The 49ers squeaked out a close victory over the Green Bay Packers by a score of 34-28. The 49ers are now 1-0 on the season and part of a three-way tie in leading the NFC West with the Seattle Seahawks and St. Louis Rams. Much of this victory was due to a career high 412 passing yards from Colin Kaepernick with 208 of those yards belonging to Anquan Boldin.
"It was a really special performance by Kaepernick," Head coach Jim Harbaugh said. "Some laser-like throws down the field had pinpoint accuracy. [He did well at] managing the chaos of the game and never blinked. [He kept] executing and his consistency was really good."
After scoring a touchdown in the second quarter, Anquan Boldin was strong when the second half started as he was responsible for 71 yards off four receptions. Colin Kaepernick found Vernon Davis for a 10-yard touchdown pass to put the 49ers up by a 21-14 on the first possession of the third quarter.
This was the second highest receiving yards total for a single game in Boldin’s career. He finished with 208 receiving yards, passing the 200-yard mark for the second time in his career. His highest total was 217 receiving yards in his first career NFL game back in 2003 while playing with the Arizona Cardinals.
“Boldin is a hard-nosed football player,” Donte Whitner said. “He played well out there and I bet Baltimore wish they had him back now.”
This past offseason, Baltimore would not commit $6 million to Boldin while entering his contract season. With the Ravens not willing to tie a high cap space on the veteran wide receiver, they wanted to salvage a draft pick rather than release him. The 49ers had the best offer of giving up a sixth-round draft pick from the 2013 NFL Draft.
“It’s great to have [Boldin],” Harbaugh said. "We did give up a draft choice for him and we're paying him a lot of money, but we definitely think he's worth every penny."
Boldin said the chemistry with Kaepernick has tremendously improved. The entire offseason has been paying off i working with the second-year QB, according to Boldin.
"I think the more we play together, the better we will be," Boldin said. "The great thing that me and [Kaepernick] have, is communication. We've been able to communicate throughout the entire camp on every play. I think that whenever you have that communication, it bodes well for the receiving corps and quarterback."
Despite having a career high, Kaepernick still didn't feel satisfied with how he was. He admitted that he wasn't perfect.
"I feel like there were more throws that I should have made out there," Kaepernick said. "There were plenty of times I feel like I should have completed passes that I didn't. That's something I have to get better at."
The 49ers started the game with a 13 play, 83-yard drive that led to a Vernon Davis touchdown for 20 yards. Vance McDonald contributed with his first NFL reception going for 25 yards. Colin Kaepernick completed five of six attempts on that drive and helped convert three third downs.
Green Bay responded with a touchdown of their own. Aaron Rodgers completed four of six attempts and was responsible for all 80 yards through the air, which ended on a touchdown pass to Randall Cobb. Jordy Nelson had a 31-yard reception while Lacy had a 31-yard reception on a screen play.
A good play on defense by NaVorro Bowman gave the 49ers a possession in the red zone when he knocked the ball out of Eddie Lacy’s hands. Tarell Brown recovered the fumble and the 49ers capitalized on the turnover with a 6-yard touchdown pass to Anquan Boldin.
On the play before the touchdown, Colin Kaepernick was scrambling to the left short of the first down but Clay Matthews knocked out the quarterback with a late hit that was good for a personal foul. There was a penalty on Joe Staley for retaliating which offset both penalties and the down was replayed. Head referee Bill Leavy confirmed that both penalties should have been offset, but the down should have counted.
"The down should have counted," Leavy said in a statement. "The penalties were both dead ball, and they should have offset at the spot where the runner went out of bounds. And it would have been fourth down.”
Kaepernick said he wasn't bothered by the Packers game plan to attack the quarterback. He responded with the following statement:
"If intimidation is your game plan, I hope you have a better one."
Phil Dawson missed a 48-yard field goal attempt and it gave the Packers momentum as the first half ended. On the next play, Jermichael Finley had a 10 yard reception with a 15-yard roughing the passer penalty on Ahmad Brooks added on. The Packers converted a third and 15 with a 15-yard pass to Jordy Nelson to put the team in the red zone. Finley caught a 10-yard reception down the right sideline to even the score 14-14 at halftime.
Both teams traded touchdowns in the third quarter with Davis' touchdown and the Packers answering on the subsequent possession.
The fourth quarter had a strong finish by the 49ers which started with a 27-yard field goal by Phil Dawson. Eddie Lacy ended up giving the Packers their only lead of the game when he scored a touchdown from five carries that went for 26 yards.
The 49ers and Anquan Boldin answered back with a 43-yard reception on the following possession which put the 49ers in striking range. Kendall Hunter had a gain of 20 yards and Frank Gore eventually scored the touchdown on a short run for the goal line that put the 49ers up for good. The 49ers defensively forced a three-and-out which made the Packers punt.
Much of the Packers scoring happened because the 49ers were unable to tackle. Patrick Willis said he hopes that the team can learn from their mistakes and be ready for the next game.
"We can't allow things the way we did in the first game," Willis said. "We got a [win] and whatever we didn't do so well, we'll watch it and come in better knowing from this game."
Boldin became the go-to player on the final drive when the 49ers led by three points while trying to run out the clock. On fourth down, Kaepernick found Boldin for a 15 yard game that extended the possession. After a Phil Dawson field goal, the 49ers were up by six points with 26 seconds remaining. The Packers didn't even get off a hail mary as Aaron Rodgers was pressured by Aldon Smith and he was forced to dump the ball.
Harbaugh said the preparation for this game was perfect and now is the time to focus on the next opponent. He declared this win over the Packers a high quality one saying it was tough, but well-earned win.
"Our guys have really prepared for it and did a great job in their preparation for this game," Harbaugh said. "[We were able] to win this ballgame against one of the best teams in football and the NFC. We knew it was coming and we wanted to finish it. We wanted to be able to get rewarded by winning it. I'm really pleased that our team did all of those things. They prepared, they fought hard, they kept their poise at all times and they finished."
The 49ers will travel to Seattle next week on Sunday Night Football to face the Seahawks in Week 2.
-WR Chris Harper, WR Jon Baldwin, G Joe Looney, DL Will Tukuafu, LB Nate Stupar, RB LaMichael James and QB B.J. Daniels were inactive for the game. James is still nursing a sprained MCL from which he suffered against the Chargers.
-Eric Reid had an interception and tackled well in the open field. His interception came off a ball that went off the fingers of Jermichael Finley and it landed in his hands. He also prevented a touchdown when there was a free play because Aldon Smith jumped offsides.
-It was a rough game for Nnamdi Asomugha when he let Jordy Nelson have several receptions on him.
-The running attack was ineffective for most of the game until the fourth quarter. The Packers defended the read-option and any simple handoffs well. Clay Matthews attacked Colin Kaepernick multiple times when the quarterback kept the ball during read-option plays.
-Colin Kaepernick was unable to extend plays while scrambling. Whenever the Packers were in coverage, they were ready for Kaepernick to start rushing and everyone was ready to pounce on him multiple times.
-Quinton Patton only had a handful of snaps. Kyle Williams was the No. 2 receiver while Vernon Davis lined up as a WR constantly.