Aaron Rodgers’ Payback Efforts Fall Short

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Aaron Rodgers’ revenge against the San Francisco 49ers will have to wait another year, as the Green Bay Packers fell 45-31 to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Divisional matchup Saturday night.

After being passed up by San Francisco for Alex Smith as the No. 1 pick back in the 2005 draft, Rodgers was asked by CBS 5 sports anchor Dennis O’Donnell how disappointed he was that he would not be a 49er. Rodgers’ cheeky response: “Not as disappointed as the 49ers will be that they didn’t draft me.”

Seven years, a Super Bowl Ring and a NFL MVP award later, it would be hard to argue which team got the better return on investment. However, Rodgers’ grudge match in his first-ever appearance as a Packers player at Candlestick Park took a backseat to the Niners’ quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who was good for four touchdowns, two of which he ran in himself.

By the time Delanie Walker of the 49ers recovered the Packers’ last-gasp onside kick, Kaepernick had rushed the ball for 181 yards, a NFL playoff record. The second-year quarterback also posed a huge threat in the air, hitting wide receiver Michael Crabtree again and again to reach 263 passing yards.

The Niners’ victory was helped by a lackluster performance by the Green Bay Packers, who had a hard time finding their footing in Saturday night’s game. Although Rodgers passed for 257 yards, he and Green Bay’s vaunted complement of wide receivers and tight ends came up short when it mattered — when the Packers were only down by one touchdown in the third, and then again when they got the ball back in the opening of the fourth quarter, down by 14.

The defense also had no answer for San Francisco’s game on the ground, allowing a total of 323 rushing yards.  

The Packers were also plagued throughout the game by mental lapses and poor choices.  In one horrendous span of the first half, the Packers forfeited 14 points in back-to-back turnovers — the first from a muffed punt by Jeremy Ross on the Green Bay nine-yard line, the second from an Aaron Rodgers interception that was returned for 39 yards by San Francisco’s Tarell Brown.

Reflecting on the Packers’ loss, as well as the anticipated departure of key players such as wide receivers Greg Jennings and Donald Driver, Rodgers remarked in his post-game interview, “It’s the last time that group is going to be together. It’s going to be a different team next year. … It’s the most frustrating part, you spend a lot of time with these guys, you care about them, and to go out and play like that. It’s disappointing.”  

But perhaps not as disappointing as Rodgers’ inability to finally get revenge on the 49ers.

The San Francisco 49ers will play the Atlanta Falcons this Sunday in the NFC Title Game.