A second road trip to California ends in a second thoroughly embarrassing loss. The Packers certainly aren’t down and out yet, but they are going to have a whole lot of soul searching to do over the final five weeks of the season if they hope to contend for a championship.
Just as it was with the Chargers game, it’s difficult to determine a “game changing play” when the Packers were never particularly in the game to begin with. There are two plays, though, that do stick out, both of which came on the first drive and set the tone for everything that was to come.
Let’s take a look.
Unsportsmanlike conduct on Davante Adams
Davante Adams should be suspended the rest of the season for this play. This is far worse than what Myles Garrett did. pic.twitter.com/Dn7LcfZALJ
— Nathan Marzion (@nathanmarzion) November 25, 2019
Early on, you knew the officials were going to be a factor, thanks to this atrocious call.
Adams picked up the first down and chest bumped the defender. Dumb move? Sure, maybe. Keep your emotions in check and this doesn’t become an issue. But let’s make no mistake; this is a ridiculously weak call by the ref, designed solely for the ref to insert themself into the action of the game as an authority figure. You see it all the time in the NBA with ridiculous technical foul calls given out by refs on a power trip. This is essentially the NFL equivalent of that situation.
Adams was justifiably unhappy with the call after the game, saying the following:
“That was just like some college stuff. I’ve never seen a flag get thrown over what I did. I bumped chests with the dude, but this is the league. I’ve gotten much worse happen to me without no flags.”
Instead of the play getting a first down, it brought the Packers back 15 yards and put them into position where the ensuing fumble would give the 49ers the ball at the Packers’ two yard line. Just a huge shift.
Here’s the Aaron Rodgers fumble that led to Tevin Coleman’s easy score pic.twitter.com/KEtP39RXOR
— Eric Rosenthal (@ericsports) November 25, 2019
The fumble, obviously, made matters go from bad to worse and set up a walk-in touchdown for Tevin Coleman.
The 49ers line up and fake an inside blitz but then bring the corner from the right side of the line. Meanwhile, before Rodgers gets much of a chance to survey downfield, the pocket collapses along the interior, and there’s nothing for Rodgers to do but take the sack. With two players pounding at the ball while Rodgers is going down, the ball comes out and results in an easy recovery for the 49ers.
It was the first of many instances on the night in which the line would be completely overwhelmed by the 49ers’ front seven, and it put the Packers in a 7-0 hole early on.
The Packers would never recover or develop any sort of momentum.
So where do we go from here?
The good news for the Packers is that the upcoming schedule is favorable. Games against the Giants and Redskins, followed by the Bears at home, then the Vikings and Lions on the road. The Vikings are the only winning team of the bunch–12-4 should be a gimme, but of course there is no such thing as a gimme win in this league. 13-3 is still very much on the table, as is a potential first-round bye.
There have been and will be a lot of overreactions to this loss. Yes, the Packers were outclassed in every phase of the game. Yes, there were quite a few flaws that were exposed. But while the Packers are down, they’re certainly not out. There’s a lot of season to go, and once the postseason begins, anything can happen.
Tim Backes is a lifelong Packer fan and a contributor to CheeseheadTV. Follow him on Twitter @timbackes for his Packer takes, random musings and Untappd beer check-ins.