San Francisco 49ers Week Six Loss to Green Bay Packers: Key Takeaways
The 49ers basically insisted that the Packers win this game. They had multiple chances to lock up the win and instead deferred to a Packers offense led by arguably the best quarterback in football.
Aaron Rodgers must have been surprised that the 49ers were so willing to give him multiple chances to get a win.
The 49ers kicked a field goal with 13:08 remaining in the fourth quarter to take a 30-23 lead. It was the last time they’d score, despite having the ball on offense three more times.
49ers Offense Disappears at Crunch Time
C.J. Beathard probably had the best game of his NFL career, but once again he failed to elevate his performance when his team needed him to make plays.
After the 49ers stopped the Packers on fourth down on the four-yard line to take over on offense with 7:49 remaining, their offense would run nine more plays throughout the game, earn no first downs, throw an interception, and accumulate just four total yards.
If Beathard had been able to move the chains in the fourth quarter and simply keep the clock moving, the 49ers would have won this game.
Instead, he followed consecutive three-and-outs by heaving an interception to Kevin King, giving the ball back to a Hall of Fame quarterback with a little over a minute remaining and just needing to get his team into field goal range for a chance to win.
The 49ers had the ball on their own 47-yard line, just needing maybe 20 yards or so to get into field goal range to kick a field goal for a win.
Instead, Beathard threw an interception on a third and three. It’s becoming expected for Beathard to commit a turnover on a final drive where he has a chance to lead his team to victory.
It’s really a shame because Beathard had a fantastic game through the first three quarters of this game. He finished 16/23 for 245 yards, two touchdowns, and a 115.3 passer rating.
He had a better game statistically than Rodgers, who went 25/46 for 425 yards, two touchdowns, and 100.4 passer rating, but the difference was that Rodgers was able to make plays when his team needed him to and Beathard couldn’t.
49ers Offense Plays Well in First Three Quarters
Until those awful final three drives, the 49ers offense was absolutely rolling, carving up the Packers defense with both their passing and rushing attacks.
He finished with four catches and 126 yards and two touchdowns, including a 67-yard bomb thrown by Beathard in the first quarter.
Goodwin has a tremendous amount of speed that needs to be honored by the defense. Just having him out on the field as a deep threat opens up the offense and keeps the defense on their toes.
The 49ers run game looked great in the first three quarters, too. Matt Breida ended up playing after being a game-time decision, and he finished with 61 yards on 14 carries and a touchdown that capped off the 49ers opening drive.
The 49ers were able to average 5.8 yards per rush for a total of 174 rushing yards, and it’s not often that the run game executes like that and the team loses.
49ers Defense Gives Up Multiple Big Plays
The 49ers defense gave up a lot of big passing plays throughout the game. They allowed three different Packers receivers to get over 100 yards.
The 49ers secondary looked like it was in for a rough day after Valdes-Scantling caught a 60-yard pass on the opening offensive drive for the Packers.
Graham caught a 54-yard catch that would eventually set up a nine-yard touchdown pass to Adams near the end of the first quarter.
Turnover Problems Persist for 49ers
The 49ers had problems with turnovers yet again. They committed three and the Packers responded by scoring nine points off those turnovers.
The Beathard interception at the end is obviously going to get the most attention, but there were a couple crucial gaffes before that ultimately swayed the outcome of this game.
Unsurprisingly, Reed did not return any more kickoffs after the fumble. Richie James handled those responsibilities from then on.
49ers Defense Gets Crucial Stops, but It’s Not Enough
The Packers passing offense is what delivered them a victory, but they were also able to do plenty of damage on the ground. As a team, they averaged 5.5 yards per rush and racked up 116 yards.
The 49ers defense looked porous at times, but it’s also important to note that they made some key stops against the Packers offense.
It was largely brushed aside by how easily they allowed Rodgers to march down the field in the final minute with no timeouts, but this loss was truly a team effort.
Yes, Beathard couldn’t move the chains to run out the clock and then threw an interception when he had a chance for the win, but the defense looked so overmatched on that final drive that’s it’s impossible to ignore.
It could very well be because they were on the field so often during the fourth quarter, but if they’d locked down in that final minute, the game could have still been won in overtime.
The Packers offense was just 4-13 on third down throughout that game, which is a huge accomplishment for the defense against Rodgers.
The 49ers offense went just 2-9 on third downs, though, and a few of those failed conversions in the fourth quarter played a huge role in costing them the game.
If a team keeps playing with fire, they’ll eventually get burned, which is exactly what happened to the 49ers with Rodgers.
The 49ers defense made a really big stop on fourth and goal from the three-yard line with 7:49 left in the game.
The 49ers were up 30-23 at that point. All they had to do was eat up the clock and put points of any kind on the board to seal the victory.
The defense had done its job as of then, and it’s really not fair to ask them to continuously contain one of the best quarterbacks ever to play.
After the 49ers offense went three and out, their defense again came up huge, forcing the Packers into a three and out.
There was 4:06 left in the game at this point, and the 49ers defense had just made two gigantic stops against Rodgers.
Beathard and the offense again went three and out, forcing the 49ers defense to need to make yet another huge stop.
They couldn’t this time, though, as the Packers went 58 yards in a four-play drive that was capped off by an Adams 16-yard touchdown reception.
The defense did their job twice, and the 49ers offense couldn’t do what they needed to do to pick up the win.
It doesn’t matter that the defense allowed the Packers on the final drive to go 81 yards without any timeouts in 1:07 to win the game. It shouldn’t have even come to that.
On that final drive, the 49ers defense actually looked like it was about to make another stop when DeForest Buckner sacked Rodgers on a third and 15.
It would have set up a fourth and 19 for the Packers, but Richard Sherman was penalized for an illegal contact and the Packers got an automatic first down. The drive continued, and the Packers were able to secure the win.
The stars had to align perfectly for the 49ers to lose this game, but they amazingly found a way to cough this one up.
The game was never expected to be as close as this one was, but moral victories are a poor substitute for actual victories.
Learning how to close games is an essential tool for success in the NFL, and this team simply has figured out how to do that yet.