Positive Takeaways from the Packers vs. 49ers Loss
First of all let me say this is a Green Bay Packers fan site. We wear rose colored glasses ’round here but are not blind. There were many positives to take away from yesterdays game.
1. The 49ers are a very good and very solid team. It appeared they did not make many mistakes yesterday. They may have played one of their better games. If they played that game against the Giants last year they would have been in the Super Bowl.
1a. We took the best shot from the 49ers, one of the early favorites to possibly represent the NFC in the Super Bowl and STILL had a chance to tie the game in the last minutes.
2. The Defense will get better. It will take some time before the defense begins to play up to it’s potential with the new players and the players taking on new roles. Nick Perry was out of position several times yesterday and played a step slow. Jerel Worthy didn’t get credited for a single tackle or assist and clearly was a non-factor. DJ Smith struggled as a 2nd year player who now is assuming a leadership role with Bishop out and even Charles Woodson, as great as he is, looked a little out of sorts on a few plays. It will take a few more games before this group begins to play up to their abilities and potential.
3. Randall Cobb played fantastically. Randall Cobb was everywhere. In the backfield, as a receiver, returning punts, returning kicks. Next week let’s put him on “D”. But seriously, Cobb was all over the field and couldn’t have done more. San Francisco had no answer for Cobb when he was lined up in the backfield.
3a. When Green Bay had the ball 3rd and short. Several times the play call was not a short play to get 3rd down but rather a long pass, once to Jordy Nelson, once to James Jones and I believe a third to maybe Finley.. Whomever called those plays, Aaron Rodgers or Mike McCarthy, he will look back and realize those calls were emotional calls and not logical calls. Cobb out of the backfield was almost a guaranteed 6 to 7 yards. Why not call Cobb’s number on 3rd and 2 or 3rd and 1?
4. Clay Matthews is back. With 2.5 sacks and numerous hurries, Matthews needed to be accounted for on every play. He was called for roughing the passer which was incorrect and should have resulted in a punt instead of a 1st down. He was held and pulled down on a half a dozen plays, any of which could have been called. As Nick Perry (point #2) starts to get a better feel for the pro game Matthews will get even more opportunities for himself and the rest of the defense.
5. Marshall Newhouse and the entire offensive line played quite well going against a top defense and an up and coming elite player like Aldon Smith. Looking back at last season many times the running backs or tight ends lined up in the backfield and stayed in for protection. That didn’t happen too much yesterday. The 49ers defensive line and linebackers may be the best group the Packers play all year. The Packers offensive line held their own.
5a. The 49ers defense may be the best the Packers see in the regular season. Nothing against the Bears whom they play Sept. 13th and Dec. 16, or the Giants whom the Packers play Nov. 25th, but the 49ers defense played a very solid game and may be the best defensive performance the Packers will go against all year. The 49ers tacked extremely well yesterday.
6. Packers Special Teams were solid particularly punter Tim Masthay aka the “Ginger Wolverine” punted really well with a long of 60, four inside the 20 with one punt skipping it out at the 4-yard line. I’m not going to get into Cobb’s punt return. Some folks think there should have been a “block in the back penalty” called. Here at Packer Zone we don’t agree
7. The Packers have several solid players that did not play. Donald Driver, Alex Green, Mike Neal, Erik Walden, Davon House. See #9
8. No major injuries.
9. The Packers had 10 penalties, nine in the 1st half and still had a chance to tie the game at the end.
10. In the NFL it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. Certainly the Packers would have like to have won this game but as we have seen when the Packers won the Super Bowl in 2011 and again last year with the Giants winning it all, how you finish and getting “hot” at the end of the year is more important.
Noteable Packer Quotes:
From Charles Woodson, “I’m encouraged about what we did out there today… I feel good about our defense.” “We’re just getting started here… We’re trying to figure out pieces.”
From Mike McCarthy. Mike McCarthy was asked by a reporter, “Were you pleased that at least you were in a position where you could have tied it at the end there despite some of those early struggles (referring to penalties)… McCarthy,”boy I would like to answer that truthfully, aahh, we’re 0-1 so we have some work to do. We’re up in 96 hours.”
The 49ers played a great game! At the end of the year we may look back and see they 49ers played their best game of the season in week 1. That day, WOW! They whipped the Packers all over the field! Yet, in the last few minutes the Packers had a chance to tie it up. Hmmm… Bring on the Bears!
Packers vs. 49ers highlights from NFL.com