Packers XLV

Stop the run: Check. Defend the Pass: Um...

Posted September 9th, 2013 @ 02:09am

The Packers accomplished a couple of their goals in their season opener: they contained the 49ers potent ground game, keeping Frank Gore and Colin Kaepernick in check. They combined for just 66 yards on 28 carries. The passing attack? That was another story.

Minus two starters in the secondary, the Pack had no answer for veteran Anquan Boldin and that was the difference in a game that Pack played well enough to win, but did just enough dumb things to lose. Minus Morgan Burnett and Casey Hayward, the Pack's back end was not up to the challenge presented by the NFC favorites. Obsessed with not letting Kaepernick beat them on the edges, the Packers were willing to allow him to stand in the pocket and beat them and he did--to the tune of a career high 412 yards through the air.

There's no shame in losing a one possession game in San Francisco to start the season. Aaron Rodgers and the passing game were sharper than I expected--both Nelson and Cobb were excellent, each with seven catches and over 100 yards. As expected, the running game was ineffective against the Niners' stout front seven. And Eddie Lacy's fumble in the red zone turned out to be the difference in the game.  But he showed us something and he'll be better next week and the week after that. The 31 yard screen play is a preview of things to come, once he gets comfortable.

The Pack turned it over twice, while the Niners held to form and didn't turn it over once. Minus two in the takeaway battle will almost always get you an "L," yet the Packers had the lead midway through the fourth quarter and you started to fantasize that maybe, just maybe, the Pack would figure out a way to win this one.

But the offense sputtered at the wrong time late--there were too many three and outs. Key drops by Jones and Finley were costly, the latter costing the team a pick. The offensive line played better than I expected. I thought Bakhtiari held up well despite his matchup with Justin and Aldon Smith. Josh Sitton struggled more, flagged three times for holding. One sequence in the second quarter included a Sitton penalty, the Lacy fumble, the Matthews ridiculous late hit on #7 (which cost the Pack four points, thanks in large part to the officials mistakenly giving the Niners an extra play) and then a penalty on Daniels. You won't beat Super Bowl favorites at their place when you play like that.

But there's reason for optimism, beginning with the run defense. If it's legit, the Pack will be in every game it plays this season. But the team needs Burnett back in a hurry. Safety is already the thinnest position on the roster, and Burnett's presence will make a world of difference out there.

0-1. Just like last year. But we got the toughest game on the schedule out of the way, and looked pretty good in the process. This week's homework assignment: clean up the penalties, get on the right side of the turnover battle and get those tender hammies healed up.


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Comments (10):

I think even more so now than in January, the one thing I'm taking away from this game is that Kaepernick is for real. He's not just a runner, he can also sit back there and sling it like the big boys. Boldin was truly the difference maker in this one, but what bothers me the most is if this guy is so good, what's he doing on his 3rd team in the last 5 years? Regardless, let's give credit where its due. The Niners are the prohibitive favorites from the NFC, but I'm expecting a potential rematch in January. Even though they lost, the Packers showed they can play their type of game. The running game is going to take a little time to get on track, so let's just be patient with it. I'm glad this was the first game, and it's a good indication of what we can expect against the Redskins, whom they should handle with few problems, since they aren't anywhere near the level of the 49ers. It's one game down, 15 more to go, and there ain't no moral victories, no matter how you spin it.

on September 10th, 2013 at 03:40pm

Remember what Charles Woodson said last January about this team: The Packers had to get bigger, stronger, faster to beat the Niners and obviously they aren't there yet. But a loss here was expected. Keep the work in progress the rest of the way and it'll be playoffs again for Packers. Which defeat is more worrisome; the Packers carrying the Niners to the last plays of the game or the Vikqueens getting skinned by the Motor City Kitties?

on September 11th, 2013 at 07:26pm

Hey Packer fans - we need a 'grassroots' effort to let KFAN know we are disappointed with the time and format change for Preview. Email or call KFAN with your thoughts. They made the change to offer more Viking ad inventory for sale. Let's give it some effort!

on September 11th, 2013 at 07:57am

Do the DB's know it is allowed to not let rcvrs just catch and yak ?

on September 8th, 2013 at 09:50pm

I'm not going to be hard on Matthews about that hit. Matthews was living his feet before Kaepernick touched his toes out of bounds. Kaepernick has been known to swing that leg back around and add yards. He uses the side lines to his advantage continuously (to his credit). It's ridiculous to make the defender guess intent and kaepernick is not defenseless in that situation. However, a blocker can totally blow up a defensive player at that same point of time without any worries. Just ask Bush.

on September 8th, 2013 at 10:50pm

Quit it with the moral victory crap, cheeseheads. You were underdogs--yes, but let's not pretend like you even covered the spread. Without the big long drops by Vernon Davis and Kyle Williams--and w/o Jordy catching what was basically a hail mary in the first half---this game isn't remotely close.

on September 9th, 2013 at 02:03pm

well was wrong on this, i told P.A. we would lose 27-23. but just before the game i had a feeling 12 would play great and pull one out. just watched the game again, we have a left tackle boys. he played great for his 1st game and who it was against. sitton struggled the most. i would switch lang and him back to there original spots.I think the would both be more comfortable there and less thinking too. 12 did not play well, there were 8 times he had 5-6 seconds to thro, unheard of in this nfl. no one must have gotten open. he did miss lacey, on 3rd and 8 with 3 min. left at our 30 yd. line he had 25 yds. with no one by him. he forced it to 87. stopped the run, that helps, let's hope burnett. and hayward will help down the road. spencer u are right, mcMillan was horrible. put in the banjo man. he has no speed. another tough one with RG3. go pack

on September 9th, 2013 at 02:16pm

McMillan is terrible. TERRIBLE. We desperately need Burnett to be good to go all season. If he isn't I hope Banjo gets a shot; there is no way he performs worse than McMillan did yesterday. Ughhh

on September 9th, 2013 at 06:22am

Some of the glaring not too obvious stats and observations: SF time of possession 39 minutes PACK...21 minutes....# 12 needs the ball more than half the game to be a difference maker. Our half ton front three of Pickett, Jolly, and Ragi played well against the run. If Ross is on the team this week he must have some discriminating pictures of MM.....his 2 returns to the 8 were stupid and beyond dumb. Yes...the lost of 2 starting D backs was big and why is Jared Bush being used in the nickel? Where was Mikah Hyde who impressed in preseason. After the Dline held up too many third down conversions. Also looks like Tramon Williams has not rebounded and is on the slide. Overall we will be fine as to the positives Davy pointed out. Hopefully ....this is our toughest opponent. Go Pack Go !!

on September 9th, 2013 at 07:21am

Great Take Dave. Any chance KFAN reconsiders the format for your Packer Preview show on Sunday mornings? 30 minutes is not enough. We were the underdogs and still gave them a game with a young squad. More times than not we seem to beat ourselves with penalties and turnovers. I still expect a playoff run for the Pack. No shame in losing to the defending NFC champs on the road by less than a TD. Not so for the Queens. Hopefully P.A. is humbled by his squad losing on the road to the Lions.

on September 9th, 2013 at 08:01am

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