With the Green Bay Packers heading out to the West Coast’s House of Horrors, their Sunday Night Football matchup with the San Francisco 49ers was an early-season test to see where this team was at – and we learned a lot about them along the way, both about the offense and defense.
Jumping out to an early lead, the Packers got the ball first and drove down the field, getting inside the SF 20-yard line before being forced to settle for a long Mason Crosby field goal. This was a historical drive, as Aaron Rodgers completed his third career pass to himself, breaking the tie he and Brett Favre had for career receptions (Rodgers caught a batted ball and was quickly tackled for a loss).
After holding the Niners to a quick punt, Green Bay was able to put its first touchdown on the board, thanks to a 47-yard completion from Rodgers to Marquez Valdes-Scantling, helping make good on his post-game remarks from Week 2 about how he missed MVS on three occasions.
A three-and-out for the Niners gave the ball back to Green Bay, who punted after five plays and after Rodgers was sacked on third down. First play on the ensuing SF drive, Jimmy Garopolo threw a deep interception that Jaire Alexander stepped in front of George Kittle for and returned into SF territory.
Unfortunately, Green Bay was not able to take advantage of the turnover, eventually turning it over on downs on the SF 3 yard line. The Niners put together a solid, 10-play drive after the turnover, but they were still kept scoreless, settling for a punt.
The final drive of the half for Green Bay saw another TD go up on the board, as Aaron Jones continued his hot scoring streak, taking it in from three yards out, his fifth score in the past two games.
Getting the Niners finally on the board to end the half was started by a 68-yard kickoff return by Trenton Cannon, with the drive being finalized with two seconds left on a short run by rookie QB Trey Lance on a sweep to the left, putting the score at 17-7 GB going into halftime.
The second half started out just as the first half ended, as the Niners received the ball and drove down the field with Garoppolo finding Brandon Aiyuk for a short score to pull within three points.
A punt by each team kept the score at 17-14 GB, and then both teams traded TDs on their next respective drives.
The Packers added seven on a beautiful connection from Rodgers to MVS, while the Niners found paydirt on a one-yard run by rookie back Trey Sermon.
Green Bay had a quick three-and-out, giving the Niners a chance to tie or take the lead, but they quickly fumbled away that chance on a turnover by Garoppolo, who fumbled and was recovered by the GB defense.
Struggling to move the ball after the TO, the Packers took five plays and 18 yards to get Crosby another field goal, extending their lead to six points, but also giving SF plenty of time left to win.
SF drove down the field, aided by a long completion to tight end George Kittle, and quickly put up the needed TD on a short catch by Kyle Juszczyk, making the score 28-27 SF.
But as things have commonly rang true for this team, giving Rodgers any time at all is a bad omen for the opposing team – and that happened yet again.
With no timeouts left to use and only 37 seconds left, Rodgers used two big connections with Adams (17 & 25 yards) to get into field goal range, with Crosby knocking home a 51-yard game-winner, sending the Packers home with a 2-1 record and a tie atop the NFC North division after a 30-28 victory.
After getting out to a fast start, the referees and the defense ended up letting the Niners back into the game. But as has been the case for the vast majority of Rodgers’ career, he was the saving grace that helped save this team from the brink yet again.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