49ers More Than Show Up Vs. Green Bay
(originally written 11/25/19)
Peruse the 2019 NFL Week 12 scoreboard and you'll be treated to a number of upsets and blowouts endured by teams who A) overestimated themselves, B) underestimated their competition, C) didn't even get off the team bus, or D) all of the above.
The Los Angeles Rams, last year's NFC champion, got spanked. The 6-4 Oakland Raiders got spanked, though not quite as hard. Denver managed 134 yards of total offense. Jacksonville got doubled up in Tennessee.
And the Green Bay Packers, despite an extra week of rest coming off a bye, got obliterated by the banged-up San Francisco 49ers.
"But, wait! That can't be! Green Bay was 8-2 going into that game!"
Green Bay hadn't tangled with the Red & Gold yet, though.
They sure acted as if they belonged on the same field with SF early on, as GB WR Davante Adams' hubric chest bump to SF DB Emmanuel Moseley during the opening drive proved. Said drive ended with Packers QB Aaron Rodgers sacked and fumbling into the hands of SF DL Nick Bosa, who returned it to the 2-yard line. One play later, RB Tevin Coleman back-stretched over the goal line to put San Francisco up 7-0.
You're gonna read those names again in this article, meaning Bosa and Coleman.
49ers DL D.J. Jones' stuff of Packers RB Aaron Jones contributed to a 3-and-out on the next series, but a snap fumble pushed the Niners too far back to recover. We did get a nice little dance from WR Emmanuel Sanders following a first-down reception, so it wasn't an entirely wasted possession.
The other half of Green Bay's RB tandem, Jamaal Williams, got three touches on the ensuing Packer possession. The result? A third-down drop and a punt to the Niners 48...noice.
San Francisco almost blew the short-field opportunity when Green Bay blitzed QB Jimmy Garoppolo into a 3rd-down sack, but a hands-to-the-face away from the ball kept things going. Next play: RB Jeff Wilson jukes out the D for a gain of 25, the crowd gets fired up, and a score seems just minutes away. It was, although said score was a mere FG as things stalled at the GB 11.
Jimmie Ward's pass breakup helped contribute to what amounted to another 3-and-out for GB (there was an illegal block on 2nd down), but the Niners submitted a 3-and-out of their own. At this point it was 10-0 SF and still anyone's game entering the 2nd quarter.
It was here that the Packers finally showed some signs of offensive life, gaining two first downs including one on a nifty reverse to WR Allen Lazard. But Ward's tackle of Adams prevented another first-down, then SF defenders D.J. Jones and DeForest Buckner stopped Aaron Jones on 4th and 1...want some turkey with that stuffing?
Next: an awful 49er possession that ended with a great Raheem Mostert open-field tackle on Packers PR Tremon Smith.
Green Bay, already backed up, got a gift-wrapped first down when, on 3rd-and-35, Buckner was called for a personal foul. If there was ever a time to take advantage of a penalty...
But no. On 3rd-and-8, Ward came through again, breaking up a deep lob to GB TE Jimmy Graham and forcing yet another Packers punt. So far...game ball for Jimmie Ward!
Then superstar TE George Kittle sprung to life. Back after missing two games and still with a chipped ankle bone, Kittle hauled in consecutive first-down passes followed by a dancing 10-yard run by Coleman. But the drive stalled in the red zone once more—the ensuing FG advanced the lead to 13-0. Still anybody's game at this point; no one was thinking blowout.
It was SF CB Ahkello Witherspoon's turn to shine this time around; playing his first extensive snaps since Week 3, he broke up Rodgers' 3rd-and-6 pass to Adams in the flat to force the 5th Packer punt of the game.
SF wasn't exactly automatic on 3rd down either, but here they didn't need to be. On 2nd-and-5, Garoppolo beat the blitz and fired to WR Deebo Samuel on a cross—Deebo shot into gear up the left side and hit paydirt with relative ease. SF 20, GB 0—not quite anybody's game anymore; the Pack now had some work to do.
Fully aware of this, Green Bay's next possession went short screen/incompletion/Bosa sack/punt #6...some work, huh? Again with great field position (own 48), the Niners eventually tacked on a 48-yard FG before the first half expired, mercifully for the Packers who now trailed 23-0 (and by now had to be fearing a Sunday Night Football embarrassment.)
SF FB Kyle Juszczyk allegedly committed a personal foul on the first play of Half #2, putting SF in a yardage hole it couldn't escape. So be it—special teams was on fire tonight with yet another dazzling open-field tackle, this time by a tandem of Mostert and Tarvarius Moore.
On this GB possession, Rodgers repeatedly found no one open downfield, but still stole a first down on 4th-and-4 with a dump-off to Williams. SF LB Dre Greenlaw's facemask tacked on 15 yards, and on 3rd-and-long, after Bosa pressured Rodgers into a short scramble to the SF 5, CB Richard Sherman was flagged for unnecessary roughness for shoving Jones in coverage—meaning four fresh downs at the 2 for the Packers.
Shortly after, Green Bay finally got on the scoreboard on a reverse by Adams, who soon added a 2-point conversion. Just like that, it was 23-8 and a ballgame again...sort of.
Next, Niners WR Kendrick Bourne was finally heard from; his 14-yard reception set things up for a play-action, 61-yard catch-and-run touchdown pass to Kittle! The two-play "drive" put San Francisco back in control, 30-8 entering the 4th quarter.
Despite yet again getting new life on what would've been a dead 3rd down (DL Arik Armstead's holding penalty) and a dead 4th-down (pass interference on DB K'Waun Williams) Green Bay failed to turn the gifts into points, although WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling came within two out-of-bounds steps of hauling in a touchdown pass. When Rodgers was swallowed up for the fifth time on 4th-and-8, garbage time officially began.
Of course, the Red & Gold added one final score, moving 69 yards in 6.5 minutes capped by a far-too-easy 15-yard Mostert run up the gut—even when the Niners weren't trying particularly hard to reach the end zone, somehow the end zone reached the Niners.
There's your critic-silencing final, 37-8.
San Francisco more than showed up for this highly-touted Sunday Night Football clash. Green Bay was present in body at Levi's Stadium, but certainly not in any form of competitive spirit. (Check that back pouch of the suitcases, guys. That's where I'm always leaving stuff.)
Rodgers apparently completed 20 passes, though it sure didn't feel like it. Adams and Williams caught seven balls each and the majority of them were quick outs, dump-offs and screens. At no time did A-Rod ever look comfortable, and most of the night his receivers struggled for separation downfield.
Excluding penalties, Green Bay ran 65 plays to San Francisco's 42. Among 49ers, only Kittle (6) had more than two receptions, and yet the Niners racked up 37 points. That's what happens when your RB's give you 101 rush yards on 19 attempts.
Armstead finished with a pair of sacks, losing another on a penalty. I particularly enjoyed his 2Q takedown at around 8:15; he seemed to (illegally) fly through the air to reach his mark. Maligned at times through the years, Armstead now has a whopping 10 sacks after registering nine total his first four seasons.
SF K Chase McLaughlin had some hiccups since joining the team, but tonight he made all three FG attempts (27, 29, 48) and all four XP attempts.