The San Francisco 49ers defense came to play. They held Aaron Rodgers without a third down conversion for the entire first half. That doesn’t happen. The defensive line made their presence felt early and often. That started with a Fred Warner sack and a Nick Bosa fumble recovery. Tevin Coleman scored from two-yards out one play later to put San Francisco up 7-0. The 49ers offense struggled with Justin Skule in the game. Penalties and sacks allowed forced Kyle Shanahan to make a move early in the first half. It was the correct decision:
Shanahan making the switch at LT was everything. Allowed him to open up the playbook.— KP (@KP_Show) November 25, 2019
19 plays with Skule in the game for 41 yards.
14 plays with Brunskill in the game for 142 yards. Scored on all three possessions.
The offense took off once Brunskill stepped on the field.
As I mentioned, the first half dominance belonged to the guys on the other side of the ball. D.J. Jones blew up run plays, Arik Armstead ran through linemen, Bosa lived in the backfield, and DeForest Buckner made plays as well. That kept Green Bay in third and long, and when that happens, just warm up the punt team already. The secondary wasn’t too shabby themselves, as Ahkello Witherspoon and Jimmie Ward both forced multiple incompletions in the first half. Ward had a great night.
On the Packers’ first possession into 49ers territory, they had 4th & 1 on the Niners 28-yard line. Jones and Buckner blew that play up and forced a turnover on downs. The Packers punted on their next three possessions. The sacks demoralized Green Bay all evening. In between those possessions, San Francisco turned the score from 10-0 to 23-0. Scoring three times in a quarter on a playoff team speaks to how dangerous the 49ers are.
Green Bay took 8:34 off the first drive of the second half after they were down 23-0 at halftime. They scored a touchdown and converted the two-point conversion to make it 23-8, and that’s when some fans may have gotten nervous. Rodgers is known for making comebacks and keeping games close. The 49ers did what great teams do; they answered a score with a score. That made it 30-8 with just over two minutes left in the third quarter.
Penalties were Green Bay’s best friend. As the Packers were driving to start the fourth quarter, five of their 15 first downs came from a San Francisco penalty. Richard Sherman had a couple, and another negated by a penalty. K’Waun Williams had a ticky-tack call that gave the Packers good field position. The offense had 4th & 8, but Armstead and Tartt sacked Rodgers for another turnover on downs. Armstead is playing his way into quite the payday in 2020.
The offense could have done better on third down. They didn’t convert one until there were just over nine minutes left in the fourth quarter. Up until that point, Green Bay hadn’t, either. Big plays were the story for the 49ers offense. George Kittle had a day. He went over 100 yards, including a beautiful route on a play-action pass where he scored from 61 yards out. Deebo took a slant 42 yards for a touchdown. Each running back had a run for double-digit yards. Emmanuel Sanders caught one pass for a first down, and that did not make a difference. After a Raheem Mostert touchdown run, the 49ers went up 37-8, and we’re averaging 7.5 yards per play.
It may seem odd to say the offense doesn’t get the game ball on a night where you score 37 points, but the defense sacked Rodgers five times. They held Rodgers to 2.7 yards per play and 104 yards passing. An incredible night for the defense. Green Bay was 0-13 on third down with Rodgers. I didn’t think it was a good matchup for the Packers, but in no way did I or any of us think it would be this easy.
A dominating performance from the best team in the NFC. This was a statement game against a playoff team coming off a bye.