3-and-out of their own. Za’Darius Smith took matters into his own hands and beat a double team block for the 2nd-down sack. Kenny Clark finished off the drive by beating his block and stopping Tevin Coleman on 3rd down.
After forcing the 49ers to punt, the Packers offense finally found their footing. It was a drive that took up 8:34 of game time. The San Francisco defense took away the big play and forced Aaron Rodgers to methodically march down the field 1st-down by 1st-down. That included converting on a 4th-and-4 from midfield. Jamaal Williams was originally in pass-protection on the play, but then got out of the backfield and presented as a target for the 1st-down reception. There were also a couple of 49ers penalties that extended the drive.
Regardless, the Packers got to the goal-line. Davante Adams was lined up in the slot often throughout this game. Once again in that position, Adams took an end-around toss from Rodgers and scored a TD. Rodgers also connected with Adams on a goal-line fade for the 2-point conversion. Suddenly, there was life to the Packers as they only trailed 23-8.
All of that hope, however, was quickly extinguished. Green Bay needed almost a 9-minute drive to score their first TD of the game. As an answer, the 49ers only took 2 plays and 57 seconds. George Kittle once again had the big play. Kevin King was in coverage and demonstrated his weakness at covering against speed. Kittle running up the seam got King out of his backpedal and forced him to turn his hips as he faked outside. Once that happened, Kittle cut inside, and with no deep safety, he took the Jimmy Gorappolo pass to the house. Just like that, it was 30-8.
The Packers did try to mount one last comeback attempt. While they managed to get the football in FG range, down by 22 in the 4th quarter meant that they would not settle for 3 points. The game effectively ended on a 4th-down sack, San Francisco’s 5th of the match. On that particular play, Arik Armstead and Jaquiski Tartt combined for the sack. Armstead was as consistent a pass-rush threat in this game as Nick Bosa was. Armstead, in particular, filled up the stat sheet with 5 total tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 4 QB hits and 2 sacks. The Packers offensive line had difficulty dealing with either player let alone both. It was certainly a similar sight to the last time that Green Bay was in California.
3rd Down is the Charm
The 49ers had one final offensive possession. While the game score would not show it, San Francisco did have trouble in one area on offense, 3rd-down. Entering this drive, they were 0-for-6 on the 3rd-down attempts in the game. Not that the Packers were any better as they went an abysmal 2-for-18 on 3rd and 4th down throughout this game. On this final possession, the 49ers completed 3 separate 3rd-down attempts on route to a Raheem Mostert TD run. This made it the score 37-8.
The Packers did get one final drive, only this time with Tim Boyle in at QB. There were a few key starters on offense that were along the sidelines during this possession. However, one player that was absent from the field altogether was Bryan Bulaga. He left during the 1st-half with an apparent knee injury and did not return. Alex Light came in at right tackle for the remained of the contest. He initially struggled, as did most of the offensive line. As the game went on, the Packers began giving Light some help on the edge with an RB usually chipping in to block in pass protection.
Regardless, if Bulaga is out for any significant time, it will be a big blow to this Green Bay team and their Super Bowl chances. Bulaga was having an excellent season both in pass-protection and in run-blocking duties. Countless times this season have the Packers running backs ran behind the right side of that line with both Bulaga and Billy Turner providing space for their teammates. Now, if Light is to be the right tackle for the foreseeable future, we may see this offense struggle.
The Packers are now 8-3 and currently tied atop the NFC North with the Vikings. That makes the week 16 meeting between the divisional rival all the more important.
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