Matt & Mindi: Thorough domination by the 49ers
The 49ers held the ball 16 minutes more than the Green Bay Packers on Saturday night. So in that sense, the 49ers' offense played a pretty good defensive game, too.
Quarterback Colin Kaepernick and receiver Michael Crabtree kept the chains moving and kept the ball out of Aaron Rodgers' hands. The 49ers were particularly impressive on third downs, converting 8 of 13 (62 percent).
Kaepernick converted four third downs on runs. He did not get a first down with a 9-yard gain late in the first half, but it did set up David Akers' field goal as time expired.
Kaepernick converted three third downs on passes to Crabtree. Another time, Crabtree picked up 14 yards on a third-and-15. On fourth down, the Packers jumped offside and the 49ers' drive continued.
Obviously, Kaepernick had a remarkable game with 263 yards passing and two touchdowns, along with 181 yards rushing and two touchdowns. There were two times in which Kaepernick lost his composure, but both times he immediately bounced back strong.
[INSTANT REPLAY: 49ers 45, Packers 31]
On his second pass of the game, Kaepernick was clearly determined to get the ball to Crabtree on a deep out. However, Crabtree slipped and fell coming out of his break. Kaepernick might have panicked. He then came back across the field, rolled left and threw behind Vernon Davis. Cornerback Sam Shields made the pick and returned it for a touchdown.
Impressively, Kaepernick led the 49ers down the field on the next drive to tie the game at 7-7.
In the second quarter, Kaepernick scrambled for 15 yards on a third-and-9 situation, and was sandwiched by Packers defenders M.D. Jennings and Erik Walden. Kaepernick was called for taunting after getting to his feet and slamming the ball down in front of the Packers defenders.
Two plays later, Kaepernick made a perfect throw against a tightly covered Crabtree for a 20-yard touchdown.
[RATTO: Kaepernick runs wild with limelight]
Here's a breakdown of the 49ers' dominant offensive performance, which included some outstanding blocking by the usual suspects, as well as from some names you might not expect:
--One of the game's key plays was on the drive after the Kaepernick pick-six. It was third-and-10, and Frank Gore on a scramble drill turned up the field and got a couple steps on safety Charles Woodson. Kaepernick put the ball in front of Gore, who gained 45 yards.
--The pass protection was outstanding throughout. Kaepernick was sacked once in the game, but it certainly was not a result of poor protection from left tackle Joe Staley against Clay Matthews. Kaepernick stepped up and into Matthews' path for a first-quarter sack.
--On Kaepernick's 20-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, the 49ers showed a spread formation with Crabtree, Randy Moss, A.J. Jenkins Vernon Davis and Delanie Walker and no running back. Most ran vertical routes, which opened the field for Kaepernick's scramble.
--Tight end Delanie Walker had two passes that were dropped and another in which it was difficult to tell if it went through his hands or if Shields broke it up. It looks as if Walker has a very difficult time with the velocity of Kaepernick's passes. But Walker continues to get more playing time than Moss (the second wide receiver) and fullback Bruce Miller. It's because Walker continues to do a good job as a blocker and his presence gives the 49ers plenty of run-pass options.
--Walker's drops and a premature snap from center Jonathan Goodwin were about the only negatives found from the 49ers' offensive performance. After Kaepernick fell on the shotgun snap for a 3-yard loss, the 49ers came back with a well-designed 12-yard touchdown pass to Crabtree, who lined up outside and worked back inside Jenkins and Davis to get wide open.
--All-Pro guard Mike Iupati had a very strong game -- along with the entire offensive line. He had the key block on defensive tackle B.J. Raji on LaMichael James' 14-yard run on a third-and-1 situation.
--Crabtree had nine receptions on the 11 passes that came his way. He did have a drop on a shallow crossing pattern in the second quarter, though.
--Late in the first half when the 49ers went "hurry up," they did it with James and Ted Ginn on the field, instead of Gore and Moss.
--Kaepernick somehow avoided the blitzing cornerback Casey Hayward, then got to the outside around Ginn, who was "blocking" Shields. Ginn could've easily been called for holding on the play, which went for a 19-yard gain.
--On a third-and-10, the Packers came with a six-man blitz. James did an outstanding job of cutting Matthews. That's right, little LaMichael James handled Clay Matthews. and Alex Boone picked up Woodson, and Kaepernick gained 18 yards. The 49ers eventually got points when Akers booted a 36-yard field goal on the final play of the first half.
--Kaepernick's 56-yard touchdown run in the third quarter broke a 24-24 tie and gave the 49ers a lead they would never relinquish. This time there could be no dispute about Ginn's block. He keyed the play with his block on cornerback Tramon Williams. Fullback Bruce Miller had the other key block on outside linebacker Erik Walden. Miller had a very good blocking day.
--Tight end Vernon Davis caught just one pass for 44 yards. He beat linebacker A.J. Hawk down the field on a beautifully thrown ball. Davis was also had a good double-move on Williams, who had no choice but to grab him for a 5-yard defensive holding penalty earlier on the drive.
--The 49ers just wore down the Packers with their run game. Gore had a 26-yard run in the fourth quarter on which Goodwin took care of Raji, right tackle Anthony Davis blocked Ryan Pickett and Crabtree pushed Williams down the field.
--Walker had a block downfield on Woodson to help Crabtree pick up 13 yards after the catch and set up a fourth-and-1. Kaepernick drew Raji offside on fourth down with a hard count.
--Staley, who excelled all game against Matthews, had a block on Hawk and Iupati cleaned up linebacker Brad Jones on Gore's 11-yard run to the 2-yard line in the fourth quarter.
--Running back Anthony Dixon played just one snap of offense, and he knew enough to follow Iupati into the end zone for a 2-yard touchdown run.
--Prior to that play, Gore motioned himself out of the lineup. Gore had X-rays after the game but would not say for what. He did say the X-rays were negative, and he's fine. "I looked fast, didn't I?" Gore asked.
Indeed he did. Gore had 119 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries. He added 48 yards receiving.
Offensive play time
Includes plays nullified by penalties
78 (100 percent) -- QB Colin Kaepernick, LT Joe Staley, LG Mike Iupati, RT Anthony Davis
76 (97%) -- RG Alex Boone, C Jonathan Goodwin
74 (95%) -- TE Vernon Davis
68 (87%) -- WR Michael Crabtree
57 (73%) -- TE Delanie Walker
49 (63%) -- RB Frank Gore
40 (51%) -- FB Bruce Miller
39 (50%) -- WR Randy Moss
23 (29%) -- RB LaMichael James
20 (26%) -- WR Ted Ginn
7 (9%) -- WR A.J. Jenkins
6 (15%) -- OL Leonard Davis
5 (6%) -- OL Daniel Kilgore
3 (4%) -- TE Garrett Celek
2 (3%) -- FB Will Tukuafu
1 (1%) -- RB Anthony Dixon