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Tony Avelar / Associated press
The 2021 NFL season has already brought us some memorable finishes. The season opened with a thriller Thursday night between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Dallas Cowboys. In Week 2, a track encounter between Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson highlighted the Kansas City Chiefs’ game against the Baltimore Ravens.
On Sunday, the Green Bay Packers outlasted the San Francisco 49ers in what can be considered another instant classic.
The 49ers scored the green light touchdown with less than a minute to go, but Aaron Rodgers still had one final practice in him. The Packers took over with just 37 seconds left, Rodgers and Co. put Mason Crosby in position for a 51-yard field goal attempt, which he managed to win the game.
The Packers were embarrassed in Week 1 by the New Orleans Saints, but they appear to be getting back into shape. On Sunday, they proved they had to be counted among the top contenders in the NFC.
Here’s what else we learned from Green Bay’s 30-28 win over San Francisco.
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Tony Avelar / Associated press
Let us be perfectly honest. Rodgers was just plain bad in the first game against New Orleans. He finished this game 15 of 28 for 133 yards without touchdowns and two interceptions. In both games since, however, Rodgers has looked like the MVP he was a year ago.
Against the Detroit Lions in Week 2, Rodgers had four touchdowns without interceptions. He wasn’t so prolific against San Francisco – he scored 23 of 33 for 261 yards and two goals – but he was formidable when it mattered most.
Rodgers had less than 40 seconds with no downtime to prepare for Crosby’s winning basket. He delivered 25 and 17 yard hits on the disc with one failure and a pair of spikes on the disc to do so.
Both goals were for Davante Adams, and his chemistry with Rodgers was visible throughout the game – Adams finished with 12 receptions, 132 yards and one touchdown.
While there have been (unwarranted) questions about Rodgers’ approach to the offseason following the Week 1 loss, it’s clear he’s all-in with this team and remains one of the best signalers. Game.
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Mike Roemer / Associated press
Like Rodgers, the Packers’ defense struggled in the first week. This allowed the Jameis Winston and Co. to rack up 322 attacking yards and five touchdown passes. During two quarters against the Lions last week, the defense was once again disappointing.
However, new defensive coordinator Joe Barry begins to reassemble his unit. As San Francisco produced 353 yards of attack on Sunday night, it struggled to cope with Green Bay’s pass rush. Preston Smith, Rashan Gary, Oren Burks, Jonathan Garvin and Tedarrell Slaton all got pieces from Jimmy Garoppolo, who was sacked four times and was under constant pressure.
San Francisco’s first four possessions ended with three punts and one interception.
While the Packers’ defense is not yet a stopping unit – it ranks 24th in points allowed – it is moving in the right direction. If and when pass-rusher Za’Darius Smith is able to return, it should be even better. Smith was recently placed on the injured list due to a back injury.
“Why not try to make it as healthy as possible so that we can have it more readily available, hopefully?” head coach Matt LaFleur said, according to ESPN Rob demovsky.
If the Packers can consistently put pressure on opposing quarterbacks, they’ll be a tough team to deal with down the stretch. Rodgers and Co. will produce the points, it will be up to the opposition to keep pace.
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Jed Jacobsohn / Associated press
Rodgers wasn’t the only clutch player late in Sunday’s game. Crosby, who hit the winner of the match, proved he still makes the difference at 37. He did not deliver a record 66 yard kick like Justin Tucker did earlier today, but Crosby’s 51-yarder was no giveaway.
“As soon as I hit it I leaned in a bit and then as I tried to get a visual on it to make sure it had the distance nothing crazy happened and then I got a little empty, “said Crosby, by Bill Huber by FanNation. “I started running. Everyone was watching. I was already going
Crosby, who succeeded 100% of his field goal attempts in 2020, is now a perfect 4 of 4 this season. He also did all eight tries after a point.
Green Bay is confident in his kicking game because Crosby is playing one of the best balls of his career, which dates back to 2007 when he was a Packers sixth round pick. When the Packers are led by three or less, they know they don’t have to run the length of the field to win. Crosby is as endearing as he ever was.