The Packers ran out of magic in the Niners’ wild card visit to Lambeau Field as Jim Harbaugh’s crew beat Green Bay for the fourth consecutive time. Colin Kaepernick had his way through the air against a Packers pass defense that saw four starters suffer injuries after kickoff. Davon House was a dark horse in the contest, making several big pass break-ups (with the help of some liberal officiating) while also giving up big gains.
Though the playoff loss at home will be a difficult one to swallow, fans must appreciate what the team was able to accomplish during a season that saw a large portion of the roster miss multiple games. There are several holes on the roster that will need to be addressed in free agency and the 2014 draft, starting with the safety position.
With Sam Shields exiting the game early, Williams quickly filled the Miami product’s shoes, nabbing a first half interception and helping slow San Francisco’s aerial threat. There will surely be conversation around the likely extension of Shields in the offseason but equally as relevant will be Ted Thompson’s call on retaining Williams in the final year of his contract. When Casey Hayward returns next season, it will be interesting to see if Williams maintains his job on the perimeter rather than shifting inside to the slot.
The defense was unable to contain Kaepernick on the ground but kept tailback Frank Gore in check until the game’s final drive. Mike Daniels continued to play a high level, making a key stop on third down early in the game. The run defense should improve further when Clay Matthews is back and healthy next season. It’s unknown whether the Packers will allow underachieving nose tackle B.J. Raji to test free agency in March but such decision will undoubtedly have some impact on the run defense.
The notorious Forty-Niner front seven absolutely dominated the Green Bay O-Line in the first half of the game and continued to abuse Aaron Rodgers in the second half. The Packer front five was forced to resort to holding on a number of occasions, many of which drew flags. As per usual, the offensive line did not create much for Eddie Lacy in the running game, though the rookie was able to manage 81 yards on 21 carries.
Jones reverted to his 2010 self and dropped two crucial passes, one of which would have surely been a touchdown. Meanwhile, the Packers were unable involve No.4 wide receiver and rising star, Jarrett Boykin. Boykin has played equally as well as Jones throughout 2013 and will push the Packers front office in potentially having to choose between the two receivers in the offseason. Jones surely isn’t happy with how his 2013 season ended, though it’s hard to imagine the receiver in a different uniform next season.