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Divisional Weekend: Packers Winners and Losers vs. the 49ers

The Packers once again fell short after meeting the boogeyman in the playoffs.

NFC Divisional Playoffs - Green Bay Packers v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Green Bay Packers’ first season with Jordan Love at the helm is officially over, after a 24-21 loss in the Divisional Round to the top-seeded San Francisco 49ers. The Packers were on top for much of the game, but just could not get the job done against the team who has been their playoff kryptonite for the better part of a decade. Let’s dive into the winners and losers of the Packers’ final game of the 2023 season.

Winner: Aaron Jones

No one on offense today really stood out. Except, of course, the one constant. For the fifth straight game, ol’ reliable rushed for over 100 yards. This is the first time San Francisco has allowed a 100-yard rusher since 2021. He had a huge run of 53 yards in the second half, which is the longest run of the year for the Packers. Overall, Jones looked pretty great, and once again proved how much the Packers need him on their roster next season. His final stat line against San Francisco was 18 carries for 108 yards (6.0 avg), and 3 catches for 8 yards.

Loser: De’Vondre Campbell

De’Vondre Campbell plays like he’s ready to go to bed. He is just too slow, and he’s not able to bring guys down anymore. Tonight, there were multiple plays where Campbell could’ve (should’ve!) gotten a clutch sack. His inability to make a stop was absolutely detrimental to the Packers' defense tonight. It gave the QB time to throw, it gave up first downs, and it allowed the 49ers to eat up precious time on the clock. Campbell has a cap hit of just over $14 million next season. If the Packers feel confident they can find talent elsewhere, be it through free agency or the draft, this may be the last time we see Campbell in a Packers uniform.

Winner: Kenny Clark

Kenny Clark was everywhere tonight. He only finished with 5 tackles, including combining for a sack with Preston Smith, but he was a massive presence on defense. He applied heavy pressure all night, which forced 49ers QB Brock Purdy to get the ball out quickly, and this led to a ton of overthrows and incompletions. Clark played to win tonight, plain and simple.

Loser: Anyone who spotted the football

I actually lost track of how many times I saw the placement of the football tonight and responded “what?”. I would also like to go on record and say I’m not a fan of the most popular sport in the country choosing to measure first downs with two men holding sticks connected by a chain. It doesn’t need to be this difficult.

Winner: Eric Wilson

Eric Wilson, I’m still not quite sure what it is you do here, but thank you for jumping on the ball after Keisean Nixon fumbled during his absolutely insane kick return. It ensured the Packers still had the opportunity to score, and they did.

Loser: Jordan Love

It actually pains me to make the Packers QB a loser this week, after such a phenomenal stretch of games this season. He didn’t look awful tonight, by any means. As I’ve mentioned previously, Jordan Love has made it a weekly habit of showing us some of the prettiest throws we’ve ever seen. That continued tonight, as evidenced by this beauty of a pass to Romeo Doubs during the first half.

Overall, though, he underwhelmed tonight. Though the Packers didn’t allow a single sack, Love faced heavy pressure from a 49ers defense which includes Nick Bosa and Chase Young. Things looked off. Just as we saw in some games from earlier in the season, Love’s decision-making left me with some questions. His two interceptions were throws that should not have been made. The first pick led to a 49ers drive which ended in a field goal. The second pick sent the 49ers to the NFC Championship. That second interception in particular was awful. Love could’ve thrown it away; it would’ve stopped the clock. Love could’ve run it; they had timeouts left. Love could’ve done anything else with that football, and the Packers might have marched down the field so that Anders Carlson could miss the game-tying FG.

Winner: Colby Wooden

On National Cheese Lover’s Day, Colby showed up in the form of a block.

Loser: Anders Carlson

K Anders Carlson had the opportunity to give the Packers three more points. He missed, and the team lost by three points. Carlson will likely be the Packers’ kicker next season, and I don’t really have any problem with this. For tonight, however, he is my enemy.

The young 2023 Green Bay Packers defied all expectations. They not only made the playoffs, but they won a game, and it didn’t stop there! They held their own against the NFC’s top-seeded team, and nearly ended a curse that began when Jordan Love was in high school. Unless you win the Super Bowl, the end of an NFL season always hurts. The Packers will be back, and they’ll have another year of experience under their belt. Until next time, folks.