Sunday, December 5, 2010
Wrap-up: Packers 34, 49ers 16
By Kevin Seifert
A few thoughts on the Green Bay Packers' 34-16 victory against the San Francisco 49ers:
What it means: The Packers improved to 8-4 and kept pace with the Chicago Bears (9-3) in the NFC North. In the process, they beat the 49ers for the ninth consecutive game and improved to 35-6 in regular season December/January games at Lambeau Field since 1990.
About those unis: I tried to prepare you gently last week for the Packers' throw-back uniforms, which featured brown helmets, blue jerseys, and a different shade of brown pants. They harkened back to the Packers' first championship team in 1929, when color didn't exist. Enough said.
Rodgers Watch: Quarterback Aaron Rodgers had a season-high 135.1 passer rating and has now gone five consecutive games without throwing an interception. His pair of deep throws to Greg Jennings, going for 57 and 48 yards, were perfectly-placed. I would say Rodgers has hit his stride at just the right time of the season.
Jennings Watch: Jennings produced his third consecutive 100-yard game, catching six passes for 122 yards. In the seven games since the Packers lost tight end Jermichael Finely, Jennings has 43 receptions for 761 yards and eight touchdowns.
Starks Watch: I'll be the first to admit that I'm surprised that rookie tailback James Starks played as well, and as much, as he did Sunday. Active for his first game at any level in two years, Starks carried 18 times for 73 yards. Coach Mike McCarthy said the plan was to get him perhaps 10 carries but that "he improved as the game went on." To put it nicely, the Packers' running game has underperformed this season. But give McCarthy some credit for providing an opportunity to a rusty but talented rookie this late in the season. We'll see whether this performance was a function of adrenaline and chance, or whether the Packers have stumbled into a real late-season find.
Driver Watch: The determination and effort receiver Donald Driver showed on his 61-yard touchdown play was unparalleled Sunday. Nothing more needs to be said.
Collins Watch: I believe that was safety Nick Collins doing a pirouette on Vernon Davis' 66-yard touchdown reception. Collins was in position to tackle Davis at about the 45-yard line but ran right past him. It all comes out in the wash of a victory, but it wasn't the greatest of moments for an otherwise Pro Bowl safety.
What's next: The Packers will travel to Ford Field to take on the Detroit Lions next Sunday.