Game Thoughts Packers/49ers

  • I hate losing to Jim Harbaugh. The guy is a jackass. When he walks into a room, any porcelain items spontaneously just break due to his relentless intensity. Hate the guy. That said, that kind of intensity obviously wins in football – and right now, the Harbaugh brothers are looking pretty darn good.
  • I can’t remember seeing a Packers defense play this badly…ever. What a time to give up 45 points. I guess we were pretty bad a few years ago at Arizona – but this was ridiculous. We all had the feeling in the first half that while they were only up by 3, they could have been up by 20 because our defense appeared to be so unprepared for what was happening…and it’s not like a defense gets better in the second half when they’re exhausted.
  • This game reminded me of the Giants game. We just didn’t show up (especially in the 2nd half).
  • Ross’ fumble was terrible and really hurt. He shouldn’t have been back there returning kicks if we didn’t need him back there (like we did last week when Cobb was iffy healthwise). That was a key turning point.
  • Another major turning point was the drive in the 3rd quarter when we settled for a FG (that Crosby barely made). If we get a TD there and go up 28-24 it might have been a very different second half.
  • Another sort of turning point was McCarthy opting to punt on 4th and 4 from about the 50 yard line with around 10 minutes left in the 4th quarter. We were down by 14 and our defense was so tired we couldn’t afford to put them right back out there. Even with a perfect punt, our D had proven they were no match for the SF offense. Just a dumb decision.
  • Jim Harbaugh is tool. Sorry, I’m watching the game with 56 seconds left, Kaepernick about to kneel down – and Harbaugh is screaming at the ref about the clock. While the temptation might be for us to envy a team having a coach so incredibly focused and so into making great decisions etc – the truth is, he’s super obnoxious and the guy simply doesn’t seem to enjoy himself out there.
  • Dom Capers sure doesn’t come away looking too good today. The 49ers could have scored quite a bit more than 45 points I think – they way they were playing. We had no idea what was coming next. Part of that, admittedly, is that it’s a solid offensive philosophy. RGIII, Cam Newton – when those offenses get humming and get people guessing, it is really tough to keep up. But this far into the playoffs we should have been better prepared. Not a good job by Capers – and I’m guessing this defensive let down coupled with the Arizona muff a few years ago may not bode well for Capers when TT evaluates staff in the offseason.
  • Again I was a bit taken aback by how many times we seemed to pull Matthews off the line to apparently fool Kaepernick. Didn’t fool him at all and took our best pass rusher away from doing what he does best. Not smart.
  • Tramon Williams was awful tonight. Crabtree lit him up. But more concerning to me than anything was his lack of aggressiveness. He just doesn’t make aggressive moves to try and tackle guys and I think his terrible effort to shed the block on Kaepernick’s big TD run cost us a TD. At some point in the game, a coach or someone has to notice Tramon doesn’t have it and they have to bench him. The game is way too important. Put Hayward on Crabtree and he’s a much better overall tackler.
  • The ILBs on our team are horrible. Hawk deceived a lot of us by having a very strong first 2/3 of the season, but it has been all down hill since then. And tonight he was simply nonexistent. Kaepernick either threw it to WRs/TEs who were wide open over the middle of the field or he ran untouched through our second level repeatedly. Not sure how much the deficient play of Hawk and Jones affected the total outcome of the game, but I’m pretty sure if we had a guy like Patrick Willis there instead, the game would have been much closer at least. We need Bishop back and we need to draft a bunch of LBs.
  • Our O-Lines and D-Lines both got abused. SF won the line of scrimmage battle big-time. Our D-Line really looked out of sorts to me. That may have been the most rushing yards we’ve ever given up – 327 yards. Yes, you read that right…we gave up 327 yards rushing. Terrible. At the same time we managed to get virtually no pressure on the QB allowing Kaepernick to throw for a relatively easy 263 yards and 2 TDs. Just a terrible outing by the D-Line. Our O-Line wasn’t much better.
  • When we went down 31-24, even though things looked bad, there was still plenty of time left in the game (that was in the 3rd quarter) to get back into it. We went into our all-passing mode and I think it killed us. We had enough time to mix some runs in there. Harris was averaging 5 yards a carry and forcing SF to occasionally have to account for our running game would have been wise. It would have also given our D some time to rest. Instead we went with the spread passing offense which only succeeds when Rodgers is flawless (which he can be…I’ll admit) – just not a good mix of playcalling there at a critical time.
  • Rodgers wasn’t great tonight. His pick was awful and he generally just didn’t seem like the veteran guy out there tonight – Kaepernick did.
  • Our offense just didn’t seem to be able to get in rhythm. We put up points (the last 7 don’t really count) but it just wasn’t a good effort offensively. Reminded me frankly of last week’s game when we scored 24 points but probably should have scored 40+ in that game. Sometimes I wonder, frankly, if all that potential we see in our skill players (having 5 big-time targets for passes and 1 really good RB) is all thrown out the window because our O-Line just can’t get the job done. I don’t want to totally rag on the line here, but I don’t think it’s a stretch to say we have a below average offensive line – and it’s been that way all year. Changes need to happen on the line.
  • McCarthy didn’t have a great game calling plays or making decisions. One advantage I see for teams that have head coaches who are not also calling plays (for offense or defense), is that they can pay attention to players/situations that are not working out and make heads roll or simply, just make in-game adjustments. So often, I feel like this team under McCarthy waits until halftime to make any adjustments and that just isn’t good enough (especially when those adjustments are bad ones…as they were today).
  • I expected a good game here tonight and would have been far more OK with the result if we’d put up a good fight and lost a close one. But we got absolutely pummeled by the 49ers here and it was embarrassing. TT will have some decisions to make in the offseason.
  • I’m not super, super disappointed in the season overall in part because I didn’t expect us to get to the Super Bowl this year. But I did think we could get to the NFC Championship game. Still, we won a playoff game and lost to a very good 49er team. I think what does bother me though is HOW we lost – not so much that we lost. We were humiliated tonight, and that never feels good.
  • Disappointing end to the season – hopefully there is some excitement in the offseason.

12 Responses to “Game Thoughts Packers/49ers”

  1. GoPackgo Says:

    Please Thompson get over your lds and sign pass rushers like Wolf. Reggie, Gilbert, Sean Jones and Dt from bucs. Thompson is good with draft but tunnel vision trying to make his own legacy. Pack need pass rushers! Stop trying to do everything thru draft to over compensate for Favre situation! Learn from your previous boss!

    • GoPackgo Says:

      By the way lds has been big problem for other Gms. Please recognize this Ted! Your good but you need help sometimes outside the draft! Wolf was great at that! Go Pack Go!

      • 56coop Says:

        Personally I think if we don’t get a slightly more aggresive D & a greatly improved o line some of our “stars” may want to move on @ end of contract time. Can’t live so long at one SB every 10 yrs or so. TT can only go so far at that rate. Mi.d you, I still thi.k he is one of the better G M’s but there’s only so much time in this league. Again though, I don’t know where we find anyone better. We’ll see next year (I hope).

  2. RayMidge Says:

    The LBs have been a problem all year. To some degree thats a result of injuries (Perry, Bishop, Williams).

    The muffed punt is on MM … No reason to have an untested rookie in that situation.

    I thought the O-line was adequate but it is certainly not a strength, which is absurd when you consider that the Pack has, by acclimation, the best QB in the game. Its a waste to not allow him to do his thing.

    There is still a very solid base, and at no time this year did this feel like a SB- caliber team so last night was not exactly a surprise.

  3. AZWarrior Says:

    I agree with your statement that we went to “all pass” too early. MM is to quick in general to abandon the run. The all-pass with an empty back field makes the opposing defense’s job easier. We’re telling them: “OK, were going to pass, so drop your LBs into the passing lanes and send your rushers.

    With the empty b/f, the opposing defense does not need to account for a run, or a screen. Just the pass. This makes their task too simple.

  4. 56coop Says:

    Hallelujah.. no more Pete Carroll til next season.

  5. Dave K Says:

    The Packers are up 14-7 and getting the ball back with a ton of momentum. Muffed punt. Easy TD for San Fran and the game changes completely. I just wonder what happens if we get a fair catch and Rodgers and that offense march down to make it 21-7. It may have changed the mindset of the 49ers and made things easier on defense. There is a lot of “ifs” in that but you have to wonder….

    It’s hard to have a top tier 3-4 defense when you only have one above average LB. Now, if Perry and Bishop didn’t end up on IR then maybe they would have been more effective at the end of the season. Perry’s production is the big unknown for next year for that group. .

    I thought the O-line had a outstanding game. Marshall Newhouse was a stud playing against one of the best in the game. Barclay is a keeper. With Bulaga and Sherrod back next year I have high hopes for this line going forward. EDS gives them time to develop a center. It seems to me they have the horses in the barn to protect Rodgers going forward.

    If I were Chicago I would hire Clements as the head coach and sign Greg Jennings. If I were Ted Thompson, I would slap the franchise tag on Jennings as soon as Chicago hired Clements. Then I would work out a trade for him to a AFC team. I really like Jennings but with Jordy, Jones, Cobb you probably have to save that $10m per year for Rodgers/Matthews/Raji going forward.

    • awhayes Says:

      agreed davek – that muffed punt really hurt. just a huge momentum shift. and agreed that LB needs to be a position of focus for TT – i’m tried of trying to squeeze productivity out of a below average group of guys.

      disagree re O-Line. While the line had its moments this year and it was nice for Barclay and EDS to get some experience, I just don’t think the line is good. I agree with Dave in Tucson here. Not just the sacks of Rodgers, but the fact that our RBs have to work so hard for their yards. I’m not sure if it’s a personnel thing or a coaching thing frankly, but this group really needs to improve.

      Glad Chicago didn’t hire Clements.

  6. Dave in Tucson Says:

    I think the o-line needs to be targeted for improvement in quality and depth this off-season. Rodgers needs to be protected a lot better. Packers gave up 55 sacks in the regular season, only the Cardinals were worse.

    We also need an o-line that can run block. If the Packers have a running game, defenses can’t focus so much on pass protection. It just opens up the offense to a whole nother level.

  7. Dave K Says:

    Ok – who do you target for upgrade? Depth of course but what starters? Bulaga at RT? Newhouse/Sherrod at LT? Sitton or Lang at G? Center is the obvious upgrade but EDS was not the issue once he replaced Saturday. In my opinon, Bulaga, Lang, and Sitton do not need ‘upgrades’. That leaves LT and C. We’ve spent two first round picks on OT’s recently. We have pick #25….and quality LT’s don’t make it to FA in this league. Yeah, if there is a quality LT sitting there are #25 this year then you pull the trigger but that would have been true regardless. Every GM is always looking to upgrade their OL…there is always a weak link on every team. I’m just in the opinion that this group (with Bulaga and Sherod back) will be good enough to win a championship. I can’t say that about our defense and especially on group of LB’s

    • awhayes Says:

      I’m not sure it’s necessarily only a personnel thing, though that is a part of it. It could well be more of a coaching/scheme thing. I think the offensive emphasis is clearly on the pass and that the O-Line is probably coached up mostly on pass blocking and protecting Rodgers. This is concerning because they still give up way more sacks than other teams (even if you allow that some of the sacks are Rodgers fault). I think the run game is most likely treated like an afterthought by the coaches – a decoy. That’s certainly what the product on the field makes it look like – and that may be why our RBs have such small holes to run through. The running scheme/emphasis has to change – and maybe it will now that we may have a quality RB finally.

      As far as personnel though, I’ve had some questions about Bulaga as a run blocker (seems run game may have improved at least a bit with Barclay coming on). I’ve also had questions about Newhouse as LT. I think he’s serviceable – though you’re right he played Aldon Smith pretty well on Saturday. I don’t think Sitton was special this year – especially with run blocking. But we know he’s pretty good overall. EDS is OK. He wasn’t terrible but he’ll have to develop quickly to stick as the starter. While the idea of Sherrod coming back gives me some hope, I can’t help but think he’s just not going to be what we once thought he was.

      While I do believe that sticking with the same personnel can help them gel and develop as a unit (like the Giants of several years ago), when the unit allows so many sacks and they can’t run block well, something needs to change. I can see drafting and turning to free agency for depth and shuffling the line to something like this: Bulaga RT, Sitton RG, EDS center, Lang LG and maybe trying Barclay at LT.

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