Fooch's Note: Given how quiet things are (practice was cancelled yesterday due to inclement weather), this seemed like a fun post to bump to the front page. A little bit of a different prediction for the 2012 season.
September 9, 2012
Lambeau Field, Wisconsin
After an agonizingly long wait, the 2012 NFL season is finally upon us. The weather was not a factor in today's game as the game time temperature was 72 degrees. There was a light breeze out of the North that did not seem to affect anything. Lambeau was of course sold-out and the fans were rabid as ever; perhaps still stinging from last year's playoff loss to the eventual Super Bowl champion NY Giants.
After the jump is a recap of today's action between two powerhouse teams that many people have already placed in this year's NFC Championship game.
The 49ers won the toss, and deferred to the second half.
After a nice return of the opening kick, the Packers drive halted at their 43yd line. The drive consisted of two quick passes and a run for no gain.
The teams traded punts for the next set of drives.
Of note: SF wasted a great scoring chance after a 34 yd run by Frank Gore had them 1st and ten at Green Bay's 28 yard line. A false start by RT Anthony Davis followed by an holding call against RG Alex Boone backed them up to the 43 yd line. After a 14 yd completion to Randy Moss on a slant, the Packers held and the 49ers settled for a FG by David Akers.
After a three and out by SF, Aaron Rodgers hit on three consecutive passes, including a 40 yard pass to Jordy Nelson, moving them to the SF's 12 yard line. Two plays later Rodgers hit RB James Starks on a perfect wheel route in the flat, easliy beating Aldon Smith to the goal line.
End of 1st quarter.....Green Bay leads 7-3
SF started their first drive with great field position after Kendall Hunter's 55 yd return to Green Bay's 44 yd line. Completions to Mario Manningham and Vernon Davis brought SF to the 23 yd line. LaMichael James next took a screen pass from Alex Smith and nearly scored when Joe Staley mauled two GB defenders springing the RB for a 20 yd gain. After a short run by Frank Gore was stopped at the one, Brandon Jacobs easily walked into the end zone giving SF the lead.
Green Bay was handed horrid starting field position after a great open-field tackle by C.J. Spillman at the 8 yd line after their return man bobbled the kick. Justin Smith nearly had a safety after cleanly beating the RG for a sack at the one yd line. Two runs later, and GB punted.
SF return man Parrish Cox took the short punt and gained 22 yds up the right side giving SF phenomenal starting position at the GB 24 yd line. One the first play, A. Smith caught the safety looking in the backfield on a perfect play action fake and hit Kyle Williams on a nicely timed pass down to the 4 yd line. Vernon Davis made it 16-7 when he cleanly beat the covering LB on a perfect out route in the end zone.
The teams then traded punts for a while. GB got in scoring range at the end of the 2nd quarter with a beautiful 50 yard catch and run by Greg Jennings. On the play, D. Goldson missed an attempt at the int and knocked T. Brown to the ground. Patrick Willis had the angle and made the TD saving tackle. After a couple of incompletions, the drive ended when Aldon Smith sacked A. Rodgers at the 24 yd line. The FG was good from 41 yds.
17-10 SF at the half.
SF receives kickoff, and Kendall Hunter advances ball to the SF 28. One the first play, A.Smith hands off to Gore who follows B. Miller through the hole and puts a move on the safety to gain 20 yds. On the next play Smith hits a wide open M. Crabtree for 21 yds. Gore gains 4 more up the middle. On second down, Smith slightly under throws Moss streaking down the sideline and the ball is picked off.
GB continues to try to run the ball with little effect. Rodgers is sacked by Aldon Smith. On third and 11, Rodgers hits R. Cobb on a perfect slant pass. Cobb breaks tackles attempted by C. Rogers and D. Whitner en route to a 80 yd TD.
The 49ers continue to run well, but on second down the drive is stopped when Smith is crushed by a blitzing safety. L. James misses his assigned block and A. Davis can't get over in time to help. Third down brings a draw up the middle. Andy Lee booms a punt to the GB 10 yd line.
Green Bay gains 30 yards on two plays as C. Culliver is beat by D. Driver on a double move. The next play sees J. Finley grab a perfect pass over the head of P. Willis. On the next play A. Brooks is called for roughing the passer as his hand comes down on the QB's helmet. Two short passes and a nice run later, GB is inside the SF 30. Rodgers gives his team the lead when he hits Nelson down the right sideline after C. Rogers is caught up in a clean pick by Jennings. Harbaugh threw the red flag, to no avail.
Both defenses hold the rest of the quarter.
SF starts the 4th on the 27 yard line after a nice return by P. Cox. SF comes out throwing with a no-huddle spread offense utilizing four receivers. Smith connects on six consecutive passes, including a perfectly timed pass down the left sideline to a streaking L. James. James began the play in the backfield with B. Miller and then went in motion to the left. The third corner was late getting over to adjust to the motion. James picked up 32 yds on the play after stepping out of bounds at the 30 yd line of GB. SF is held to a FG as GB's D stiffens around the red zone.
Of note: Twice SF had a wide open player near the goal line but A. Smith was under heavy pressure from the right side and could not complete the pass. Frank Gore's ability to pick up the blitz saved both plays from being sacks.
The SF defense again bends but does not allow GB beyond the 50. SF starts the next drive inside the 15.
Smith hits Manningham over the middle for 12 yds. GB is blitzing almost every play from the right side. Smith connects with Moss on a perfect crossing route as V. Davis cleared out the middle on one of the few times Smith had time to throw. Moss gains 27 down to the GB 48. Gore gains 15 yds on two carries. On second down, Smith fakes the hand off to K. Hunter and gives instead to an in-motion A.J. Jenkins. The rookie gets the corner and goes untouched for the 33 yd touchdown. Replay shows two great down field blocks: one by Crabtree sealing the corner, and the other by a streaking Moss who came from almost 40 yards away to pick off the last defender.
With three minutes left, GB comes out firing completely abandoning the run. Rodgers connects on the short underneath stuff that SF is giving them for gains up to the SF 48 yd line. On first down, SF brings heavy pressure up the middle and N. Bowman beats the RB and crushes Rodgers who loses the ball. The fumble is recovered by W. Tukuafu who was in for an injured R. McDonald.
SF is unable to eat the clock as GB takes time outs and utilizes the two minute warning. A second down pass attempt to Moss is nearly intercepted. Not taking any chances, Smith hands off to Jacobs who gains only two yards. SF is forced to punt again.
Lee's punt pins GB deep in their own end of the field. With 1:38 remaining, Rodgers connects with Jennings for 17. On the play, T. Brown slipped on the turf giving just enough space for Rodgers to hit his WR in stride. D. Whitner makes a great open field tackle to save the touchdown. GB has the ball on the 28 with 1:18 remaining as Rodgers got them to the line and spiked the ball to kill the clock.
On second down, Rodgers is pressured by Aldon Smith and rushes his throw resulting in an incomplete pass. With :55 seconds left, Rodgers comes to the line with four WRs and one RB. At the snap Jennings is able to beat Brown off the line and catches the ball over his right shoulder for a gain of 19. With :42 seconds remaining the ball is spiked to kill the clock. On second down Rodgers completes again to Jennings for a gain of twelve on an out route to kill the clock.
On first down, Rodgers pump fakes and tries to squeeze one in between Culliver and Whitner. Cobb cannot hold on and it is now second down. After a short completion to Finley, Rodgers gets them to the line and hits Driver for 12 at the sideline. With :08 seconds left, Crosby is on to try a long field goal. SF calls a time out just before GB snaps the ball. Back to the line, and Crosby lines up again. The snap is good, hold is down, and the kick is away cleanly.
Crosby's kick sails just right of the goalpost, giving SF it's first win of 2012.
Final score: 27-24 SF