Packers vs. 49ers: Live Grades and Analysis for San Francisco 49ers

Phil G@FuturePhilGCorrespondent ISeptember 8, 2013

Sep 8, 2013; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) runs with the ball against the Green Bay Packers in the second quarter at Candlestick Park. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers came out victorious in a thrilling NFC matchup, besting the Green Bay Packers, 34-28. Check out final grades and analysis below. 

Final Score

Packers: 28

49ers: 34


Game Analysis for the San Francisco 49ers


Pass Offense: Colin Kaepernick led a fantastic first drive after halftime. Kaepernick and Anquan Boldin looked like a fearsome combo through the air. Boldin hauled in 13 catches for 208 receiving yards and a touchdown. GM Trent Baalke is looking like a genius after his move to acquire the veteran receiver. Vernon Davis was also a huge factor in the passing game with his two receiving touchdowns. Kaepernick finished the game with 412 passing yards and three touchdowns.

Run Offense: The 49ers’ struggles to run the ball continued in the second half. Kaepernick was fantastic through the air, which made this somewhat of a non-issue. The 49ers bread and butter is their power running attack, which looked pedestrian against a much-improved Packers defensive line.

The Packers gap discipline tremendously improved after their embarrassing defeat to the 49ers in the playoffs last season. As a team, the 49ers finished with 90 total rushing yards. Kaepernick was held to 20 yards rushing. In the Packers playoff loss to the 49ers last season, Kaepernick ran for an NFL-record 181 yards. The Packers made it their goal to limit Kaepernick on the ground.

Pass Defense: As expected, the Packers came out firing in the second half. Aaron Rodgers was his usual great self. Rodgers finished with 333 passing yards and three touchdowns. The 49ers pass rush waned as the game went along.

After a great first half, the Packers made adjustments to slow down the 49ers pass rush in the third quarter. This gave Aaron Rodgers the time he needed to find his bevy of receivers down the field. The 49ers pass rush did pick up in the fourth quarter. Rookie safety Eric Reid was a bright spot for this 49ers this afternoon.

Run Defense: The Packers averaged less than 3.5 yards per carry on the day. As it was in the first half, the Packers running game was kept in check in the second half. Surprisingly, the Packers stayed consistent with the running game despite struggling early. However, Lacy did finish with a goal-line touchdown in the fourth quarter to give the Packers their first lead in the game. For the most part, the 49ers proved stingy against the run.

Special Teams: Randall Cobb had a nice 16-yard punt return in the second half. However, the 49ers were solid throughout in kick and punt return coverage. More importantly, the 49ers didn’t make any crucial mistakes on a very windy afternoon in Candlestick Park.

Coaching: Jim Harbaugh and Greg Roman fed the hot hand in Kaepernick in the second half. The 49ers run game was stagnant throughout, but Kaepernick was able to deal some heavy damage to this Packers secondary. The decision to go for it on fourth down late in the game was a risky call, but proved successful. It gave Aaron Rodgers less than 30 seconds to mount a comeback. Great time management by the 49ers. 



First-half Analysis for the San Francisco 49ers


Pass Offense: Colin Kaepernick was shaky in the 49ers first few series, but his performance significantly improved as the game went along. Kaepernick finished the first half with two passing touchdowns on a very efficient 14-of-21 passing. The Green Bay Packers threw in some exotic blitzes to confuse Kaepernick, but the third-year quarterback responded with some big-time throws. It seems the absence of Michael Crabtree isn't hindering the performance of the young quarterback.

Run Offense: The 49ers identity on offense relies on the power running game. However, offensive coordinator Greg Roman mostly ran the offense through Kaepernick in the first half. Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter were held to just six yards rushing. The 49ers' running game will have to pick up if they hope to win this game.  

Pass Defense: Like Colin Kaepernick, Aaron Rodgers struggled to begin this game. The 49ers pass rush was ferocious early on, but Aaron Rodgers eventually found his groove to the tune of 203 yards passing and two touchdowns. Rookie safety Eric Reid looked good in the first half. Reid picked up his first career interception on a deflected pass. Before that play, Reid badly whiffed on a tackle, which led to a Packers first down. Its good to see the rookie responding after a bad play.

Run Defense: The 49ers boast a top-shelf defensive line, and it was on display in the first half. Rookie running back Eddy Lacy was held to just four yards rushing on five carries. Lacy also fumbled the ball in the second quarter. If the Packers win this game, it will be through the air. Expect the 49ers to have more success in this area during the second half. 

Special Teams: With the absence of LaMichael James, Perrish Cox and Kyle Williams will take over kick/punt return duties. Cox did break a nice 30-yard return for the 49ers, which led to points on the board for the 49ers. Andy Lee showed off his leg strength after booting a 56-yard punt in the first quarter. The 49ers also were also solid on kick and punt return coverage, as this proved to be a weakness for the team last season. Phil Dawson missed his only kick, a 48-yard attempt. Dawson was tabbed to replace the inconsistent David Akers.

Coaching: Jim Harbaugh was on an even keel during the first half. It was a bit surprising that the 49ers used so little of their read-option packages. It seems Harbaugh wants to protect Colin Kaepernick.