4 things 49ers did wrong vs. Packers in Week 3

Preston Smith #91 of the Green Bay Packers hits Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Preston Smith #91 of the Green Bay Packers hits Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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Kyle Shanahan, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports /

The 49ers could have won Week 3 against the Packers, which makes the prime-time loss more frustrating. Especially with these four specific things.

In the waning minutes of the San Francisco 49ersSunday Night Football matchup against the Green Bay Packers in Week 3, it sure felt like head coach Kyle Shanahan’s squad was going to overcome a wave of mistakes and the incessantly good play from Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and wide receiver Davante Adams to pull off a thrilling victory.

Instead, Rodgers and the Packers pulled off their own thriller, getting in position for a game-winning Green Bay field goal with time expiring to hand the Niners their first loss of the season in the 30-28 defeat at Levi’s Stadium.

Heartbreaking. Especially because it was avoidable.

Giving credit where it’s due, Rodgers and Adams were good. Let’s grant that. And let’s also grant the Packers’ makeshift offensive line held up well against San Francisco’s pass rush in what turned into an outcome few would have realistically predicted.

That said, Shanahan and the 49ers committed far too many mistakes against a Green Bay team that showed why it’s still considered an NFC contender.

Especially these four gaffes and shortcomings.

No. 4: 49ers punting on 4th-and-1 late in second quarter

Late in the fourth quarter wasn’t the only time Rodgers showcased his mastery of engineering a scoring drive before the end of the half.

On the Niners’ last possession of the first half, Shanahan elected to punt from the Packers’ 49-yard line with just over five minutes remaining. San Francisco had driven from its own 4-yard line and was still trailing 10-0 at that point in the game. In desperate need of a momentum change, and with Green Bay’s defense seemingly reeling for the first time all night, Shanahan was likely influenced by running back Trey Sermon being stuffed for no gain on third down.

Instead of going for it in that questionable area of the field where aggression is usually rewarded, Shanahan called for the punt unit to come out, which inconsequentially was flagged for a 5-yard delay-of-game penalty.

Except Rodgers drove the length of the field and pushed the Packers’ lead out to 17-0 before the 49ers finally got on the scoreboard before halftime.

Of the decision to punt, Shanahan later expressed regret in his postgame presser by saying, “I should have stayed with my original feeling.”

Hindsight, being what it is, suggests the Niners should have gone for it either way.