The defensive line had their way against a very solid San Franicsco O-Line with regards to the run. Frank Gore was held to under 50 yards on the ground as B.J. Raji and Johnny Jolly shut down everything in between the tackles. Just as impressive was the containment of Colin Kaepernick on the ground, which was the Packers’ Achilles heel in their playoff loss to San Francisco last season.
Playmaking from Offensive Skill Positions
Jordy Nelson flourished in his return from a knee injury, picking up big yards after the catch to keep drives alive. Randall Cobb strung together several nice catch-and-runs, which included a great effort getting the ball over the goal line for a score in the first half. These efforts, combined with an overall positive outing for Jermichael Finley, have made Greg Jennings’ absence in the offense substantially less noticeable.
Kaepernick absolutely torched the Packers’ secondary when he had time to throw (which was often) and Anquan Boldin had a field day in his first game as a Forty-Niner. The third-down defense struggled, in particular, as Morgan Burnett’s presence was greatly missed in the secondary. Clay Matthews had a busy day in the San Francisco backfield but the pass rush was otherwise quiet as the Niners amassed 400 yards through the air. The returns of Burnett and Casey Hayward should shore up some of the issues.
Despite Mike McCarthy’s repeated emphasis on winning the turnover battle, the Packers coughed up the football twice, which was ultimately the difference maker in the game. Just as detrimental were the five penalties for 44 yards, three of which came in the first half against Josh Sitton. Other stupid mistakes included a late hit by Matthews well out of bounds as well as a number of poor decisions that seemed to add up – like Jeremy Ross unnecessarily taking kickoffs out of the endzone.