Passing game leads 49ers to victory over Packers

The 49ers won an important opening game as they defeated the Green Bay Packers in a heavyweight fight 34-28. The victory was an important one as the team did not want to travel to Seattle in week 2 in an 0-1 hole. While the 49ers came away on top, there were still some issues that need to be addressed moving forward.

Offense explosive but unbalanced

Whether it was a one game anomaly or something that’s worth watching, the 49ers’ rushing attack was virtually non-existent for most of the day. The team ran for 90 yards on 34 carries (2.6 yards per attempt) and had trouble getting anything going on the ground. Kendall Hunter broke a 23 yarder to help set up the go ahead touchdown but Gore’s longest run was only eight yards in his 21 carries. Kaepernick did break a 15 yard scramble but any designed quarterback runs were inefective.

The passing game, on the other hand, was absolutely sensational as Colin Kaepernick‘s 412 yards through the air was the most by a 49ers’ quarterback in the tem’s first game of the season. It was also the first time a 49er quarterback has thrown for 400 yards since 2004. On the day Kaepernick was 27 out of 39 (69 percent) and threw three touchdown passes.

13 of Kaepernick’s completions went to Anquan Boldin who answered the bell in a dominating performance that saw the veteran receiver gain 208 yards with a touchdown. He was a safety net for Kaepernick throughout the game and more than made up for the absence of Michael Crabtree.

Vernon Davis, who struggled over the last six games of 2012 before exploding in the playoffs, also had a big game and scored touchdowns of 20 yards and two yards. The touchdowns showed Davis’ ability to be both a big play and redzone threat in the 49ers’ offense.

Defense still having issues

While the run defense was it’s usual dominant self holding the Packers to only 63 yards, the blemishes in the secondary continued to be an issue. Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb were targeted 22 times and caught 14 balls for 238 yards and a touchdown a piece. Nnamdi Asomugha struggled in his first game with the 49ers (mostly due to Nelson) and made one glaring error.

On 3rd down and 15 from the 49ers’ 39 yard line, the Packers all but conceded a field goal attempt, throwing the ball underneath to Nelson. Asomugha whiffed on the tackle and Nelson got the first down. The Pack scored four plays later as Perrish Cox missed a tackle of his own on Jermichael Finley‘s touchdown catch.

It all added up to 333 yards and three touchdowns for Aaron Rodgers who seemed to have time to the throw all day. Other than Aldon Smith (1.5 sacks) the 49ers’ struggled to get to Rodgers. They must find pressure from other places or the defensive sruggled will continue against teams who can throw the ball effectively.

One plus was the play of rookie safety Eric Reid who had six tackles and an interception in his first NFL game. Reid’s continued development will be important to the team as they move forward this season.

 


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