Here it is, I just finished going through the GB game. That was one heck of a game between two very talented teams that know each other well.
Bear in mind that the Packers offense is, by far, the best offense we will face all season barring we face the Broncos in the SB. They scored more points on us during the regular season than any other team and Aaron Rodgers is probably the best all around QB we will face this year.
To talk about the defensive side of the ball:
Our defense played great. Yes, we gave up some long drives during the game, but, that was Aaron Rodgers playing at a really high level with a great receiving corps. Also, I counted at least 7-8 holds that weren't called on the O-line of GB that all gave GB 6-10 yard plays.
Aldon Smith gets the defensive MVP award for that game from me. He was an absolute beast throughout the game. The first 3 3 and outs by GB was largely due to Aldon. It wasn't just his pass rush, it was his ferocious edge setting against the run. On one play in the first quarter he didn't get the tackle but should have gotten credited for it because he threw his blocker so violently backwards and to the ground that Eddie Lacey's legs were taken out by the defender Aldon threw down. On another play he drove the LT almost 10 feet back into Aaron Rodgers.
After their first 3 drives GB pretty much stopped running to Aldon's side. They ran towards him maybe 3-4 times the rest of the game.
On the flip side; Brooks played a poor game. Probably the worst on our defense. He routinely gave up contain and failed to set a hard edge on the outside. There was one play where he set the edge well but gave up on the play when he thought Lacey was down and gave up the edge letting Lacey out for an 8 yard gain.
Our secondary played pretty well throughout most of the game, they were routinely forcing Rodgers to his check downs, that's why it seemed like we kept giving up the dink and dunk plays, the majority of those were check downs by Rodgers - Rodgers really played an outstanding game. He was getting to his 3rd, 4th and 5th reads all throughout the game and at a pretty incredible pace.
What I would like to see from our backups is better push up the middle. Lemonier did a pretty good job with his rush when he was in, but Dobbs especially, and Jerrod-Eddie to a lesser extent, didn't get much of a north-south push in the pocket. When Justin Smith and McDonald were in they regularly got pressure up the middle on Rodgers forcing him to make some throws from a bad platform or keeping him from stepping up into the pocket to take shots downfield.
From the offensive side of the ball:
Kaepernick played a great game. You could tell he knew the GB defense. He moved through a lot of progressions well. The one thing I would like to see more from him is still a better grasp of the run game and how to best implore the run game against the defense. There were a couple plays where our guys were just not in good situations in the run game and got beat. I really would call Kaepernick the Packers killer because of how he made their defense change what they were doing. GB came into the game looking to take VD away and they put a lot of trust in Tramon Williams and TW really did play a great game. TW probably played the best out of anyone on the GB defense and is the kind of guy in the secondary that I don't see Carolina having.
I think there was more out there to get from the offense but, I think the cold and wind affected a couple of Kaep's throws and handle on the ball. Also, the first two redzone attempts, GB got away with a couple bad defensive holding calls. On one play, VD and Kaep just weren't in sync, they probably had a TD but VD broke off his route about 2 steps too soon, if he had kept running he would've been open.
The O-line played a pretty good game, they still struggle with some stunts, but played pretty well.
Crabtree is looking better than he has all year. He is looking sharper on his cuts and his ability to maneuver his body around is looking better.
There was some concern about Kaepernick's footwork from my previous thread, here's what I'll say I noticed:
From under center - this is where his footwork is best, actually. He drops his weight and loads the legs well when working from under center allowing him to step into his throws with good form. Where his footwork is shaky is most from shotgun. When he's in shot gun he'll allow his feet to get a little too close together and isn't as able to really use his legs to drive the ball. This is probably a result of his strong arm, because he doesn't have to really drive off his back foot to get a lot on the ball. It's not a huge deal as Aaron Rodgers will do the same from time to time. Rodgers does tend to have a wider base to throw from when he's out of the shotgun more often though(but he's also Aaron Rodgers). He still needs to work on pointing his front foot towards his target more. The times when he's slightly off on his throws are when this mechanic isn't always there.
What I would really like to see is some more development from McDonald as a blocker. He needs to work on identifying his man and positioning his hips to make a good block. There were a few plays that really had a chance if McDonald had made a little better of a block.
All in all, I think GB is much better than their record showed as they were without AR for so long, they were definitely a hungry, fighting team that knew us well. I was really impressed with the defense throughout all the bad calls they didn't get and with Brooks probably playing the worst game I had seen from him all year. This is a team that is finding ways to win and has been playing with a lot of passion and poise and I think we're in a much better place for a run than we were last year.
P.S. as usual, breakdowns to follow: