49ers

Juice doesn't regret scoring TD with time remaining vs. Packers

49ers
Kyle Juszczyk

When Kyle Juszczyk bowled over two Green Bay Packers defenders and into the end zone to give the 49ers a 28-27 lead with 37 seconds remaining, the celebration was on at Levi's Stadium.

Unfortunately, Aaron Rodgers made the most of those 37 seconds, connecting with Davante Adams for gains of 25 and 17 to set up the game-winning field goal and deliver a 30-28 win.

Of course, the result often dictates the conversation afterward, and had many questioning why Juszczyk tried to score instead of going down at the 1-yard line given that the 49ers had all three timeouts. The fullback doesn't regret pummeling his way into the end zone, though.

"I'm disappointed at (the reaction)," Juszczyk told KNBR on Tuesday. "There are plays I want back, I promise you that's not one of them. You don't get to choose in NFL when you get to score. That was one of the bigger plays of my career"

Any criticism of Juszczyk is misguided. The 49ers were down by six points and their first objective was to make sure they got into the end zone. San Francisco had struggled running the ball all night against Green Bay, so there's no guarantee the 49ers would have been able to punch it in had Juszczyk gone down.

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Now, where the 49ers errored is when Jimmy Garoppolo snapped the ball with 12 seconds left on the play clock before hitting Juszczyk on a 5-yard pass that the fullback turned into a 12-yard score.

 

On Monday, head coach Kyle Shanahan explained the 49ers' thought process, noting he wasn't expecting his fullback to score on the play.

"Yeah, totally. That's why we worked really hard to not use any timeouts that entire drive," Shanahan said. "We wanted to run it down. No one wants to give it back to Aaron. I'm also not going to tell Juice to not try and score. You try to dictate that with some play calling. I thought we had a choice route called, which is a 5-yard in-route or out-route based off of leverage by [Mohamed] Sanu. And if he's not open, you're just going to go hit it to Juice on your checkdown.

"Usually checkdowns, at the best, are about a 5-yard gain, but Juice ran a hell of a checkdown and then ran over two people to score. So we had three timeouts, so I'm not telling Jimmy to run it down yet. You want to get that under 30 seconds and inside the 10-yard line and then you can control it with your own three timeouts.

"But the only other option would have been to tell Juice not to score, which is something that you wouldn't do. It took us seven plays in the second quarter to score from inside the 11. Five plays from the 1 to score. So, you want to make sure that you get those plays and everything, but we definitely weren't expecting the score on that play."

Giving Rodgers any time is a mistake, and the Packers star made the 49ers pay for giving him 37 ticks of the clock.

But, in the end, the loss falls on the 49ers' defense's inability to keep Rodgers out of field goal range when the Packers had no timeouts to work with.

You can criticize the 49ers' clock management and the defense, but Juszczyk made a play to ensure the 49ers took the lead. There is nothing for him to regret.

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