Upon Further Review: Packers stumble, fumble their way to season-ending loss
The season was over … at halftime.
Heading into the break, the Green Bay Packers trailed San Francisco 27-0 and were getting dominated in all phases of the game.
Niners running back Raheem Mostert had 160 rushing yards and three touchdowns at halftime. Meanwhile, Green Bay star quarterback Aaron Rodgers had a fumble, muffed snap and interception to his name.
The Packers defense forced San Francisco on a three-and-out on its first series, but apparently used all of its big plays on one possession. The 49ers went on to score points on seven of their final eight drives. And they did it by pounding the ball. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo attempted all of eight passes, completing six for 77 yards.
It marked just the sixth playoff game in NFL history that the winning team passed fewer than 10 times.
Sunday night’s thrashing proved one thing: The NFC’s best team is advancing to the Super Bowl.
Here’s a recap of Sunday’s game:
PLAYER OF THE GAME
As he’s done more than a few times this season, wide receiver Davante Adams served as the lone spark on Green Bay’s offense. Although he had just one catch for seven yards in the first half, Adams went off in the final two quarters and finished the night with a game-high nine receptions for 138 yards. Adams was targeted 11 times, while no other Packers player was targeted more than five.
With his 160-yard performance last week, Adams becomes the fifth Packers receiver to tally multiple 100-yard games in the same postseason: Sterling Sharpe (1994), Robert Brooks (1996), Antonio Freeman (1998) and Greg Jennings (2011).
DON’T FORGET ABOUT ME
Who else deserves a shout out? This one’s going to be tough. When you allow 6.8 yards per carry, no one on defense should be named. Rodgers struggled, too. So, we guess we’ll give a nod to rookie tight end Jace Sternberger, who caught his first career touchdown reception in the fourth quarter.
Sternberger, the third-round pick who didn’t catch a pass in the regular season (he was targeted once), grabbed three passes for 15 yards and a score in the playoffs. His eight-yard touchdown catch trimmed San Francisco’s lead to 14 points, the last glimmer of hope during Green Bay’s 2019 season.
We’ll look back at the moment that San Francisco punched its ticket to the Super Bowl: Rodgers’ second fumble.
Midway through the second quarter, Green Bay had finally conducted a decent drive. The Packers had strung together three first downs and were facing a second-and-6 from San Francisco’s 25-yard line. Trailing 17-0 at the time, a touchdown would help erase what was a disastrous start to the game.
Instead, the snap from Corey Linsley never reached Rodgers’ hands. Not only did San Francisco recover the fumble, but also it turned the fumble into a four-minute drive of its own and put another three points on the board.
— NFL (@NFL) January 20, 2020
40 – Just about the only positive thing about Rodgers’ evening was that tossed a pair of touchdown passes, surpassing Brett Favre for the most in Packers postseason history at 40.
THEY SAID IT
“It’s a little raw right now, for sure. It definitely hurts a little more than early in the career. You realize, you know, I don’t have the same number of years ahead of me as I do behind me.” – quarterback Aaron Rodgers
“We never got a complete understanding of what they were trying to do throughout the game.” – linebacker Blake Martinez
“With all of the changes this offseason, and with the installation of a new system and a new program, to get to this point, you felt like it was something special because it just didn’t really make sense. We weren’t picked by most people to win our division, and we found a way to not only do that but to win a home playoff game and get to this spot. It just kind of felt like it was meant to be.” — Rodgers
The offseason. Green Bay can step back and reflect on what was a surprisingly great season – 14 wins and an appearance in the NFC championship. The Packers need to add more playmakers on both sides of the ball, but specifically at the wide receiver position. Green Bay will select 30th in this year’s draft.