GREEN BAY, Wis. – What looked as if it might be an uplifting victory for a team in need of a little good news, instead turned into another heart-wrenching loss for the 49ers.
The Green Bay Packers have Aaron Rodgers. He was the best player on the field, and he made plays in the clutch when the 49ers were looking for someone to step up. The Packers rallied for 10 points in the final two minutes to pull out a 33-30 victory over the 49ers on Monday night at Lambeau Field.
Here are the 49ers’ final grades for the evening.
Clearly, the 49ers thought they had a speed advantage against the Packers, who proved to be susceptible to the outside zone runs. Matt Breida was banged up with a problematic ankle, but he still managed to gain 61 yards on 14 rushing attempts. Speedster Raheem Mostert had a career game with 87 yards on 12 carries, as he replaced Alfred Morris as Breida's sidekick.
But the 49ers did not get the yards on the ground when they were needed. On the final two drives, Mostert had one carry for minus-1 yard.
C.J. Beathard was very good for most of the game, but he made two costly mistakes in the fourth quarter. He failed to hit a wide-open George Kittle on a third-down play that would have extended a drive deep in Green Bay territory. The 49ers ended up settling for a field goal.
Beathard’s only interception came on his final pass of the game against an all-out blitz. Head coach Kyle Shanahan said Beathard could have chosen other, better options.
The Packers averaged 5.5 yards on their 21 rushing attempts. Rodgers had three big scrambles that picked up a combined 34 yards, including a 21-yarder on the game-winning drive.
As well as the 49ers played in some stretches, they also played very poorly at other parts of the game. Rodgers barely completed 50 percent of his passes, but he threw for 425 yards and two touchdowns. The 49ers also did not generate any takeaways for the second game in a row.
There were still too many blown coverages, and Richard Sherman was called for an illegal contact penalty that kept Green Bay’s game-winning drive alive. After Jimmie Ward left the game in the fourth quarter with a hamstring injury, Rodgers went after his replacement, Greg Mabin.
Rookie D.J. Reed lost a fumble in the first quarter on a kickoff return after the Packers tied the score at 7-7. Green Bay scored a field goal off James’ turnover. He was benched in favor of Richie James for the remainder of the game. James had a 32-yard return late in the game, that could have been big if the offense had put together a couple of first downs and moved into position for a game-winning FG attempt.
Robbie Gould made all three of his field-goal attempts, and Bradley Pinion averaged a respectable 40.0 net on three punts.
Few expected the 49ers to be competitive. They were, and, frankly, they should have won the game. Instead, it was another agonizing loss for the 49ers, who fall to 1-5 on the season.
Again, the 49ers lost the turnover battle. They had three giveaways and no takeaways. The defense, at times, played well, and, at times, appeared confused. One could make a case that Shanahan should have gone back to the run game on the final drive, especially after a 7-yard pass to George Kittle on first down near midfield.
This could be a difficult one to brush aside. And, next up, the Los Angeles Rams come to Levi’s Stadium.