49ers 30, Packers 22
Photo: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
San Francisco 49ers' Chris Culliver (29) breaks up a pass intended for Green Bay Packers' Jordy Nelson during the second half of an NFL football game Monday, Sept. 10, 2012, in Green Bay, Wis. The 49ers won 30-22. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer) ORG XMIT: WIMG138 Image by Mike Roemer
San Francisco 49ers' Frank Gore (21) runs past Green Bay Packers' M.D. Jennings (43) during the second half of an NFL football game Monday, Sept. 10, 2012, in Green Bay, Wis. The 49ers won 30-22. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer) ORG XMIT: WIMG134 Image by Mike Roemer
San Francisco 49ers' Patrick Willis (52) and Donte Whitner (31) try to stop Green Bay Packers' Jermichael Finley (88) after a catch during the second half of an NFL football game Monday, Sept. 10, 2012, in Green Bay, Wis. The 49ers won 30-22. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps) ORG XMIT: WIMG142 Image by Jeffrey Phelps
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith (11) is sacked by Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews (52) during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps) ORG XMIT: WIMG108 Image by Jeffrey Phelps
Photo: Jeff Janca
Photo: Wayne Larrivee
Photo: Wayne Larrivee
Photo: Lance Allan
Next game: Thursday, September 13th vs. Chicago
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McCarthy to Larry McCarren: "We really didn't do the intangibles that it takes to win the game."
On the ground game, on both sides: "We didn't run the ball very well, and we did not stop the run."
6:41 p.m. Packers' 5th Drive 3:37
84 yards and a two-point conversion to a tie game.
PHEW! A near pick-six as Whitner nearly ran an INT to Iron Mountain.
3rd-9 at GB 17: FIRST DOWN! Cobb. Dove underneath Bowman as the ball went to the one spot where Cobb could catch it, and Bowman couldn't.
Two minute warning after another first down throw. Jennings with a spin move to gain a little more YAC.
Niners jump neutral zone at the 2-minute warning. Five yard gift. Packers will take it, gladly. They need every bit of help against the best defense in football in 2011.
Rodgers himself into San Francisco territory for another first down. Move them chains. Move them chains. Clockwork. But will it be as easy in the red zone against that 8-man zone the Niners use?
Sack. Not what you need here, but the Niners can do it to anyone. Tick, tock. Tick, tock.
4th-10 at SF 45: Game on the line. Rodgers...deep...Nelson...nope. Broken up. Game over. Culliver had fantastic coverage on Nelson.
6:34 p.m. 49ers' 4th Drive 5:58
Biggest defensive possession since the end of the first half against the Giants, one they absolutely botched with a failed defensive play on a Hail Mary.
This would be a Hail Mary-like comeback win if the Packers pull it off.
Smith on 2nd down...Miller. First down. 15 yards. He shot-putted that thing after a scramble. Maybe shot-putted it like my mother would, but the fairy pass was effective.
4-minute offense time as the Niners drain clock down.
Smith SACKED! CLAYMAKER! One more big play and the ball goes in ARod's capable hands. Larry: "Big-time player making a big-time play."
3rd-17 at SF 38: 3-man rush, and Smith has all the time in the world, but he has to run and slide. HUGE STOP!
6:25 p.m. Packers' 4th Drive 6:41
San Francisco 30, Green Bay 22
Rodgers-Jones 10 yd TD pass
And a little bit of life still left in this Packers offense, as they get small chunks. They need big chunks of yardage, and the Niners are running five-deep coverage.
You'll hear a lot of dump-off calls by Wayne and Larry the rest of the game.
You'll also hear a lot of flags called by the replacement refs. Bulaga for holding. He had a hold of his opponents' jersey. Obvious.
James Jones breaks free!!! YAC! BIG YAC! Scramble from Rodgers, and Jones was wide open. Two broken tackles, and it's red zone time. Still time. Still hope.
YES! ARod to Jones! Split two defenders on an unguardable slant pattern.
6:21 p.m. 49ers' 3rd Drive 8:50
San Francisco 30, Green Bay 15
Gore 23 yd TD run
Student body right. Gore smashes for a touchdown. This game might be history. Maybe not, but still, ugh.
6:20 p.m. Packers' 3rd Drive 8:59
"Oh no!" Rodgeers picked trying to find Jennings deep over the middle. Bowman went up and snagged it. Niners can put this thing away.
6:13 p.m. 49ers' 2nd Drive 11:16
REVERSE! The Packers knew it was coming. Just three yards, short of a first down. Forced cutback inside.
3rd-2 at SF 25: Larry: "This is an enormous third down."
And Gore is....is....is....is....SHORT! (No, not his height. Shields slammed him down short of a first down.) Though maybe Harbaugh has a point as he red-flags it. Another botched call may have helped the Packers out here. Gore might have crossed that imaginary yellow line.
NOPE! Big stop.
6:06 p.m. Packers' 2nd Drive 11:27
San Francisco 23, Green Bay 15
Cobb 75 yd TD punt return? Nope. Laundry at the 43 yard line. FLAG PICKED UP!!!! NO FLAGGAGE!!!!! TD!!!!!!!!!!
Two-pointer? They will attempt...and...critical...huge...ARod to Nelson!
6:03 p.m. 49ers' 1st Drive 14:06
Now, the 49ers' ground-and-pound game can get in high gear.
Flaggage on a sack by Burnett...and this time, the rare 49ers penalty. Take the penalty or ignore it for a 3rd down? Packers take yardage. not sure I would.
3rd-12 at SF 8: Gore smashes for a few yards, to give a little more room for the punter.
5:58 p.m. Packers' 1st Drive continued from 3rd Quarter
3rd-6 at SF 48: Gholston broke up a beautiful throw from Rodgers to Jennings. Even while face guarding and interfering him.
5:54 p.m. Packers' 3rd Drive :46
Two punts all game by San Francisco. Part of the absolute domination the Packers have had to endure today.
Cobb with a WR screen up the middle and the 49ers' quickness up front just exposed the underbelly of their defense.
Jones gets some rare YAC against the 49ers, too! First down. 15 minutes, and a miracle needed.
5:36 p.m. 49ers' 2nd Drive 4:34
D.J. Smith! You must get Gore in the backfield when you have the chance, like you did there. Any blown opportunity kills this team.
SACK TIME! Matthews gets to Smith. So does Nick Perry. Fight on, Trojans.
And it gets wasted. Gore set up his blocks beautifully for 16 yards on what could have been a no-gain. Ugh.
3rd-5 at SF 31: Crabtree again, but short of that yellow line on the TV. Good. Packers get another chance to three-and-out, the cynical side of me would say. But this offense's talent leaves you ever hopeful.
5:39 p.m. Packers' 2nd Drive 8:16
Must score. And yes, go for two.
It starts with Finley for 10 yards. Outside. Finley nearly smashed Harbaugh in the mouth. Some people think he should have. Particularly Jim Schwartz of the Lions.
ARod dances like Fred Astaire for four yards. About seven white jerseyed defenders missed him. Didn't look pretty, but four yards per carry is a good thing.
3rd-3 at 50: Finley? Bobble. Not the improbable kind, either, that made Antonio Freeman famous.
5:23 p.m. 49ers' 1st Drive 13:24
San Francisco 23, Green Bay 7
Smith-Davis 4 yd TD pass
Woodson sack, and is it needed! This defense will have to dominate and let the Packers inch their way back into this game.
3rd-8 at SF 17 1/2: Smith finds Crabtree as he dealt with traffic in the pocket. Same play they ran earlier this game - flush out the Packers defenders in the right short area, and the underneath throw gives Crabtree opportunities for YAC.
Gore's first big run of the day. 20 yards off right tackle. The gashing of this Packers defense continues. Green Bay does not look to be as good as advertised.
Vernon Davis. Wide open. First and goal. No green jerseys anywhere near him. Closest may have been in the stands. Horrible.
Whoa. Hunter. Touchdown called on a sweep as Moss drags down Tramon Williams on a block. Uncalled. Uncalled for mistakes by both the Packers and referees.
Yeah...that was a yard and a half short, refs. At least replay got it right. But is it just a formality before it's a 16-point game?
Not before more yellow flaggage. Early motion on the 49ers.
3rd-goal at GB 4: Davis at the goal line. Great throw into double coverage, with help from a pick play. Ugh.
5:15 p.m. Packers' 1st Drive 15:00 left in 3rd Quarter
Oh do they need a score here, and they also need to NOT commit a penalty. Even if it's bad calls by replacement refs.
3rd-1 at GB 30: ARod deep...Nelson...too much on the throw. Well covered. Double-teamed. Two straight three-and-outs. Niners' defense winning this battle of titanic units.
4:55 p.m. 49ers' 3rd Drive :18
San Francisco 16, Green Bay 7
Akers 63 yd FG
With the ball at the San Francisco 39, Akers can think about a field goal to make it a two-score game. That was a total fail by the Packers' offense in that three-and-out.
The backup is in - Kappernich! 19 yard run...because the Packers dropped eight defenders. Akers can kick a 63-yard field goal to extend the lead to two scores if they don't get this more yardage.
NFL RECORD 63-yard field goal by Akers that bounded over the crossbar and went over. Ugh. Tom Dempsey, Jason Elam, you have just been joined.
4:51 p.m. Packers' 2nd Drive :55
80 yards to the lead against 2011's best defense with 55 seconds and two time outs.
85 yards. False start. Ugh.
3rd-8 at GB 22, :39 left in half: ARod with loads of time...until McDonald chased him and forced him to throw it to the equipment guy for the 49ers. Punt. A 49ers defensive win.
4:34 p.m. 49ers' 2nd Drive 4:48
San Francisco 13, Green Bay 7
Akers 43 yd FG
Manningham for 11 yards. Simple square out where the 49ers cleared out the cornerbacks and set up a linebacker on Manningham.
Gore. Gain of five. Too effective, and it draw in that sometimes suspect Packers secondary. Wait. On that touchdown by Moss, VERY suspect secondary.
3rd-5 at SF 47: Blitz...Smith rolling out...and he had too muich on the throw for Davis...but Woodson interfered. Ge had a hand grabbing Davis' jersey. Sadly, a good call. Technically, holding since the ball wasn't in the air yet. First down.
After the two-minute warning, a false start by Staley didn't get caught by the refs, and the Niners got a break first down throw off Jarrett Bush.
WOODSON! A near pick. He reached beyond Delaney, who dropped a catchable ball, and nearly one-handed it spectacularly.
3rd-1 at SF 25: GORE STOPPED! Hawk, then Woodson stuffed Gore before the line of scrimmage. Packers will have 59 seconds left unless the 49ers choose to go for it.
4:14 p.m. Packers' 1st Drive 11:10
San Francisco 10, Green Bay 7
Rodgers-Finley 1 yd TD pass
Rodgers to Nelson...smart comeback move to get open for his scrambling quarterback on the sidelines, and something you rarely see from a San Francisco defense - YAC allowed. 28 yards.
3rd-1 at SF 43: Cobb. First down catch. Clockwork. Rodgers with the fastest non-two minute 4-4 I've ever seen.
Bombage. Jones. Second time they've failed to connect. This time, Jones was bumped as the ball came towards him. No, the defender grabbed his jersey.
The refs got the wrong 49er for the Packers' sake. Offsides.
High collar tackle this time on the first connection to Jones for no gain. And this time, again, the refs issue the wrong flag. This one against the Packers for illegal use of hands. Though Lang did have hands to the face.
1st down, v.3, 15 yards:. Which is much more G-rated than the words Mike McCarthy seems to be saying right now.
Timely slant pattern by Nelson, who is owning his defender this quarter.
3rd-2 at SF 30: ARod bombing to Jones! FINALLY! A big play down the sideline to the two yard line. I think this is going against the green and gold. He did slightly push off as the ball approached. Then again, so did the defender. That's a 50-50 ball.
3rd-12 at SF 40: FINLEY! That was a Rodgers Rocket over the middle. Finley shaking his head as a pass that had to be exactly where it was to be caught...was there.
COBB! Broken tackle attempt with a fabulous spin move at the 20. Another first down. Ballet-like move ankle-broke the defender.
1st-15 at SF 16: BIG FLAGGAGE! "Jermichael Finley was sandwitched by Parrish and Witmer. He took a lake hit." - Wayne Larrivee.
Good news: 1st-goal at 1 after pass interference. Bad news: Parrish stepped on Finley's ankle.
4:04 p.m. 49ers' 1st Drive continued from 1st Quarter
San Francisco 10, Green Bay 0
Smith-Moss 14 yd TD pass
3rd-3 at SF 15: Flaggage after Bush knocked the football from the path of Smith to his receiver. Bush did have gloves on white jersey. Often. Good call.
Seven offensive linemen for the 49ers, and a gain of three by Gore. That's a Packers win.
Flag in the backfield after Smith went deep trying to escape Clay Matthews breathing down his neck. The replacement refs call Matthews for the 15-yarder. He seemed to have his right arm around Smith's neck when he leaped to tackle him before the throw.
McCarthy is fuming. I don't blame him.
Vernon Davis with another frist down catch. Dink. Dump. Safe passes. It's like the poor man's Joe Montana style offense (pre-Jerry Rice and a deep threat).
Wayne Larrivee: "They are picking apart the Packers defense right now."
Crabtree to the red zone. Dink. Dump. Safe passes. See previous. Ugh.
Hunter around right end...and the first time we've heard Nick Perry's name. LUCKY to gain a half yard.
Smith over the middle. More wide open than a skunk at a perfume convention: Randy Moss.
4:00 p.m. 49ers' 3rd Drive 1:20
92 yards to the end zone, five yard gains by Gore (on first down) are just fine for the 49ers, a ball control team who loves to play Rex Ryan/Bret Bielema ground-and-pound.
3:50 p.m. Packers' 2nd Drive 4:53
Fencing and parrying so far betwen the Packers and 49ers. Which team will bring the haymakers? That's your winner.
Running the ball will not work against this team. Benson with three yards is eh. But you won't make big hay off it.
3rd-3 at GB 27: ARod to Cobb! He sat right at the first down marker and sat there, giving Rodgers an easy target.
Aaron Rodgers to the corner for another first down along the sideline. Legs can do enough to keep marches going.
1st attempt at a haymaker: Rodgers to Jones down the far sideline, but Brown extended a hand beautifully to stop the ball from reaching its target.
3rd-8 at 50: Jennings on one of those too-short-for-a-first down completions. You HAVE to throw the ball in 1st down territory against this team. 49ers give you ZERO YAC.
3:42 p.m. 49ers' 2nd Drive 9:11
San Francisco 3, Green Bay 0
Akers 40 yd FG
From the 20, Crabtree (Michael, not the very tattoo-ed Tom), with that slant pattern which is unguardable when run correctly. 11-yard first down. Smith will throw those safe passes well. Can he stand the pressure when he has to go deep?
Smith to Crabtree again. This could be a theme here.
NOOOOOO!!!!! The ghost of Randy Moss. The guy beat Bush because he had all the cushion in the world. Bush is too afraid of his deep skills. Deep to the Packers 28.
Except that throw to Moss, it's been all short stuff over the middle. Packers have been using base coverage.
3rd-4 at GB 22: Droppsies. Bad throw from Smith to Walker. Pass higher than the hang time of Michael Jordan.
3:28 p.m. Packers' 1st Drive 13:03
After a muffed catch by Cobb, he recovers with a five-yard return to get the ball to the 20. That's NOT how you start your offense out. Neither is a block to the back that brings out yellow flaggage.
First offensive play - 10 yards high-percentage pass to Jennings. Perfect square out is unguardable.
Ugh. Alden Smith, unblocked, sacked Rodgers 10 yards behind the line of scrimmage. LOVELY. Alden Smith sacked his helmet to the ground and will make that a five-yard gain.
The helmet actually came off when Rodgers' heel accidentally knocked Smith's face mask askew, but he still shouldn't throw the thing down like he's spiking a football.
Rodgers is getting flushed again. Good news: he's able to make it a 3rd-1. Bad news: he's not getting great protection, or enough to complete the ball.
3rd-1 at SF 46: Blitzed. Mistake. ARod-to-Finley is money for the first down.
Uh oh...challenge flag. Did he catch the ball? I think so. Both hands around the ball. Both feet down. Had both hands on it for at least a half second. The refs say yes.
Four yards. Benson in a scrum. Four yards a carry is all the Packers need from him.
3rd-6 at SF 38: Make that 3rd-11 at SF 43 due to Newhouse's jumpiness. No, he did not see a rat underneath his torso.
Rodgers sacked. Blitz by Carlos Rodgers. Unblocked. Niners win this round.
3:25 p.m. 49ers' 1st Drive 15:00 left in 1st Quarter
"There are some hearts pounding..hearts go right through your shoulder pads right now." - Larry McCarren.
It all starts with a bomb eight yards deep in the end zone...smartly, no return. And with no time elapsed on the clock, the first chants of "Go Pack Go!"
First play from scrimmage for the season: Gore sifting and bouncing his way for four yards with a white-and-old-gold escort in front of him.
3rd-1 at SF 29: SACK TIME! Claymaker! The pocket collapsed as he bull-rushed his guy.
Coin toss time. Bush, Rodgers, Woodson your opening day captains for the Packers.
49ers call tails. It comes up tails, and the Niners will start with the ball.
Packers are coming on the field right now! The fans are also resplendent, as the team has given away a t-shirt of either green and gold, depending on which section you're in. The stadium will look AWESOME.
Packers Coach Mike McCarthy to Wayne Larrivee during our pre-game show: "There's nothing like Lambeau Field. There's nothing like our fans."
On the 49ers: "The front seven really sets the tempo for their football team."
Yes, we're an hour from kickoff of the Packers' season. Excited?
Hub Arkush made a great point on Packers Gameday: perhaps the team whose weakness improved from 2011 to '12 the most will win this game. Watch for the Packers' overall defense, and the 49ers' passing game.
Is Alex Smith for real? Will Charles Woodson's move to safety and the new blood on the Green Bay defense make them better?
Ginn, Jacobs are among the 49ers inactives today. So is former Badgers QB Scott Tolzien.
After seven months of waiting, the games that count are finally here!
The Green Bay Packers begin their 94th season with the beginning of the chase for their 14th world championship, and what a beginning they get - a San Francisco 49ers team that offers both a contrast in styles and perhaps the biggest danger point among all the Packers' opponents.
If Aaron Rodgers and the offense is as good as their 2009-11 performance would advertise - and there's no deep-seeded reason why they wouldn't be, as long as the offensive line and the team's health hold up - nothing should stop this team from reproducing their epic productivity.
Except, perhaps 2011's best defense in the 49ers, a team returning all of its starters.
Not only are they immensely talented, but their methodology is the exact strategy that most challenges Green Bay's offense.
The Packers, with Aaron Rodgers as the quarterback, have historically had trouble with teams that can rush the passer and flow to the football without help of the blitz.
Examples: the pre-2011 Chicago Bears, the 2011 Kansas City Chiefs, the 2011 New York Giants in that fateful post-season loss.
Those four examples describe the Packers' problems when facing great front fours and linebackers who can drop into coverage and make Aaron Rodgers' life more havoc-apparent.
Additionally, the 49ers offense, with grinding running back Frank Gore and a possession-centered passing attack with Alex Smith, are the type of team that will limit the Packers' opportunities to touch the football.
That's just like Kansas City did in that upset win last year. These are the Chiefs with much more talent.
However, the main opponent for the Packers today is...yes, just like 2011...the Packers themselves. If they play turnover free, mistake-rare football, no team in the NFL can beat them.
Should Green Bay reign triumphant today, they may be getting past their toughest regular season test of 2012.