The Packers maintained the same script that has plagued them for much the year.
And it’s just two simple words: What if.
What if James Jones can haul in two deep passes early in the third and early in the fourth quarter? What if B.J. Raji hadn’t turned on his cloaking device and went invisible — which he has done for the whole season — with just two total tackles as a starting left defensive end? What if Micah Hyde is able to squeeze that interception at the 49ers’ 30-yard-line with a little over four minutes left? What if the Packers offensive line didn’t allow four sacks?
Obviously I could go on and on.
But the reason the 49ers’ 23-20 win on Sunday hurts so much is because Aaron Rodgers just turned 30 this past December. He now has a 5-3 playoff record, but the most distressing thing about that record is that two of those three losses were at Lambeau Field. How many more home playoff games is he going to see?
You know, the magic Frozen Tundra where NFL dreams go to die? Well, teams aren’t exactly shuddering with fear anymore at the thought of going to Green Bay.
And it’s Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy’s job to find answers to all the What ifs. I think it’s safe to say that Raji played himself out of a Packers uniform with another uninspiring performance.
Rodgers didn’t have anymore pixie dust in a season that needed two handfuls just to seal a playoff spot. The offensive line has been held together with glue and spitwads, Morgan Burnett is no Nick Collins and Nick Perry isn’t the dynamic playmaker opposite of Clay Matthews.
What if the defense had gotten more takeaways instead of the -2 differential that the Packers closed out the year with?
What if McCarthy didn’t opt to get cute and give it to Randall Cobb off the left end on first-and-goal from the 9?
Nobody — including myself — gave the Packers a chance because the 49ers offensive and defensive lines were stronger, tougher and frankly owned the line of scrimmage.
But the Packers stayed close mainly because of Rodgers. What if the Packers weren’t blessed with the best mind and arm in the game?——————
Cory Jennerjohn is from Wisconsin and has been in sports media for over 10 years. To contact Cory e-mail him at jeobs -at- yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter: Cory Jennerjohn