Week 3 was a roller coaster of emotions for the San Francisco 49ers, who started off slow but caught steam too little too late in the 30-28 loss to the Green Bay Packers. After a thrill of a final two minutes of the contest, Aaron Rodgers made two big-time throws to Davante Adams that set up Mason Crosby for a walk-off field goal for the win.
Here are four takeaways from the contest:
1. Another Slow Start for the Offense
San Francisco opened the game with two drives that were halted before crossing over to midfield, but not all were the result of a sluggish start. A questionable no-call and a wide-open overthrow were all the 49ers saw offensively in the first quarter. The unit was limited to just 25 yards and an average of 3.1 yards per play through the first 15 minutes of play.
In the second quarter, Garoppolo was intercepted for the first time this season on a pass intended for George Kittle downfield. Fortunately, the interception didn't result in any points for Green Bay.
Sitting 17-0 late in the first half, it wasn't until the 49ers final drive off the second quarter when the team picked up momentum. It took a 68-yard kickoff return from running back Trenton Cannon to get San Francisco's offense back into the game. Cannon's return helped set up a 1-yard touchdown run by rookie quarterback Trey Lance.
2. Rodgers Challenges 49ers Short-handed Cornerbacks
The Packers offense took every opportunity to exploit San Francisco's woes at cornerback, with Rodgers taking shots downfield to his receivers. Rodgers completed 23-of-33 passes for 261 yards and two scores. He connected with wideouts Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Allen Lazard on 47 and 42-yard pickups, respectively.
The Rodgers-Adams connection continued to haunt the 49ers. Adams finished the night with 132 yards on 12 receptions and a score, tied for his second-best outing against the 49ers (10 receptions, 173 yards and one touchdown in 2020).
3. Second-half Comeback
San Francisco found its mojo coming out in the second half, running a 13-play, 83-yard drive that chipped off 7:19 off the clock. Trey Sermon recorded the longest carry of the game and of his career on that drive, a 16-yard pickup. The drive was capped off with an 8-yard pass from Garoppolo to Brandon Aiyuk, who wiggled his way open for the score.
On San Francisco's final drive, Garoppolo orchestrated an 8-play, 75-yard drive that featured two clutch third-down receptions from Kittle and Samuel. San Francisco gained their first lead of the game with :37 seconds left on the clock following a 12-yard touchdown reception from Kyle Juszczyk.
4. Performances of Note
Garoppolo finished the night completing 25-of-40 passes for 257 yards and two touchdowns to one interception.
Lance appeared in three-total snaps on the day. His lone passing attempt was an incomplete pass that was negated due to a defensive holding penalty on the Packers.
Nick Bosa wreaked havoc for Rodgers and Co. early. The edge rusher notched a batted pass, drew a 15-yard penalty and a tackle for loss all in the Packers first drive of the game.
Sermon notched his first score of his young NFL career. In the fourth quarter, the rookie took the handoff up the middle for a 1-yard score. After his scary start in Week 2, Sermon got the nod as San Francisco's lead back with no other running backs seeing any touches on the night.
Kittle had his best outing, numbers-wise, on Sunday, leading all 49ers pass catchers with 92 yards on seven receptions, including a massive 39-yard pickup in a fourth quarter third down that set San Francisco up with their lone lead of the night.
Arik Armstead recorded the 49ers lone sack of the night. The defensive lineman has been off to a strong start in Year 7 in San Francisco. Heading into Sunday's contest, Armstead recorded the second-most pressures in the NFL behind Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby (19).