Maiocco's Instant Replay: 49ers 30, Packers 22

Maiocco's Instant Replay: 49ers 30, Packers 22
September 9, 2012, 11:51 pm
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BOX SCORE

GREEN BAY, Wisc. -- In the regular-season opener, the 49ers skipped ahead to midseason form for the first three quarters.The 49ers were nearly perfect in all three phases for three quarters Sunday. After one fourth-quarter hiccup, coming on a controversial Green Bay Packers punt return for a touchdown, the 49ers regained their swagger in a 30-22 victory at Lambeau Field.The team featured two of the preseason favorites to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. And the 49ers might have established themselves as the early season team to beat.It was the 49ers' first road victory against the Packers since 1990 -- a span that included six regular-season games and two playoff showdowns.Quarterback Alex Smith distributed the ball to the 49ers' wide variety of offensive weapons. Smith finished 20-for-26 for 211 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. And running back Frank Gore capitalized on a wide array of personnel groups, featuring extra blockers to gain 112 yards on 16 carries.Smith set the 49ers' team record for most regular-season pass attempts without an interception. Smith entered the game with 159 consecutive attempts without an interception from the end of last season. Steve Young previously held the record with 184 consecutive attempts without an interception.Defensively, the 49ers managed to keep Aaron Rodgers and the high-powered Packers offense in check.Linebacker NaVorro Bowman intercepted a Rodgers pass midway through the fourth quarter. On the next play, Gore tore off a 23-yard touchdown run to give the 49ers a 30-15 lead. The 49ers had spare offensive linemen Leonard Davis and Daniel Kilgore on the field as eligible receivers on Gore's touchdown run.And, just as a year ago, kicker David Akers was exceptional with three first-half field goals.Akers, a 14-year veteran, tied an NFL record with a 63-yard field goal on the final play of the first half to give the 49ers a 16-7 lead against the Green Bay Packers.Akers became the fourth player in NFL history to kick a 63-yard field goal, joining Tom Dempsey (1970), Jason Elam (1998) and Sebastian Janikowski (2011).Replacement refs: Coach Jim Harbaugh was livid on the sideline when referee David White picked up a flag for an apparent illegal block in the back that would've nullified Randall Cobb's 75-yard punt return in the fourth quarter. It appeared as if Packers special-teamer Terrell Manning blocked Anthony Dixon in the back in the middle of the field.Return of Williams: Kyle Williams handled all the punt-return chores with Ted Ginn out of action with a right ankle sprain. Williams gave the 49ers a chance to score before the end of the the first half when he returned Tim Masthay's punt 20 yards to the 38. Four plays later, Akers went out for his 63-yard field goal to close the first half.Designated runner: Backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick helped set up the field goal when he entered the game for one play, and he dashed off a 17-yard run to the Green Bay 45-yard line with :11 remaining in the half.Akers also made field goals of 40 and 43 yards in the first half. He set the NFL record last season with 44 field goals made.Moss is boss: Randy Moss' debut with the 49ers was a resounding success. He caught a 14-yard touchdown pass from Alex Smith in the second quarter for his 14th career regular-season touchdown against the Packers. He has caught more touchdown passes against the Packers than any other opponent in the history of the franchise.

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