Packers fullback John Kuhn (30) celebrates after scoring on a
1-yard touchdown run against the San Francisco 49ers during the
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — With his
receiving corps banged up and depleted, Aaron Rodgers still made all
the big throws to keep Green Bay unbeaten and exactly where it
expected to be a quarter into the season.
It just took a little while to get warmed up before things got
Rodgers passed for 224 yards and a touchdown, ran 17 yards to set up
a key second-half score, and the Packers beat the hapless San
Francisco 49ers 17-3 on Sunday for their first 4-0 start in four
"We're 4-0, we're first in the division and we're playing the kind
of ball we want to play in most of the phases," Rodgers said
matter-of-factly when asked to assess his team. "It was a grind out
Richard Rodgers caught a 9-yard touchdown pass on the game's opening
drive before Rodgers got his team going in the second half after a
slow start to snap a four-game losing streak to San Francisco, which
included a pair of playoff defeats.
Clay Matthews added his own flair to this one. When he sacked Colin
Kaepernick in the third quarter, he kissed his right biceps
Kaepernick-style to punctuate the play — one of Green Bay's six
sacks to give them 13 in the past two games.
"Fortunately, we were able to wear them down both offensively and
defensively and get a big road win," Matthews said.
Packers running back Eddie Lacy (27) runs between San Francisco
49ers linebacker Michael Wilhoite (57) and linebacker NaVorro
Bowman (53) during the first half.
While methodical with nothing fancy,
Green Bay seemed unfazed with a short week and long trip West after
beating Kansas City last Monday night. This is the team's first 4-0
start since winning the initial 13 games in 2011.
Green Bay wanted to get this far unscathed.
"That's the most important part for our football team," coach Mike
McCarthy said. "Going back to when the schedule did come out we
could pencil this game."
The Packers certainly hope their trip to Levi's Stadium will be the
first of two this season. The Super Bowl comes to the second-year,
$1.3 billion Bay Area venue in four months for its 50th year
Kaepernick threw his fifth interception in two games and the 49ers
(1-3) have been limited to 28 total points over three games while
giving up 107 points. The quarterback was booed in the fourth
quarter along with rookie punter Bradley Pinion.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) and head coach Mike
McCarthy celebrate after they scored a touchdown against the San
Francisco 49ers during the second half.
Green Bay capitalized shortly after San
Francisco's Reggie Bush was stuffed for no gain trying to go up the
middle on third-and-11 in a play call that was immediately
On the ensuing drive, James Jones caught a 38-yard pass on the left
sideline by barely staying in bounds. Rodgers then scrambled 17
yards to set up John Kuhn's 1-yard scoring burst.
Green Bay made just enough plays. The Packers sacked Kaepernick on
consecutive snaps late in the first half, and the Niners settled for
Phil Dawson's 33-yard field goal in their best scoring opportunity
of the day.
"We're an offense that can run the ball and throw the ball," 49ers
wide receiver Torrey Smith said. "We're not doing either well right
Jones wound up with five receptions for 98 yards in the fifth
meeting between the rivals since 2012, while Randall Cobb had his
streak of seven games with either a touchdown or 100-plus yards
receiving snapped. Eddie Lacy ran for 90 yards and converted two
fourth downs. Cobb and Richard Rodgers also had five catches apiece.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) rolls out against the San
Francisco 49ers during the first half.
On one particular 49ers mishap,
Australian rookie returner Jarryd Hayne was trying to catch a punt
on the sideline when he was run into by two teammates, first L.J.
McCray and then Jaquiski Tartt, and the ball bounced off the pile of
49ers before teammate Dontae Johnson recovered.
All of this on a day home run king Barry Bonds and the NBA champion
Golden State Warriors were in attendance.
Green Bay went on the road after a Monday night game for just the
fifth time since 2006, improving to 4-1 in those games. The Packers
also improved to 10-2 during the regular season in California since
Kaepernick, who had played some of his best games against the
Packers, went 13 for 25 for 160 yards and a 55.4 passer rating.
Carlos Hyde was held to 20 yards on eight carries.
"We've got to collectively on offense have 11 guys going in the same
direction," coach Jim Tomsula said.
NOTES: Green Bay S Sean Richardson experienced cramping in the
second half, but returned. 49ers WR Quinton Patton was checked for a
concussion. ... Bush returned for the first time since injuring his
left calf in a Week 1 win against Minnesota and had just that one
run for no yards. ... Rodgers was sacked three times to match his
combined total in the first three games.