An Icy End: 49ers Beat Packers With Last-Second Field Goal
By Chris Morgan
The weather at Lambeau Field is usually quite cold this time of year and that was the case again this season. However, Packers fans were probably just happy to have a game at all this week, as Green Bay only made its way into the playoffs due to a win in Week 17, thanks to the return of quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Their reward was another game against the San Francisco 49ers, a team that has handled the Packers with ease recently. Sunday’s Wild Card game was much closer, as both teams held a lead in the fourth quarter. The 49ers kicked a last-second field goal to earn the win 23-20. Here are the grades for this last performance of the 2013 season.
Quarterback Grade: B-
Aaron Rodgers did not have a dynamic day but he did well enough considering the circumstances. The Niners were able to get a lot of pressure on him and the weather certainly didn’t help. Still, Rodgers went 17-for-26 for 177 yards and a touchdown and he also rushed for 11 yards. Rodgers also fumbled but the Packers were able to fall on it. While this is almost certainly better than what Matt Flynn would have done, it was only merely a good game against a formidable opponent. It just wasn’t quite enough.
Offense Grade: B-
All-Pro running back Eddie Lacy was able to play and he rushed 21 times for 81 yards, which is pretty good. Overall, however, the Packers only had 281 yards of total offense, which isn’t even that impressive of game for a quarterback these days. They did manage to score 20 points, at least, thanks to touchdowns by Jordy Nelson and John Kuhn. Nelson had a good game, catching seven passes for 62 yards. Green Bay gave up four sacks to San Francisco’s potent pass rush. Overall, you can’t be too disappointed, even if they fell short.
Special Teams Grade: B
The Packers, namely Randall Cobb, did a good job in the return game but the Packers also gave up some fairly sizable returns to LaMichael James as well, including a 37-yard kick return. Mason Crosby went 2-for-2 on field goals and 2-for-2 on extra points. Neither punter had a good game, but that was largely because of the cold air and wind. The special teams performance for the Packers was pretty run-of-the-mill all told.
Defense Grade: B+
Unlike earlier this season, this Sunday the Packers weren’t run all over by the 49ers offense. They only gave up 381 yards and 23 points, after all. Colin Kaepernick was able to run well again, as he gained 98 yards on seven carries. However, he only threw for 227 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. Running back Frank Gore was kept in check and the Packers picked up three sacks even though linebackers kept going down with injury. However, wide receiver Michael Crabtree had a big game with eight receptions for 125 yards. People were worried about the Packer defense before the game. Those worries were largely unfounded, even in the loss.
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Chris Morgan has been a diehard Detroit Lions fan through the good (Barry Sanders) and the bad (Matt Millen) and that love has led him to take jobs writing about sports, including as a fantasy sports “expert.” His work can be found on Examiner.com. .