Two games, same outcome.
The Green Bay Packers were bruised, battered and completely dominated up front on both sides of the ball in a beating by the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.
The score was closer than the 37-8 loss the first time the two teams met in regular season, but the 37-20 score really isn't indicative how badly the Packers were beaten.
I wrote a blog more than a week ago, saying the Packers had to jump out to a quick lead to have any chance.
I stated in the blog that if the Packers won the coin toss, they shouldn't defer to the second half.
Why? Because the Packers had to start quickly, grab an early lead and then hope their defense could hold up in the NFC Championship game.
While the common NFL philosophy is that a team should defer the opening kickoff to the second half because the chances are greater to have the last offensive possession before halftime and guaranteed to get the ball to begin the second half.
So, what did the Packers do when they won the coin toss on Sunday? They deferred to the second half.
Oh sure. Green Bay's defense forced San Francisco into a 3-and-out after the opening kickoff, but were were stopped on their opening drive. The 49ers got the ball back. Six plays and 89 yards later, Frisco had a 7-0 lead. Oh-oh! At that moment I knew the game was over. Green Bay simply can't play from behind against an elite NFL team. A 27-0 halftime deficit sealed it for me.
The Packers took the second half kickoff and marched 75 yards in 11 plays to cut the margin to 27-7, but it was too little, too late. Everyone in the stadium knew the 49ers were going to win.In all honesty, the coin toss strategy didn't make any difference against the 49ers. If we weren't convinced the 49ers were far superior in talent and speed after the first game, Frisco stamped it on our foreheads with their cleats on Sunday. Perhaps Packers rookie coach Matt LaFleur said it best:
"They were better, faster and more physical than us," LaFleur said. "They got after us two games. Right now they're the gold standard in the NFC."
Turnovers, missed opportunities and a dreadful night trying to defend 49ers running back Raheem Mostert (220 yards and four touchdowns), Green Bay certainly showed it was the inferior team. In all truthfulness, I'm not sure the Packers could win one game against the 49ers if they faced each other 10 times this season.