Kaepernick rushes for QB playoff record 181 yards and totals 4 TDs as 49ers beat Packers 45-31: apne.ws/W1oZ1o(@janiemccap) #NFLThe 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.
— AP Sports (@AP_Sports) January 13, 2013
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.