Coming into the week, the Green Bay Packers were counted out by pretty much every single football analyst, announcer, reporter, and personality, fitting into what has been driving this team from a motivational perspective all year. And after Sunday night’s NFC Championship Game, it is fair to say that all of the naysayers and doubters were very much right.
The game seemed to already move towards the 49ers even more, as the Packers did not start out the game with the football, as the team has commonly performed well in games by getting the ball first and getting out to a quick start. While neither team scored on each of their first possessions, SF came out from there and set the tone for the rest of the game.
In a complete 180 change from what happened last week against the Seattle Seahawks, Green Bay was sluggish, uninterested, and not willing to actually feature their two key players on offense, Aaron Jones and Davante Adams. Bigger than that was Mike Pettine’s lack of concern with stopping the run, even though that is what has made the 49ers super successful so far.
SF scored on every drive of the game but two, as they put up a touchdown-field goal-touchdown-field goal-touchdown-touchdown succession across six consecutive drives, knocking what little momentum Green Bay had out of them. While never having backed down and submitted to their opponents, the Packers were fighting a losing battle as soon as they stepped on the field at Levi Stadium.
The offensive gameplan was quite poor in the first half, which easily led to the team being shut out going into half time. Putting the ball into the hands of Aaron Rodgers more than that of the cast of offensive weapons is exactly where the downfall of the 2019 – 2020 Packers season.
As hard as it is to pull positives from this game, Jones scored twice on 83 total yards and 17 touches, Jimmy Graham had a score taken away from him by being ruled down at the one-inch line, and Adams put up 9 catches for 138 yards. Defensively, let’s not talk about it.
When the two teams matched up in Week 12, the Packers were coming out of their much-needed bye the prior week, looking to make a statement and solidify themselves atop the league as a contender for a top seed in the conference. What actually was produced on the field may have actually benefited them more – or so was potentially thought.
In a game that was over just as soon as it practically began, the Packers came out very sluggish, with some suggesting that having been in San Francisco early for the game as a big reason why the team was not focused. Regardless of what caused it, the fact of the matter remains that the 29-point deficit that Green Bay lost to the 49ers by is something that was used as a learning tool more than anything in the weeks after that game.
Head coach Matt LaFleur, who coached against his brother Mike, who is the 49ers passing game coordinator, showed Packer fans early on in 2020 what they can expect from him – his leadership, while a question coming into the year due to this being his first head-coaching opportunity, has shown through and vibed extremely well with Aaron Rodgers and the rest of the team.
Not many differences between the Week 12 and Championship Game matchup exist after that disaster of a performance, but what can be looked at are the strides that this team made during this season, even though it ended in such a poor, poor fashion.
All fans can do is look ahead, which is exactly what they should do – with general manager Brian Gutekunst at the helm, full of shrewd personnel moves ready to keep this team competitive, Rodgers as the team’s QB, and the offense and defense both full of solid players, next season is something that should already be looked at as a chance to put this year into the box that is never touched again.
Oh, and an easy way to push this team into the offseason? Leave Pettine in California.
Through draft capital, free agency, and trades, the Packers have the needed capital to not only remain a competitive team that is slated to return to the postseason again but to get over this hump again and stop wasting the prime of some of their prime players.
Even though the season may be over, coverage of the Packers runs all year! We, at PackersTalk, thank you for all of your interest and following our coverage of Green Bay this season, and during the offseason, our coverage only ramps up!
With coverage of the upcoming NFL draft, free agency, and roster moves on deck, plus more, make sure you stay tuned – we are here to help make this feeling of being let down go away.뿓뿓뿓
Mike Johrendt has been an avid fan of the Packers ever since he can remember. He is now a writer at PackersTalk and you can follow him on Twitter at @MJohrendt23