Sunday, November 22, 2009

Final: Packers 30 - 49ers 24

The second half was not as dominating as the first for the Packers, but the final score on the board means another "W" and that's all the dominance you need at the end of the day. The 49ers made a game of it after both the Packers offense and defense seemed to become more conservative. (Am I the only fan who wonders why, when you have it dialed up and are in complete control, you then dial it down???)

In the 3rd quarter, the Niners scored their first TD of the day on a 38-yard pass play from Alex Smith to Michael Crabtree over Al Harris, to make the score 23-10. The Packers got their only TD of the 2nd half with about 11 minutes to go in the 4th quarter, after a sequence that included: a punt by the Packers downed at the 2-yard line, followed by Smith throwing out of his end zone and getting picked off at about the 20 by Nick Collins who returned it to the 11, after which Rodgers connected on a 3rd down pass with Jermichael Finley for a 1st down inside the 1 yard line...Ryan Grant picked up a rushing TD and in the process went over 100 yards rushing for the game...whew!

That made the score 30-10 Packers.

But just when you thought it was safe, the Packers not-so-special teams once again let the opponent right back in the game by giving up a roughly 76-yard kickoff return. On the first play, Al Harris went down in the end zone, away from the play after apparently planting his foot and collapsing. He was in obvious pain and was taken off the field on a cart for X-rays; Aaron Kampan had earlier been carted off the field after also sustaining a knee injury. (In his post-game meeting with the media, head coach Mike McCarthy said both looked serious but until he gets further evaluation it's not possible to say how long either player might be out.) Two plays later, Smith connected on his second TD pass of the day to make the score 30-17. The Packers found themselves unable to sustain any drive and rather quickly returned the ball to the Niners. Fighting the clock, the Niners continued to both protect Alex Smith and allow him to connect with his receivers. On a 4th-and-5 from the Packers' 10-yard line, Smith hit RB Frank Gore on a short pass which he took into the end zone to make the score 30-24 Packers with just under 6 minutes remaining in the game.

The Packers, courtesy of a couple big and crucial runs by Ryan Grant and Brandon Jackson were able to keep the ball and take the clock down to the 2 minute warning. With the 49ers out of timeouts (their final one lost on an ill-advised spot challenge by coach Mike Singletary), the Packers were able to go into the victory formation and take 3 kneel-downs by Aaron Rodgers to run out the clock.

This game was a tale of two halves. Something you'd prefer not to see. But the bottom line is the "W".

Rodgers finished with a career high 32 completions out of 45 attempts for 326 yards with 2 TDs. Ryan Grant finished with 129 yards rushing on 21 carries for a 6.1 yards-per-carry average.

The Packers are 6-4 going into the Turkey Day game at Detroit. If the Packers are able to do what they should be able to do (although we said that about Tampa, too, didn't we?) they can be 7-4 coming out of that game and going into an extended rest before the Monday night game against the Ravens at Lambeau on December 7.

You just pray the injuries to Kampan and Harris aren't season-ending, as that would be a major blow to the defense. No matter, they would still likely be held out of the the game with the Lions to give them plenty of time to heal.

In the meantime, say it with me...Go Pack Go!!!