GREEN BAY – While there were probably more than two plays Aaron Rodgers would have liked to have had back Sunday, the Green Bay Packers quarterback fixated on a pair of mistakes he made in the team’s 30-22 loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
One was obvious: His interception with 8 minutes 50 seconds left in the game. The Packers had just cut San Francisco’s lead to 23-15 on Randall Cobb’s punt return touchdown, and the defense had followed it up with a three-and-out to force a punt. But when Rodgers, on the first play after the punt, saw Greg Jennings call for the ball, he didn’t see linebacker NaVorro Bowman and threw it right to the 49ers linebacker for an INT.
“I’m mad about the interception,” said Rodgers, who finished the night having completed 30 of 44 passes for 303 yards with two touchdowns and one interception (93.3 rating). “Greg thought he was wide open, that jolted me. I made a snap decision, what I usually don’t do. Disappointed.”
While Rodgers may not have thrown the ball to Jennings had he not thought his receiver was calling for the ball, Rodgers still threw a poor pass, one that was “lower than I wanted,” he said. On the very next play, San Francisco’s Frank Gore scored on a 23-yard run to push the lead to 30-15.
Rodgers’ other mistake came just before halftime, when he was chased out of the pocket on third-and-8 after having plenty of time to throw but finding no one open. Instead of sliding and staying in bounds to keep the clock running, Rodgers threw the ball away once he was out of the tackle box, which stopped the clock. The Packers had stopped the clock after the previous play, a second-down completion to Jermichael Finley, with their second timeout.
When the 49ers got the ball back with 18 seconds left after punter Tim Masthay’s 60-yard punt and Kyle Williams’ 20-yard return, backup quarterback Colin Kapernick gained 17 yards on a designed quarterback run, setting up David Akers for a 63-yard field goal attempt. Akers promptly doinked the kick off the crossbar and over it, tying the NFL record for the longest field goal in league history and sending the 49ers into the locker room with a 16-7 lead.
“You don’t expect them to make a 63-yard field goal, but if I just slide there, keep the clock running, they probably have to use a timeout, they probably don’t get a field goal off,” Rodgers said. “I’m disappointed about that. … Still 63 yard field goal, that’s pretty incredible, (but) it probably wouldn’t have happened if (I) stay in bounds there.”
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