Game Recap: 49ers End Packers’ Season With 13-10 Playoff Win

Sarah Kelliher recaps the Packers’ divisional playoff loss against the 49ers.    

It was the season many proclaimed as the “Last Dance.” The season where it seemed like the Lombardi Trophy might finally come home. The season where quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Packers might finally get over the hump in the NFC.

And… it all came to an utterly disappointing end after the San Francisco 49ers stunned the Green Bay Packers 13-10 on Saturday night at Lambeau Field.

The 49ers won the toss and deferred, so the Packers were the first to take the field. They opened up the game with a picture-perfect drive that never even consisted of a third down play. On 2nd and 6, Rodgers connected with wide receiver Davante Adams for 14 yards to move the chains. Then, on 2nd and 11, Rodgers hit running back Aaron Jones off a short pass and, with help from several blockers along the way, Jones rumbled and stumbled for a 19-yard gain.

From there, on 2nd and 10, Rodgers and Adams continued to cook, and they picked up 10 yards off a pass play to move the chains. After that, 12 and 17 connected again for 11 yards to propel the Packers into the red zone. Then, running back AJ Dillon took over and, on 2nd and 5, rushed for 6 yards and a touchdown. Kicker Mason Crosby’s extra point was good, and the Packers took an early 7-0 lead.  

Green Bay’s defense came out with the same intensity their offense did on their first drive, too. They quickly earned a three and out against San Francisco and linebacker Za'Darius Smith was back on the field for the first time since week and came up with a monster 9-yard sack on third down to force the punt.

At this moment in time, it seemed like the Packers would absolutely control this game. The offense drove down the field with ease and the defense looked locked in. However, what unfolded the remainder of the game was pure and almost really unfathomable disappointment.

On the offense’s next drive, they started off hot again with two first down rushes from Jones and Dillon for 14- and 3-yard pickups to move the chains, respectively. However, the offensive momentum was quickly squashed after tight end Marcedes Lewis fumbled and the 49ers recovered it their own 42-yard line.

After that, the 49ers continued to go nowhere against the Packers defense and Green Bay’s offense just kept on stalling. On the next five possessions (three from San Fran and two from Green Bay) both teams went three and out.

With about twelve minutes remaining in the first half, the Packers finally converted on third down after Rodgers and Adams connected for an 8-yard pass play. However, Green Bay couldn’t move the chains on the next set of downs and was, once again, forced to punt.

The 49ers responded with a spark of their own on offense, embarking on a drive that stretched 11 plays, 58 yards and ate up almost six minutes off the clock (EPSN stats). However, that momentum came to a screeching halt after quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo’s pass was intercepted by safety Adrian Amos in the red zone with just one minute left in the half.

With a little luck back on their side, the offense did what they could to take advantage of this unexpected gift. And, for a minute there, it seemed like things would continue to work in their favor. On 3rd and 3 pinned at their own 11, Rodgers connected with Aaron Jones who was left wide open and took off for what resulted in a 75-yard gain for the Packers. However, Crosby’s 39-yard field goal was blocked, and the big play resulted in zero points for Green Bay. What none of us knew was that this was only foreshadowing for the special teams nightmare that was about to unfold.

San Fran started with the ball to open the half and finally started to break down Green Bay’s feisty defense. On 3rd and 1, running back Elijah Mitchell rushed for 5 yards to move the chains. Then, on 2nd and 9, Jimmy G connected with wide receiver Deebo Samuel for a big 18-yard pickup to move the chains and put the 49ers in the red zone. However, a defensive hold later in the drive really killed San Fran’s rhythm and they were forced to settle for a field goal. Their 29-yard attempt was good, and they cut the Packers’ lead to 7-3.

Both teams would go three and out on their next possessions. Defensive tackle Kenny Clark had a big 6-yard sack on third down that forced the 49ers to punt. At this point, Green Bay just needed to desperately get points on the board, and, whether it was 3 or 6, I don’t think anyone cared as long as it wasn’t another three and out. Luckily, the Packers came through and started to find a little something on offense again.

On 3rd and 1, Jones pushed his way up the middle for a 2-yard gain to move the chains. Then, on 3rd and 1 again, the Packers looked to Jones to get the job done. After that, on 1st and 10, Rodgers connected with Adams for a big 25-yard gain to move the chains for a first down. On the next play, the 49ers were flagged for defensive holding which resulted in 5 free yards for the Packers and an automatic first down.

On 3rd and 4, for the first time all game a receiver not named Davante Adams caught a pass for Green Bay after Allen Lazard converted for 6-yards. But, all that still wasn’t enough and the Packers had to look to Crosby again and hope and pray special teams wouldn’t mess up. This time, they pulled through, and Crosby’s 33-yard attempt was good and Green Bay extended their lead to 10-3.

With a quarter of football left in this one, the 49ers were doing anything and everything they could to stick around and crush the Packers’ dreams. On 2nd and 2, fullback Kyle Juszczyk pushed his way up the middle for a 13-yard gain to move the chains. Then, on 3rd and 11, Jimmy G connected with tight end George Kittle for a 24-yard reception and the first down to put San Fran at the edge of the red zone. Then, after coming up short a yard on third down at Green Bay’s 19, San Fran decided to go for it. But, just as they did all night long, the Packers defense came through and Rashan Gary and De’Vondre Campbell were there to make a huge stop and force a turnover on downs.

Despite a stellar performance from the defense, the offense and special teams decided to continue to make life difficult. Rodgers and company went three out again and, special teams finally made a mistake costly enough to ruin the Packers’ entire season. What unraveled next was truly soul sucking. Green Bay’s punt was blocked at their own 12-yard line and San Fran recovered it for a touchdown to tie the game at 10-10 with just under five minutes left.

After that, the Packers offense, you guessed it, went three and out and the 49ers would have the final chance to win it Saturday night at Lambeau Field.

On 1st and 10 with the clock ticking away, Jimmy G connected with Kittle for 12 yards over the middle to move the chains and put the 49ers just short of mid-field. After that, on 2nd and 6, Samuel picked up 14-yards off a pass play to move the chains and creep into field goal territory. And, on 3rd and 7 with one minute remaining, Samuel delivered yet another sucker punch to the Packers after rushing for 9 yards to move the chains and put the 49ers in position to win it with a field goal.

With four seconds remaining, the 49ers attempted a 45-yard field goal and drilled it right down the middle of the uprights to end the Packers’ season with a 13-10 win as time expired. Oh… and Green Bay only had 10 guys on the field for the last play.

 

What we learned: New year, same heartbreak

In a lot of ways, it felt like this was the year the Packers finally had all of the pieces they needed to be a championship team. Yet, here we are again, staring a disappointing home playoff loss in the face wondering “how did this happen?”

 

What went right: Defense

God bless Green Bay’s defense and what they did Saturday night. The 49ers have an electric offense and the Packers absolutely dominated them on defense. If only the offense and special teams did their part.

 

What went wrong: Special teams and offense

If you’ve been following my recaps all season long, you’ve seen “special teams” under “what went wrong” probably more than eighty percent of the time. And, I repeatedly said if Green Bay never fixed their issues with this third phase it could cost them their entire season. Well, that surely came to fruition Saturday because they (along with the offense which I’ll touch on in a second) really choked this one away.

First, Crobsy’s field goal was blocked. I let it slide and hoped it wouldn’t come back to bite the Packers. Then, the blocked punt that turned into a touchdown happened and my body actually went numb, and I thought I was going to puke. Then, Green Bay only sends tens guys out on the field for the game-winning field goal play. At that point, I just started laughing because the pain hurt so much. I mean… I don’t have the words. It was just a whole clown show.

Then there’s Aaron Rodgers and the offense who, apart from the first drive, couldn’t do anything. It was just so uncreative and forced. I’ll never understand it. You can’t win a playoff game with 10 points.

 

Offensive MVP: Aaron Jones

Aaron Jones did all that he could on Saturday night. I just wish it was enough.

He finished the night leading the team in both rushing and receiving. According to ESPN stats, Jones had 12 carries for 41 yards and 9 receptions for 129 yards.  

 

Defensive MVP: Rashan Gary

The whole defense was electric, but Rashan Gary really was the center piece for a lot of it. He finished the night with 4 tackles, all of which were solo, 2 sacks, 3 tackles for a loss and 3 QB hits (ESPN stats).

 

Thanks for following along with my game recaps another season at CheeseheadTV.  

 

Sarah Kelliher is a contributor for CheeseheadTV and a podcaster with Pack-A-Day Podcast. She can be found via Twitter @sarahkelliher4

 

5 points

Comments (28)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Roadrunner23's picture

January 22, 2022 at 11:50 pm

Last Dance indeed, it is time for Rodgers to move on. He takes up way too much cap space, plays great in regular season and chokes in the playoffs. It’s time, 👋 bye bye

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Alberta_Packer's picture

January 22, 2022 at 11:56 pm

Alas, "The Last Recap" which qualitatively has been better than GBs "Last Dance."

I am now looking forward to an off-season of removal. refreshing and renovation - without the dramatic side shows. So until then!

Cheers!

9 points
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cinpackback's picture

January 23, 2022 at 12:03 am

Always enjoyed your wrap ups. A crying shame (but not a surprise) that we end the season on this note. Reminds me of standing at Lambeau, 15 years ago, to watch Farve go out, his last game as a Packer, with a game losing interception. And it was freaking cold that night too…

6 points
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89Chewy's picture

January 23, 2022 at 02:49 am

I was totally thinking the same thing. Favre only wanted to throw to Donald at the end of this career, just like Aaron would only throw it to Davante. Same corelation, same result! It's time we trade Aaron to the highest bidder and start anew. We have a really good team, if only we had a quarterback that gave a shit!

3 points
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Roadrunner23's picture

January 23, 2022 at 12:05 am

Bakhtiari is a pussy

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PearlyBakerBest's picture

January 23, 2022 at 12:54 pm

If you want to talk pussy let’s start with Alexander.

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albert999's picture

January 23, 2022 at 12:07 am

They deserved to lose

8 points
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stockholder's picture

January 23, 2022 at 12:19 am

Keke got Cut. It was a Curse. I'll give the Defense MVP to Clark. The Offensive MVP to Jones.

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Coldworld's picture

January 23, 2022 at 12:27 am

There is little doubt that an era ended. Rodgers staying now makes no sense. We aren’t good enough to win with him and this roster so we won’t be good enough to win without Adams, Z and others and still no cap. Rodgers said tonight he had no desire to play through a rebuild. The end has come.

The sad fact is that time has caught up. Rodgers can no longer perform miracles. The depressing fact is that LaFleur came out with a similar game-plan to last year, made the same mistakes in game and also reaped the created ST meltdown his decisions and refusal to face up to them always threatened. In his post game comments he said he perhaps should have paid more attention to what was going on there.

Was LaFleur able to learn and win a coaching battle, Rodgers might be playing next week. If LaFleur had not given us Drayton, maybe we play next week. Rodgers and Drayton are almost certainly gone, but if we continue to believe in LaFleur, it seems he will simply repeat the same errors. I think the beginning of the end of LaFleur started today.

8 points
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stockholder's picture

January 23, 2022 at 01:00 am

Your full of s**t. Lose Rodgers and you will lose for the next 3 years. Because Love is terrible. The Dog/Lewis broke the momentum of the offense.(FUMBLE) I told you he was to old and would cost us down the road. He did! Rodgers said he had more fun this year then in past years. You got that! MLF should be fired if Rodgers goes. He said that he hoped the Sts wouldn't cost him the game. Yet, Look who was blocking on those blocked kicks.( The effort!) No deep threat.= Meaning these WRs can't stretch the field. YOU NEED TO ADD EVERYTHING UP. JUST not what Rodgers makes.

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Coldworld's picture

January 23, 2022 at 01:15 am

Rodgers is gone. He couldn’t deliver with the roster we can’t afford. While he wasn’t the primary problem today, he couldn’t compensate again. Get used to the fact that the era ended here. For ~ 25 percent of the cap, when it matters he has to elevate. If we were wise, we’d send MLF with him. He’d be good in a commentary booth. We won’t be that wise this year.

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stockholder's picture

January 23, 2022 at 01:57 am

Wait . . Rodgers is making less then other QBs. And he's the MVP. The players union won't agree with you. And as a stock holder. It's better to win then lose. . If he can't win the big game. What assurance can you give me someone else will. Same with MLF. Does Rodgers make the packers a bad team? If Rodgers gives them a chance every year. Whats wrong with that? Especially when the NFL prides itself on even competition. Has Rodgers cost this franchise Fans? Money? Pride? What? What you want is a new direction, with No assurances. And that is a poor investment.

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barutanseijin's picture

January 23, 2022 at 03:05 am

Better to win then lose?

Isn’t that what happened this season? Win a bunch of games then lose to the Loins and Niners?

4 points
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Oppy's picture

January 23, 2022 at 03:49 am

Your takeaway from tonight's loss is that Marcedes Lewis' fumble with 4 minutes left in the first quarter is the reason the packers offense only put up 3 more points in the remaining 49 minutes of regulation?

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GeorgiaCheesehead's picture

January 23, 2022 at 08:04 am

Right on point! This is on Drayton and MLF as well as MM and BG for not taking action on our STs and the crappy play design with less than average WRs

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bjkdad44's picture

January 23, 2022 at 08:14 am

Should have been able to overcome any and ALL of the mistakes… Rodgers didn’t get the job done… MLF didn’t get the job done… the D rose to the occasion… (what? 6 points allowed???)… that’s pretty good D in my book!

1 points
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bjkdad44's picture

January 23, 2022 at 08:15 am

Good point Oppy!!

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Philarod's picture

January 23, 2022 at 12:49 am

I've commented elsewhere on this site, so for now: Thanks for your coverage, Sarah.

5 points
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Bearmeat's picture

January 23, 2022 at 12:49 am

I said this in the GBU thread, but I think it bears repeating.

Before this year started, I predicted a 13-4 regular season, with a classic choke job in the playoffs.

This was utterly predictable.

I know the Packers under Aaron Rodgers. FIFTY-EIGHT YARDS in the second half. Special teams maladies aside… this is the MVP of the league. And you got FIFTY-EIGHT YARDS AND THREE POINTS. Not good enough.

You deserved to lose. A fitting end to your career in Green Bay. I don't even really care that it's over. More relieved than anything. Go anyone but the Bucs. Congrats to the 49ers. You were the better team.

Thanks for the (regular season) memories, 12. Time to move on. I look forward to seeing you in Broncos Orange or Steelers Black next year, but more than that, I look forward to the draft compensation for you and Adams. And maybe Bakhtiari after next year.

Blow it up. I know the Packers. I expected this gag job. This is the TENTH such January loss since 92 that they should have won and very possibly had the best team in the NFL. (95,97,99,03,07,09,13,14,20,21)

5 points
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stockholder's picture

January 23, 2022 at 01:33 am

The important thing; is winning the division every year. I'm a stockholder just for that reason.

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bjkdad44's picture

January 23, 2022 at 08:18 am

Said tongue-in-cheek… RIGHT?

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TWilson3379's picture

January 23, 2022 at 02:07 am

If the Packers took a safety, on purpose, instead of the blocked punt. We’d be playing next week. Would’ve been justified too since we were already backed up, not a lot of time in the game left, and we already had a ST screw up (blocked fg). We basically would’ve paid 2pts for better starting defensive field position. Niners would’ve still had to score a td, but they would’ve had to go like 70 yards, which would’ve been highly unlikely, given how our D was playing.

5 points
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dekan51's picture

January 23, 2022 at 02:58 am

i never thought of that, but very interesting....

4 points
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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

January 23, 2022 at 06:34 am

I thought that if the ball had been blocked out of the back of the end zone for a safety GB would have been better off, arguably. SF's offense was running the ball better in the second half but they were not a ball of fire.

Going out of bounds or being recovered by GB would have been different at least and forced SF to earn it.

1 points
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bjkdad44's picture

January 23, 2022 at 08:19 am

Good point… but that needs creativity! Not from MLF!

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PackerWacky's picture

January 23, 2022 at 06:27 am

The defense for a change was fun to watch. Let’s hope they don’t get caught in the salary cap and we can build on this.

3 points
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Lphill's picture

January 23, 2022 at 06:32 am

Lefluer is a boy among men not ready to be a head coach he looked successful because of Rodgers , he can’t game plan for tough opponents and can’t make in game adjustments.

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mbpacker's picture

January 23, 2022 at 03:44 pm

Thanks for your writeups this year. GPG, next year!

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