The Green Bay Packers 30-22 loss to the San Francisco 49ers stunned the crowd at Lambeau Field and fans all over the world. In a game full of disappointments, the biggest surprise has to be quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ performance.
Many knew this could potentially be the hardest game on the schedule considering the 49ers had the top ranked defense in the NFC last season. It appears San Francisco is taking it one step further by taking the title best defense in the NFL this year. It also seems the team is confident they will be able to go one game further and claim a Super Bowl berth.
Besides Rodgers’ performance and the fact the Packers lost the game, there were no other big surprises. Green Bay still could not run the ball and the defense still gave up points, as well as, yards. The pass rush was better, which is not surprising considering the team purposefully upgraded that part of the team, and it resulted in the pass defense surrendering only 211 yards.
In fact, the defense as a whole played at a higher level than they did all of last season. It was the offense that lost the game for the Packers, which is something I never thought I would ever say with Rodgers at the helm. The inability to convert third downs and score points when the defense got the ball back is what did the team in.
Rodgers could not make the necessary throws to move the chains, and when he did, the receivers could not hold on to the ball. Also, the inability to run the football proved to be fatal, but this was nothing new as Rodgers was named MVP last year in which there was no rushing attack. The 14 incomplete passes and three sacks for 24 yards are numbers the Packers do not want to see again this season.
What is even more surprising than the numerous incomplete passes and 93.3 passer rating was Rodgers failure to move the offense into scoring position twice in the fourth quarter when Green Bay was down by eight points. The first came with 8:59 left in the game after the defense came up with a critical stop. Rodgers threw an interception in the middle of the field on a pass intended for Greg Jennings.
“I’m mad about the interception…Greg (Jennings) thought he was wide open,” Rodgers said. “That jolted me and I made a snap decision, which I usually don’t do.”
If Rodgers had seen Jennings right away, the pass would have been completed but because he waited a second too long, it was just enough time for NaVorro Bowman to make the play.
Rodgers and the offense had one more opportunity to tie the game late in the fourth quarter. Fans all over thought the team could get the job done, but just like many teams last season, the 49ers pass rush was underestimated. The Packers lined up in shotgun on 10 straight snaps, which allowed the defense to tee off on Rodgers.
One positive to take away from the game and the offense’s performance is that they had a realistic chance of recording a win after going into the fourth quarter down 23-7.