The San Francisco 49ers escaped Candlestick with a 34-28 victory on Sunday, getting past numerous mistakes that allowed the Packers to hang around all day long. The Packers are not a bad team, but this game should not have come down to the wire as it did. Poor game management and piss-poor tackling were as big an issue as anything for the 49ers.
Last season, we spent quite a bit of time complaining about the team's clock management. As Colin Kaepernick was getting going, there were numerous instances where the offense had to use timeouts, or take delay of game penalties. I felt like for the most part this was improved on Sunday, but we still saw some instances where the clock ran out. The 49ers seemed generally intent on getting to the line with more than 10 seconds left on the clock, but there is still room for improvement.
The 49ers finished the game with 11 penalties for 85 yards. There were a few false starts, with the most random stat being the two by center Jonathan Goodwin. Of all the players to get a false start penalty, how does the center end up with two? I'd like to hope they'll work on that a little bit this week during practice.
The penalties are frustrating, but what annoyed me to no end was the poor tackling. The coaches may need to reinforce this, but players are supposed to learn proper tackling at the youngest levels. A key to the Jim Harbaugh 49ers has been handling their fundamentals. The 49ers did not do that on Sunday. They came away with a win, but they had to work a whole lot harder than probably should have been necessary.
As I said above, the Packers are not a bad team. And their coaching staff did a solid job in their work to contain the 49ers run game. That being said, the 49ers were the better team, and should have done more to show that. The 49ers cannot expect to go up to Seattle next week, play sloppy football and come away with a win. The 49ers will need to be at the top of their game if they want to claim what would be a monstrous victory in the Pacific Northwest.
The 49ers did a lot of things right on Sunday. But there is still room for improvement. I know that the coaching staff knows this as well, so it is not a concern for now. As long as they recognize the various areas they need to clean up, the sky is the limit for this team.