Every game. Every player. Every play. That's the motto of Pro Football Focus, and they sure deliver on their promise. After every NFL game the team at Pro Football Focus breaks down each play of the game and each player. Their grading scale can be a little difficult to comprehend at times, but if you take the time to read their guidelines you will quickly understand.
After the San Francisco 49ers were able to beat the Green Bay Packers, 34-28 on Sunday afternoon, the team at Pro Football Focus quickly broke down the tape and gave their complete grades for the game. Let's start with a look at the offensive winners and losers:
Nelson finished with the best grade overall of any Packer (+3.7) and played a very solid game overall. Nelson made the play of the game mid-way through the fourth quarter when he made a spectacular diving catch on his toes falling out of bounds for a 37-yard reception. The Packers would finish the drive off with an Eddie Lacy touchdown run and take their first lead of the game, 28-24.
Nelson finished the game with seven catches for 130 yards and a touchdown.
Cobb looked every bit of the dynamic slot wide receiver the Packers were hoping for in 2013 — he picked up right where he left off in 2012. Cobb made a number of solid catches over the middle, including one in the red zone that he nicely extended for a few extra yards to break the plane of the end zone for a touchdown.
Cobb earned a final grade of (+1.3) as he caught seven passes for 108 yards and the aforementioned touchdown.
In what was overall a weak performance from the Packers' offense line, Barclay turned in a respectable performance. Barclay finished the game with the Packers' second best offensive grade (+1.8) behind Nelson. The most impressive part of Barclay's performance was the way he graded out in the run blocking game (+1.1).
The Packers as a team graded out at (-5.3) in run blocking and were unable to open up holes for the running game all afternoon. Barclay also graded out solidly with a (+0.3) in pass blocking. He did give up 2 quarterback hurries and one quarterback hit, but all in all, it was a solid performance by Barclay.
The Guards (Josh Sitton and T.J. Lang)
It was not the best performance for the Packers' guard duo. The Packers had hoped that flip-flopping Sitton to the left side would help sure up the left side protection woes that plagued the Packers last season, however, after losing Bryan Bulaga for the season with torn ACL and Sitton's performance Sunday, Green Bay must be concerned.
In Sitton's defense he was taking on one the NFL's best interior defensive linemen Justin Smith and it was his first start at left guard, he is a Pro-Bowl player and has plenty of time to improve.
For grading purposes both Sitton and Lang finished the game with a dreadful (-4.0) including a combined (-5.3) in the run blocking game.
Lets shift gears and take a look at the defensive side of the ball. While the defense appeared to be much better in this game against the 49ers than they were in the playoffs a season ago, they still have some issues on defense. The Packers again gave up nearly 500 yards of offense to the 49ers.
Now let's take a look at some of the winners and losers on defense:
Williams finished the game with the second highest grade of any Packers' player on Sunday (+2.4) and played well for most of the game.
In coverage, Williams was solid earning a coverage grade of (+1.4). In the game, Williams gave up just two catches for 37 yards and 49ers' quarterback Colin Kaepernick had a quarterback rating of just 66.3 when throwing in Williams' direction. Unfortunately, one of these completions was the last third down conversion to Anquan Boldin, but all in all Tramon played a pretty good game.
Williams was also solid in the run game unlike last year when he was torched by the Minnesota Vikings and 49ers in the last three games of the season, including the two playoff games. He finished this game with a (+0.7) grade, cementing an overall solid performance by Williams.
In the running game Jones, along with his defensive line, dominated the 49ers' front five. Jones finished the game with a (+3.0) grade against the run. Jones didn't have is usual success in pass coverage, though, as he finished with a coverage grade of (-1.8).
Overall, Jones was solid earning an overall grade of (+1.5) — he raked up eight tackles and four stops (solo tackles).
Aside from Williams' solid game, the secondary graded out very poorly.
Leading the way with the overall worst grade of the game was second year safety Jerron McMillian (-5.7). McMillian struggled all game long in both the run game and pass coverage. McMillian struggled the most in pass coverage (-5.8). PFF credited receivers covered by McMillian with six targets by Kaepernick and six receptions for 57 yards, a quarterback rating of 145.8. He also missed four tackles, and one went for an Anquan Boldin touchdown. In McMillian's defense, he was thrown into the starters' role on Friday when the team learned that Morgan Burnett would miss the game with a hamstring injury. Without enough time to prepare, McMillian looked lost on the field.
Another poor performance in the secondary came from Sam Shields. Shields made a few plays in the game, however, his (-2.0) grade was the second worst grade on defense behind McMillian. The usually sound coverage man struggled in pass coverage (-2.6) giving up five receptions for 116 yards on 10 targets, which was good enough for a quarterback rating of 92.1 for Kaepernick
The Packers overall received an offensive grade of (-1.1) and a defensive grade of (-7.4). While the grades were a bit harsh the Packers certainly have many positives to take away from Sunday's loss. The Packers will look to improve as the return to Lambeau Field Sunday for their home opener against the Washington Redskins.
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