The Green Bay Packers beat the San Francisco 49ers, 30-28, thanks to an incredible fourth-quarter drive by the reigning MVP. With just 37 seconds on the clock, Aaron Rodgers drove the Green and Gold down the field and into range for Mason Crosby. The veteran kicker was able to nail the 51-yarder as time expired, dashing San Francisco’s hopes after they put together a drive capped by a Kyle Juszczyk touchdown.
The Packers now have sole possession of first place in the NFC North, and they are the only team in the division with a winning record. With Rodgers regaining his form after Week 1 and Green Bay winning two games in a row, it feels like all’s right with the Packers for the time being.
Here are five numbers that explain the Packers’ thrilling win in the Bay:
Coming into this game, it was evident that Rodgers would have to be able to get rid of the ball quickly. With David Bakhtiari still on the PUP list and Elgton Jenkins being ruled out for this game, the Packers were down to former 2019 UDFA pick-up Yosh Nijman protecting Rodgers’ blindside. Across from him was the 2018 Defensive Rookie of the Year, Nick Bosa.
While Nijman didn’t have a great night — he recorded the second-lowest PFF grade by a Packers left tackle in five years — Rodgers was able to get rid of the ball quickly. Rodgers’ average time-to-throw on Sunday night was 2.05 seconds, the fastest in his career.
Rodgers was incredibly decisive and accurate on Sunday night, carving up the 49ers’ defense on quick throws. At one point, he was 16-for-16 for 140 yards and a touchdown on throws under 2.5 seconds.
While the line should give Rodgers more time when Bakhtiari and Jenkins return, it is nice to know that Rodgers can still get rid of the ball quickly when he needs to.
Davante Adams also had a career night against the Niners, commanding 56.3% of the targets, topping his previous career-high by 12.5%. Rodgers needed to unleash the ball as early as possible, and he looked No. 17’s way on a majority of these quick-hitting routes to take advantage of the man coverage that the 49ers were sending his way.
Adams was targeted 18 times and finished the night with 12 receptions for 132 yards and a touchdown. His 12 grabs led the team by a significant margin: Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who was second in receptions, only finished with three grabs.
The connection between No. 12 and 17 looked off in Week 1, but they have bounced back the last two weeks, picking up their form from last season as they continue their self-proclaimed last dance.
Inside linebacker was one of the most significant needs for the Packers coming into this offseason, and they might have found the player they’re looking for in De’Vondre Campbell. He has been one of the bright spots of this defense during the season so far, and he kept it up against the 49ers.
While he had previously displayed his prowess in stopping the run, Campbell showed that he is no slouch when defending the pass either. On 42 snaps in coverage, the middle linebacker only allowed 23 yards on seven targets and forced two pass stops.
Using a West Coast offense under head coach Kyle Shanahan, San Francisco likes to get rid of the ball quickly and victimize opposing linebackers in space, working the ball to their wideouts and running backs. Campbell’s ability to defend the pass was vital, and the Packers could stifle the 49ers’ offense in the first half.
While Aaron Jones was coming off a four-touchdown game against the Detroit Lions, with three receptions and one rushing score, he had yet to break an explosive run over 10 yards in the first two weeks. This week, Jones was able to get three runs over 10 yards.
Jones and A.J. Dillion were able to keep the 49ers’ defense guessing. They combined for 25 carries and 100 yards on the ground and had four receptions for 22 yards. The Packers needed to lean heavily on the running backs in a game where the offense is down to their third-choice left tackle, allowing the offensive line to get some momentum.
Jones and Dillion have room to improve and provide more support to the offense, but they did their job Sunday night and kept the 49ers’ defense honest.
I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about the man whose kick won the Packers the game on Sunday night. Earlier in the day, we saw the value of a great kicker. As time expired, Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker made an NFL-record 66-yard field goal to win a close game in Detroit.
While Mason Crosby will be the first to tell you that he isn’t capable of what Tucker accomplished, there is something to be said about just how consistent he has been. Crosby has made 22 consecutive field goals dating back to 2019.
His consistency has been almost unparalleled given the current kicker woes that other teams in the NFL currently have. When Crosby lined up for the game-winning kick, I had no doubt in my mind it would sail through the uprights, sealing the Packers’ victory.