Game Recap: Packers Fall to 49ers 37-20

The Green Bay Packers’ incredible season came to an end Sunday night after falling to the San Francisco 49ers 37-20 in a tough NFC Championship matchup. From the second the whistle blew, it was bad news for the Packers. The game plan was wrong from the start and when the game started to slip away, Green Bay had no clue what to do to get back in it.

“They [49ers] played well today and we didn’t play well enough,” coach Matt LaFleur said at his post-game press conference. “I told our guys that going into these types of game we know that the ball was gonna be a big part of whoever was going to win this game and we didn’t win the turnover margin. The other thing we knew they were going to try and do was run the football and they absolutely got after us in the run game and it wasn’t good enough.”

The Packers won the toss and deferred, so the “d-train” was the first to step out on the field. Besides linebacker Za’Darius Smith stuffing the 49ers on 3rd and 1 and forcing a punt on their first drive, the Packers’ defensive unit was stopped in their tracks for most of Sunday.

With the offense unable to come up with anything on their first drive, it was back to the defense where the unfortunate exposure began. After a few good plays and a nice catch by San Fran’s Emmanuel Sanders, the Packers saw the first of many spectacular runs from 49ers' running back Raheem Mostert. Mostert took it to the house on 3rd and 8 to put San Francisco up 7-0 and he was only getting started.

After Rodgers was sacked on third down on Green Bay’s next drive, the ball was back in the hands of San Francisco before you could even blink. The defense showed a sliver of promise with a nice pass breakup from corner Kevin King and linebacker Kyler Fackrell finally made some contact this season for a sack. However, even some of their best plays of the night could not slow down the 49ers, as they drilled a 54-yard field goal to extend their lead to 10-0.

The second quarter was no different for Green Bay. After punter JK Scott butchered a punt that set-up San Francisco at Green Bay’s 34-yard line, things started to get even uglier. Mostert showed off his wheels again and pushed through the Packers’ defense for his second score of the night to put the 49ers up 17-0.

Green Bay needed to find something, and find it quickly, and their next offensive drive seemed like they were going to possibly do just that. Running back Aaron Jones did a great job of picking up the blitz to buy quarterback Aaron Rodgers some time to connect with wide receiver Jake Kuemrow. Then, Jones put the Packers in field goal range after a nice run himself. It was the spark Green Bay needed and it looked like they finally had a plan… Until it didn’t. Center Corey Linsey botched the snap and Rodgers was unable to grab it in time. The Packers fumbled and the 49ers recovered.

This was the moment I am sure a lot of Packers fans turned off the tv and I hated that feeling. From there, the 49ers hit another field goal to extend their lead to 20. The Packers’ offense continued to be anything but productive, and the defense continued to have no answers when trying to stop the run. Rodgers was picked off just before the half and just when Green Bay fans held their breath and hoped it did not get worse, it did.  Mosterat, for the third time in the first half, found the endzone again to put the 49ers up 27-0 heading into the break.

Green Bay, who looked like they could have very easily given up, still had some fight left in them in the second half. On their opening drive, they finally found some rhythm again and Jones was able to run it in for a 9-yard touchdown to make it 27-7.

Raheem Mostert could not let the Packers get too excited though, responding with his fourth touchdown of the night to further extend the 49ers’ lead, 34-7. With his 4-touchdown performance, Mostert cemented himself in the history books as the only player in NFL history with 200 plus rushing yards and 4 plus touchdowns in a playoff game (NFL Research).  

Clawing back for two more touchdowns, the Packers truly did fight until they absolutely could not anymore. One of the only highlights of the night was rookie Jace Sternberger scoring his first touchdown of the season to make it 34-20 towards the end of the game. Although 12 had a rough night all around going 31 for 39 with 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions (ESPN stats), he was still able to pass Brett Favre for the most playoff touchdown passes in team history with 40 after that touchdown pass to Sternberger, which is pretty freaking impressive.

After a tough showing all around, no answers for stopping the run, and the 2019 season sadly coming to an end, there was plenty to takeaway for the Packers in this season’s NFC Championship Game.  

What we learned: The game plan was wrong from the start

Earlier this week Davante Adams shared with the media that he felt better about the Packers’ game plan heading into this game versus when the Packers and 49ers met back in week 12. Now, I just really would like to see what that plan was.

For me, the Packers’ recipe for success this year was almost so simple and so obvious it seemed like it couldn’t be true. Just put the ball in your playmakers hands and don’t question it. I know that Adams was well covered throughout the night, but just one target in the first half was crazy to me.

After Adams put on a clinic against Seattle last week, I really expected to see him more involved early on Sunday’s game plan. In the second half, Adams was all over the field making some key plays that he needed to and all I could do was scratch my head and wonder. If it was not Adams, then who was it supposed to be? Green Bay looked like they had no set plan on what direction they wanted their offense to go Sunday.

 

What went right: Connecting with Davante

Despite only being targeted one time in the first half, Adams still finished with 9 receptions for 138 yards (ESPN stats) Sunday. Every touchdown drive in the second half was a result of a stellar play by Adams. He was the catalyst again for Green Bay Sunday as he was so many times this season.

Adams is certainly the future of this offense, but it will be a thrilling offseason when it comes to finding 17 some support either in the draft or free agency. I’d be curious to hear who some of you may think would be a great fit at wide receiver for Green Bay next season.

 

What went wrong: Stopping the run

Anytime that the other team sets an NFL rushing record, you know it’s nothing but bad news. Mike Pettine and company were not prepared for the 49ers run game and they got exposed all night long. Of all the sore spots Sunday, this was the worst for me. It just kept happening, repeatedly, to the point where you were just hoping and praying the Packers wouldn’t miss another tackle or the 49ers couldn’t possible barrel on through.  

In total, San Fran rushed for 285 yards with Mostert rushing for 220 of them. Just brutal.

 

Offensive Standout: Davante Adams

Yeah, I’ve talked about 17 enough already. Let’s get him the support he needs now.

 

Defensive Standout: Darnell Savage

Although the defense struggled, I was really impressed with rookie Darnell Savage Sunday. Big moments never seemed to faze him this season and if anyone reading this needs some hope, let it be with this kid. Savage impressed from the moment he started competing in training camp and really helped propel this defense to a new level. As he gets settled in for his second season in the league, Packers fans should be excited about #26 (or maybe soon to be #21).

Savage finished the game with 8 tackles, 5 of which were solo, and 1 tackle for a loss (ESPN stats)

Sarah Kelliher is a contributor for CheeseheadTV. She can be found via Twitter @sarahkelliher4

 

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Comments (46)

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Ollie1960's picture

January 19, 2020 at 10:17 pm

Fire Pettine, he was brutal!

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badaxed's picture

January 19, 2020 at 10:45 pm

Monday morning pink slip in Pettines locker sounds about right.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

January 19, 2020 at 11:21 pm

I've seen enough of the 3-4 defense.

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Thegravedigger's picture

January 20, 2020 at 12:53 am

The two plays at the end wit will Redmond one on one with kittle, i was screaming before the play, why!! Garapolo looked his way the whole time. And he had no help either one. I know it was a long shot by then, but we were still in it, and it was a complete mismatch.

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Ollie1960's picture

January 19, 2020 at 10:17 pm

Men vs. boys.

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Tingham's picture

January 19, 2020 at 10:19 pm

2020 draft. I know we need an ILB but please wait. We need some help on offense. For some reason for the last 10 years Packer GM's draft poorly on defense in the first couple of rounds. Pettine may need to go. Apparently you can walk to Miami.

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CAG123's picture

January 19, 2020 at 10:45 pm

This is going to be a tricky offseason as far as talent acquisitions goes Im not opposed to resigning Blake but anything over 10-12 mill he can walk the Packers should definitely go vet with a WR no need to draft one in the first round just for Rodgers not to trust him for 2 years as far as dline Javon Hargrove seems like a nice edition he's a blocker eater that can rush the passer and would take some pressure off KC. This isn't a very good draft for LBs Simmons is the crown Jewel and Murray is the bronze medal after that you're pretty getting participation trophies. And man when you realize the year Shanahan has had against former colleagues and students its pretty crazy 2-0 against McVay, 2-0 against MLF/Pettine and we get to face these guys again next year......yaaaaayyyyy.

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stockholder's picture

January 19, 2020 at 11:16 pm

If they keep the 3-4-4, Martinez will be offered a contract. But; it will never be a championship Defense. Rodgers gained Trust in Lazard. These 3 Wrs. will change this offense. Speed Jalen Reagor TCU, These two must run 4.5. Mike Pittman USC and Collin Johnson Tex. There are so many coming out.

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CAG123's picture

January 19, 2020 at 11:33 pm

That trust didn't result in much and was almost in spite of butterfingers one and two in Allison and MVS. The Packers have speed in MVS they need route running and sure hands along with that speed, I'd got vet with either Landry or OBJ forget this rookie crap.

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mrj007's picture

January 19, 2020 at 11:35 pm

Let's draft some players who can tackle and pkatvrun defense. The team didn't seem to have any of those guys tonight

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CAG123's picture

January 19, 2020 at 11:48 pm

That just might be crazy enough to work!

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

January 20, 2020 at 12:02 am

10 million is what elite ILBs make. Martinez is worth 5 or maybe 6 tops.

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CAG123's picture

January 20, 2020 at 12:13 am

Well he definitely ain't getting Wagner money but I didn't realize guys like Luke and Kendricks were making 12 and 10 million a year so with that said offer him like 8 and if he wants more than that then let him walk. I actually like Blake the guy goes 100% regardless of his errors but he really hasn't progressed since he was drafted anyone thinking other wise go check out his scouting profile and tell me those exact same issues don't exist today.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

January 20, 2020 at 02:25 am

Yes, that seems like a more reasonable amount. I still think it is tricky. IMO, which may be without merit, GB already knows that Martinez isn't capable of fulfilling the role he currently has. I have issues with paying a players a considerable amount when one figures he will still be a liability.

I had misgivings about the Lowry signing for similar reasons. Lowry probably signed for a reasonable amount, yet it was clear that he isn't good enough to be the other DL on the field with Clark in this system, at least not with these ILBs behind the DL.

Not much behind Martinez and Lowry. Tricky.

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HankScorpio's picture

January 20, 2020 at 06:18 am

If they pay Martinez even half that 10-12 mil, I will lose a lot of the hope I have now that they are on the right track in the personnel dept.

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Tarynfor12's picture

January 19, 2020 at 11:07 pm

Game Recap.

Packers walked onto the field thinking they could serve notice and the men who owned the field kicked their asses off it, without breaking a sweat.

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albert999's picture

January 19, 2020 at 11:12 pm

Pettine has to go...Lafleur needs to bring in his own guy

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albert999's picture

January 19, 2020 at 11:25 pm

By the way I think Lafleurs game plan sucked again for this opponent

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Tarynfor12's picture

January 19, 2020 at 11:37 pm

MLF's game plans sucked for most of the season.

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albert999's picture

January 19, 2020 at 11:42 pm

That’s true

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

January 19, 2020 at 11:32 pm

This team is too soft. They have not learned how to play hard nosed football.

The whole Oline needs to learn how to punish a D lineman on running plays. The Bosas are not going to play Patty Cake with Bahk. He needs to pancake one of those guys into the turf.

This defense is weak in the middle and has been for a decade now. BG needs to fix it with Linebackers who can run and tackle.

BG needs to get AR a real TE and number 2 WR. Yeah we all thought MVS and ESB would be good. But, they aren't. Jimmy Graham runs like and old man.

Everything that is not a kicker needs to go on Special Teams.

Aaron Rodgers needs to prepare like a MFer this offseason. The Overthrows and throws behind dudes is totally unacceptable and can not continue.

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mrj007's picture

January 19, 2020 at 11:33 pm

Not a lot of game plans work after a 27 to 0 hole dug by passing instead of running on offense, and getting owned by 49er O line on D. This is the worry fans have had in watching this team win ugly. It was an overachiever, house of cards season that ended in an embarrassing performance as the team came out lifeless and flat. Thanks for a great year. I was hoping for a better showing but it wasn't meant to be.

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albert999's picture

January 19, 2020 at 11:35 pm

In the last three playoff games against the Packers, the 49ers have averaged 258.3 yards rushing per game and 38.3 attempts. That's 6.7-yards per attempt with nine rushing TDs.
So much wrong for the Packers in the first half: Third downs: 0-for-4. Davante Adams: 1 target. Raheem Mostert: 14 carries, 160 yards, 3 TDs. Mostert: 109 rush yards BEFORE contact, most by any player in a first half all season. Last 2 first halves vs. San Fran: Down 50-0.
Embarrasing

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demuthses's picture

January 19, 2020 at 11:51 pm

I don't think Pettine can be blamed for the defence forgetting they are supposed to tackle the guy with the ball. It seems more as though they needed to practice with pads on more often to be shown and practice technics. That wasn't his call.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

January 19, 2020 at 11:59 pm

Pettine can teach tackling just the same as Salah can.

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HankScorpio's picture

January 20, 2020 at 06:25 am

Padded practices are managed by the CBA. If Pettine cannot manage to properly prepare his team within the confine of the rules that govern the allowed prep for all 32 teams, they need to find someone that can.

It's either that, overhaul they entire defense for the 5th or 6th straight year or hope they don't face a team that can exploit the weakness in the playoffs. Of those 3 choices, finding a new DC is the most likely to succeed. You can be sure the success of SF and Tenn in the playoffs will mean an uptick in how often teams run the ball. It is a copy cat league.

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aljohn_w@yahoo.com's picture

January 21, 2020 at 03:43 pm

Pack got beat by a better team !! GET OVER IT ! , Move on to next year and fix the problems . By the way if I would have posted in this room that the Packers would be 13-3 and end up in the NFL Championship Game last Aug . I should have been laughed out of here .

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Chevy572rat's picture

January 20, 2020 at 12:07 am

Pettine just had that same confused look on his face like he was surprised, or shocked or confused, or all of the above. I don't know what the halftime adjustments were, but they didn't change a thing. You hate having to change coaches, but I would like MLF to see who's out there or who he has in mind. A day like today shows how slow we are on both sides of the ball. I thought the o-line didn't play well for 2-3 quarters allowing alot of pressure around Rodgers allowing some sacks and some fumbles. I think most teams would be happy with their QB going 31-39, 326 yds 2 TDs and 1 bad Int and 1 Int when the game was already over and he was pushing for a quick score. AR threw the ball well today across the middle and on 10+ yd throws. He held up his end !! We definitely have some holes to fill and some smart FAs like the ones they hit on this year could take us further next year. Remember, we weren't supposed to be here THIS year. I pray for MLF and Gute this draft and FA season. It was a rough way to end the season but it was still better than sitting at home for the playoffs. Excited about next season !! Thanx Pack.

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croatpackfan's picture

January 20, 2020 at 04:58 am

Well, Wade Phillips is available... As Rex Ryan is...

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packerbackerjim's picture

January 20, 2020 at 05:55 am

I think that is an exceptionally good idea. Phillips has faced SF twice yearly for the past several seasons.

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Thegravedigger's picture

January 20, 2020 at 12:58 am

I know it was a small signing but the chiefs started mike pennell today and he played well. Derrick Henry 19 carries 69 yards.

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GBPDAN1's picture

January 20, 2020 at 04:09 am

Bottom line,.the Packers are not close to being able to take down the top of the NFL.... the 49ers.

Keep on chugin BG! Go Pack

PS,I simply didn't feel good about this game at all. All the bad evidence from the regular season surfaced tonight. Embarrassing

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PAPackerbacker's picture

January 20, 2020 at 04:48 am

When the Chiefs were losing by double digit points in both playoff games the camera catches Mahomes walking along the bench talking to the team and firing them up. When the same thing happened to the Packers I see Rodgers standing along the sideline quiet and subdued shaking his head from side to side in disbelief.

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croatpackfan's picture

January 20, 2020 at 04:49 am

I understand love for Aaron Rodgers. He is so unique talent, but whoever thinks Aaron is old himself fooling himself heavy. It is obvious that decline started and if Aaron wants to win another SB he should stop looking Tom Brady and start to learn from older Manning brother ("omaha" brother!).

When Aaron started short passes (up to 15 yards) Packers offense started to roll in the second half. Those short passes combined with runs opened long passes (Davante, Jimmy) and helped Packers to score 3 TD. First half was old Aaron who is waiting something to roll deep and product of that is sacks, throws away, 3 and outs etc.

Also, I agree with many of you that Packers started with game plan predictable enough for SF D to be on every ball or action Packers did in the first half.

Not many fans at the beginning of the season predicted 13-3 regular season score for Packers. I did. I calculated losing 1 divisional game, KC and one loss Packers always have against weak opponent. Which one I was not able to pick. But I certainly did not see loses against Philly, Chargers and SF. For me SF was weak opponent. Today I believe Packers did phenomenal job this season and I'm proud of the team. However, the next season this team has to be renewed and upgrade. I also believe Packers should start to search Aaron Rodgers replacement QB. As history teaches us, you can find GOAT in 6th round if you are lucky!

For me Aaron Rodgers will always be player I will gladly watch him playing in the old games with pleasure and joy.

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murf7777's picture

January 20, 2020 at 08:48 am

Croat, I agree he isn’t Aaron of old. But, a lot of Aaron’s success in the second half especially in the 4th was going up against a prevent D.

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croatpackfan's picture

January 20, 2020 at 12:02 pm

Probably yes. But nevertheless, that offensive series with fumble was also well designed, with lot of short passes and running, what was efficient in the second half too. That opened deep balls to Davante and to Jimmy.

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porupack's picture

January 20, 2020 at 06:02 am

Wow. The first meeting with SF in game 12, the team never got off the bus.

This time, they got on the field and forgot their pants. Ran around in jock straps all night bare-assed. Embarrassing (a bare-assed) performance in the first half. I blame coaches. The only way to beat a superior team was to open up lights out, take risk and shock Goliath. Spread receivers, quick timed, up tempo. Then start feeding AJones. alternate with 3 TE sets, and slip out TEs after they chip block.

Coaches way over estimated the team and ran a status quo.

Winning ugly was just an excuse for poor execution, and the team finally was exposed despite the 13-3 record, they are a 2nd tier team, ranking about 8-10th. (who really cares about the W/L record after the playoff seeding?). They just haven't been coached to play 4 quarters of football this year. Either strong in first half (then hang on an squeak a win), or pathetic start, then getting some 2nd half production.

While it was enjoyable to see a winning record, it was not enjoyable to watch many of the games. Poor quality product. No shame in losing deep in the playoffs, but have a little respect for yourselves and don't let an opponent beat you with just 10 players while the QB drinks his milkshake and hands the ball off all night knowing you can't do anything about it.

Look forward to offseason. I agree with others....time to invest in the offense.

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HankScorpio's picture

January 20, 2020 at 06:09 am

I don't think the offensive game plan called for 4 of the first 5 drives to end on 3rd down sacks or turnovers. If it did, I agree that the plan was flawed. Since I find it doubtful ML called the ole botched snap play, I tend to lean toward flawed execution on offense, more than flawed plan. We certainly know there was a major talent gap among the Packers pass catchers, outside of Davante Adams.

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arthurl's picture

January 20, 2020 at 06:41 am

Packers made lot of improvement this season, they ran into more talented team. It comes down to talent and end of day Packers are not quite there just yet. There still needs to be work building the rush defense and adding more weapons on offense. I mean people, the 49ers have four 1st round players in their DL alone. They have Sherman to shut down one side of the field. They have solid OL, great TE, good WRs, RBs, and QB. Packers have some holes and if you follow the team you know where they are.

Packers need to keep building on what got started this season and they will be fine.

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4zone's picture

January 20, 2020 at 08:29 am

Wonder who stays and who goes. We need ILB(s) and WR(s) and both lines, the rest is fine. Also, we need a better mind on 'D' and I hope MLF learns how to handle games in progress better. Rookie year for him, hope he makes some large sophomore year improvements.

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Doug Niemczynski's picture

January 20, 2020 at 06:41 pm

It always comes down to the one on one matchups and that equals talent. The Packers were outmatched ta LH talent wise.

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murf7777's picture

January 20, 2020 at 08:43 am

Packers need to go all in for Aaron’s last few years....that means trades and Active FA again to plug our holes. We are not that far off. I wonder what MLF thinks about Pettine. We will find out soon. MLF might have his own man in mind. Jim Leonard or some other up and comer maybe?

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JohnnyLogan's picture

January 20, 2020 at 10:12 am

My biggest concern going forward is top management. Gute gets a lot of praise but I'm not as big a fan as most. He seems not to see the obvious. Not getting another receiver in the draft might be excusable since you had high hopes for Allison and MVS, but when it became clearly obvious that they suck, not to pick up another receiver is just indefensible. Drafting Gary will turn out to be a huge mistake when it should have also been obvious that 1) There were better rushing DEs available. 2) You already paid big money for two DE's. 3) You really need a WR. 4) Wouldn't it be nice to have a big run stuffer next to Clark and some great ones were available? But Gute went with Gary. The possible upside wasn't great enough to take on a project with the 12th pick in the draft. Gute's drafting, in general, is poor. Trading up for Burks, 2nd for Jackson, not giving a GOAT QB one decent receiver out of two drafts or free agency. He made three good gets in the Smiths and Amos. But he also paid big for Turner at guard and if anyone's been watching, he's been a sieve all year. Now add in Gute's partner in crime, MLF. We won with mirrors this year. Nearly every game seemed like it could have been a loss. And he and Pettine, in the biggest game of the year, shit the bed. San Fran goes wide on the offensive line and doubles Clark, knowing that if they get the running backs to the second level Martinez is too slow to make the tackle and the light safeties in the box are too small to take them down. So what do they do? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. It's like a horror movie... "Don't go in there!"... and yet MLF and Pettine kept opening the door and walking in. I don't blame Rodgers one bit. Not one bit. He had no one to throw to all year. That simple. Give him back two of Jordy, Jennings, James Jones, Driver, Cobb... even one... and he's practically his old self. TT drafted a receiver in round 2 every year. Wolf said his greatest regret was not giving Favre enough good receivers, yet he gave him way more than Gute gave Rodgers. This fail is on Gute and MLF and Pettine much more than Rodgers. At least Gute and Mlf are young. Two biggest questions going forward are "Can they learn to recognize problems?"... and if they improve in that area, "Can they solve them?"

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Thegravedigger's picture

January 20, 2020 at 11:25 am

Kenny clark needs a big buddy in there next to him for sure. And some backup behind him. At both ilb spots. You watch fred warner run down the field and defend that pass on jimmy Graham? Dude can run and fill the holes. Our guys yesterday in the middle are supposed to be run stuffers. That is blakes strength. In his defense tho, you need big bodies on the dl in the 3-4. We dont have any big run stuffers besides kenny. And even he isn't huge for a nose tackle. We need some big bodys in there to help free up the lbs. Dean lowry is not a 3 4 end. Hes maybe a rotational 4 3 guy. Lancaster is a rotation guy as well. I keep hearing this is not a draft for mlbs but dre greenlaw was a 5th round pick. So. Get to work gut. Dline, ilb, wr and te. Yesterday was tough. Love my team tho.

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nostradanus's picture

January 20, 2020 at 11:04 am

LaFleur is Shanahan’s bitch plain & simple!

He’s a good young coach but they pants him in front of the whole world!

Sorry your kids and parents had to see that Matt!

Pettine needs to go, his defensive scheme is a joke!

Would the Cowboys trade McFatty back to us?

Other than that good season for the Packers they exceeded expectations!

Go......... whatever ....... blah ......

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arthurl's picture

January 20, 2020 at 12:08 pm

I still say Gary can play and have an impact when he is placed in position to succeed. Playing him at OLB is not putting him in best position. He probably never played that position in high school and definitely didn't at Michigan. He's a DL, he's 280lbs who happens to be very fast. If the Packers are smart they will move him to his natural position in year two. Lowry and the other starter DL are backup quality players. Clark is only effective DL currently on team. You look at 49ers and they have four talented DL; all 1st round picks I think. Just give Clark more help, move Gary inside, and probably FA sign a quality DL player along with vet ILB. Draft another ILB early and hope he works out better than Burks. I hope they draft WR, ILB, WR.

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