Saturday, January 12, 2013

Playoff Loss: 49ers Offense Run All Over The Packers

So ends the Green Bay Packers' season with a playoff blowout loss in San Francisco. I expect the defense is still getting spun around like a top as they try to watch QB Colin Kaepernick walk out of the stadium because he has that effect on them.
The Packers had other problems in this game. The offense needed to step up when the defense was struggling. WR Jeremy Ross fumbled a punt return. CB Tramon Williams was burned all day by WR Michael Crabtree. But the only thing that really mattered was that the Packers' defensive front seven was physically beaten by 49ers' offensive line and the linebackers couldn't contain Kaepernick in the running game.

Even LB Clay Matthews had a bad game, though he did record their lone sack and knocked down an apparent touchdown pass, so he was still their best player by far up front. All the linebackers played as hard as they could but they were just overmatched and completely fooled by all the option plays.

If the defense could have collapsed the pocket and trapped Kaepernick in it, then this would have been a different game. DE Mike Neal has received some good press lately for his late season play and his 4.5 sacks, which are second on the team, but the fact that he was second on the team in sacks is a problem in itself. He isn't good enough to be their number two pass rusher. Neal ended the playoff game with no recorded stats (no sacks or tackles). NT B.J. Raji didn't record a stat either. That doesn't mean both players should be released, but this game showed what happens when arguably their top two defensive lineman have no impact.

The Packers used their top five draft picks last April on defensive players after they gave up more yards than any other defense had in NFL history (until the Saints took the crown away). After watching Kaepernick run for more yards than any NFL quarterback had ever run in any single game, it's apparent that they're not done re-loading the defense.

It's a sour note to a solid season, one in which the defense bounced back from a disastrous 2011 and they won the NFC North after a 2-3 start. They won a playoff game, which is an accomplishment in it's own right and isn't something that happens every year. The good news is that QB Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy are not going to be content with a very good season and it won't be too long until they start working hard on another Super Bowl run.


jester13k said...

My reactions to a mental review of the season is a lack of discipline with the players especially on the defensive side, and extremely lethargic adjustments by the coaching staff.

PackFaninFl said...

For the life of me, I just don't understand the blitzing in the first half. It's one thing to blitz an immobile QB like Cutler, who's like a sitting duck back there, quite another a guy like Kaepernick.

But even when we adjusted (somewhat), they still beat us.

Bottom line: at the point of attack (offensive and defensive lines) they were just plain better.

I think our first priority is to get an absolute stud defensive end. Pickett is getting old and the merry go round with Werthy, Neal and Wilson on the other side may not be good enough.

Kind of miss that Howard Green/Daniel Muir big type of 3-4 end.

And boy o boy, our three last number 1 draft picks were all injured for this game. While all of them were contributing big time for San Fran (Iupati, Anthony Davis, Aldon Smith).

That's huge.

So much to say. Not surprised AT ALL that San Fran won, but the ease with which they beat us was surprising.

Brandon said...

They needed a defensive lineman to get a push into the pocket (not necessarily a sack) and they didn't get it. Worthy and Daniels are an improvement over 2011's line, but that's almost too easy a goal since they got so little from Wynn, Green, and Neal, et. al. in 2011.

But I was really disappointed with the linebackers too. Matthews at least made a couple plays, but the other three linebackers did nothing. There shouldn't have been high expectations for Walden, Hawk or Jones but they all showed why they're better suited for backup roles.