Anna Bauer ’23
A few weeks back the Tripod divulged the details of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers versus the Green Bay Packers game and the San Francisco 49ers versus the Los Angeles Rams game; this past week, the Green Bay Packers played again against the San Francisco 49er, looking like the team they were before they played the Buccaneers.
To better understand this game, and what the win and loss means for each team, here is a little background:
For those who have forgotten about the 2020 Super Bowl in the midst of all the COVID-19 chaos, the San Francisco 49ers played against the Kansas City Chiefs. Unfortunately, they lost the hard fought battle, but nevertheless they still managed to win the NFC championship and during preseason, the 49ers were predicted to retain their division title. However, as luck would have it, this is most definitely not the same team as last year. Following their win against the Los Angeles Rams, the 49ers pummeled the New England Patriots, defeating them 33-6 (as a Patriots fan, I’m embarrassed for them). This two-game winning streak came to an end though when they faced the Seattle Seahawks, losing 37-27. Their defeat was not the real tragedy of the game, however; it was the loss of their All-Pro tight end George Kittle and their starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. Both were injured during week eight and both will be out for a considerable amount of time, Garoppolo due to an ankle injury and Kittle to a foot injury. On top of this, in the previous week, the 49ers lost two of their running backs, including Deebo Samuel (their top receiver), due to injury.
The Green Bay Packers are no strangers to injuries either; they too were missing a couple of players, including Will Redmond and Vernon Scott, both due to shoulder injuries. When the Packers entered week six of the NFL, they were undefeated; they left defeated by the Buccaneers. Since then, they have beaten the Houston Texans, 35-20, and lost to the Minnesota Vikings, 28-22. Prior to facing the 49ers, their record was 5-2 and they were in first place in the NFC North. However, on Thursday, they took home the win, improving their record to 6-2 and staying in the number one seat.
After questioning whether or not he was going to play all week because of a calf injury that has kept him out of the game for two weeks, Aaron Jones, one of the Packers’ running backs, touched the ball during the Packers’ first four offensive plays. Shortly after, on the opening drive, Aaron Rodgers threw to Davante Adams, Packers’ safety, who made a leaping 36-yard reception in the endzone, placing the Packers in the lead 7-0. In an amazing feat, with this touchdown, the Packers became the only other team in the NFL since 2000, besides the 2007 Patriots, to score on the first drive of each of the first eight games of their season.
Just under a minute left and receiver River Cracraft was initially said to score a four-yard touchdown, however, upon review, because the ball came loose when Cracraft came crashing down, the call was changed to incomplete. The 49ers then settled for a field goal as Robbie Gould kicked it through the goal post, putting San Francisco on the board, 7-3.
Just over three minutes into the second quarter, backup quarterback for the 49ers, Nick Mullens was intensely pressured by Preston Smith, forcing Mullens to throw the ball where it was swiftly intercepted by Packers’ safety Raven Greene who was thrown down inside the 40.
With seven minutes left in this quarter, Rodgers passed a one-yard touchdown pass to the wide-open Marcedes Lewis, placing the Packers even further ahead, 14-3. The Packers then moved into their defensive teams, but this time, without Jaire Alexander who had to exit the game to be evaluated for a concussion.
With just under two minutes left Rodgers threw a beautiful 52-yard pass to Marquez Valdes-Scantling who practically dances backwards into the endzone, the Packers now comfortably lead 21-3.
Beginning the second half without cornerback Jaire Alexander, linebacker Krys Barnes, right tackle Rick Wagner, and backup running back Dexter Williams (all due to various injuries), one would think this might have been the perfect opportunity for the 49ers to make a comeback; this was not the case.
After the 49ers received the ball, kickstarting the third quarter, Darnell Savage tackled 49ers running back JaMycal Hasty for a 1-yard loss. San Francisco was then forced to punt after they had consecutive incompletions.
With just under 12 minutes, Rodgers threw a 49-yard pass to Adams which turned into a 80-yard drive, starting the second half off right for the Packers; this was Adams’ longest catch of the year! Then, later, the Packers were back at the San Francisco one-yard line and Valdes-Scantling catches another beautiful pass from Rodgers; the Packers now lead 28-3.
With 5:30 left on the clock, Rodgers threw a 24-yard pass to Tyler Ervin who skillfully weaves through the 49ers defense; shortly after, the Packers decided to settle for a 19-yard field goal by Mason Crosby, 31-3.
In the fourth quarter, the Packers pulled further ahead with a 53-yard field goal from Crosby, and San Francisco finally made it into the end zone, with just five minutes remaining, with a 41-yard touchdown pass to Richie James, making the score 34-10. Then closing this huge gap even more, San Francisco’s Jerrick McKinnon ran in a one-yard touchdown with just eight seconds left on the clock! Ultimately, the 49ers still took quite the beating as they got their act together too late, losing 34-17.
This loss gives the Packers a successful record of 6-2 and the lead in the NFC North, and the 49ers a tragic one of 4-5, sitting last place in the NFC West. It will be fascinating to see how both these teams finish out there season, so tune in to the NFL to see how the future games go!