In a thrilling see-saw battle in the frozen dirt of Lambeau Field, the 49ers pulled out a taut and exciting game as Phil Dawson put the finishing touches on a 23-20 victory with a 33 yard FG that magically went BETWEEN the outstretched arms of would be Packer savior Devon House. Strangely enough, there WAS an offisdes penalty called on him that was neither discussed or shown during the broadcast.
Either way, a game that will become part of the NFL lore if not for the weather, but another example of the recent history of the Niners having the Packers number. For the 2nd straight year, the Niners opened the season with a victory over Green Bay, and for the 2nd year in a row, the Niners ended Green Bay’s playoff hopes. For all the talk of the Pack being a weak playoff team this year, and them backing in at 8-7-1, Aaron Rodgers put that to rest with some inspired play. He constantly escaped pressure. Most notably on a 4th and 2 play where he escaped the grasp of Ray McDonald (and a major hold on the play), and completed a 26 yard pass to continue their last TD drive. Eddie Lacy also had a big game as he rushed for 88 yards and did his best impression of Marshawn Lynch.
Pack Killer Colin Kaepernick (he must haunt their dreams) threw and ran his way to more than 300 yards of total offense. Michael Crabtree had a game for the ages as Green Bay once again overracted to the previous game. In Kappy’s 1st Green Bay game, he slashed them for over 180 yards on the ground. Game 2 saw Green Bay focus solely on containing Kappy, who then torched them for over 400 yards in the air with new weapon Anquan Boldin. Green Bay response was to then bracket Boldin all night. This left Crabs in single coverage most of the time. He merely had 8 catches for 125, and an absolute game saver on 3rd and 10 on the final drive. Kappy was flushed from the pocket, and rolling left, threw a dart that was just barely in reach of Crabs. He grabbed it for a 17 yard gain, and a 1st down. He also hit Crabs on a 30 yard pass on the opening drive, which led to a field goal (among a lot of non-PI calls).
So, instead of the Niners going big on the ground, or going big in the air, they did enough of both to beat the Pack. Gore was ‘held’ to 66 yards, but his contributions were huge. His 10 yard scoring run erased a 7-6 Packer lead, and his final drive carries for 15 yards don’t sound impressive, but he got a huge 1st down on 3rd and 3 to allow the draining of the clock. Kappy of course had 98 yards on the ground, and a beautiful 28 yard strike to VD in the 4th quarter to erase another Packer lead.
The FG is NUTS. Check this out:
On to Carolina!