The Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers opened up the 2013 season with FOX's game of the week on Sunday, and it did not disappoint. The game saw three ties, two lead changes, and a lot of intensity, but unfortunately the Packers, who struggled to contain Colin Kaepernick on the ground in last season's playoff loss, could not keep him and Anquan Boldin from connecting as the 49ers held on late for a 34-28 victory.
The Packers' secondary had trouble early on, as Colin Kaepernick found Vernon Davis in the corner of the end zone for a 20-yard touchdown with M.D. Jennings trailing in coverage. The Packers struck back to even the score at seven, as Aaron Rodgers led a long drive with passes to multiple different receivers. That series was capped off with a Randall Cobb reception where he was able to stretch the ball to the goal line for a touchdown.
After San Francisco punted, Eddie Lacy made his first major error as a rookie as he fumbled the ball away to the 49ers defense deep in Packers territory. The defense held, but instead of taking a 4th and 1, Mike McCarthy elected to take an illegal formation penalty and back the Niners up to 3rd and 6 instead. On that play, Kaepernick was running out of bounds well short of the first down when Clay Matthews leaped and hit him late, drawing a flag and retaliation from tackle Joe Staley. The offsetting penalties gave the Niners another chance on third down, when Kaepernick hit Anquan Boldin over the middle and he broke a Jerron McMillian tackle to find the end zone and give San Francisco a 14-7 lead.
Another promising drive led by Rodgers and Jordy Nelson was brought to a quick halt, as Jermichael Finley bobbled a very catchable ball up the seam that was intercepted by 49ers safety Eric Reid, but Phil Dawson missed a 48-yard field goal and the Packers avoided any damage.
The Packers' offense drove down the field inside the 2-minute warning thanks to the Rodgers-Nelson connection, as Nelson shook tacklers on multiple occasions to pick up first downs. Finley capped off the drive with a 12-yard catch-and-run, and he leapt over the front right pylon to make his way into the end zone for the tying score just before the half expired.
On the first drive of the second half, Anquan Boldin dominated the Packers' defense. He caught four passes for 70 yards on that drive alone, which was capped off by a short touchdown pass to Vernon Davis, his second of the day.
Randall Cobb and Nelson were the stars of the next drive though, as Cobb made a couple of tough catches and Rodgers found Nelson for yet another tying touchdown from 8 yards out.
After a 49ers' field goal, the Packers running game started moving the ball. Eddie Lacy had a few nice runs and Rodgers threw a perfect back-shoulder pass to Nelson who tapped his toes as he was falling out of bounds for a 37-yard gain. A few plays later, Lacy went over the top of the pile and crossed the plane of the end zone for his first career touchdown, a 2-yard score, which gave Green Bay its first lead at 28-24.
Unfortunately, the defense's issues with Boldin continued, as he made a long reception over the middle and picked up 25 yards after the catch. A long run by Kendall Hunter set up a short scoring plunge by Frank Gore to swing the lead back to San Francisco at 31-28.
Jeremy Ross made a huge mistake on the ensuing kickoff return, as he took the ball out from four yards deep in the end zone but was tackled inside the 10. That forced Green Bay into a 3-and-out on offense, after which the Niners ran the clock down and tacked on a field goal to make it a 34-28 game with under 30 seconds left.
The Packers got down past midfield with one long pass to Randall Cobb, but after killing the clock with a spike, Rodgers was pressured and couldn't get off a heave to the end zone with time running out.
Kaepernick had a day for the ages, but this time did it through the air - he put up 413 passing yards and three touchdowns despite being held to 22 rushing yards.