First-down woes put offense in bind

In the first half, Green Bay gained 27 yards on 10 first-down snaps

The Packers' poor third-down conversion rate on Saturday can be blamed on their third-rate play on first down.

A big reason why the Packers managed a mere two field goals in a 34-6 thrashing at San Francisco was the offense's futility on first down.

In the first half, the Packers took 10 first-down snaps. Those plays moved the ball a mere 27 yards.

"I thought our first-down efficiency was not very good pretty much the whole game," coach Mike McCarthy said.

Just once in the first half did the Packers turn a first down directly into another first down, when Aaron Rodgers hit Donald Lee for 13 yards. That play, however, was followed with Rodgers getting sacked and losing 7 yards.

Only once in the first half did the Packers give themselves an advantageous second-down opportunity. On the first offensive snap of the night, Rodgers hit Donald Driver for 5 yards to set up second-and-5.

Four times in the opening two periods, the Packers faced second-and-10, once they had second-and-9 and once they had second-and-8. Second-and-long more times than not means fourth-and-punt.

The second half was only marginally better. Again, the offense took 10 first-down snaps. Once, the offense turned a first down into a first down, and three times, the offense put itself in favorable second-and-4 situations. Twice, though, the offense shot itself in the foot with a first-down penalty.

"We feel like we made a lot of mental mistakes out there today," Driver said. "We didn't catch the ball well. That's mostly on the receivers. We have got to make sure we go back and watch film, make our corrections and just come back next week and get better."

Bill Huber writes for Packer Report. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com


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