It looks really bad on the box score, but don't panic. The Packers' starters played fine in the first half (with a couple notable exceptions). QB Aaron Rodgers played fine (except for one bad pass) and his stats would have looked a lot better if his pass protection had been better and his receivers could have caught a couple of catchable passes.
The story in the first half was that no Packer, other than CB Charles Woodson had an INT, made any plays (long reception, long run, sack, etc.). The team was a little flat. Not great, but not bad. Unfortunately two Packers, nickel CB Jarrett Bush and LG Jason Spitz, had awful, games from hell. I wouldn't be surprised if either, or both, of them were released in a couple weeks just because of this game.
In the second half, neither rookie QB could get anything going. It's not surprising. Flynn looked better than he did in the first game, but Brohm looked about the same. They've just got to show some improvement each week, so hopefully one of them can be ready if needed in a month or two. Also, there was a lot of sloppy blocking and tackling, but that's why these guys are all backups or battling for a roster spot.
The key remains to stay healthy. A couple of receivers battling for a roster spot were hurt late in the 4th quarter, but otherwise no problems. Unlike in Minnesota where they won the preseason battle, but lost QB Tarvaris Jackson to a sprained knee. It's a sprained MCL, but all sprains are really tears. He's not going to heal right away and might not be ready for the regular season, but the Vikings might be better with QB Gus Frerotte anyway.
- 49ers offense got nothing going in the first quarter. RB Frank Gore had a 14 yard run, it happened because DE Aaron Kampman and LB Nick Barnett got blocked and Gore's pretty good. TE Vernon Davis had two big 3rd down catches, but LB A.J. Hawk would be covering Davis (except Hawk's hurt) and LB Brandon Chillar is no Hawk. Overall the 1st team defense was very solid in the 1st quarter.
- I hate it when the Packers miss on big plays. Sometimes you get another chance, but rarely. WR Donald Driver got open deep but had to stretch out and it went off his hands. The offensive stats would have been a lot prettier with that 40 yard reception.
- QB Aaron Rodgers was sacked twice in the quarter when the pass rusher blew past OL Jason Spitz, who got the start at left guard, and collapsed the pocket (and Rodgers). The coaches loves Spitz for his versatility, he can play anywhere on the line, but he's rarely played at left guard. 2nd year OL Allen Barbre got the start last week, and he played much better than Spitz. I can't see how Spitz can lay claim to the left guard spot after this game.
- Great INT by CB Charles Woodson, and then he batted the ball out of bounds after he fumbled the return. QB J.T. O'Sullivan didn't see him at all and threw it right at him.
- TE Donald Lee just dropped a TD pass. Wide open, ball hit his hands, and he dropped it. On the next play, Spitz was knocked on his ass, and Rodgers got sacked. No receiver is open on 3rd down and Rodgers runs out of bounds. The big INT only leads to a field goal.
- The run defense didn't play great, but they were missing two important starters, NT Ryan Pickett and Hawk. DT Colin Cole played in place of Pickett, and he got shoved around. The good news was that San Francisco only had one rush over 10 yards against the starters. San Francisco wasn't scoring because RB Deshawn Foster had a couple 6 yard gains against them.
- CB Jarrett Bush is battling for the nickel spot, and he might have lost his spot on the team with his performance in the 1st half. On special teams, he committed a 15 yard unsportsmanlike penalty. Then he allowed three big receptions that directly led to the two first half TD's:
- A 27 yard reception by WR Jason Hill. It kept the first TD drive alive on 3rd down.
- A 22 yard reception by WR Josh Morgan down to the Packers 6 yard line.
- On Morgan's 59 yard TD reception, Bush held up and let Morgan go deep, but Bush blew the coverage and he had no deep help. Maybe that play wasn't Bush's fault, maybe S Nick Collins was supposed to come over, but it didn't look like it. CB Will Blackmon and S Atari Bigby came in late to try and tackle, but they were running over from the other side of the field.
- Wow, did rookie CB Pat Lee crush Foster on a pass attempt. O'Sullivan put his head in his hands after the pass because he knew he set up Foster for the big hit.
- Rodgers' fourth sack when Spitz (again) was bull rushed into Rodgers, and then he almost falls on top of Rodgers too. Of the four sacks, three were because the defensive lineman shoved LG Spitz out of the way and collapsed the pocked, and the other was a coverage sack.
- QB Brian Brohm came in and played like a rookie. He was late on several throws. His accuracy was off and he had a near INT. Not surprising that he's going to need more time.
- QB Alex Smith came in for San Francisco, and went right to work on Bush. It seemed like every pass was thrown at him. He got beat deep, but Smith underthrew it. He still gave up 40 yards on the first drive, and then committed pass interference in the end zone on the last drive of the quarter which lead to the third TD.
- WR Jordy Nelson had two big kickoff returns of 56 and 58 yards. It would be a shock if he isn't the primary kick returner this season. Still the Packers struggling 2nd and 3rd team offense only managed 3 points off of them.
- RB Noah Herron, who missed all of the 2007 with an injury, looked good. He ran better than RB Brandon Jackson did as the starter, but Jackson was given only 3 rushing attempts in the first half.
- Brohm fumbles the snap which leads to the third TD. Junius Coston had some trouble in practice last week with the snap, as he tries to move from guard to center. I couldn't tell if it was Brohm or Coston's fault, but when they haven't played much together, those things happen.
- RB Kregg Lumpkin had the big yardage in the game, rushing for 51 yards, but he had some big holes and he didn't seem any better than Herron.
- Some sloppy tackling, and a sloppy face mask penalty on DE Jason Hunter, led to another San Francisco field goal.
- QB Matt Flynn came in, his stats were a little better than Brohm's, but the difference between them is slight. Flynn was sacked twice from behind and didn't appear to notice the pressure at all.
- On those two sacks, OL Daryn Colledge was playing left tackle. He's looked good there in the past, but LB Tully Banta-Cain ran right around him on two straight plays and Flynn was sacked and fumbled on both of them.
- Just a great play by LB Abdul Hodge when he got past a blocker and stopped the back on a 3rd down play. The former 3rd round pick missed all of last season with an injury, but if he stays healthy, he should make the team.
- Some sloppy tackling again on the punt return for a TD by former Packers KR Allen Rossum. Hopefully that improves once the first and second team players take over the special teams unit.