Game Balls and Lame Calls: Green Bay Packers Defeat 49ers
In a contest that looked scary at first, the Packers were able to utilize big plays to pull away from the 49ers as the game wore on.
There were both good and bad things to take away from the game. First the good news:
QB Aaron Rodgers
The Rodgers Romp rolls on.
Finishing the day 21/30 for 298 yards and three TD passes, the hot streak Rodgers began five weeks ago continues. Despite a sluggish start to the game, No. 12 got dialed in just in time to bury the 49ers.
Rodgers continued to play like he had a chip on his shoulder against the team he rooted for as a child. With precision passing on deep routes, Rodgers shredded a weak 49ers secondary and carried his team to a big win.
RB James Starks
Holy Crap, the Packers have a rushing attack.
Despite the tongue in cheek humor on Twitter over James Starks’ much ballyhooed debut, the rookie lived up to some of the hype by gaining 74 yards on the ground. As a team the Packers went over the 150 yard mark on the ground.
I’m not saying Starks is the new starter, but a two pronged attack with him and Brandon Jackson and the occasional Rodgers scramble just might give Mike McCarthy something to work with as winter arrives.
WRs Greg Jennings and Donald Driver.
Big time players make big time plays at big parts of the game.
That’s exactly what the Packer’s’ top two wide-outs did today. Driver got into the end zone on an incredible catch and run that stopped the 49ers from gaining momentum and the same could be said of Jennings. No. 85 continued his resurgence in the absence of Jermichael Finley and is creeping ever closer to another 1,000 yard season despite his slow start to the year.
Driver in the meantime has had a frustrating season thus far mainly due to injury, but if there’s one thing DD is known for it’s never quitting and it showed on his touchdown grab. One of the most spectacular plays of the year in my opinion.
So that’s just some of the good stuff. Now let’s look at some of the not-so-good.
Even if the Packers make a deep playoff run, Shawn Slocum’s job status has to be drawn into question here.
First, Mason Crosby doinks a 29 yard chip shot field goal. Chalk that one up under “sometimes, stuff happens.”
What the inexcusable part of the special teams performance was the inability to not just stop Ted Ginn Jr., but the fact that they kept kicking to him at all.
As the saying goes, if you play with fire you’re liable to get burned. The Packers nearly did and it’s obvious Slocum didn’t learn his lesson from kicking to Devin Hester earlier in the season.
The officiating crew
In a word, they stunk.
First was the horrible intentional grounding call on Rodgers in the first quarter despite the ball only being a foot or so above Driver’ head and giving the 49ers early momentum
Second was after assessing the Packers a penalty and then announcing it was fourth down thus stripping the Packers of two downs. It wasn’t really a pivotal moment but to quote ESPN “C’MON MAN!”
The third and most irritating was when what should have been a free play (and long completion) was blown dead despite the 49ers jumping offsides. In what was a close game at the time, this could have swung momentum the other way on a huge blunder by the officials.
The pushing and shoving after the plays was ridiculous at points.
I’m not sure if the 49ers were attempting to get into the head of the Packers or what but the extracurriculars after the play was incredibly dirty and much credit goes to the Packers for not taking the bait.
This is not usually a trait you would associate with a Mike Singletary-led team, but perhaps this was a sign as to how desperate the 49ers are to hang on in a pathetic NFC West.
So that’s just some of the good and the bad of this week’ game. For example, the inability to stop Vernon Davis or the big stops the Packers defense made also could have been included.
Feel free to agree or disagree in the comments below.
Who would you give a game ball to? On the flip side, who or what were some of the lame calls of the game?——————
Kris Burke is a freelance sports writer currently residing in Wisconsin. His work has been linked to by sites such as National Football Post and CBSSports.com. Follow @KrisLBurke