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Instant Reaction: Packers 33, 49ers 30

The Green Bay Packers (3-2-1) defeated the San Francisco 49ers (1-5) by a 33-30 score Monday night, overcoming a late deficit with 10 points in the final two minutes.

Some initial thoughts on the win:

Let’s start with the good stuff…

  • Mason Crosby epitomizes professionalism. What a moment for him to kick the game-winner after a horrific game last week.

  • Aaron Rodgers demonstrated yet again why he is one of the most special players to ever suit up in the NFL. His precision on both the game-tying and game-winning drives was everything we’ve come to expect. The problem with lofty expectations, though, is they can severely alter how we look at things. But we’ll get to that a little later.

And now the bad…

  • The Packers look like a team that needs a fresh start from the top down. They’ve never been a knee-jerk kind of franchise, and they won’t make any in-season changes, but it’s hard to see how Mike McCarthy returns next season based on what they’ve put forth through six weeks. McCarthy’s offense is stagnant, his defense looks uninspired and his special teams rarely hit the field without committing a penalty. Barring a miraculous run to a championship—after 13 seasons, three NFC championship game appearances and a Super Bowl title—it’s time.

  • Speaking of the head coach, his use—or lack thereof—of Aaron Jones continues to boggle the mind. Jones once again showed the burst and agility that would make him a number-one back on most teams, yet only received eight carries. Never mind the 5.1-yard average on those opportunities, though—apparently one missed blitz pickup was enough to relegate him to the doghouse this week.

  • The “As long as they have Aaron Rodgers, they have a shot,” narrative needs to stop. Not only has the offense looked inept, but the two-time MVP has had a lot to do with it. Sure, the injured left knee is affecting him, but the standard he has set would suggest that an ailing knee shouldn’t result in the amount of misses we’ve seen on routine throws. Yes, he led the comeback, and yes, it was another incredible chapter in his legacy. But let’s not pretend we can count on him to do it week after week for the rest of his career.

  • It’s not all on Rodgers, of course. The apparent lack of creativity within the Packers’ playbook—which McCarthy and his staff allegedly “took a scrub brush” to this offseason—is painful to watch. Granted, the absence of Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison has no doubt changed some things they want to do offensively, but did you see what the 49ers were able to do on offense with their personnel?

  • Because of that, Green Bay’s defense is not getting off the hook here. The 174 rushing yards they gave up looked just as bad as they sound, and the secondary left guys open all night. Mike Pettine still has work to do, and they had better shore it up before they take on a high-flying Rams offense out of the bye, not to mention heading to Tom Brady’s house the week after.

  • Look, a win is a win. Did the Packers want or expect to be at 3-2-1 heading into their bye-week? No. Is it ideal to have to steal a win against a 1-4 team just to get to that mark? No. But the bottom line is they got it done. It’s on to the bye with thoughts and prayers for Rodgers’ knee and Cobb and Allison’s hamstrings.

Top photo: Benny Sieu/USA Today sports