This time around, the Packers held up well against the 49ers’ rushing attack.
However, visiting Green Bay had no answer for San Francisco’s passing game in a 34-28 49ers victory on Sunday at Candlestick Park.
We’ll get to what this means in a second. But first, give the Packers their due.
All things considered, Mike McCarthy’s club didn’t lose much in defeat. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers looked like the blue-chip player he is, throwing for three touchdowns. Wide receiver Jordy Nelson had a wonderful game, catching seven passes for 130 yards and a score. The Packers led in the fourth quarter at San Francisco, and that’s a feat that’s going to take some doing this season.
The Packers can compete with the 49ers, and they could potentially beat them in a one-game playoff if they were in top form.
But let’s talk about San Francisco. The Packers shut down the Niners’ running game. Colin Kaepernick and Frank Gore didn’t run all over Green Bay this time.
It didn’t matter. On Sunday, the Packers couldn’t cope with 49ers’ passing game. Kaepernick shredded Green Bay for 412 yards passing and three touchdowns. Wide receiver Anquan Boldin hauled in 12 passes for 208 yards and a score in a special debut with his new club.
Some will talk about what may have been an officiating mistake in the second quarter, when Clay Matthews and Joe Staley were assessed off-setting penalties after a third-down sideline confrontation. According to Fox’s Mike Pereira, the actual result of the play should have a 4th-and-2 at the Green Bay 6-yard-line instead a replay of 3rd-and-6 from the Green Bay 10. On the next play, Kaepernick found Boldin for a touchdown.
If indeed a mistake were made, it’s an unfortunate one. But mistakes happen.
Here’s what doesn’t often happen: a team having as many ways to win as San Francisco has at its disposal. Shut down the run? Fine — Kaepernick’s passing will save the day. Want to stop the pass? You’ll have to deal with Gore, Kaepernick, Kendall Hunter and Co. And should a team have the skill to slow the 49ers’ offense in all phases . . . well, there’s the matter of dealing with San Francisco’s defense, which is no slouch.
As season openers go, Packers-49ers was a spectacular one. Oh, the sheer skill on display Sunday.
And oh, the many ways the 49ers can give the opposition trouble these days.