Result: San Francisco 37, Green Bay 8.
Talk then began that the Packers were fraudulent contenders and that the dominating defense that started the season taking the NFC by storm was nothing but a paper tiger.
After the game, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said if Green Bay wanted to make a run, they more than likely would have to be San Francisco in Santa Clara to get where they wanted to be.
As per his record, Rodgers was once again prophetic.
In hindsight, that blowout loss is what projected the Packers all the way to being a game away from a trip to Super Bowl LIV and a big reason for that is the defense came together rather than collapsed after getting their lunch handed to them on national television.
Communication improved. Responsibilities were understood. Usually when something “clicks” for a team it’s after a resounding victory. Instead for the Packers, it came after a humiliating loss.
In a season that has been puzzling to some and fraudulent to others, Green Bay wouldn’t have it any other way. Now they get the chance to go back to San Francisco and prove they learned their lessons.
For when they last left Santa Clara, they were but the learner. We will know Sunday night if they’ve become the master.
There’s more of the defensive turnaround post-Week 12 and how Misters Smith coming to Wisconsin rejuvenated a franchise in today’s cheese curds.
Sometimes getting your socks knocked off brings clarity and that’s exactly what happened to the Green Bay defense. They’ve been rock solid since.
Reggie White and Gilbert Brown. Clay Matthews and Charles Woodson. Each of the two recent Packers championship teams had two stalwarts on defense. Za’Darius and Preston Smith can add their names to the list with just two more victories.
Davante Adams’ rise to the cream of the NFL receiving crop has been one of the great stories of the past five years. From being a popular cut candidate with some fans to now being universally beloved, Adams has earned every bit of his success as well as his quarterback’s trust.
It’s amazing what knocking down some walls and applying a fresh coat of paint can do to a franchise. The Packers rolled the dice with Rodgers still in his prime and the gamble paid dividends sooner than even the most optimistic cheesehead thought it would.
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