LIVE Game Blog: 49ers vs. Packers
(12:51) The Packers are filtering out from the tunnel that leads from the locker room, trotting onto the field to a cacophony of boos. And there's the great one, Brett Favre. The 16th-year veteran has been the ultimate 49er killer during his distinguished career, beating San Francisco 10 times in 11 tries since he took over as Green Bay's starting quarterback. The first of those victories was a shocking 27-17 upset over the defending Super Bowl champion 49ers in a 1995 divisional playoff game right here in San Francisco in the days before this concrete bowl was renamed Monster Park. Favre also beat the 49ers here in the 1997 NFC Championship Game, and again in 1999 and 2002. His only loss was a Wild Card playoff game after the 1998 season, when Favre probably thought he'd be a winner again after giving the Packers a 27-23 lead by driving them 89 yards in nine plays for the go-ahead touchdown with 1:56 remaining to play. But Steve Young and Terrell Owens had other ideas in that game … (1:02) The Packers win the toss and will get the ball first. Might as well see what the latest version of 49ers defense can do this time against Favre, who hasn't played the 49ers since beating them 20-10 in 2003 … (1:14) Not a great start. Ahman Green opens the game with a nine-yard run, then gets the ball three more times in the next five plays, with a few short Favre completions mixed in. Now it's third-and-9 from the San Francisco 38, and Favre drops back and winds up to throw. It's a beautiful spiral down the right sideline, and Greg Jennings pulls it in between two defenders at the 5-yard line. But Jennings clearly gets his second foot way out of bounds after making the grab. But the officials rule it a catch! No way! Mike Nolan throws out the red challenge flag immediately. And replays are as clear as day. Jennings second foot was out by a yard. This one has to be overturned. And it is. The Packers have to punt after the game's first possession, and Jon Ryan sails his punt into the end zone … (1:18) The 49ers aren't messing around this time. They're going right to Frank Gore, as they should to set the tempo. And there he goes!! After picking up six yards on first down, Gore cuts off a big hole on the left side and breaks a tackle … and then breaks another. He could be gone! He's off to the races down the sideline, and the only guy who can catch him is cornerback Al Harris, who might have an angle after coming from the other side of the field. Harris gets to Gore before Gore gets to the end zone and gives him a healthy push. Gore still remains on his feet and bursts over the pylon, but it appears he stepped out of bounds. And yes, he's out at the Green Bay 2 after a 72-yard gain. But what a spectacular run … (1:23) But the 49ers screw it up. The immediately get called for an illegal substitution as they come to the line, so now it's first-and-goal from 7 instead of the 2. On third-and-6, quarterback Alex Smith throws for Bryan Gilmore at the back of the end zone, but cornerback Charles Woodson taps it away. The 49ers settle for a 24-yard Joe Nedney field goal. What a missed opportunity, and a virtual waste of Gore's great run … (1:29) And sure enough, it looks as though the 49ers are going to need touchdowns instead of field goals today as Favre directs a quick march through the San Francisco defense. He hits Donald Driver for 21 yards and a first down at the San Francisco 39. Then, after Green goes for three yards, Favre sits patiently in the pocket and finally finds a wide-open Ruvell Martin in the end zone. Who the heck is Ruvell Martin? The 49ers blow the coverage as Walt Harris doesn't turn and run with Martin and the safety never comes over to pick up Martin, who is standing alone in the end zone with nobody within 20 yards of him. All he has to do is make sure to make the catch, and he does. It's a 36-yard touchdown pass, and just like that, Green Bay leads 7-3 … (1:40) The 49ers go nowhere on offense, but neither do the Packers as the teams trade possessions. Ryan shanks a punt from the San Francisco 46, but he gets a fantastic roll down the right side of more than 20 yards, and it's downed at the 1. Big break for the Packers, since the ball first hit the ground at the 23 … (1:42) Oh, no. It's Frank Gore fumble time again - and what a bad place to do it. On second-and-7 from the 4, Gore takes a straight handoff from Smith and simply mishandles it. It bounces off his chest and into the line, but it appears Gore might have got on it as he falls forward through the scrum. But it's Woodson falling on it instead for the Packers, who now are set up with a first-and goal at the San Francisco 8 … (1:44) And that's how the first quarter ends, with the Packers knocking on the end zone again with a 7-3 lead … (1:48) But the 49ers finally get tough on defense inside the red zone. Favre is pressured and throws incomplete on both second and third down, and the Packers settle for a 23-yard Dave Rayner field goal. The 49ers dodged a bullet there, but Green Bay now leads by a touchdown at 10-3 … (1:53) And there's a Delanie Walker sighting. The rookie tight end - so impressive during the summer before injuring his shoulder - takes a well-executed backside screen pass at the San Francisco 24-yard line, and there's nobody in front of him. He needs to break a tackle from behind at the 30 … and he does! Walker rumbles for 29 yards on his first career reception before finally being dragged down at the Green Bay 47 … (1:56) The next two plays produce Smith incompletions, so the 49ers decide to go for it all on third-and-10. The seldom-used Taylor Jacobs gets man coverage on the outside, and Smith launches a beautiful pass to him down the right sideline. Jacobs - who hasn't caught a pass all season - makes a great diving grab inside the 10-yard line - what a throw by Smith - and his left foot is in but … his right knee hits on the sideline. It's ruled an incompletion, and the 49ers have to punt again … (2:10) Favre is on his game today - isn't he always against the 49ers? - and he takes the Packers right down the field on a 13-play, 80-yard touchdown drive that eats 6:10 off the clock. Favre completes five passes on the drive, including strikes to Driver of 19 yards (on third-and-7) and 22 yards (on second-and-10). Cornerback Sammy Davis gets juked a couple of times to allow the Packers to pick up extra yards on plays in front of him, and Green finally ends the drive on a 1-yard touchdown dive. That makes it 17-3, and this game is slipping away from the 49ers unless they get their offense in gear … (2:20) And they do … Well, sort of. Starting at the San Francisco 32, the 49ers move the chains on an 11-yard pass from Smith to Arnaz Battle, then move them again on a 9-yard end around by rookie tight end Vernon Davis followed by a Gore plunge for a first down. Smith goes for the end zone again for Battle on the next play, but he's covered well. After a six-yard burst by Gore on second down, the 49ers face third-and-4, and it's a questionable handoff to Maurice Hicks that fools nobody and picks up just one yard. Lousy play call. Facing fourth-and-3 at the Green Bay 31, the 49ers are taking their offense off the field, to round of boos from the partisan home crowd … (2:24) But that was just a ploy by the 49ers to let the clock wind down to the two-minute warning. Once there, Nolan - trailing by two touchdowns - finally shows some resolve and sends his offense back onto the field. Big play for the 49ers. It's an empty backfield behind Smith, with Gore flanked out to his right. Smith stands strong in the pocket, looks left, then fires a strike over the middle to Gore for a 13-yard gain. Now, that's what the Niners needed. But the drive stalls immediately on three Smith incompletions. So much for another red zone opportunity. The 49ers set up for a 36-yard field goal by Nedney, and he split's the uprights, cutting into the Green Bay lead a little to make it 17-6. But there's still a minute and change left for Favre and Co. … (2:32) Favre to Driver for nine yards on first down, and then Green runs up the middle for 10 yards, then Favre hits Driver again for 8 yards. The Packers already are at the 50-yard line, and they call timeout with 24 seconds left. One more big pass could get them in field goal range, but Favre is sacked for a 12-yard loss by Brandon Moore, and then he coughs up the football! Moore recovers at the Green Bay 38 with 18 seconds left, but it's to no avail for the 49ers, who have no timeouts left. The officials allow the clock to wind down, and that's how the first half ends, with Green Bay in control at 17-6. Somewhere, Mike McCarthy is smiling … (2:38) A little clarification at halftime for those wondering why the clock didn't stop due to change of possession after Favre's fumble. The officials didn't rule it a fumble, that's why, so Green Bay still had possession. Huh? Man, that sure looked like a fumble ... (2:40) The halftime stats don't look nearly as lopsided as the scoreboard with Green Bay holding just a 205-175 advantage. The difference, of course, is Favre, who shreds the San Francisco defense for tidy numbers of 13 completions in 19 attempts for 166 yards and a touchdown. That puts the Great One over 3,000 passing yards for the season, extending his NFL record of 15 seasons with 3,000 passing or more. Conversely, on the other side, Smith is just 4 of 14 passing, a big reason why the 49ers aren't closer on the scoreboard … (2:52) The bad news is an 11-point halftime deficit. The good news is the 49ers get the ball first to begin the second half to get an early chance to cut into it. The 49ers go right to Gore, who rushed for 106 yards on 10 carries in the first half. Gore gets the ball on three consecutive plays - two runs and a pass - and now the 49ers are moving. Third-and-4 from the San Francisco 39, and Smith finally hit's the big play downfield, connecting with Antonio Bryant, who takes it down the right sideline for a 39-yard gain. The 49ers take it into the red zone again, and have a first down at the Green Bay 11 … (2:58) To short completions by Smith gain five yards, and now the 49ers are facing third-and-5 from the 6. Smith is in the shotgun, and it's a quarterback draw. The Packers aren't fooled, and Smith looks for room on the right side … and waits for a hole to open in front of him! He bounces off a tackle, then slides toward the goal line. Is he in? No, but it looks like a first down. What? The officials spot the ball just inside the 2-yard line! What's up with that?? Nolan should challenge the spot, and he does. This one has got to be overturned. And it is! Finally a break goes the 49ers way. The ball is spotted inside the 1, it's a first down, and Gore scores on an inside plunge on the next play. And now the Niners are back in the game, down 17-13 … (3:11) Now the defenses are doing it on both sides, particularly the 49ers' side. The San Francisco defense forces Green Bay into a quick three-and-out, but then the San Francisco offense returns the favor. But Andy Lee coffin-corners a punt at the Green Bay 3 and the Packers, backed up at their own end zone, go three-and-out again. The 49ers should get good field position here, and they would have if returner Brandon Williams hadn't run sideways and then backwards after faking a reverse on the return. Oh, well. It's a loss of five yards for Williams on the return, but the 49ers are starting their drive at the Green Bay 49 … (3:14) Gore ploughs up the middle for seven yards on first down, then is stopped for one yard on second down. On third-and-2 from the Green Bay 41, the 49ers attempt a bootleg pass to Davis, who is open down the left side. But Smith underthrows him badly - was Davis supposed to come back for the throw? - and safety Nick Collins steps right up for the interception, as if the ball was thrown to him instead of Davis. And there goes that momentum the 49ers appeared to be building by the minute … (3:17) And there it goes again, this time in a big way. On second-and-10 from the Green Bay 32, Favre is back to pass, and nobody is open. But Favre has all kinds of time, and he eventually tosses out deep down the right side. Driver is running up the middle, but turns his shoulders and adjusts to the ball and makes the catch at the San Francisco 30. Safety Mark Roman allows Driver to get away on a diving tackle attempt, and Driver weaves his way through defenders and carries a few into the end zone to complete a stunning 68-yard touchdown play. That's a back-breaker, and the Green Bay lead now is 24-13 … (3:25) It's another three-and-out for the 49ers as Smith is sacked on third down. The second-year quarterback is really having a bad day. The Packers quickly move into San Francisco territory, and they are driving again as the third quarter ends … (3:28) The Packers drive to the San Francisco 26 where, on fourth-and-1, they settle for a 44-yard field goal from Rayner. That makes it 27-13, and the 49ers have 13:37 left to score the two touchdowns they'll need to get back in this one, while keeping the Pack off the scoreboard again, of course … (3:35) Sure doesn't look like that's going to happen though. On second-and-10 from the San Francisco 24, Smith throws his best pass of the day, a rope that Davis catches in traffic while taking a big hit. It's a 35-yard gain to the Green Bay 41, but there's a flag in the backfield. It's holding on guard Justin Smiley, and the play is wiped out. That thwarts the drive as Smith throws two incompletions, then is met by a chorus of boos as he walks off the field. To rub it in, Woodson returns Lee's ensuing punt 40 yards down the right sideline, setting up the Packers at the San Francisco 18 … (3:41) The Packers take it down to a first and goal at the 6, but the 49ers stiffen and keep Green Bay out of the end zone. Raymer has a chip-shot 21-yard field-goal attempt, however, and he hits it easily. That increases Green Bay's lead to 30-13, and now the 49ers need three scores with 8:47 remaining … (3:47) Williams returns the ensuing kickoff 44 yards - his longest return of the season - and the 49ers start their next drive at their own 46. As they need to, the 49ers are moving quickly down the field as Smith hits Gore for 16 yards, then finds Davis on the right sideline for 14 yards. Now it's first down at the Green Bay 19 … but Smith throws over the middle into triple coverage! He's looking for Davis again, and maybe if the ball was a little higher, it would have gotten over linebacker A.J. Hawk. It wasn't and it didn't, as Hawk makes the pick four yards deep in the end zone and returns it 25 yards to the Green Bay 19. That should about do it, folks. The boos come down from the rafter again, and now we're hearing some chants of "Go Pack" from the stands. That's pretty sorry … (3:53) The 49ers finally get that quick score they needed a while ago on a play that full illustrated why Davis was the No. 6 overall pick in this year's NFL draft. After Williams returns the ensuing punt 25 yards to the San Francisco 48, Smith finds Davis in the flat and the rookie is ready to rumble. Looking every bit like the manchild he is, Smith shrugs off a lame tackle attempt by Woodson, the runs over Collins as he breaks it back to the middle. Nobody's stopping him now, and Davis finishes the quick-striking 52-yard scoring play by carrying a few defenders into the end zone. But the 49ers flub the PAT attempt, making it 30-19 with just over five minutes to play … (4:02) The 49ers need some immediate stops here, but they don't get them. On third-and-7 from the Green Bay 17, Favre has time and finds tight end Bubba Franks for an 11-yard gain. The 49ers are burning their timeouts now to stop the clock, but it's to no avail as the Packers keep going right down the field. On third-and-1 from the San Francisco 46, the 49ers stone running back Vernand Morency in the backfield, but he pops away and rumbles for a 39-yard gain to the San Francisco 7 that's another slap in the face for the 49ers as the clock winds down to the two-minute warning … (4:08) Favre mercifully takes three kneel-downs, even on fourth down, and that gives the ball back to the 49ers with 37 seconds still on the clock. But San Francisco already is a beaten team, so the 49ers return the favor by having Smith kneel down to run off the final seconds. And that's how it ends - Green Bay 30, San Francisco 19 in what is feeling right now like a very sorry performance by the home team … Check back with sfillustrated.com later this afternoon and evening for complete game coverage and post-game comments from both locker rooms. -- CM
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