Week 4 Takeaways

downloadIt wasn’t the type of win that Mike McCarthy expected over his former team – but the Packers head coach should be generally pleased with the defensive-led 17-3 win over the Niners in Week 4. A healthy front seven and opportunistic secondary allowed the defense to build off of its past two performances and hold San Francisco to three total points.

Despite the all-around great performance by the defense, it should be noted that Colin Kaepernick had his way on the ground during the first half, carrying the ball ten times for 57 yards in total and forcing a number of missed tackles by the Packers. But a two-possession deficit in the game’s second half forced San Francisco to turn to Kaepernick’s arm – a move that ultimately burned the Forty-Niners in the same way it had during the season’s first three games.

Despite facing a struggling quarterback, one has to credit Dom Capers and the Green Bay pass defense for what they were able to accomplish on the road. The Packers were extremely effective when blitzing Kaepernick, tallying six sacks and applying constant pressure on passing downs. Clay Matthews, in particular, exhibited great pursuit on Kaepernick throughout the game and looks completely natural at the inside linebacker spot.

Interestingly enough, it was the Packers offense that struggled to deliver consistent production throughout the game. Aaron Rodgers received less than optimal protection from his offensive line – right tackle Don Barclay, in particular – and was sacked three times. Green Bay’s receivers continue to show poor ability in getting separation from defenders – something that injured receiver Jordy Nelson does quite well.

On a positive note, the Packers offered some creativity in their play calling, making greater use of receiver Ty Montgomery and using both Randall Cobb and the rookie out of the backfield. Perhaps more noteworthy, offensive coordinator Tom Clements has also developed a fluid rotation of carries between Eddie Lacy and James Starks at running back.

All things considered, the Packers should feel good about their Week 4 win over a well-coached and relentless Forty-Niners team. The defense is playing at arguably its highest level since the 2010 Super Bowl season while the small step backward on offense seems correctable. Two home games against the Rams and Chargers stand in the way of a perfect start heading into the Packers’ Week 7 bye.

Week 4 Takeaways

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