SANTA CLARA — In the 49ers' heart-breaking loss to the Green Bay Packers on Monday night, Aaron Rodgers did what he is known for -- putting together an 81-yard, game-winning drive with 1:07 left on the clock and no timeouts left.
At that point in the game, 49ers cornerback Jimmie Ward had been playing well, but he was out of the action with a hamstring injury. Greg Mabin took his place, and Rodgers exploited the young defensive back instead of trying to target Richard Sherman’s side of the field.
In the end, the 49ers racked up their fifth loss of the season.
Mabin was in coverage against Davante Adams, who made a leaping 16-yard touchdown catch to tie the score. Then, Mabin surrendered three consecutive pass plays on the Packers’ game-winning drive. Each time, the man Mabin was covering got out of bounds to stop the clock.
“It was a tough position for Mabin,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said Wednesday. “He’s done a lot of good things for us. I know he was disappointed in that last drive, obviously, but I’ve seen Aaron and Davante do that to a number of people, too.”
Sitting in 30-degree weather for the entire game except for special-team snaps could have been an excuse, but Mabin took 100 percent responsibility.
“I guess it could, but at the end of the day, if I’m out there I have a job that I have to do, and I wasn’t able to get the job done,” Mabin said. “You just have to go out there and do what you’ve been practicing all week. There’s not much thought to it.”
Mabin, a second-year undrafted free agent, is taking the loss and his play very hard, and he even explained that one play didn't stand out more than another.
“All of them,” he said. “... They all hurt pretty bad. I wish I could go back in time and change some things, but obviously I can’t. I have to live with how I played. We have to live with how we played and from now on just move forward and focus on L.A. this week.”
Shanahan said the 49ers knew throughout the week that Mabin would be Ward’s backup and Ahkello Witherspoon would take a back seat. Mabin said he approached practice just like every other week, knowing his role. He watched film and felt like he had a good week of practice but added, “Ultimately things just didn’t go my way.”
When Shanahan was asked if the issue of letting Packers players stop the clock by getting out of bounds was situational football or a lack of awareness on Mabin’s part, the coach responded: “I think it’s a little of both. He gets put in a tough situation.”
Sherman, who has been an advocate and on-the-field coach for the young 49ers secondary, did have a conversation with Mabin about moving forward especially when the focus of the public eye is on you.
“He talked with me a little bit, and it definitely helped my mindset at the time, and right now, it still hurts,” Mabin said. “But I’m just happy that I have a chance to go out there and practice today, and have a chance to improve.”