The first and biggest green and gold nugget the Green Bay Packers picked up in Week 4 was a road win against the San Francisco 49ers to improve their record to 4-0. This is the kind of “fast start” the Packers hoped for this season.
A fast start can help your chances of winning home field advantage throughout the playoffs if you are considered a playoff contender like the Green Bay Packers. In addition, after the Packers beat the 49ers 17-3 on Sunday, the Packers finally “kissed the Colin Kaepernick demons good-bye.”
However, on this particular Sunday beating Kaepernick and the 49ers was no easy feat. The 49ers played the Packers tough after being trounced by the Arizona Cardinals the week before 47-7.
Not only was this a short week for Green Bay who played last Monday night against the Kansas City Chiefs, but the Packers also had to overcome the jet lag from their long flight out to San Francisco. Green and gold nugget number two for Green Bay: Smart-thinking Mike McCarthy for flying his Packers out a day earlier than normal to get over the jet lag.
Given the Packers high octane offense displayed the first three games of the season, some Packers fans thought this game against the 49ers would be over early. However, this was not the case. The score was just 7-3 in favor of the Pack at the end of the first half.
The 17-3 win against San Francisco wasn’t pretty, but a win is a win. Many thanks are owed to the Packers defense, which filled the pan full of green and gold nuggets for the Packers in California.
Low scoring games will occur from time to time this season, since the Packers offense can’t always score 30 plus points a game. Therefore, defense is the key to winning games when only a handful of points are scored.
More importantly, if the Packers want to secure home field advantage throughout the playoffs, they will have to win a few of these low scoring affairs. The win at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA, which, by the way, is the “neutral site” for Super Bowl 50, was a step in the right direction.
On the other hand, the Green Bay Packers took a step in the wrong direction on Sunday against the 49ers when it came to pass protecting for Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers was sacked 3 times for a loss of 24 yards. Although McCarthy denied it to reporters, Rodgers appeared at times frustrated and the offense seemed out of sync.
If this poor pass protection continues, the loss of yards won’t hurt as much as the bumps and bruises Rodgers will sustain over the course of the season. The Green Bay Packers will have to improve this aspect of their offensive game this coming Sunday, if they want to keep Rodgers on his feet at Lambeau Field when they play the St. Louis Rams and their speedy pass rushers.
Defense wins championships and this victory proves that when the Packers offense is not firing on all cylinders the Packers “D” can come through. Another green and gold nugget the team found in San Fran.
Since the Chicago Bears game in Week 1, the Packers “D,” while not perfect, has been swarming to the ball and gang tackling. This is one reason why they have been able to contain the Seahawks, Chiefs and 49ers ground game for three consecutive weeks, respectively.
On Sunday the Packers defense sacked Colin Kaepernick a total of six times for a loss of 41 yards. Nick Perry did his job against the 49ers; another green and gold nugget for the Packers. Perry’s solid play on the edge allows Clay Matthews to move around which creates confusion for the opponent’s offense.
Finally, the last green and gold nuggets in the pan came from the play of Sam Shields and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. Shields had a key interception in the game and Clinton-Dix led the Packers in tackles with 7.
With the Packers’ high octane offense sputtering it was vital that the defense step up and make plays and stop drives. Mission accomplished. Which is why the Packers flew home on Sunday with a bag full of precious green and gold nuggets to fall back on.
Most importantly, the 17-3 victory over the San Francisco 49ers gives the Green Bay Packers a 4-0 start.
Go Pack Go—and keep on going!