SANTA CLARA -- Green Bay's kickers are getting an uncharacteristic workout, but the still rickety 49ers offense hasn't been able to take advantage of the strong work by their defensive mates and the Packers lead 7-3.
The Packers entered today's game averaging a little more than three punts a contest. They already have been forced to punt three times by a 49ers defense that hasn't blitzed nearly as much as usual and has seemed to confuse Aaron Rodgers at times.
The Green Bay quarterback certainly hasn't been stymied -- he has 129 yards, a touchdown and a 99.8 passer rating -- but he hasn't been nearly as prolific as San Francisco's previous opponents. The 49ers also forced a field goal at the end of the half that Mason Crosby missed wide left. On third down, Ahmad Brooks beat right tackle Don Barclay, who is substituting for injured Bryan Bulaga, to sack Rodgers, who has been chased from the pocket throughout the half.
The 49ers looked as if they had Rodgers confused on his first possession, with Brooks sacking him on third down. But an illegal contact penalty against Michael Wilhoite bailed out the Packers on the play and Rodgers took that gift and went on a 12-play, 80-yard drive. On the final snap, the Packers quarterback spun away from pressure and found tight end Richard Rodgers in the end zone for a 9-yard score.
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The 49ers' offense, meanwhile, has been held back by dropped passes, penalties and sacks. Vance McDonald, starting in place of injured Vernon Davis, flubbed an easy first-down opportunity after Colin Kaepernick was able to spin away from pressure. McDonald, a high second-round pick in 2013, still is looking for his first NFL touchdown.
Using read-option runs and a 40-yard shovel pass Quinton Patton, Kaepernick drove the 49ers to the Packers 5-yard line midway through the second quarter. But he was sacked on the next two plays and San Francisco had to settle for a short Phil Dawson field goal.
Coming off his worst-ever game, Kaepernick is 7-10 for 78 passing yards and also has added 43 yards on the ground. Kaepernick has run for 181 and 98 yards in two of the last three meetings against Green Bay.