4:25 PM ET, September 8, 2013
Candlestick Park, San Francisco, CA
Colin Kaepernick throws for 3 TDs, 412 yards to lift 49ers past Packers
SAN FRANCISCO -- Colin Kaepernick rarely utters anything pointed or emotionally charged.
He offered a clear message to Clay Matthews and the Packers' defense after delivering Green Bay another beating: "If intimidation is your game plan, I hope you have a better one."
Kaepernick took a late, out-of-bounds hit from Matthews in the second quarter and showed no signs of slowing down, throwing for a career-high 412 yards and three touchdowns, with 13 completions to Anquan Boldin in San Francisco's season-opening 34-28 victory Sunday.
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Boldin's sensational San Francisco debut helped keep his team on quite a roll in what has evolved into a fierce NFC rivalry. And Vernon Davis did his part in a prolific passing game led by Kaepernick.
From Super Bowl champion Baltimore to contender again with another coach named Harbaugh, Boldin was unstoppable. He finished with 208 yards receiving and a 10-yard touchdown.
Davis made a pair of TD catches for the NFC champion Niners.
Boldin sure showed he is a reliable replacement for injured Michael Crabtree.
"We knew they were going to come in ready to play after what happened in the playoffs," Boldin said. "We had to come out and match their intensity."
Frank Gore scored a go-ahead, 1-yard touchdown with 5:47 remaining as the 49ers made it three straight against Aaron Rodgers and Co., after beating Green Bay last September to open the season and then 45-31 in the NFC divisional playoffs.
Boldin sure has a knack for season openers, coming through with 10 catches for 217 yards in his first career game with Arizona, seven catches for 110 yards in his first game for the Ravens in 2010 -- then this superb outing.
Kaepernick marched his team 80 yards on five plays to take the lead. The 49ers answered after Packers rookie Eddie Lacy put Green Bay ahead on a 2-yard run.
Another Grand Opening
Sunday marked the second time Anquan Boldin had at least 10 catches for 200 or more yards in a season opener and he compiled the sixth-most yards on a kickoff weekend since 1933.
Rodgers threw for 333 yards and three touchdowns, but the Packers departed from Candlestick Park with another defeat eight months after that embarrassing postseason game.
Boldin came back from an apparent twisted right knee early in the fourth quarter to make a 43-yard catch in the decisive drive. He also converted on fourth down with a 15-yard catch that set up Phil Dawson's late 33-yard field goal.
"He made plays he shouldn't have made," Kaepernick said.
Standout rookies, stellar debuts, ill will -- this one had it all. In a picture-perfect setting, to boot, as Candlestick Park kicked off its farewell season.
Matthews made his mark, and in hindsight maybe not the way he wanted.
The Packers promised to target Kaepernick, but they probably meant for it to be in bounds. It wasn't.
"First off, it wasn't a very smart play," he said. "I'd already committed to hitting the quarterback. I guess I should've figured he was going to step out of bounds. But it's nothing personal. I went up to him later and was joking around with him."
"The late hit certainly was," coach Jim Harbaugh said.
Matthews put the hit on Kaepernick, and 49ers left tackle Joe Staley made contact with Matthews after the play, receiving an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Both teams scuffled, and the officials mistakenly replayed the down.
"I'll try to do a better job just keeping my cool," Staley said. "I didn't want see Kaep get nailed like he did out of bounds. That's our guy out there. I'll protect anybody. Anything I feel like is outside the rules ... some of it was the comments he made this week about going after the quarterback. I wanted to grab him and let him know that's not going to fly. That's all I did."
San Francisco took the lead on that play when Kaepernick found Boldin for a 10-yard touchdown. Had it been fourth down, the Niners might have tried a field goal.
"The down should have counted," referee Bill Leavy said after the game. "The penalties were both dead ball, and they should have offset at the spot where the runner went out of bounds. And it would have been fourth down."
Harbaugh, whose big brother, John, previously coached Boldin before trading him away, became the first coach in 49ers franchise history to win each of his first three season openers.
Davis had six catches for 98 yards on a sun-drenched day at sold-out Candlestick, where portable fans were used on the sidelines to keep players cool.
He made a 20-yard touchdown pass late in the first to give him at least one TD reception in each of his five regular-season games against Green Bay, then added a 2-yard TD reception in the third.
The Packers tied the game at 21 in the third quarter when Rodgers connected with Jordy Nelson for an 8-yard touchdown pass.
Davis made a pretty, reaching 37-yard catch on San Francisco's ensuing drive. Matthews sacked Kaepernick for a 7-yard loss and the Niners settled for a 27-yard field goal by Dawson, who hooked an earlier 48-yard attempt wide left.
Green Bay's defense spent nearly eight months determined to find ways to stop San Francisco's reliable read option and big-play, running quarterback after Kaepernick ran for a quarterback-record 181 yards in the playoff win. So San Francisco switched things to a more wide-open passing attack.
"I'm just happy we put on film we can do whatever we want," Gore said.
The 49ers were penalized 11 times for 85 yards. ... Aldon Smith had 1½ sacks after getting a franchise-best 19 1/2 last season. .... Nelson had seven catches for 130 yards, and Randall Cobb seven for 108. ... 49ers rookie S Eric Reid had an interception and six tackles in his debut.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 08: Outside linebacker Clay Matthews #52 of the Green Bay Packers looks on prior to...(Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Team Stat Comparison
Passing 1st downs
Rushing 1st downs
1st downs from penalties
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
|Yards per play||6.6||6.6|
Yards per pass
Yards per rush
|Red Zone (Made-Att)||4-4||3-5|
|Defensive / Special Teams TDs||0||0|
|TD||2:58||Vernon Davis 20 Yard Pass From Colin Kaepernick (Phil Dawson Kick is Good)|
Drive info: 13 plays, 83 yds, 6:59
|TD||1:11||Randall Cobb 5 Yard Pass From Aaron Rodgers (Mason Crosby Kick is Good)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 80 yds, 1:47
|TD||9:02||Anquan Boldin 10 Yard Pass From Colin Kaepernick (Phil Dawson Kick is Good)|
Drive info: 3 plays, 14 yds, 2:18
|TD||0:21||Jermichael Finley 12 Yard Pass From Aaron Rodgers (Mason Crosby Kick is Good)|
Drive info: 8 plays, 62 yds, 1:16
|TD||9:49||Vernon Davis 2 Yard Pass From Colin Kaepernick (Phil Dawson Kick is Good)|
Drive info: 9 plays, 80 yds, 5:14
|TD||3:52||Jordy Nelson 8 Yard Pass From Aaron Rodgers (Mason Crosby Kick is Good)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 69 yds, 2:48
|FG||14:21||Phil Dawson 27 Yard Field Goal is Good|
Drive info: 10 plays, 71 yds, 4:32
|TD||8:32||Eddie Lacy 2 Yard Run (Mason Crosby Kick is Good)|
Drive info: 8 plays, 76 yds, 2:30
|TD||5:51||Frank Gore 1 Yard Run (Phil Dawson Kick is Good)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 80 yds, 2:39
|FG||0:30||Phil Dawson 33 Yard Field Goal is Good|
Drive info: 11 plays, 50 yds, 4:26
Colin Kaepernick is the 5th quarterback in Super Bowl era to throw for at least 400 yards, with 3 TD passes and no interceptions in a season opener. He's 2nd this season (joining Peyton Manning).[+]
The 49ers had seven zone-read option rushes for 10 yards Sunday. They had 16 zone-read rushes for 176 yards in the 2012 NFC Divisional Playoff. The Packers were more physical as promised in this contest, hitting Kaepernick on 4-of-9 opportunities (scrambles + sacks + designed runs), compared with 5-of-17 plays in the playoffs last season.
Colin Kaepernick was 9-of-11 for 152 yards and a pair of touchdowns using play-action fakes. Vernon Davis caught all four targets for 74 yards and both touchdowns on play-action passes. Davis also had 81 of his 98 total receiving yards from the slot. Last season, Davis gained less than one-quarter of his total receiving yards from the slot.
Eddie Lacy with 5 rushes for 26 yards on the Packers go-ahead TD drive (9 rush - 15 yards prior).
Aaron Rodgers was his normal productive self against a standard pass rush Sunday, completing 20-of-30 passes for 330 yards and three touchdowns. However, when the 49ers sent extra pressure after Rodgers, as they did on 4-of-8 3rd-down dropbacks, he was ineffective. Rodgers finished the game 4-of-8 for 45 yards on 3rd down, converting only twice.[+]
Aaron Rodgers by Pass Rushers, Sunday
Colin Kaepernick completed 69% of his passes and threw for 350 yards and 2 touchdowns from the pocket Sunday. The last time these two teams met, Kaepernick completed a career-low 55% of his passes from the inside the pocket.
Colin Kaepernick had a Total QBR of 89.8 Sunday, the second highest of his career and the highest QBR against the Packers in the regular season since the 2009 season. It's not the highest Total QBR for Kaepernick in his career against the Packers; he posted a 92.4 in the NFC Divisional playoffs against Green Bay last season. The last quarterback to have a higher Total QBR against the Packers in the regular season was Brett Favre in 2009 (Week 4, 95.1).[+]
Colin Kaepernick completed 8-of-15 passes for 212 yards and a touchdown on throws at least 15 yards downfield. His average pass was thrown a career-long 13.7 yards downfield. Kaepernick completed 54% of those deep attempts last season (including postseason), 3rd in the NFL. Anquan Boldin caught 5 passes at least 15 yards downfield, tied for his most in a game since 2008.
The 49ers used the option 16 times against the Packers in the Divisional Playoffs last season, gaining 176 yards on those plays, 149 of which came before contact. The Packers had faced only 8 option rushes on the season entering the game.[+]
49ers Zone-Read Option in Divisional Playoffs - Last Season
Aaron Rodgers was under duress on 26.4 percent of his dropbacks following Bryan Bulaga's season-ending injury in Week 9 last season (20.5 percent prior to injury). Rodgers post a league-best 75.2 Total QBR when under duress last season.[+]
Vernon Davis' 20-yd TD came lined up in the slot, he had 0 TDs lined up in the slot last season (inc. postseason).
Through Anquan Boldin's 10-yard TD reception, the 49ers have converted on 6 of their first 8 third down plays. Kaepernick is 3-of-3 with 41 yards targeting Boldin on third downs so far.
Including the postseason, Colin Kaepernick was hit on 57.1% (12-of-21)of his option rushes last season, the lowest percentage among all option quarterbacks. Kaepernick led all players with 5 option rushing touchdowns and had the highest per carry average on options (10.5 - minimum 5 option rushes).[+]
Colin Kaepernick completed 5-of-6 third-down passes for 2 touchdowns in the 1st half, and the 49ers have converted 6-of-10 third downs. Kaepernick has continued the 49ers third-down success against the Packers from last postseason, when they converted on 8-of-13 third downs.[+]
Colin Kaepernick on Third Downs
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