The San Francisco 49ers fell to 2-1 on the young season after losing their 2021 home opener to the Green Bay Packers.
Tonight was a great test for Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers. Unfortunately it took some time for the offense to get going. In fact late in the first half it appeared that the Packers were going to runaway with this game.Green Bay held a 17-0 lead with a little over a minute left to halftime.
Yet, Trenton Cannon returned the ensuing kick off 68 yards giving San Francisco an excellent opportunity to put points on the board. With how the offense was going it seemed a field goal by Robbie Gould was the likeliest scenario.
That didn’t happen though. Instead Jimmy Garoppolo found George Kittle for a 10 yard completion. Mohamed Sanu added a 11 yard reception to get the 49ers to the 11 yard line. A five yard catch by Kyle Juszczyk and a pass interference call on Eric Stokes brought the ball to the one yard line. After several incomplete passes and a offsetting penalty, Shanahan needed to make a difficult call.
Kick a field goal or try for the touchdown. He elected for the riskiest call and elected to use the speed of Trey Lance in the situation. The call worked to perfection as Trent Williams and Alex Mack made great blocks for their quarterback who ended the half with the touchdown run.
Momentum seemed to shift from there. San Francisco got the football back to start the second half. Shanahan made the right calls and the drive lasted a little over seven minutes to get the 49ers within three at 17-14.
Brandon Aiyuk finished that drive off with his first touchdown of the season. Several drives later though Aaron Rodgers answered with a drive that went for nearly six minutes, which ended in a touchdown by Marquez Valdes-Scanling.
Still Shanahan came up with an answer. A pass interference call and a catch by Sanu that got confirmed as a catch cost the Packers a timeout. Rookie Trey Sermon capped the drive off with a touchdown run.
Even better for the 49ers Rodgers elected to go deep on three consecutive passes. All were incomplete. It seemed he was hoping for a pass interference call on San Francisco to move the chains. Cause it happened three times before.
There was some controversy about a non-call on Jimmie Ward who hit Davante Adams hard. He seemed like he got knocked out. After further review though it was a clean hit, not late, and definitely not helmet-to-helmet. He was back in the game two plays later.
Even with the big defensive stop. The 49ers weren’t up to the task offensively. Green Bay got pressure on Garoppolo who got spun around and fumbled. He tried to plead with the official that he was trying to throw the football and therefore incomplete cause the ball slipped out of his hand. Which didn’t happen he threw the ball backwards.
Needing one more huge stop from the defense, San Francisco got it on an excellent pass break up by Emmanuel Moseley who played for the first time this season. Green Bay settled for a 38-yard field goal by Mason Crosby.
This moment was one that could quiet the critics of Garoppolo down. An opportunity for a game-winning drive with two minutes and thirty nine seconds left. He answered them. Even though the 49ers didn’t look good on the first two pass plays which brought a third and ten.
Garoppolo then found Kittle for 39 yards. The 49ers were once in a third and ten situation, with Deebo Samuel making a tough catch in traffic.
Another completion to Kittle got the 49ers to the 12 with the clock still running. On a beautiful play call, Garoppolo found Juszczyk who needed to get down short of the goal line, yet he scored the touchdown instead.
Gould came on for the extra point and made it to give the 49ers a 28-27 lead.
The Packers did not have any timeouts, yet still got 37 seconds to complete the task of getting in field goal range. Rodgers immediately found Adams for a 25 yard gain. After stopping the clock and an incomplete pass it was third and ten. Interestingly even with three timeouts, San Francisco didn’t elect to use one there with the game on the line.
Adams once again found an opening in the 49ers zone. He did try to get out-of-bounds, yet it didn’t happen. Still it gave Rodgers enough time to stop the clock and get Crosby on the field for a game-winning 51-yard field goal.
After a timeout, Crosby made the kick and the Packers hung on for the 30-28 win.
This game had the feeling of a rout. The way too cute play calling of Shanahan played a huge role in that. Still after the kickoff return by Cannon it seemed to even things out. With the Seattle Seahawks coming to Levi’s Stadium the 49ers have an even bigger test. Meaning that their first half issues offensively need to get addressed as soon as possible.
As for the game it is a good wake up call for San Francisco because next week there’s an even bigger test coming to Levi’s Stadium. The 1-2 Seattle Seahawks.
For the Packers. Rodgers threw for 261 yards and two touchdowns. Adams led the way receiving with 132 yards on 12 catches. Aaron Jones carried the ball 19 times for 82 yards and a touchdown. Yet he did seem to have a noticeable limp in the fourth quarter.
For the 49ers. Garoppolo threw for 257 yards, two touchdowns, an interception, and a fumble loss. Kittle caught seven passes for 92 yards. Sermon led the way with 10 carries and 31 yards.