It is official, the San Francisco 49ers trading for Anquan Boldin will go down as the greatest trade in the history of sports. Boldin had a stunning debut with the Niners catching 13 receptions for 208 yards and one touchdown in the victory over the Green Bay Packers.
Okay, maybe calling the Boldin trade the greatest of all-time is a bit of a stretch, but it sure felt that way watching his first game as a Niner. His performance in the 34-28 win over the Packers tied for fourth on San Francisco’s all-time list of single-game receptions and eighth in receiving yards.
When the 49ers traded for Boldin back in March, they only gave up a sixth-round draft pick. After receiver Michael Crabtree tore his Achilles, the trade looked like even more of a genius move. But many wondered if Colin Kaepernick and Boldin could gel and establish a connection the way Kap and Crabtree did last season. It’s only one game, but something tells me the Niners offense has nothing to worry about.
We’re getting there. The more we play together, the better we’ll be. The great thing that me and Kap have is communication. During camp on every play, I’m coming to the sideline, he’s asking me what I see, I ask him the same thing. There’s a lot of communication between us. When you have that, it bodes well. ~ Boldin on playing with Kaepernick.
Not to be overshadowed, Kaepernick had his best passing game of his short career. He completed 69.2% of his passes, throwing for 412 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions. He capped off the victory with a game-winning, fourth-quarter drive that put San Francisco up 34-28 with just under six minutes left. This is only the second-time since 1960 a Niners quarterback has thrown for over 400 yards. Who was the other Niners QB to accomplish this feat? Joe Montana.
Green Bay’s defense game planned to make sure to take the read-option away from the Niners offense. They were not going to let Kaepernick run all over them like he did in the playoffs last season. They were successful as Kaepernick only rushed for 22 yards on seven carries, most of them scrambles. But the problem for the Packers was that Kaepernick is more than just a running QB. In fact, his legs and ability to outrun the defense might get most of the attention, but if you force him to be a pocket passer, he is just as deadly on the field.
The one area Green Bay’s defense did have success was stopping Frank Gore and the rushing attack. Gore averaged 2.1 yards per carry, rushing for 44 yards and one touchdown. The Niners total rushing yards for the game was only 90 yards. In the last two games between the two teams, the Niners have managed 79 points, 1,073 yards and 7.2 yards per play against the Packers.
I think we did a good job of showing that we’re not a read-option team. It’s a wrinkle in our offense. We have various ways that we can move the ball. You put up (494) yards of offense, teams are going to have to notice that. You want to focus on stopping the run and all that? We can move the ball up and down the field other ways. ~ Joe Staley after the game
Despite the 49ers’ defense giving up 27 points and 333 passing yards to Aaron Rodgers, overall the D had an impressive day. One defensive player that had a highlight day was rookie safety Eric Reid. He had six tackles, a defended pass and interception in his debut. More importantly, Reid laid out jarring hits to Green Bay’s receiver’s that reminded me of former starting safety Dashon Goldson, who he replaced.
Reid’s best play of the game was a tackle he made on Rodgers who tried scrambling for a first-down late in the fourth quarter. Even though Rodgers gained seven yards on the play, he was tackled short of the first-down and Green Bay had to punt two plays later. In the second quarter, Reid recorded his first interception, but it was called off because of a penalty on the Niners.
He missed a couple tackles, but he made a couple big hits out there. We expect that. He’ll work on the missed tackles, but he did a great job. For his first game, going against one of the best quarterbacks in the National Football League, the stage wasn’t too big for him. ~ Safety Donte Whitner on Reid’s performance
Packers receivers Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb combined for 14 receptions, 238 yards and two touchdowns. But the Niners mitigated Green Bay’s big passing day by limiting the offense to just 63 rushing yards on 19 carries.
After the Niners went up 31-28 in the fourth quarter, the defense forced a three-and-out and made the Packers punt with less than six minutes left in the game. The three-and-out proved to be a game-changing moment. On the next series, San Francisco bumped their lead to 34-28 after 5 play, 80-yard TD drive capped by Gore’s one-yard run into the endzone. With 26 seconds left in the game, Rodgers would try for a last second TD throw, but he finished the game with two straight incompletions.