Wisconsin State Journal columnist Tom Oates grades the Green Bay Packers' performance in their 37-8 loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California.
Packers backs rushed for 26 yards in the first half. Aaron Rodgers was sacked three times in the first half and started rushing his throws. Can you blame him? The line was overmatched against the 49ers front, especially Corey Linsley. The defender ripped at the ball, but Jimmy Graham has to put that deep pass away sooner.
The defense kept the Packers in the game with some timely pressure until late in the first half, when it finally caved in on Deebo Samuel's 42-yard touchdown catch. Like most tight ends against the Packers, George Kittle had a big day in the middle of the field. The Packers had three sacks but struggled to stop the run.
JK Scott averaged 37.2 yards on six punts in the first half and this time there was no weather to affect his kicks. He's just in a deep, deep slump. Either that or he was tired from punting so often. Amazingly, the Packers entered the game with a minus-8 yards on punt returns for the season. That went to minus-11 Sunday.
The master, Kyle Shanahan, taught the pupil, Matt LaFleur, a painful lesson. The 49ers blitzed more than usual and the Packers didn't handle it well. LaFleur going for it on fourth-and-1 at the 28 was risky, but sending Aaron Jones off the right side against that front without injured Bryan Bulaga was just a mistake.
The last time the Packers went to the West Coast, they were whipped by the Chargers because they partied for two days in Los Angeles. There were no such excuses this time. The 49ers manhandled and outclassed the Packers. Green Bay had two weeks to prepare, but it was San Francisco that was the better-prepared team.
Photos: Green Bay Packers fall to San Francisco 49ers
Tom Oates has been a staff member of the Wisconsin State Journal sports department for 30 years and its editorial voice for more than 15, traversing the state and country to bring readers a Madison perspective on the biggest sports stories of the day — from UW athletics to the Green Bay Packers, Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks, as well as local teams such as the Mallards and Mustangs.
Tom Oates has been part of the Wisconsin State Journal sports department since 1980 and became its editorial voice in 1996, traversing the state and country to bring readers a Madison perspective on the biggest sports stories of the day.
Shanahan is the coach who’s had the greatest influence on LaFleur during his NFL coaching career, having worked with him with the Houston Texans (2008 and ’09), Washington Redskins (2010-’13) and Atlanta Falcons (2015 and ’16).
Carrying the 49ers is a lot to put on the shoulders of someone who has yet to throw 700 passes in the NFL, and yet such is Jimmy Garoppolo's lot heading into Sunday Night's showdown with Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.
Matt LaFleur tried to hire his younger brother Mike as the Packers’ offensive coordinator back in January, but coach Kyle Shanahan, one of LaFleur’s best friends in coaching, blocked Mike from leaving the 49ers.
Coming off their bye week, the Packers have positioned themselves well in the crowded NFC playoff chase, but that's really all they've accomplished to date. Their performance from here on out is the only thing that matters.
Jimmy Garoppolo threw two long touchdown passes and the San Francisco defense harassed Rodgers into one of the worst performances of his brilliant career, leading the 49ers to a 37-8 victory over the Packers on Sunday in the first of three straight games against first-place teams.
State Journal columnist Tom Oates grades the Green Bay Packers' performance in their 31-13 win over the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium.
Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers fumbles the ball while sacked by San Francisco middle linebacker Fred Warner during the first half of the Packers' 37-8 loss to the 49ers on Sunday night at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. The 49ers recovered the fumble.