The Green Bay Packers lost a nail-biter to the defending NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers, 34-28, at Candlestick Park on Sunday, as 49ers running back Frank Gore scored the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter to put the 49ers ahead for good. 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick outdueled Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, and the 49ers haven’t lost a home game since last October.
It wasn’t the 49ers’ all-time leading rusher or third-year quarterback who starred on Sunday, as veteran wide receiver and defending Super Bowl champion Anquan Boldin stole the show, catching 13 passes for 208 yards and one touchdown. “Boldin had a helluva day”, McCarthy said. “He made plays and tough catches. When they have a premiere guy like that, you have to take that away, and we didn’t do that, and you have to tip your hat to him”.
“Just as a receiver, he is strong with the catch”, Packers safety Jerron McMillian said referring to Boldin. “They (San Francisco’s receivers) are so big. It happens, it is football”.
“He is a very aggressive guy who can go up and catch the ball well”, Packers cornerback Sam Shields said. “He is strong at catching the ball, and he is a very aggressive route runner”.
The Packers defensive secondary played Sunday without cornerback Casey Hayward (hamstring) and safety Morgan Burnett (hamstring), as Kaepernick completed 27 of 39 passes for a career-high 412 passing yards, and threw three touchdown passes.
“It is unfortunate he (Burnett) wasn’t there today, but that’s the way it goes”, McCarthy said. “This was not the way we intended to come out today. We didn’t do the little things today, and we were not sharp enough”.
McCarthy said the Packers emphasized stopping the 49ers rushing attack, as the defense allowed 66 yards on 28 carries. McCarthy though credited Kaepernick with outdueling Rodgers, who completed 21 of 37 passes for 333 yards and three touchdowns. “He played very well from the pocket today”, McCarthy said. “It was a tough game. I thought our team played better in the second half, but they made more big plays than us”.
“As a secondary, you are always learning”, McMillian said. “We have to keep finding ways to get better, day by day—we have to keep working it out”.
One player who was initially in McCarthy’s doghouse early in the game was Packers rookie running back Eddie Lacy, who fumbled the football on his 5th NFL carry in the second quarter, which led to a 49ers touchdown. “He (Lacy) was ok”, McCarthy said. “He had a horrendous start. I pulled him out early in the game, but he played better in the second half”.
Lacy totaled 14 carries for 41 yards and scored one touchdown, and also recorded one catch for 31 yards in the loss on Sunday. McCarthy knows his rookie running back will improve as the season progresses, but McCarthy said he was happy with quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Packers receiving group. “I thought (wide receiver) Jordy Nelson played excellent, but he didn’t get enough opportunities”, McCarthy said. “I though Aaron and the perimeter guys played well”.
Nelson led the Packers with seven catches for 130 yards and one touchdown, wide receiver Randall Cobb caught seven passes for 108 yards and one touchdown, and tight end Jermichael Finley caught five passes for 56 yards and one touchdown. Wide receiver James Jones, who led the NFL with 14 touchdown catches in 2012, did not record one catch on Sunday.
Despite the loss to the 49ers, McCarthy wants the fans and NFL to understand that the Packers shouldn’t be treated as any team’s underdogs—ever. “We came here to win the game”, McCarthy said. “I don’t know who the hell you think we are, but we lost the game we were capable of winning today. We did not do the little things to win, we have to fix that, correct it, and get ready for the Redskins”.
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