San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick received a warm welcome – being greeted with cheers from the fans at Levi's Stadium on Friday – as he headed onto the football field during the second quarter of the team's preseason game against the Green Bay Packers. It was Kaepernick's first game action since November 1, 2015. The game was also the 2016 debut of Packers QB Aaron Rodgers.
One of the two didn't disappoint.
The San Francisco 49ers offense has been having slow starts in preseason and tonight against the Green Bay Packers was no different. QB Blaine Gabbert got the call to start over Kaepernick and the first-team offense suffered an opening three-and-out for the third straight week.
QB Aaron Rodgers – playing for the first and likely only time in preseason – started off being able to move the ball, but penalties would stall their initial drive and force a punt.
Gabbert and the 49ers offense fared much better during their second possession. Gabbert completed both of his passes, RB Carlos Hyde had a 27-yard run, and the 5-play, 53-yard drive that lasted just 1 minute and 59 seconds was capped off with a touchdown run by WR Quinton Patton. That gave the 49ers the early 7-0 lead.
Gabbert would finish the game 2 of 3 passing for 14 yards and added 15 yards rushing on two carries.
A long 14-plays and 87-yard Green Bay drive that started in the first quarter ended with a touchdown early in the second, tying the game 7-7. Rogers would finish the game 6 of 9 passing for 60 yards and a touchdown.
In his first game action in 292 days, Kaepernick's 2016 debut kicked off with the 49ers' third series of the game. However, the drive stalled after six plays as Kaepernick went 2 of 5 passing for 14 yards. His final two passes of the drive were deflected by Green Bay defenders. Kaepernick's next two drives ended in three-and-outs.
The 49ers defense held on fourth-and-goal to keep the Packers from scoring at the end of the first half.
After racking up the yards in their first two preseason games, the 49ers offense managed just 94 total yards in the first half against the Packers with 66 of those yards coming from the run. The Green Bay offense had the ball for over 21 minutes in the first half compared to under nine for San Francisco.
Kaepernick finished the night 2 of 6 passing for 14 yards and had 18 yards rushing on four attempts.
The Packers' opening possession of the second half was a 12-play and 67-yard drive ending with a touchdown pass from QB Joe Callahan to WR Jared Abbrederis, giving Green Bay the 14-7 lead.
OLB Marcus Rush sacked Callahan to kill a Packers drive. Rush, who headed into this week tied among 3-4 outside linebackers for the most quarterback pressures in preseason (7), had three sacks against the Denver Broncos last week.
Rookie QB Jeff Driskel kicked off the second half for the 49ers with his first two drives stalling.
Driskel's third drive of the game, which started in the third quarter, ended with a field goal in the fourth. That brought the 49ers to within four. Driskel finished the game 4 of 8 passing for 43 yards.
The Packers extended their lead following a 19-yard touchdown run by RB Brandon Burks at the end of an 8-play and 75-yard drive, putting Green Bay up 21-10.
QB Christian Ponder, who was responsible for two touchdown drives in the 49ers' victory over the Broncos, entered the game in the fourth quarter. He threw an interception to Packers DB Marwin Evans during his first drive of the game and his second drive would go nowhere.
|Penalties (Yds)||7 (46)||8 (63)|
|Punts (AVG)||7 (38)||7 (44)|
|Time of Pos.||39:29||20:17|
More from the Game
Rookie CB Will Redmond, in his first NFL action, joined Rush and OLB Tank Carradine with sacks of the quarterback.
Hyde led the 49ers in rushing with 30 yards.
TE Blake Bell led the team receiving with 25 yards on two catches.
The 49ers finished the game with 195 total yards, which was less than half of their average per game in preseason up until this point. Just 61 of those yards came from rushing the ball. The 49ers defense gave up 349 total yards by the Packers offense, which nearly doubled San Francisco's time of possession.
|San Francisco 49ers Leaders|
In the second quarter, DE Quinton Dial (knee) was slow to get off of the field, WR Bruce Ellington (hamstring) was injured following a punt, and NT Mike Purcell had his leg landed on by a Green Bay offensive lineman. Dial and Ellington were ruled OUT for the remainder of the game following their injuries.
OLB Eli Harold looked like he was injured prior to the end of the first half, but after being examined by the medical staff, it was determined that he was fine.
Notes and Quotes
"There's never been a conversation about cutting Colin Kaepernick," said 49ers head coach Chip Kelly answering a question after the game.
Kelly described Kaepernick's performance as "up and down, like all of us offensively." He was asked if there was a timeline in naming a starting quarterback. "No," he answered. Kelly and his staff will continue to evaluate the position.
Blaine Gabbert said that the offense's biggest issue against the Packers was that they were inconsistent.
"It was good to get out there and get my feet wet," said Colin Kaepernick following the game. He said that his arm feels good and strong.
"In my mind, I can go on and win it," said Kaepernick regarding the starting quarterback job.
Kaepernick was asked about the 49ers' final preseason game and how it would be handled. That game typically doesn't see any action from starters. "The great thing about that is that I'm not Chip and I don't have to make that decision," answered Kaepernick.