Packers vs. 49ers: Score, Grades and Analysis

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Packers vs. 49ers: Score, Grades and Analysis
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

In last year's divisional round playoff matchup, Colin Kaepernick rushed for 181 yards and two touchdowns to help the San Francisco 49ers down the Green Bay Packers en route to Super Bowl XLVII

In Sunday's season opener, it was Kaepernick's arm that did most of the damage. 

The third-year man from Nevada recorded the first 400-yard passing game of his career against the Packers, throwing two touchdown passes to tight end Vernon Davis and another to new wideout Anquan Boldin toward San Francisco's 34-28 victory. 

Cam Inman of Bay Area News Group as things went final at Candlestick Park:

Fox Sports' NFL Twitter account might have had the most apt description of how things played out in one of best games of Week 1:

Trailing Green Bay 28-24 in the fourth quarter, Kaepernick engineered a go-ahead drive capped by a Frank Gore rushing touchdown with just under six minutes to play. It would turn out to be the game-winning score, as Phil Dawson added some cushion with a late field goal. 

Kaepernick and Boldin fantasy owners everywhere will rejoice looking at these numbers:

Neither rushing attack had a significant impact, as Gore had a game-high 44 yards on 21 carries. 

According to the 49ers' official Twitter account, Davis now has an NFL tight end record for touchdowns scored against Green Bay:

For the Packers, QB Aaron Rodgers had an outstanding day. The All-Pro finished with 333 yards passing, three touchdowns and one interception. He targeted seven different receivers on the afternoon, but most of his damage came from passes to Jordy Nelson (seven receptions, 130 yards) and Randall Cobb (seven receptions, 108 yards).

After being benched for fumbling in the first half, rookie RB Eddie Lacy bounced back with a rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter that gave the Packers the temporary lead. He finished with 41 yards on 14 carries. 

Jeff Gross/Getty Images

If the Packers and 49ers are on the schedule next year in Week 1, I don't think you'll find many prepared to complain.

The game was deadlocked heading into the half. Kaepernick and Rodgers went back and forth over the first two quarters, each throwing two touchdown passes en route to a 14-14 score at intermission. According to ESPN's Stats & Info, Kaepernick was at his best on third down in the first half:

It was clear early on that neither team was prepared to give an inch in the rematch of last year's epic postseason thriller.

Green Bay linebacker Clay Matthews embodied that idea on a San Francisco offensive possession in the second quarter, taking down Kaepernick on a QB scramble well after the player stepped out of bounds. 

All 10 of Kaepernick's offensive teammates were quick to come to his aid. 

Matthews and offensive lineman Joe Staley were assessed with offsetting unsportsmanlike conduct penalties for their actions during the skirmish. The referees allowed San Francisco to replay the third down, which immediately resulted in the Boldin touchdown. 

The Fox broadcast pointed out that the referees should not have allowed San Francisco to replay the down based on the penalty. But they did, and made Green Bay pay for Matthews' over-aggression.

After the two opposing QBs each slung another TD pass in the third quarter, the score would remain tied heading into the final frame, 21-21. San Francisco struck first with a Dawson field goal, but Green Bay responded with an eight-play drive capped by Lacy's two-yard scoring run. 

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Kaepernick then found enough magic to will his team to victory yet again. 

It took the 49ers just five plays to march down the field after Green Bay took the lead. Boldin and Kendall Hunter each had big plays on the drive, and Gore finished the job with a one-yard punch-in.

It would be all the scoring San Francisco needed to start its season with a bang. 

San Francisco has now won the last three games in the series against Green Bay. The only possibility of another matchup this season would be in the playoffs, and I'd wager that more than a few fans are already wishing for another battle between the two storied franchises soon. 

 

Grades

QB Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers: A+

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Take a bow, young man. You've earned it. 

After an offseason of speculation in how Kaepernick would follow up his remarkable 2012 season this year, he showed us all that he is still making progress and becoming more versatile as a player. 

Green Bay's defense is usually stout. In two consecutive games, Kaepernick has exposed huge holes in the Packers game plan. He was the best player on the field on Sunday (sorry, Aaron Rodgers) and his grade reflects it.

 

RB Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers: C+

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Lacy was lifted for James Starks in the second quarter, shortly after the rookie fumbled the ball away on Green Bay's first drive of the frame. San Francisco converted the turnover into a touchdown, and head coach Mike McCarthy made sure Lacy paid for his mistake. 

He atoned for the mistake in the second half, affirming McCarthy's decision to reinsert him into the lineup by scoring a go-ahead touchdown in the fourth.

It was an up-and-down day for the former Alabama star, but so goes the life of an NFL rookie. He finished with 41 yards on 14 carries and will have a chance to show improvement and build upon his second-half performance in Week 2. 

 

WR Anquan Boldin, San Francisco 49ers: A

Jeff Gross/Getty Images

All preseason, one of the biggest questions surrounding San Francisco was the situation at wide receiver. 

Question answered. 

The soon-to-be 33-year-old Boldin emerged as Kap's favorite target on Sunday, catching 13 passes for 208 yards. He was also a huge chain-moving security blanket in the fourth quarter.

Baltimore's decision to trade Boldin this offseason certainly looks suspect after each team's Week 1 performance on offense. 

 

What's Next?

Green Bay will play its first home game of the season against the Washington Redskins next week, followed by a road tilt with the Cincinnati Bengals. After a bye week, the Packers will then play their first NFC North game of the year against Detroit in Week 5. 

Three of San Francisco's next four opponents (Seattle, Indianapolis and Houston) all made the playoffs last year. 

 

Follow B/R's Ethan Grant on Twitter. 

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