Aaron Rodgers’ second – and perhaps final – possession of the preseason resulted in a touchdown, and his undrafted understudy, Joe Callahan, stole the show as the Green Bay Packers beat the San Francisco 49ers 21-10 on Friday night.
Green Bay ran its preseason record to 3-0. After a shaky first possession in which Rodgers looked a bit uncomfortable against the 49ers’ pass rush, he settled in on his second possession. Rodgers completed three passes to Randall Cobb on that drive, including a quick-hitting 6-yard touchdown that tied the game 7-7. Eddie Lacy got the drive rolling with a 20-yard run.
Rodgers, a healthy scratch in the Packers’ first two preseason games, finished 6-of-9 for 60 yards. Earlier this week, he said he wouldn’t play in Thursday’s preseason finale at Kansas City.
Callahan, taking the No. 2 reps with Brett Hundley (ankle) sidelined, played well to cement his spot on the team payroll going into September, going 16-of-24 for 167 yards and one touchdown. He would have had better production had Davante Adams not dropped what should have been a 39-yard touchdown pass on Green Bay’s final possession of the first half.
While that drive eventually died on a fourth-and-goal incompletion on the final play of the first half, Green Bay took a 14-7 lead on its opening possession of the second half when Callahan hit receiver Jared Abbrederis for an 18-yard touchdown. The key plays were a third-and-5 completion to undrafted rookie receiver Geronimo Allison and a fourth-and-9 completion to Allison. One play later, Callahan booted to his right and threw a strike to Abbrederis near the goal line for the score.
The Packers extended the lead to 21-10 with 9:09 remaining in the game on undrafted rookie running back Brandon Burks’ 19-yard touchdown run. Callahan made the key play when he escaped a pair of rushers and connected with Allison for a gain of 51.
The defense, again, was excellent. The 49ers were held to 195 yards, 2-of-11 on third down and barely had 20 minutes of possession time. Green Bay has yielded 33 points in its three games, and the yardage total was a preseason high.
The Packers overwhelmed the 49ers quarterbacks. Blaine Gabbert started and went 2-of-3 for 14 yards and added 15 yards on two runs on his two possessions. The former starter, Colin Kaepernick, went 2-of-6 for 14 yards and added 18 yards on four runs on his three possessions. Fourth quarterback Christian Ponder went 1-of-3 for 11 yards and was intercepted by undrafted rookie safety Marwin Evans.
John Crockett led the Packers with 46 yards on 13 carries but appeared to sustain an injured left arm at the end of a third-quarter run. Allison caught three passes for 78 yards and tight end Jared Cook caught four passes for 54 yards.
San Francisco struck first on what was scored as a 3-yard touchdown run by receiver Quinton Patton, who caught a backward pass from Gabbert. The score was set up by a 27-yard run by Carlos Hyde.
Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PackerReport.