Goodness. That was an unexpected butt kicking. I guess all those pundits who questioned the 49er defense because it hadn’t faced elite QBs are going to need something new to find wrong with them.
The first leg of the unholy three game challenge can be considered a success. As Bullit mentioned last night, the Niner defense held Aaron Rodgers to 104 yards passing on Sunday night. That is almost impossible. His average per attempt was 3.2 yards. Which is an ugly stat for a running back, let alone a QB. By comparison, Jimmy Garoppolo‘s average was 12.7, which is pretty good for anybody.
It helps to have guys like Deebo Samuel and George Kittle who had a 42 yard TD and a 61 yard TD respectively. Kittle also had 129 yards on the evening and cemented his status as the best TE in the NFL.
Deebo’s 42 yarder broke open a tight first half and sent the Niners to the locker room with a 23-0 lead. Then Rodgers chewed up most of the third quarter on his one successful drive of the night – helped immeasurably by a bunch of chintzy penalties that kept giving him new life.
Suddenly it was only a 15 point lead, but before any of us could get much of a sweaty feeling worked up, Kittle broke Green Bay’s back with his 61 yarder. Rendering the entire Packer third quarter drive just an empty threat. The lead was back up in the twenties. The Packers were down to desperate fumes, and a fourth down stuff extinguished all hope. The Niners added an exclamation point to the rout with a run fueled final TD drive.
At 10-1, the first double digit win season since 2013, the 49ers have almost clinched a playoff spot. The Rams could still technically squeeze them out if they win the rest of their games and the Niners lose their remaining five. Not a likely scenario. The only question now seems to be whether the team enters the postseason as the NFC West champs or as a wild card.