Matt LaFleur will change everything after 49ers kicked Packers' butts

Matt LaFleur will change everything after 49ers kicked Packers' butts

The first matchup between the 49ers and Green Bay Packers wasn't a pretty one for those in green and yellow. The 49ers pounded the Packers from the opening kick in a 37-8 win at Levi's Stadium.

Aaron Rodgers' told Jimmy Garoppolo they'd see each other again after the humbling loss, and the Packers star was prophetic. Green Bay advanced to the NFC Championship Game on Sunday with a 28-23 win over the Seattle Seahawks and now will head West to face Garoppolo and the 49ers once again. This time with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line. 

The 49ers opened as heavy favorites, but don't expect an exact repeat of Week 12. The bludgeoning showed Packers coach Matt LaFleur he has to be different.

"I talked to Matt LaFleur about that matchup," Jay Glazer said on FOX's postgame show. "He said 'last time against the 49ers they beat our butts in every area of the game. I know that going into this week, we're going to have to go, somehow find things that other teams have done successfully against the 49ers, and I've got to implement it this week."

During the 37-8 loss, Rodgers went 20-for-33 for 104 yards with one touchdown. He was sacked five times and averaged 1.7 yards per play. Running back Aaron Jones, who feasted all season, was held to 38 yards on 13 carries.

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LaFleur chucking the playbook out the window and into the Wisconsin snow is exactly the right move. It's the only way they can beat a 49ers team that looked as dominant as ever during their 27-10 divisional-round win over the Minnesota Vikings on Saturday. 

He'll have to dig deep to find things the Seahawks, Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, Los Angeles Rams and Arizona Cardinals did to move the ball successfully against a defense that flustered Rodgers and the Packers back in November.

Best of luck.

Programming note: NBC Sports Bay Area feeds your hunger for 49ers playoff coverage with special editions of “49ers Central” all week (8 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday; 6 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday)

Also tune in at 2:30 p.m. Sunday for “49ers Pregame Live,” with Laura Britt, Jeff Garcia, Donte Whitner, Ian Williams and Grant Liffmann previewing the NFC Championship Game against the Packers. That same crew will have all the postgame reaction on “49ers Postgame Live,” starting at approximately 5:30 p.m.



CA Governor Gavin Newsom 'doesn't anticipate' normal NFL games in fall

CA Governor Gavin Newsom 'doesn't anticipate' normal NFL games in fall

President Donald Trump reportedly told sports commissioners and top executives Saturday that he believes the NFL should start on time with fans returning to stadiums by August despite the coronavirus outbreak.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom doesn't share the same thoughts.

The governor was asked about Trump's reported prediction, and said he doesn't envision California having made enough progress against the virus for it to be business as usual for the NFL come fall.

“I’m not anticipating that happening in this state,” Newsom said Saturday. “We’ve all seen the headlines over the last couple days in Asia, where they opening up certain businesses, and now they’re starting to roll back those openings because they’re starting seeing some spread and there’s a boomerang. One has to be very cautious here, one has to be careful not to overpromise.

"It's interesting, I have a lot of friends that work in Major League Baseball and the NFL, they've been asking me -- in fact, a well-known athlete -- a football player -- just asked me if he expects to come back. I said, 'I would move very cautiously in that expectation.' "

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Newsom is making sure to prioritize safety and caution above all else before letting sports return.

“Our decision on that basis here in the State of California will be determined by the facts, will be determined by the health experts, will be determined by our ability to meet this moment and bend the curve, and have the appropriate community surveillance and testing to confidently determine whether that's appropriate," Newsom said. "Right now, I’m just focusing on the immediate, but that’s not something I anticipate happening in the next few months.”

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The truth of the matter is that no one knows how long this will last or when sports will be able to return to packed stadiums. The NFL is planning on starting the schedule on time with fans in the stadium, but that might not be the case in California. With many epidemiologists expecting the virus to surge again the fall, the fate of the NFL's season is very much up in the air.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases as well as a lead member of the White House's coronavirus taskforce, told Warriors star Steph Curry that sports can only safely return once the country as a whole has turned the corner from the outbreak and the medical system no longer is under strain.

As of Saturday, there were more than 270,000 cases of coronavirus in the United States and more than 7,000 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and NBC News reporting.

Watch DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead, Clelin Ferrell in joint workout

Watch DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead, Clelin Ferrell in joint workout

While the NFL offseason programs are postponed, many players are still working out to be ready for the time when the teams are able to get back to work in an organized setting.

In Miami, DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead and Clelin Ferrell are working out with private defensive line coach Mark Hall.

Hall, who recently was a guest on the 49ers Insider Podcast, sent a video to NBC Sports Bay Area of the three players working out.

[RELATED49ers mailbag: Could Gore or Walker return in free agency?]

The 49ers recently traded Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts for the No. 13 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, and re-signed Armstead to a four-year, $84 million contract. Ferrell will enter his second season with the Las Vegas Raiders after being the club’s first-round selection at No. 4 overall in the 2019 draft.