The San Francisco 49ers beat the Green Bay Packers last Sunday 34-28. This was the third meeting between the two teams in the past twelve months. The game of the week lived up to expectations, going down to the wire, in typical vintage fashion.
The Packers spent the entire off-season preparing for the read option play. Likely, because the 49ers torched the Packers’ defense last season during the NFC Championship. Well, it worked and San Francisco was limited to only 90 total rushing yards.
Stopping the run was Green Bay’s main emphasis and they were scary good at it. The Packers were committed on hitting San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick every time there was a play action and/or read option opportunity. Packers’ linebacker Clay Matthews was given the assignment.
Matthews was relentless in pursuing Kaepernick, hitting him every time he had the opportunity – even when Kaepernick decided to step out of bounds. However, that did not phase the third year quarterback. Kaepernick may have been limited with his legs but that was not the case when it came to the his arm.
Colin Kaepernick had 7 attempts for 22 rushing yards. That is a stat line nobody expected. However, the ESPY Male Athlete of the Year completed 27 of 39 pass attempts, for a career high 412 yards and 3 touchdowns.
The Packers tried to intimidate Kaepernick but that ended up backfiring. After the game Kaepernick stated, “I’m not worried about what people are saying. If intimidation is your game plan, I hope you have a better one,” according to 49ers.com.
Kaepernick and the 49ers offense started off a little slow. They failed to score on their opening drive but later eased into the offense. San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman “unleashed” the beast, with an arsenal attack, while Green Bay was focused on the ground game.
The debut of San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Anquan Boldin was nothing less than spectacular, and some. Boldin had 13 receptions for 208 yards and a touchdown, that’s not bad for a player that was traded for a 6th round draft pick. For now, it appears to be the steal of the century.
Defensively, the 49ers looked pretty solid overall. One is expected to give up a few big plays to an offense that is as explosive as Green Bay’s. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw for 333 yards, including 3 touchdowns, with 1 interception.
One concern to highlight is tackling. There was an unusual high amount of miss tackles by a stout defense. That could partly be because this was the first game of the year.
The tackling techniques will be addressed sooner rather than later – you can bet on that.
The 49ers had one big advantage during the out course of the game – time of possession. They say the best defense to mitigate an offense like the Packers is to keep them off the field. The 49ers did just that, by winning the time of possession 38:35 (49ers) to 21:25 (Packers).
Two words, “ball control.” This formula usually results into victories. The 49ers did a pretty good job controlling the tempo of the game. Do not be surprised if a rematch is in the making between these two teams come January.
Shak’s Highlights & Concerns
The quarterback started where he left off last season. There were some concerns within the Niner Nation that he did not play much (if at all) during the preseason. All concerns were alleviated when Kaepernick threw the ball all over the Packers’ defense.
That too, at will.
Kaepernick appears to be more comfortable in coach Jim Harbaugh’s offense. This is his third year in the system and you can see the development. He is comfortable going through his progressions and is reading defenses with precision.
His mechanics in the pocket seem to be his strength. Kaepernick now understands when to zip the ball into coverage verse putting a touch on it for his receivers to easily catch. His deep ball accuracy is astonishing as well.
The quarterback always looks to pass first, with his eyes glued downfield during broken plays and/or scrambles. That should be a relief for 49ers fans. It not only limits him taking unnecessary hits but shows he is developing into a “pure passer.”
Right now Kaepernick is on track to earn his next big contract.
The breakdown can be read here http://www.profootballcentral.com/2013/08/27/shaks-take-49ers-and-colin-kaepernicks-contract.
If he keeps this pace up, the 49ers are sure to pay him big.
Earlier in the week former 49ers wide receiver Randy Moss stated that the chemistry between tight end Vernon Davis and quarterback Colin Kaepernick was not something to cheer about. Davis refuted the statement by saying, that the two were on a “different level” when compared to last season. Davis was correct.
Davis exploded with 2 touchdown receptions, also including, 6 receptions for 98 yards. It was apparent that he will be pivotal in the 49ers passing game this year. Last season, Davis was primarily used to help in pass protection and at times a decoy.
Not this season.
Davis showcased crisp route running ability. On his first touchdown, he made the safety bite, thinking he would go to the inside – a nifty head fake later Davis was running toward the corner pylon in the end zone for a touchdown.
Davis worked out quite a bit this past training camp with the wide receivers. If he continues to develop his route running skills, he is due to have a marvelous 2013 season.
We know the stats Boldin ended up with. What catches the eye is that the chemistry between Boldin and Kaepernick appears to be lethal. The 49ers are convinced to use Boldin the way the Arizona Cardinals did – that should improve some of the nightmares he caused 49ers fans when he first came into the NFL.
In Kobe Bryant’s world, he can now be welcomed into the “vino” family.
Folks, Boldin is not old. The man is in tremendous shape and still has a lot left in the tank. However, the 49ers must find ways to get others involved. Do not expect Boldin to have many 200 yard games.
Balance is key. The 49ers do not want Boldin to wear down before January. Getting other wide receivers involved will be essential to the 49ers success.
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Kyle Williams made his debut after reconstructive ACL surgery. Most did not expect him to make a significant impact in his first game but 3 receptions for 36 yards is a bit disappointing.
Williams has tremendous potential, he is often considered one of the toughest covers in practice. Once Williams and Kaepernick develop more of a rhythm, he would add another dimension to the offense. Williams has worked hard to get back on the field, expect him to have a solid year.
The team has high hopes for Williams and is counting on him, especially this week. A Sunday night showdown is in the making between the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks. What better stage is there for Williams to breakout?
Shakeel Khan is a San Francisco 49ers writer for Pro Football Central