The 49ers entered week six of the 2018 regular season as an extreme underdog as they went up against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. The visiting Niners weren’t given much of a chance to pull off a victory, especially after coming off a string of horrific defeats in recent weeks. They not only went toe to toe with the Packers up until the final minute, but they also possessed a lead for a good portion of the contest and had a legitimate chance to win. San Francisco ultimately came up short as time expired in a last-second, heartbreaking loss which ended the 49ers 9-game winning streak on Monday Night Football. After a disappointing start to a once promising season, the 49ers will need to push forward and make the proper adjustments and continue to develop the young players on this rebuilding team for the remainder of the year.

 

The Good

 

The Running Attack: There were many question marks regarding this group heading into this matchup, but the group rose to occasion and performed very well. Matt Breida’s status was very questionable to play in this game but was able to come in and produce effectively. Even without being 100% and having to meet with the medical staff several times, Breida still was able to gash the Packers defense. He gained 61 rushing yards on 14 carries, averaging 4.4 YPC. Rotating throughout the game with Breida was veteran Raheem Mostert, who had the best performance of career. He exploded out of many of his carries totaling 87 yards on 12 attempts (7.3 YPC). Veteran running back Alfred Morris surprisingly didn’t see any action in the game and might have lost his backup role to Mostert — this is worth keeping an eye on going forward.

 

Offensive Line: The 49ers offensive line was allowing the fifth-highest pressure rate per drop back going into this game, but seem to be starting to gel together as the season continues to unwind. They were able to create gaping holes for the running backs, leading the 49ers ball-carriers to average 5.8 YPC and allowed quarterback C.J. Beathard enough time to comfortably scan the field to deliver good quality throws. The 49ers need to stick with the running game, which has been extremely effective.

Robbie Gould: Touchdowns are always the preferred scoring method and the Niners could’ve put this game away if they were able to reach the end-zone more consistently, but it was great to see Robbie bounce back after having a few bad performances. He reverted back to his normal, dependable self — going 3/3 as he converted on field goal attempts from 43, 44 and 46 yards. 

Ronald Blair: As one of Blair’s biggest advocates, I was extremely thrilled to not only see him get an extensive amount of snaps but to also make the most out of them. He finished the game with 4 total tackles (2 TFL) and tallied 1 sack. He was able to generate additional pressure on several other plays, so hopefully he will receive more playing time as the team is searching for more consistent pass rushing options. It’s no secret that they have not received much production from highly-regarded players including Solomon Thomas.

Marquise Goodwin: The speedster exploded with several big plays during the game and gave the team a much-needed deep threat, you could easier tell how much of an effect he has on how defenses game-plan against the 49ers. He finished with four catches for 126 yards with the two touchdowns. With he recent string of injuries in the receiver unit, the 49ers desperately needed Goodwin back on the field to stretch the opposition’s secondary. If he stays healthy, there is no doubt that he should continue to have huge production for the remainder of the season.

The Bad

 

TurnoversThe turnover woes for the team continued in this game, and helped setup the Packers offense in great field position several times. Rookie D.J. Reed coughed the ball up on a kick-return, which led to a Green Bay field goal. Richie James replaced him with the returning duties and could be replacing him permanently if D.J. keeps turning the ball over. After hauling in 21-yard reception, fullback Kyle Juszczyk fumbled resulting in another easy three points for the Packers. C.J. Beathard played a cleaner game than in previous weeks, which is a positive, but he threw a costly interception late in the game when targeting Marquise Goodwin deep on a 3rd & short.

 

 

The Ugly

 

Secondary: Richard Sherman has been far and away the most consistent player in the secondary this season. Unfortunately the same can’t be said with many of the other defenders in this unit as they seemed to be out of position multiple times throughout the game, leading to costly chunk plays by the Packers offense. The 49ers defensive unit as a whole needs to improve dramatically on it’s overall communication, as they had another busted coverage on the very first play of the night where wide receiver Marques Valdes-Scantling was left all alone for a 60-yard reception. Things started to completed fall apart once Jimmie Ward exited the game with a hamstring injury. His replace was Greg Mabin, who was completely picked apart by Aaron Rodgers. Choosing to play Mabin over Ahkello Witherspoon was a very questionable and costly personnel decision. However this leaves me with two questions:

  1. Is Ahkello is healthy?
  2. Does this coaching staff not trust him to play significant snaps anymore?

 

Finishing Games: The 49ers seem to find new ways to come up on the losing end each week. This week, they were able to not go three and out all game… that is until midway through the fourth quarter. Then, the offense stalled — going three-and-out twice in the most crucial moments. They handed the Packers an abundance of opportunities to climb back into the game. San Francisco had the ball on their own 47 yard-line with 1:55 left in the game and chose to throw the ball three times despite Green Bay not having any timeouts remaining. Even though the 49ers were overpowering Green Bay throughout the game with their rushing attack, they chose to be more aggressive by throwing it three straight times — which didn’t use any of the clock. C.J. Beathard’s late interception was a deep-attempt on 3rd and short, if they went with a more conservative underneath route, it would’ve at the very least chewed up more time off of the clock. The team needs to be able to get off the field on third down more consistently and not shoot themselves in the foot. Richard Sherman was call for illegal contact that gave the Packers a new set of downs at the most crucial moment. The 49ers had just sacked Rodgers on 3rd & 15, yet the great effort by the defensive line was negated by the penalty. Rodgers was able to march right down the field with ease — targeting Mabin with each throw — eventually setting up a game-winning 23-yard field goal by Mason Crosby as time expired.

 

Match Report

Offensive:

 

Passing:

 

  • C.J. Beathard: 16/23, 245 Yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT

 

Rushing:

 

  • Raheem Mostert: 12 Carries, 87 Yards
  • Matt Breida: 14 Carries, 61 Yards, 1 TD
  • C.J. Beathard: 3 Carries, 21 Yards

 

Receiving:

 

  • Marquise Goodwin: 4 Rec, 126 Yards, 2 TDs
  • Pierre Garcon: 4 Rec, 37 Yards
  • Kyle Juszczyk: 3 Rec, 30 Yards
  • George Kittle: 4 Rec, 30 Yards
  • Kendrick Bourne: 1 Rec, 22 Yards

 

Defensive

  • Reuben Foster: 9 Total Tackles, TFL
  • Jaquiski Tartt: 9 Total Tackles
  • Adrian Colbert: 7 Total Tackles
  • Jimmie Ward: 5 Total Tackles
  • Fred Warner: 4 Total Tackles
  • Ronald Blair III: 4 Total Tackles, 1 Sack, 2 TFL
  • Arik Armstead: 3 Total Tackles
  • Deforest Buckner: 2 Tackles, 1 Sack

 

*Stats per ESPN*