GREEN BAY, Wisc. -- The Green Bay Packers' powerful passing game forced one of the 49ers' best defensive players off the field.Linebacker Patrick Willis was taken off the field as part of the 49ers' defensive alignment of six defensive backs. Cornerback Perrish Cox saw significant action as the sixth cornerback."It's difficult to take him (Willis) off the field," 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said after the 49ers' 30-22 victory over the Packers at Lambeau Field on Sunday. "But it's either that or he has to line up on a receiver sometimes, which he did a couple of times."Nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga played just four snaps in the entire game. Instead, the 49ers decided to employ extra defensive backs throughout the game to cover Packers receivers of Jordy Nelson, Greg Jennings, James Jones and Randall Cobb.MAIOCCO: Smith outshines Rodgers in 49ers' victory
"Along the defensive front, I thought they played tremendous," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said of his team. "They played a gap short the entire game but still were able to do a job on their run game."Packers running back Cedric Benson could not take advantage of the situation, as he gained just 18 yards on nine carries. He gained 12 yards on six rushing attempts in the first half."That was one of the keys," Fangio said. "They made a pretty conscious effort to try to run the ball in the first half. Some of those (defensive) calls were good calls for the run. Even when they weren't good calls, our guys made the plays."But, ultimately, it was the 49ers' pass defense that preserved the victory. Trailing by eight points, the Packers took over at their own 16-yard line with 3:37 remaining. After two first downs moved the ball to the 49ers' 45, outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks recorded a sack of Aaron Rodgers. And on fourth down, third cornerback Chris Culliver broke up a deep pass intended for Nelson."Coach put us in a great position, and I just made a play when it was my time," Culliver said. "I knew he was going to go deep."While first-team All-Pro Patrick Willis watched more from the sideline than he's ever been while healthy in the NFL, fellow first-team All-Pro NaVorro Bowman had a strong performance.Bowman led the 49ers with 11 tackles and baited Rodgers into a critical fourth-quarter interception. On the next play, Frank Gore scored on a 23-yard touchdown run to give the 49ers a 30-15 lead."Coming into this game, just knowing that this is the 'hot-shot team' or the best team in the last couple years, it just makes a huge statement all across the league," Bowman said. "It just shows how much work we've been putting in and how hard the coaches have been working. Everyone together is getting on the same page. We still have a lot of work to do but this is definitely a great start for us."Rodgers completed 30 of 44 passes for 303 yards. His two touchdown passes were the only times the Packers got into the end zone against the 49ers' defense. Cobb victimized the 49ers' punt-coverage unit with a 75-yard touchdown return in the fourth quarter."Our guys played well," Fangio said. "To hold this team to 14 points at home is a tall task. Really, a lot of the credit goes to our offense to move the ball. We couldn't afford for this game to be where they had 14 or 15 possessions."The Packers had just 10 possessions, including three drives in which the 49ers held them without a first down. The Packers averaged 35 points per game last season.
ASHBURN, Va. — Washington turned to internal candidates to fill two critical vacancies, promoting Matt Cavanaugh to offensive coordinator and Greg Manusky to defensive coordinator.
Cavanaugh was the team's quarterbacks coach and Manusky its outside linebackers coach last season. Washington announced the promotions Monday along with the hires of Kevin O'Connell as quarterbacks coach and Jim Tomsula as defensive line coach.
It has been an offseason of upheaval for the coaching staff after Washington fired defensive coordinator Joe Barry and a few assistants and offensive coordinator Sean McVay left to become head coach of the Los Angeles Rams.
In its efforts to replace Barry after ranking 28th defensively in consecutive seasons, Washington interviewed former Jacksonville Jaguars coach Gus Bradley, former Cleveland Browns coach Mike Pettine and former Buffalo Bills assistant Rob Ryan before opting for Manusky. The 50-year-old Manusky has been defensive coordinator for the Indianapolis Colts, San Diego Chargers and 49ers and worked with Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan in San Francisco.
Known for his fiery personality and booming voice on the practice fields, Manusky had only been on coach Jay Gruden's staff for one season as outside linebackers coach. Middle linebacker Will Compton tweeted: "Congrats to Coach Manusky!" when players were informed of his promotion.
Cavanaugh was Washington's quarterbacks coach for the past two years as Kirk Cousins twice set the franchise record for passing yards in a season. Cousins' status for 2017 remains in doubt after playing last season on the franchise tag, but with McVay gone he'll have a familiar face as his offensive coordinator.
After 13 NFL seasons as a backup quarterback, the 60-year-old Cavanaugh was offensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears from 1997-98 and Baltimore Ravens from 1999-2004. O'Connell, Washington's new quarterbacks coach, was an assistant in San Francisco under Chip Kelly last season.
Tomsula, who replaces Robb Akey as defensive line coach, also most recently worked with the 49ers as their head coach in 2015.
The Atlanta Falcons have provided the 49ers with a window from Friday afternoon through Saturday to meet with offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, a source told CSNBayArea.com.
Falcons coach Dan Quinn has structured a normal work week to begin preparations to face the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 51, Quinn said at a press conference on Monday. The Falcons will have a day off on Saturday before the team travels to Houston on Sunday.
The 49ers are not allowed to officially hire Shanahan until after the Super Bowl on Feb. 5.
Shanahan is the presumptive 49ers coach -- the only candidate remaining among the six whom 49ers executives Jed York and Paraag Marathe interviewed. Shanahan's offense rolled up 493 total yards and converted 10 of 13 (77 percent) third-down opportunities en route to a 44-21 victory over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday in the NFC Championship game.
“I’m really proud of him,” said Quinn, who was hired by the Falcons two years ago after he served as Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator in Super Bowl 49.
“It’s not easy to do when there’s a lot of speculation and things going on outside your world to stay dialed in. I think it’s one that should be commended. Being on point and going for it, he totally nailed that.”
Shanahan is also expected to be heavily involved in the 49ers’ search for a general manager. The two remaining candidates among the nine who previously interviewed are Minnesota assistant general manager George Paton and Arizona vice president of player personnel Terry McDonough.
The 49ers have left open the possibility of adding more GM candidates to the list, according to a source.