The Green Bay Packers fell to the San Francisco 49ers 24-21 in the NFC Divisional playoff’s. On a cold and rainy evening in Santa Clara, the Packers were on the brink of pulling off another huge upset. Unfortunately, the youngest team in the NFL could not capitalize on the 49ers mistakes, and the magic ran out. While it’s greatly disappointing to lose yet another close playoff game to the 49ers, to me, this one doesn’t sting as bad. The Packers were never supposed to be in this game. They were never supposed to even be in the playoffs. Jordan Love wasn’t supposed to look as good as he did to finish the regular season. This football team vastly exceeded everyone’s expectations this year, and for the Packers, the future is brighter than the sun. I truly believe this season marked the start of something special going forward. The Green Bay Packers will be back and hungrier than ever.
Green Bay squandered a lead by allowing 10 straight points in the fourth quarter and blew a chance to go to the NFC Championship Game on Saturday night. The Packers had an opportunity to be the lowest seed to ever advance to a conference title game. In the end, they just weren’t able to make enough plays, especially in clutch-time when it mattered most.
Green Bay held a 21-14 lead to start the 4th quarter. Jake Moody hit a 52-yard field goal to start the quarter, but the Packers responded with a 53-yard run from Aaron Jones that set up a chance for Anders Carlson to extend the lead back to 7 points. Unfortunately the rookie kicker from Auburn missed his 41-yard attempt wide left. The 49ers then put together a 12 play, 69-yard drive that ended with a 6-yard touchdown run by Christian McCaffrey. That gave the San Francisco 49ers a 24-21 lead with 1:07 left, and shortly after, Dre Greenlaw intercepted Jordan Love with just under a minute to go to finish the win and send the 49ers to the NFC Championship Game. The Packers have now lost 5 straight playoff games to the 49ers, including three since 2019.
The incredible run of the young 2023 Packers is over, and in heartbreaking fashion. With that said, even a disappointing defeat can’t take away from what Matt LaFleur’s team accomplished down the stretch. Amazingly, the Packers went from 2-5 and dead in the water to just minutes away from the NFC title game. Growing pains eventually made way for real and rapid progress, and once the talented pieces fit together, they took off. The Packers beat several good football teams down the stretch, winning 7 of the final 9 games. Not only did the Packers find and develop impressive young players at offensive tackle, wide receiver and tight end, but they found the biggest and most important piece: the franchise quarterback. Jordan Love’s season ended on what might be his worst throw of the entire year, but he was an elite player at the game’s most important position for nearly 3 months. Expectations will be sky high entering 2024 and beyond.