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Kaepernick Torches Packers On Opening Day

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Colin Kaepernick found Vernon Davis in the end zone. Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images.
Colin Kaepernick found Vernon Davis in the end zone. Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images.

Final score: San Francisco (1-0) 34, Green Bay (0-1) 28

Packers stat leaders:

Aaron Rodgers – 333 passing yds, 3 TDs, 1 INT

Eddie Lacy – 41 rushing yds, 1 TD; 31 receiving yds

Jordy Nelson – 7 rec, 130 yds, 1 TD

49ers stat leaders:

Colin Kaepernick – 412 passing yds, 3 TD; 22 rushing yds

Frank Gore – 44 rushing yds, 1 TD; 21 receiving yds

Anquan Boldin – 13 rec, 208 yds, 1 TD

Key play: Early in the second quarter, Kaepernick scrambled on a third down but was forced out of bounds. Clay Matthews over pursued by jumping and nailing Kaepernick with a clothesline, resulting in an unnecessary roughness penalty. San Francisco tackle Joe Staley offset this by retaliating at Matthews. Mike Pereira on the FOX broadcast noted that it should have remained fourth down because both fouls were of the dead-ball variety. Instead, they replayed the down, resulting in a Kaepernick-to-Boldin touchdown.

Takeaways:

1) The good news for the defense – it looked better at not only defending the read option, but also keeping Kaepernick from scrambling out of the pocket and making plays. The 49ers only averaged 2.6 yards per carry.

2) The bad news for the defense – it looked like we went back in time to 2011. Without Morgan Burnett, the 49ers exploited the middle of the Green Bay secondary. Boldin was a constant thorn in the side of the Packers, and Vernon Davis chipped in 98 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Green Bay is in desperate need for Burnett and Casey Hayward to return.

3) The young guys looked, well, young. Eddie Lacy fumbled deep in his own territory in the first half. Micah Hyde had coverage issues. Datone Jones didn’t make any plays. David Bakhtiari gave up a sack on the second play of the game and Don Barclay allowed pressure on Rodgers, preventing a final play. Bakhtiari looked the best of the group, only giving up half a sack after that early one. But for a team that relies so heavily on young talent, the young pups need to step up their game.

4) Clay Matthews needs to show better leadership. It's understandable wanting to send a message – delivering a big blow to the quarterback makes him hesitant to run. But it was not the right time to do so. Kaepernick was clearly going out of bounds short of the marker, holding Green Bay to a field goal attempt. Because of Matthews’ dumb decision, the 49ers ended up with a touchdown. It still should have been fourth down had the referees called it correctly, but Matthews got very lucky. Had it not been for San Francisco's penalty, Matthews would have basically given them an extra four points. You simply can’t make dumb decisions like that when you’re the leader of the defense.

5) We now know what Lacy can do. When given room to work, the rookie running back looked incredibly impressive, save for one fumble. He not only can run over people, but he can fly in the air, too. And don’t forget about that beautiful spin move. The problem with the running game is the same as always – the offensive line. It doesn’t open up holes nearly enough for any running back to be effective. Whenever there was a good amount of room to run, the play was called back by a holding penalty. They’ve got the right running back. It’s now on the line to really make the running game go.