San Francisco 30 Green Bay 22 - Tale of the Tape
Football Factoid. When a team wins, not everyone or everything was good, and when a team loses, not everyone or everything was bad. Here's what a tape review of yesterday's game showed.
-The Packers aren't a running team but when Cedric Benson carries 9 times for a lousy 18 yards, there's going to be a ripple affect. The 49'ers didn't have to commit any extra bodies to defending the run. They could keep safeties deep to help prevent the "big" passing play and they did a fine job of it. As a matter of fact, even with 6 defensive backs in the game and the great Patrick Willis on the sideline, Green Bay couldn't get anything going on the ground. The problem, blocking, as in the lack there-of. The blame is equal opportunity and can be spread across the board, but even normally good run blockers like Josh Sitton and Bryan Bulaga had a couple of bad plays.
-The absolute ugliest thing defensively was the play following the interception thrown by Aaron Rodgers. Adverse situation, time to bull the neck and hold them to a field goal, but instead, thanks to getting blocked and missing tackles, Frank Gore goes 23 yards (his longest run of the day) for a touchdown. The play started with Nick Perry getting sealed on the edge and ended with a missed tackle by Morgan Burnett.
-Yours truly is still trying to figure out if the Packer "D" is heading in the right direction. The tackling wasn't awful but there were other missed attempts by Tramon Williams, M.D.Jennings and D.J. Smith. On-the-other hand, the DB's did show improved aggressiveness and Sam Shields, one of last season's worst tackling offenders, stopping Gore short of a 1st on 3rd and 2 is a prime example. The Niners didn't have a plethora of receivers running wide, wide open, but there were a couple of occasions when it was clear the Packers had blown a coverage with a mental mistake, most notably Randy Moss's TD catch (mental mistake by Jennings). As for the young guys, Perry was pretty solid in his debut but Jerel Worthy was a non-factor. Jerron McMillian wound up replacing Jennings at safety and is probably the answer in the long haul. He just has more play-making ability. Charles Woodson is still Charles Woodson and Clay Matthews made mince meat out of a pro bowl left tackle. A.J. Hawk played as active a game as we've seen in quite some time. Finished with 14 tackles. Allowing the Big Play wasn't near the issue it was a season ago. Vernon Davis's 29 yard catch was San Fran's longest gainer and it looked like Jarrett Bush was a little confused in just who he was supposed to cover. Bottom line, the defense isn't "there" as yet but as the young guys gain some experience, it certainly has the potential to improve as the season goes on.
-It's been said here before that Randall Cobb is a big play waiting to happen, and we didn't have to wait very long. 75 yard punt return for a touchdown, and a team leading 9 receptions. The personnel grouping with him in the backfield proved to be problematic for San Francisco. Do you treat him as a running back and cover him with a linebacker or do you look at Cobb as a wide receiver and keep a defensive back on him. The 49'ers weren't able to do a very good job of either.
-Ironically enough, the worst call the replacement officials made all day was picking up the flag on Cobb's punt return. Terell Manning was guilty of a no-doubt-about-it block in the back. The guys in stripes were also inconsistent with pass interference calls and they missed a couple of big time "pick" plays by the 49'ers.
-Familiar Refrain. Jermichael Finley had 7 catches and a touchdown but if he's going to be the player he can be, he's got to make the tough ones he couldn't hang on to yesterday.
-As noted earlier, Bulaga's play wasn't flawless but he did have several efforts in pass protection that were nothing short of outstanding. Meanwhile over on the left side, for the most part, Marshall Newhouse held up well against good rushers.
-While we're in the O-line's neighborhood, there wasn't a lot of muscle in Jeff Saturday's game. At this point in his career, it looks like he has to get it done with positioning and technique.
We'll be back Wednesday with a look ahead at the Bears game. Thanks for reading.