“How can you not be romantic about football?”
That’s my own personal takeaway from this game. These are the words Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers uttered to Michelle Tafoya at the end of an incredible 30-28 victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday Night Football. We all enjoy football for many different reasons, but what I love most is watching one of the best players to ever play the game at the height of his powers.
The quote, a slight nod to the movie Moneyball, proved to ring true for Rodgers, who showed a lot of emotion when Mason Crosby delivered the game winning field goal as time expired.
— NFL (@NFL) September 27, 2021
Rodgers has talked about quieting the haters the past few weeks, especially after a no-show in week one. There wasn’t much to take away from that first game against the Saints. However, after last night’s victory, this Green Bay Packers team showed that they are ready to hang with any squad out there.
A very loud off-season gave Green Bay a lot of attention, but after a game like that, there seems to be a part of Aaron Rodgers that enjoys the drama and overcoming it.
So, what can we take away from this game?
Takeaway #1 – Quick passing game is here to stay.
This appears to be the team’s M.O. moving forward, and it worked beautifully against the 49ers. Next Gen Stats tell us that Rodgers was 16/18 for 140 yards and one TD when throwing it under 2.5 seconds, and 8/15 for 191 yards and one TD when throwing for over 10+ air yards.
Simply put, their passing game is just an extension of their running game. Get the ball out quickly, move the chains, but don’t miss on the deep shots. Last night, they didn’t miss those opportunities.
Now obviously, this seemed to be a part of the game plan with a reshuffled offensive line. The Packers used Robert Tonyan significantly more as a blocker. Still, here’s how effective that can look.
Robert Tonyan just stole Nick Bosa's soul pic.twitter.com/gzfJp6O5L5
— packers clips (@packers_clips) September 27, 2021
Takeaway #2 – This defensive line can improve.
Kenny Clark absolutely dominated in this game. On San Francisco’s first possession, he just bowled over center Alex Mack and got into the backfield. He didn’t record a tackle on the play, but it set the tone that he would be a force to reckon with all day. When it counted most, he got pressure on Jimmy Garoppolo and forced this huge fumble.
Defense forces the turnover!
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) September 27, 2021
As a team, the Packers only allowed 67 rushing yards. For all of their past struggles against the 49ers, putting together that performance, including four sacks, shows that they can get better.
Takeaway #3 – Jaire Alexander will save this defense.
It needs to be acknowledged just how great Jaire Alexander is. We’re witnessing a truly special player. You can’t coach speed or instincts, but sometimes a player just possesses those qualities. As a result, you get a play like Jaire’s interception of Garoppolo in the second quarter. Instead of watching the real play, let’s see how much ground Jaire covered in dot form.
Here's the dots. Alexander's not breaking on the ball when Garoppolo releases this pass. It's not double coverage. Just incredible recognition + closing speed by a great corner. pic.twitter.com/aNs861HYYn
— Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) September 27, 2021