Game Changing Play of the Week: Game Goes Off the Rails on First Drive

Early mistakes proved to be signs of what was to come in a drubbing at the hands of the 49ers.

Oof.

A second road trip to California ends in a second thoroughly embarrassing loss. The Packers certainly aren't down and out yet, but they are going to have a whole lot of soul searching to do over the final five weeks of the season if they hope to contend for a championship. 

Just as it was with the Chargers game, it's difficult to determine a "game changing play" when the Packers were never particularly in the game to begin with. There are two plays, though, that do stick out, both of which came on the first drive and set the tone for everything that was to come.

Let's take a look.

Unsportsmanlike conduct on Davante Adams

Early on, you knew the officials were going to be a factor, thanks to this atrocious call. 

Adams picked up the first down and chest bumped the defender. Dumb move? Sure, maybe. Keep your emotions in check and this doesn't become an issue. But let's make no mistake; this is a ridiculously weak call by the ref, designed solely for the ref to insert themself into the action of the game as an authority figure. You see it all the time in the NBA with ridiculous technical foul calls given out by refs on a power trip. This is essentially the NFL equivalent of that situation.

Adams was justifiably unhappy with the call after the game, saying the following:

"That was just like some college stuff. I've never seen a flag get thrown over what I did. I bumped chests with the dude, but this is the league. I've gotten much worse happen to me without no flags."

Instead of the play getting a first down, it brought the Packers back 15 yards and put them into position where the ensuing fumble would give the 49ers the ball at the Packers' two yard line. Just a huge shift.

The fumble

The fumble, obviously, made matters go from bad to worse and set up a walk-in touchdown for Tevin Coleman.

The 49ers line up and fake an inside blitz but then bring the corner from the right side of the line. Meanwhile, before Rodgers gets much of a chance to survey downfield, the pocket collapses along the interior, and there's nothing for Rodgers to do but take the sack. With two players pounding at the ball while Rodgers is going down, the ball comes out and results in an easy recovery for the 49ers. 

It was the first of many instances on the night in which the line would be completely overwhelmed by the 49ers' front seven, and it put the Packers in a 7-0 hole early on.

The Packers would never recover or develop any sort of momentum.

 

So where do we go from here?

The good news for the Packers is that the upcoming schedule is favorable. Games against the Giants and Redskins, followed by the Bears at home, then the Vikings and Lions on the road. The Vikings are the only winning team of the bunch--12-4 should be a gimme, but of course there is no such thing as a gimme win in this league. 13-3 is still very much on the table, as is a potential first-round bye.

There have been and will be a lot of overreactions to this loss. Yes, the Packers were outclassed in every phase of the game. Yes, there were quite a few flaws that were exposed. But while the Packers are down, they're certainly not out. There's a lot of season to go, and once the postseason begins, anything can happen.

__________________________

Tim Backes is a lifelong Packer fan and a contributor to CheeseheadTV. Follow him on Twitter @timbackes for his Packer takes, random musings and Untappd beer check-ins.

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Comments (32)

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Leatherhead's picture

November 25, 2019 at 04:13 pm

Adams, as a veteran leader, shouldn’t have done it and shouldn’t have complained later. Be accountable. Don’t make excuses. Lead.

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Cubbygold's picture

November 25, 2019 at 04:22 pm

For sure, especially because there's no need to do it. There's nothing to gain from any of it and you're forcing the refs to make a judgement call. Just turn around and go back to the huddle. Nope, it's the first freaking drive of the game and you just have to celebrate your big victory. Great leadership.

I thought the worst penalty was the phantom 'hands to the face' call on King, negating a sack on Jimmy G. Just terrible. GB would have gotten the ball back with a 7-0 score, instead that put them in scoring position with a new set of downs.

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Razer's picture

November 25, 2019 at 06:15 pm

I totally agree. Want to be tough - manhandle you opponent - like the 49ers did for most of the game.

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pacman's picture

November 25, 2019 at 05:05 pm

The title implies that if that play didn't happen, the outcome might have been different. That's obviously BS.

The game changing play was the Packers showing up. If they didn't do that, at least they wouldn't have looked as bad as they did.

This is just a collapse of epic proportions.

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sam1's picture

November 25, 2019 at 05:48 pm

Maybe time to audition new punters also!

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Tarynfor12's picture

November 25, 2019 at 06:02 pm

The game changer was then an still now that the Packers were a pitifully prepared team.

As much as the Adams penalty seems ticky tac in many eyes, the fact that he took 2 steps to confront the opponent and that is taunting as opposed to both players walking away talking side by side. It was juvenile on both the Ref and Adams from each standpoint.

Rodgers cannot not be held to account for his play either...preparation is not only the coaches job.

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mamasboy's picture

November 25, 2019 at 07:12 pm

According to PFF Rodgers was the lowest rated Packers player (excluding special teams) in the game against the 9ers. Maybe he should save those daggers coming out of his eyes for someone, until he's in front of a mirror.

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Leatherhead's picture

November 26, 2019 at 09:06 am

Leadership. Who is the leader on offense? Why have we had 3 bad offensive outings in 11 games?

The guy who ran the table at the end of 2016 doesn’t seem to be on the team anymore.

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ILPackerBacker's picture

November 26, 2019 at 01:12 pm

Have you checked the 2016 version for being pounded into the ground?

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Lphill's picture

November 25, 2019 at 06:12 pm

No the game changer was the non call on Adams on the deep throw down the left sideline clearly defensive holding at the least , and the low hit on Rodgers after a throw, seems the refs were 49 er fans.

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Since'61's picture

November 25, 2019 at 08:13 pm

Lp I think the holding on Adams was not called because the pass was overthrown. However, the low hit on Rodgers should have been called. Thanks, Since '61

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edp1959's picture

November 25, 2019 at 10:41 pm

Please explain how a QB takes into account a receiver is going to be held so he must throw it shorter. Adams didn’t get to the ball because he was held. But yeah let’s blame the QB. Ball was not over thrown.

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ILPackerBacker's picture

November 26, 2019 at 01:13 pm

Missing the point. The ball was overthrown so far the holding did not matter. Long time rule

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ALLGASNOBRAKES's picture

November 25, 2019 at 08:17 pm

Couldn't believe Buckner or whoever it was weren't flagged for that hit to Rodgers KNEES. On the punt that followed Josh Jackson turns to run towards the returner and a 49ers player is HANGING ONTO HIS ARM AND NOT LETTING GO!

I doubt Jackson would have made a play BUT it was in the middle of the field...OBVIOUS!

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mamasboy's picture

November 25, 2019 at 09:02 pm

Watch the replay. The guy avoided hurting Rodgers.

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mamasboy's picture

November 25, 2019 at 06:19 pm

"Once the post season starts, anything can happen." Not for a team that's played like the Packers have in two of the last three games. That's almost a delusional statement. Contenders start to peak at this time of year. People are pulling for the Packers to get a bye week in the playoffs. That doesn't seem to benefit them. How did 2 weeks off help them out with the 9ers. Playoffs? Sure! Championship? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Razer's picture

November 25, 2019 at 06:26 pm

The play(s) that changed the game - too funny. O-line got destroyed the whole night long. Our star QB looked like a guy who didn’t want to be out there. McCarthy was probably staring up at his big screen TV reliving the many moments when simple,quick throws were the hardest thing in the world.

This game was the yardstick and we didn’t measure up then we were whacked with the stick.

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Handsback's picture

November 25, 2019 at 06:58 pm

First off this season is soooooo much better than the last two years combined.
Now saying that ....the game changing event was when the Packers got off the bus at the stadium. It was all downhill after that. They have one game that will determine their fate, and the Vikings will want blood!

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Packer_Fan's picture

November 25, 2019 at 07:44 pm

I agree. The game spiraled out of control from the beginning. Dropped passes, a couple of penalties and poor punts put the Packers in a 10 - 0 hole. Lafleur should have kicked the field goal to keep the game close. Not getting Jones involved in the passing game is a disaster. Just like not getting the ball to Adams. Lafleur will have to learn to know when his team is in a funk and when to change the plan. Without the forced errors the score should have been 10 - 3 at the worst at halftime. So many things to adjust for when they play good teams.

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ImaPayne's picture

November 25, 2019 at 08:14 pm

If this was game one of the season we would all say, wow the niners are very talented with play makers all over the place. Packers not so.
I` m not sure this team doesnt struggle against some of those so called patsies coming up.

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SterlingSharpe's picture

November 25, 2019 at 08:04 pm

Ravens look phenomenal.
Won at Seattle too.
San Francisco at Baltimore next week.
I bet SF comes down to Earth against a team that's physical.... although I've seen 2 Ravens get hurt already including their center.

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Pierre's picture

November 25, 2019 at 10:08 pm

The game changing stats that are real stunners; Rodgers throwing for a whopping 104 passing yards and going ZERO for 13 on third downs!! How does the Packer defense ever get to rest when Rodgers has the offense going 3 and out the whole first half? How in the world can a QB getting over 2 million a game play this poorly? Second and sixteen and he throws a pass for 3 yards? Really?!! Why is every pass a short flare or flip out to the flats?

Does anyone else out there find it incredible and painful to watch Rodgers continue to throw passes sideways to the sidelines for 2-3 yards a pass? Any rookie QB can do that. Where’s the quick passes over the middle to TEs or crossing receivers? He just refuses to throw quick passes vertically down the middle to hit receivers in stride. That’s one of worst performances by any NFL QB, never mind one who was in the MVP conversation a few weeks ago.

He has a history of not playing good against winning teams and it was very evident to see versus the 49ers. He looked afraid and indecisive as he again held the ball too long. The question is how many more seasons will the Packers waste hoping that Rodgers plays the QB position like ‘the Rodgers’ of 8-10 years ago. 1 SB appearance in 13 years is not a good record for an elite HOF QB.

The sooner the Packers move on to try Boyle at QB or a drafted QB...the better. Boyle stands in the pocket and delivers accurate throws downfield and that’s what the Packers need. He certainly can play no worse than Rodgers did getting embarrassed on national TV by the 49ers.

Does anyone have any confidence the Packers can go deep in the playoffs with Rodgers playing the QB position the way he played against the Chargers and 49ers??

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edp1959's picture

November 25, 2019 at 10:57 pm

Funny, I saw your hero Boyle throw two passes at the receiver’s feet Sunday night. Guess you missed that. Tell me again how many rings does Farve have. I believe the reason Rodgers doesn’t have more rings is way beyond one player. But you just love to show up when you can show your hatred for #12.

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ILPackerBacker's picture

November 26, 2019 at 01:15 pm

Not the same game I saw.
The game I saw had the packer blow the 49ers out on TOP.
Nearly double the 49ers on plays run.

I saw 3 dropped, DROPPED passes on 3rd down.
I saw 3 sacks and a run for your life scramble on 3rd downs.

I saw an average on 3rd down of 10 yards when the NFL average is just over 5 and the league conversion of 3rd and ten plus is 20%

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ILPackerBacker's picture

November 26, 2019 at 01:20 pm

It might be worth your time to exert some energy and THINK about what you post.

Rodgers outside two games has been very good. 8 - 1. Instead of jumping to a stupid and fact contrary position look at who the other 2 games were against.

ASK YOURSELF, duh is there any commonality in the two games?

Well yes. MOST OBVIOUS but not alone even for the offense is our OL being DOMINATED with capital letter, highlighting, underlining and GIANT FONTS.

Brady did not look good but he was protected and NE won.
No QB wins with the packer OL those 2 games. Nobody.

Wake up

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Jonathan Spader's picture

November 25, 2019 at 11:28 pm

Another really ticky tacky call not being discussed was the illegal block in the back on Allison. So many poor calls by the refs in a game the Packers already had little chance of winning. Only thing more frustrating was the way the Packers played.

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Jonathan Spader's picture

November 26, 2019 at 11:19 am

Double post.

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Tundraboy's picture

November 26, 2019 at 07:17 am

This whole thing of not involving Jones more in the passing game is really starting to annoy the hell out of me . The object of the game of football is to get the ball in the hands of the player who can do the most damage. Davante is one of them, but I see him as more or better as a slot receiver running slants. In the absence of a true wide out deep threat, the object becomes who is the best at breaking a big play. Aaron Jones. And Jamaal is not too shabby either.

That's all I want to see the rest of the way out. And Rodgers hitting on the shorter option on 3rd downs!
Get it done MLF

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Bearmeat's picture

November 26, 2019 at 01:11 pm

Caveat:

This team was awful last year. At the beginning of the year, I was predicting 8-8 to 9-7, 2nd place in the NFCN (Vikings win) and a wild card if we got lucky. We're already doing better than that. And BG has done a good job getting talented players on the defensive side through free agency and the draft. Jenkins looks like a find too.

That said: I didn't like the hire of MLF when it was announced. This is a team that has veterans leading the room, and MLF was beyond untested. Has he done better than I thought he would? Yep. Did he get his ass kicked last Sunday? Absolutely. If he doesn't respond and this team doesn't look a hell of a lot better in January, all bets for 2020 are off.

ARod still has an elite arm, but not an otherworldly one. His brain is obviously still intact. But his legs are half gone. The days of video game numbers are done. This offense needs to be based on the running game and we need FAR MORE talent at WR than we have. I was concerned about it going into the year, and it's proven to be one of the flaws (along with horrid special teams, a surprising inability to stop the run and unsurprisingly giving up explosive pass plays) that will end this teams season.

No, this was never a Super Bowl roster. It's a good team. Not a great one.

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Tundraboy's picture

November 26, 2019 at 01:28 pm

Honestly I think a-rod's still elite. Not AROD, but he's at the point in his career where he really needs to hit the gym I've been watching the last few years and watching all the other new quarterback to come in and they're in a lot better shape upper body wise.

His head and how he's passing, to me is mental.Probably tied to the stubbornness he had shown . I'm finally ready to admit he's full on diva.

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Ryan3468's picture

November 26, 2019 at 09:15 pm

To come off of a bye week and to play like that against a good team is telling.

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davidrawence's picture

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