Whew! The 49ers beat the Packers for the third straight time Sunday, 34-28. It was a seesaw battle between two prolific passing attacks that wasn’t decided until late in the fourth quarter when the Niners scored to take the lead and Aaron Rodgers followed up with a wimpy three and out that ran his fourth quarter comeback failure record to 0-19. The 49ers then ran the last four minutes off the clock and kicked the game icing field goal with a mere 26 seconds left on the clock.
Twenty-two guys were out there playing for us, but it seemed like only four: Colin Kaepernick, Anquan Boldin, Vernon Davis, and rookie FS Eric Reid, who looked simply marvelous in his NFL debut. Boldin caught 13 passes for 208 yards! Davis barely missed a 100 yard game, settling for 6 catches, 98 yards, and two TDs. Kaepernick threw for 412 yards, almost a hundred yards more than Rodgers.
The game should not have been close, but the 49ers kept shooting themselves in the foot every other drive with a various assortment of false starts, illegal formations, game delays, and burned time outs. All in all, eleven penalties totaling 85 negative yards. Not a great portender of success for next week’s game in the thundering noise of Seattle’s Qwest Field.
A lot was made of the referee screw up in the first half that gave the 49ers an extra down, which they used to score a TD. But the real screw up was the striped wonders giving Joe Staley an offsetting unsportsmanlike penalty for getting in Clay Matthews face after his blatant OB hit on Kaepernick. Matthews took a couple of swings at Staley and should have been ejected from the game, giving the Niners a first and goal from inside the five.
The 49er offense looked awesome, but there were only two guys providing the juice — Boldin and VD — playing against two backup safeties. Kyle Williams is a nice kid, but he’s not a number two WR. At best, he’s a number 3 slot receiver. Marlon Moore and Quinton Patton barely got into the game and they should have, especially Patton. Perhaps Jim Harbaugh was saving him to surprise Seattle with in next Sunday’s game.
But the most distressing aspect of the game was the continued poor play by the defense, despite playing against two backup offensive tackles, one of them a rookie. Since the second half of the Patriots game last year, the pass rush has mostly disappeared and the secondary has been burned alive. Granted, they have faced Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, and Rodgers twice. They face Wilson again next week, followed by Andrew Luck. Still, this unit has got to improve by season’s end or the Super Bowl might be just out of reach once again.
For the nonce, it’s one game and one big ass W. Which is superior to one ugly ass L in every way.