The 2013 season is off to a roaring start for the San Francisco 49ers as they dominated the Green Bay Packers in their Week 1 victory. The offense, defense and special teams all contributed big plays in the 34-27 win on Sunday.
Below is a game review of the 49ers’ win in Week 1, with Game Gold Nuggets (GGNs) handed out to all three-units and the coaching staff.
(Game Gold Nuggets Scale)
The passing offense for the 49ers could not have gotten off to a better start with 412 passing yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions by Colin Kaepernick. Receiver Anquan Boldin played as if he has been on the Niners roster for years. In his debut, he exploded for 13 catches for 208 yards and one touchdown. Tight end Vernon Davis was equally impressive with 98 receiving yards and one touchdown on six receptions. The Niners offense proved they are equally potent with or without Michael Crabtree.
The rushing attack for San Francisco was the reason why the offense did not receive five GGNs for their performance. Frank Gore managed only 44 rushing yards, but found the endzone in the fourth quarter with a TD that sealed the victory for the Niners. While the Packers defense stopped Gore and Kaepernick using the read-option, this opened up the passing game for the offense.
The offensive line only gave up two sacks and the offense did not committed any turnovers .
With the Niners D eliminating Green Bay’s rushing attack by only allowing 63 yards and 3.3 yards per carry, they forced Aaron Rodgers to pass most of the game. The problem with that strategy is Rodgers has no problem being one-dimensional as he passed for 333 yards and three touchdowns. Rookie safety Eric Reid had a notable first game picking off Rodgers for his only interception thrown in the game. Reid finished with six tackles and a defended pass.
After the defense recovered a fumble from Eddy Lacy the offense converted it for a TD. The pressure was relentless from the two Smith’s, Justin and Adlon. The former had only one tackle, but he had two holding penalties called against the Packers because of his pass rush. The latter picked up right where he left off last season by recording 1.5 sacks and two tackles.
Two issues for the defense were giving up so many passing yards and missing tackles in the open field.
When new kicker Phil Dawson hooked his first goal as a Niner, I am almost lost it as I was reminded of David Ackers. But after missing the 48-yard FG, Dawson was clutch in the fourth quarter. He connected on a 27-yard FG that gave San Francisco the lead and then on a 33-yard FG that extended the lead late in the game.
Special teams ace C.J. Spillman made a huge kick-off return tackle in the fourth quarter after San Francisco went up 31-28. The tackle forced Green Bay to start at their nine-yard line with less than six minutes to go in the game. The average drive for Green Bay’s offense started at their 20-yard line thanks to special team’s tackles and four touchbacks.
Andy Lee showed why he is the best punters in the league by averaging 47.2 yards on five punts.
Jim Harbaugh and Greg Roman created a brilliant game plan by not using the read-option much on offense knowing Green Bay’s defense would be looking to stop it all cost. This allowed Boldin and Davis to easily get open on the field and combined for 306 receiving yards and three TD’s. The game plan proved Kaepernick can pass just as well as he can run.
Vic Fangio was successful in stopping Green Bay from established a run game, but giving up 333 passing yards is something the defense cannot repeat in Week 2. Packer receivers Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb torched the secondary for a combined 238 receiving yards.
The special teams unit was vastly improved in kick-off return coverage compared to last season. Brad Seely unit on kick-off returns only allowed 13.3 yards on three returns.
The reason for only handing out three GGNs for the coaching staff was because of 11 penalties committed and four timeouts being called because the play clock was going to run out.