Originally written September 09, 2012 on isportsweb.com:
Well it was going to be a tough game and the Packers found themselves on the losing side as they drop the season opener to the San Francisco 49ers 30-22. Randall Cobb returns a punt return for a touchdown which gave the Packers some momentum and got them back into the game. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images) The game looked almost identical to every game played last season, at least from the Packers perspective.  The offense hung entirely on Aaron Rodger’s shoulders and it was a hard time seeing any improvement in the defense. Rodgers completed 30 passes for 303 yards and two touchdowns but he also had an interception that came right after the Packers cut the 49ers lead to eight, which killed the Packers momentum.  To make matters worse the 49ers scored just plays after on a Frank Gore run that featured fifth grade level tackling by the Packers defense. The Packers receivers were also performing with mid-season form as they came up big throughout the game with minimal dropped passes, most of those coming from Finley.  Randall Cobb seems to have become one of Rodgers favorite new targets as he caught all nine passes thrown his way for 77 yards.  Cobb also had a punt return for a touchdown, which at the time gave the Packers life and really brought them back into the game.While it was going to be a tall task the Packers running game was non-existent and was practically abandoned in the second half.  Cedric Benson only ran the ball nine times for 18 yards and Rodgers had a couple scrambles to help out the overall numbers but the Packers only ran the ball 14 times all game.  The 49ers made the Packers entirely one-dimensional and because of it they were able to slow down the offense enough to get the win.Clay Matthews was the only good thing about the Packers defense as he had 2.5 sacks, which is good to see as his sack numbers were down last season.  He was bringing it all night and looks to become the leader of this defense again.  The rest of the defense struggled in every aspect.  The 49ers had no problems moving the ball either on the ground or through the air.  Frank Gore ran for 112 yards on only 16 carries and Alex Smith threw for 211 yards.  Don’t let that number fool you; Smith had receivers open all day.  He went 20-26 passing; it just happened to be that his passes where short or middle range throws but he made them with ease and the Packers had no answer to them.  At one point in the game the 49ers had scored on five consecutive drives.  The defense is still a work in progress. David Akers reacts after hitting his NFL record 63-yard field goal to end the first half.
(AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps) The Packers had a chance to comeback in the fourth quarter. The 49ers were forced to punt and the Packers received the ball with less than four minutes to go in the game.  The Packers were driving the ball but came up just short as Rodgers pass to Jordy Nelson on fourth down was batted away, sealing the loss. From here the Packers have a short turn around as the team plays the Chicago Bears on Thursday night. As shown in the preview article for this game I want to add a new element to these game recaps by doing a “things we learned from this game.”  Let me know what you think and let me know what you thought of the game in the comments below. Five things we learned from this game
  1. The Packers running game is still in beta stage – It wasn’t going to be easy this week but the lack of a running game really hurt the Packers offense today.  Because the Packers were losing they had to become pass heavy but hopefully the next game the Packers will be able to get something going on the ground.
  2. The defense is still a heavy work in progress – The defense did not make many key stops and while they got some pressure on Smith (4 sacks) they couldn’t really stop him or the running game.  Smith never beat the defense deep but he never had to.  He was able to throw short yardage passes to wide open receivers all day.  Rome wasn’t built in a day but the defense needs to come together fast.
  3. The NFL really needs to fix this issue with the refs– Bad calls, no calls, late calls.  It happened all game and it happened to both teams, affecting several plays.  At several points during the game it looked like both head coaches were going to explode from anger.  The NFL needs to fix this and fast.  They owe it to the owners, the players, and the fans.  Get it done. 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh was yelling at the refs most of the game. Packers coach Mike McCarthy was doing much of the same. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)
  4. Randall Cobb is Green Bay’s next big weapon – Randall Cobb is quickly becoming a big playmaker for the Packers.  He was coming out of the backfield most of the game, which is another look the Packers can give defenses, along with him lining up in the normal receiver spot. He caught every ball thrown his way and returned a punt for a touchdown.  He could be in for a very big year.
  5. The 49ers are scary good – The defense from last year is still there and kicking ass.  The offense seems to have gotten better, although the Packers defense isn’t the best measuring stick.  This team is the real deal.   Luckily for the Packers we won’t see them again till the playoffs and hopefully by then the Packers are a better team.  If not, expect the same results as today.
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