Starting this season with a quarterback entering his first season as the full-time starter plus one of the youngest teams all around, the Green Bay Packers did not have postseason expectations. But the franchise-altering season that Jordan Love put together helped send this team back to the playoffs, a journey that ended Saturday night against San Francisco.

A back-breaking 24-21 defeat at the hands of the 49ers ended another season like many of its predecessors have, losing a winnable game to the Niners. While heading into halftime facing a one-point deficit, a 15-point third quarter put Green Bay into the lead – but a scoreless fourth quarter was their ultimate undoing.

Green Bay
Green Bay


It was one of those days for Jordan Love – it wasn’t a dominant effort like the one he put up against the Cowboys, but it was certainly enough that this team should have won. Two second-half interceptions buried any chances of this team taking this game, but Love did another good job managing the tough Niners defense.

Aaron Jones produced another 100-yard rushing day (108 yards), including a run of 53 yards in the fourth quarter. While he only hauled in three receptions, he was tied for the team lead with six targets, and he was tasked with another heavy workload with AJ Dillon missing with a thumb and neck injury.

The receiver workload was spread around yet again, with Romeo Doubs (4/83) and Jayden Reed (4/35) leading the way. Bo Melton hauled in one of Love’s two touchdown passes for his lone receptions, and Tucker Kraft also took one of his three receptions into the end zone.

The offensive line was one of the unsung heroes of the game, as Love was kept clean all game with no sacks. While both Zach Tom and Rasheed Walker missed some snaps due to injury, this unit was tough as nails against a really strong defensive front.

Defense & Special Teams

It may be tough to admit this, but there were quite a few good moments from Joe Barry’s defensive unit that helped keep this team in the game all day. But allowing a 12-play drive that resulted in the Niners getting back into the lead late in the game is what the defense should be remembered for, among other things.

A dropped pick-six for Darnell Savage was a huge missed opportunity for Green Bay, as they had a perfect chance to shift the tide early. As a whole, this unit did a solid job of slowing down Christian McCaffrey and Brandon Aiyuk, as these two players combined for 160 yards on 27 combined touches.

Faltering down the stretch is a big reason why Joe Barry’s run as defensive coordinator needs to be capped at this point, even though his defense performed well during the playoffs. The time before this for when the defense struggled is definitely enough to determine his job security, as recency bias truly should have no impact.

Special teams was incredibly up and down all game, with rookie kicker Anders Carlson’s missed field goal being the deciding factor in the loss. With Matt LaFleur lacking confidence in Carlson, it remains to be seen as to why this team moved forward with him for the entire season.

The return game was a positive part of the special teams performance, as Keisean Nixon showed yet again why he is an All-Pro kick returner. Having brought back a kick 73 yards that resulted in a touchdown, Nixon was able to make his presence known.

Finally, the blocked field goal going into halftime helped keep the deficit at just one point, as Colby Wooden stuck his paw up and blocked Jake Moody’s field goal to keep the score 7-6.

It remains to seen just how different this team will look next season, but there is one thing that will remain – that this Green Bay team is much, much closer to being a competitor for the NFC playoffs than 99.99 percent of people expected – its the Packer way.


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