SANTA CLARA — The frustration from this one was evident when 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan brushed past his long-time friend Matt LaFleur during the postgame handshake.
This one, a 30-28 loss to the Green Bay Packers at Levi’s Stadium, hurt the 49ers for a number of reasons.
They rallied from a 17-point deficit, squandered many chances, then finally took the lead with :37 seconds remaining.
The 49ers left Aaron Rodgers too much time to find receiver Davante Adams, who seemingly had been knocked out only minutes earlier, on two passes for 42 yards to set up Mason Crosby’s game-winning field goal with no time remaining.
Here is the 49ers’ report card from their Week 3 loss:
The 49ers’ run game was non-existent. And, really, you would not expect much different from a team that was so depleted at the position. Rookie Trey Sermon was learning on the job Sunday night. He carried 10 times for 31 yards with more than half of his yards coming on a 16-yard run.
None of the other halfbacks in uniform saw action.
The 49ers used six different ball-carriers on designed running plays. The 49ers managed just 67 yards as a team on 21 rushing attempts. Backup quarterback Trey Lance scored on a 1-yard touchdown run on the final play of the first half.
Because the 49ers could not get much going with their running game, they had quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo drop back at least 44 times on called pass plays. He completed 25 of 40 attempts for 257 yards with touchdown passes to Brandon Aiyuk and Kyle Juszczyk.
Garoppolo threw one interception. He was also sacked four times for minus-26 yards, including a fumble. Tight end George Kittle caught seven passes for 92 yards.
The 49ers’ run defense did a good enough job on Green Bay running back Aaron Jones, who carried 19 times for 82 yards and a touchdown. Nick Bosa, Kentavius Street and Arik Armstead each had a tackle for a loss.
The Packers averaged 4.0 yards on their 25 rushing attempts. That is a full yard better than the 49ers’ run defense gave up over their first two games of the season.
More has to be expected from the 49ers’ pass defense, even as they played with a battered group of cornerbacks. The task was simple: Protect a one-point lead with :37 remaining. But Rodgers and Adams torched the 49ers’ pass defense with completions of 25 and 17 yards to set up the game-winning field goal.
Rodgers completed 23 of 33 passes for 261 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. He also drove the ball down the field to get pass interference penalties against Deommodore Lenoir, Emmanuel Moseley and Fred Warner of 25, 32 and 25 yards.
The 49ers’ pass rush was not good enough. Armstead registered the only sack in the game.
The 49ers were sputtering along, down 17-0 late in the first half, when newly acquired Trenton Cannon gave the team some life with a 68-yard kickoff return to set up a touchdown to close the first half. Aiyuk averaged 11.5 yards on two punt returns.
Punter Mitch Wishnowsky had another strong day with a 53.3-yard gross (46.8 net) on four punts.
It will be hotly debated, and rightfully so, why the 49ers left so much time at the end of the game for Rodgers and the Packers’ offense. Of course, you cannot blame the 49ers for wanting to score a touchdown. Juszczyk took a short pass from Garoppolo and was determined to get into the end zone for the go-ahead points.
But the blame lies with the team’s usage of the clock up to that point. When the ball was snapped from the Packers’ 12-yard line, there were :43 remaining and there were :12 left on the play clock. The 49ers could have easily worked the clock inside :05 seconds.
They still had all three timeouts remaining, so there was little fear of time running out before they could get off four more plays.
That miscalculation proved costly, as Rodgers’ final spike to stop the clock came with :03 remaining.
This is a tough one, overall. Kittle called it a “good character builder.” It was a brutal ending to a game that had a little bit of everything. The 49ers looked atrocious early in the game as they fell behind 17-0.
But they rallied and took the lead for what looked as if it would be a scintillating victory. But the 49ers made too many mistakes, too many miscalculations, to beat a good team — a team that is led by one of the great quarterbacks in NFL history.
The 49ers did not play well enough to overcome two great players, Rodgers and Adams, playing at their usual high levels.