- Kevin Seifert, NFL Nation
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A few thoughts from Sunday's affair at Lambeau Field:
What it means: The Green Bay Packers were outmuscled and outmaneuvered for most of this game by the San Francisco 49ers, and a fourth-quarter comeback fell short. The Packers are now 0-1 for the first time in seven seasons.
Powerful 49ers: There are times when you blame a team for playing poorly in a loss. And the Packers certainly made some mistakes Sunday. But the 49ers were the more physical team from start to finish in this game. They looked excellent and had answers for everything the Packers tried. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers had difficulty getting the ball downfield all game. It's fitting that on the Packers' final play from scrimmage, Rodgers had to get rid of the ball early because a free blitzer was in his face.
CobbWatch: The Packers' inability to get the ball downfield for most of the game left Randall Cobb as Rodgers' favorite receiver. He caught nine passes for 77 yards, but his biggest play was a 75-yard punt return early in the fourth quarter. That touchdown, along with the subsequent two-point conversion, actually made it a one-score game at 23-15.
Turning point: The Packers reclaimed possession a few minutes later with a chance to tie the game. But Rodgers never saw 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman on a pass intended for Greg Jennings. Bowman intercepted it, and on the next play, 49ers running back Frank Gore rumbled in from 23 yards out to re-extend the 49ers' lead.
Official woes: Replacement officials made some good calls Sunday, including a third-down spot on Gore that stood up to a challenge. But they missed a fair share and erred on some others, as well. It's not clear why they picked up a flag on Cobb's punt return, where replays showed that Packers linebacker Terrell Manning blocked the 49ers' Anthony Dixon illegally in the back. It's also hard to explain how they missed at least two clear false starts against 49ers left tackle Joe Staley. Mistakes will occur every week no matter who is officiating, but I would imagine the game will be the focus of this week's national discussion on replacement officials.
Key field goal: 49ers place-kicker David Akers ended the first half with an NFL-record-tying 63-yard field goal. It hit the crossbar and bounced through the uprights, and the three points obviously played a key role in the end game.
What's next: The Packers have a short week. They'll host the Chicago Bears on Thursday night at Lambeau.