Thomas ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ Bear Blog

49ers vs Packers: strong defense and special-team surprises

Divisional Round of the Playoffs.
Saturday, Jan 22 @ 5:15pm PT.

Limited offensive success. Any success found was wiped out by mistakes/penalties from each position group (QB, RB, WR, OL). It was all Defense and Special-Teams today. A historic blocked punt & field goal kept the niners in the game. Not pretty, but a win is a win.



Example 1: the defensive stop

Up until this point in the game, the Packers have been steamrolling the 49ers. Nonstop completions for 1st downs. Never even reaching 3rd down. Rodgers (Packers QB #12) looked poised and was willing to play the quick passing game when the DLine pressure arrived.

This play marked the turn of the tide. After this play the 49ers defense turned ON.

On this play, the 49ers defense line up as if they’ll rush 4 and drop 7 into coverage. Once the ball is snapped we see that the 49ers are playing man-coverage. Greenlaw (49ers LB #57) blitzes. This leaves Lewis (Packers TE #89) WIDE open after his chip block. Easy completion for Rodgers.

Lewis doesn’t secure the ball. Warner (49ers LB #54) punches it out for the fumble. CRITICAL in putting an end to the Packer’s momentum.

Example 2: Demeco Ryans getting creative

At this point, the Packers have had 6 straight scoreless possessions. The announcers state that “[The 49ers defense] can’t confuse Rodgers, but they can get him to hold it a bit longer”. Long enough to feel the pressure or take a sack. The creativity shown in this defensive play is a microcosm for all that Demeco Ryans (49ers Defensive Coordinator) has been throwing at the Packers.

3rd & 10. All eyes on Aaron Rodgers & Davante Adams (Packers WR #17). It’s their unreal connection that’s gotten them to the playoffs as the No. 1 seed. 49ers are showing a blitz (as they have for much of the game). Packers don’t know if/where the defensive pressure is going to come from.

Ball is snapped and we see Johnson (49ers DB #27) who was originally covering Davante Adams blitz!!! All linebackers and even Bosa (49ers DE #97) drop into coverage. The top two safeties rotate and are doubling up to cover Davante Adams. The pressure arrives and forces Rodgers to take the check-down receiver.

Example 3: special teams touchdown!?!

Honestly, I don’t rewatch many special teams plays so I don’t know what I’m looking for.

Jordan Willis (49ers DL #94) is in the center of the defensive line. As far as I can tell, he’s just using his sheer physical dominance to bull rush the Packers long snapper. He pushes all the way through the offensive line and gets right to the punter.

I love rewatching the clip over and over trying to imagine what must be going through each of the players’ heads the moment they heard the loud THUMP. Everyone’s spinning in circles looking for the ball. For a split second many of the players drop the tension in their shoulders thinking the ball must have went out of bounds. Until the ball hit the ground again. Luckily Hufanga (49ers S #29) was in great position to scoop and score.

Example 4: one more time for Demeco

One last quick example to show Demeco’s creativity. This play just shows how hard Demeco is daring to Rodgers to throw to anybody else but Davante Adams.

3rd & 11. 49ers have 3DL, 2LB, and 6DBs on the field. 49ers show blitz. Once the ball is snapped we see the 2LB drop into man coverage. But we also see two safeties (?!?) running down the field to blitz Rodgers. All receivers are in man-coverage and Davante Adams has two men covering him. Rodgers tries to force the ball to Adams. Incomplete.