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Rants and raves: Whiffs, breakdowns and penalties plague secondary

Jan. 12, 2013
 
Green Bay Packers cornerback Tramon Williams gives up a catch by San Francisco 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree in the third quarter of Saturday's NFC divisional playoff game at Candlestick Park. Evan Siegle/Press-Gazette Media
Green Bay Packers cornerback Tramon Williams gives up a catch by San Francisco 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree in the third quarter of Saturday's NFC divisional playoff game at Candlestick Park. Evan Siegle/Press-Gazette Media

• Rant: Casey Hayward had a clear shot at Colin Kaepernick on a second-quarter blitz but whiffed, which enabled the 49ers quarterback to scramble for 19 yards. He also had gains of 18 and 9 yards on the same drive. It was a microcosm of the Packersí struggles all game long against the mobile Kaepernick.

• Rave: One of the rare shining moments for the Packers defense came on the 49ers' first drive of the second half. The Packers forced a three-and-out, which allowed the offense to drive for a field goal on the ensuing possession to tie the game at 24-24.

• Rant: Aaron Rodgers badly overthrew Jordy Nelson on a deep second-quarter pass that was intercepted by Tarell Brown and returned 39 yards to the Packersí 48, which set up a short field and 49ersí touchdown.

• Rave: A replay review nullified an 18-yard completion late in the first half to Delanie Walker, who was clearly out of bounds on the catch.

• Rant: Tramon Williams was twice called for defensive holding to give the 49ers first downs and was regularly beaten in coverage.

• Rave: Rodgers rifled a bullet pass over the middle to James Jones for a second-quarter touchdown pass to tie the score at 21-21. Rodgers added a second touchdown pass to Greg Jennings in the final minute.

• Rant: A Packersí defensive breakdown left Michael Crabtree uncovered on a second-quarter slant and the result was a 12-yard 49ersí touchdown reception.

• Rave: Kaepernick was flagged for a 15-yard taunting penalty after he spiked the ball following a scramble for a first down in the second quarter. Give him credit for shaking off the boneheaded play by firing a 20-yard touchdown pass to a well-covered Michael Crabtree two plays later.

• Rant: The Packers special teams turned in perhaps its worst performance of the year. Beyond Jeremy Rossís muffed punt that led to a 49ers touchdown, the Packersí return game was subpar and often left the team in bad field position.

• Rave: The Packers took advantage of some 49ersí blunders to drive 80 yards for a second-quarter touchdown. Dashon Gordonís helmet to helmet hit on DuJuan Harris gave the Packers 15 extra yards, and Justin Smithís offside penalty handed the Packers a first down.

• Rant: Replays showed Patrick Willis grabbed Harrisí face mask in the first quarter but no penalty was called. Officials said it was an inadvertent grab.

Rave: James Jones came back for the ball and leaped high between cornerback Chris Culliver and safety Dashon Gordon for a 44-yard completion late in the first quarter, which set up a Packers touchdown.

• Rant: The Packers offense sputtered out of the gate at the start of each half, with three-and-outs followed by punts.

• Rave: Harris rushed five times for 36 yards on the Packersí seven-play, 80-yard first-quarter touchdown drive. The line opened up a giant hole for Harris on his 18-yard touchdown run. He also converted a third-and-1 attempt with a 4-yard gain.

• Rant: The start of the game was pushed back because the Baltimore-Denver playoff game ran late. Why doesnít the NFL allow for more time between games to avoid such a conflict?

• Rave: On the 49ersí fourth play from scrimmage, Sam Shields picked off a Kaepernick pass and returned it 52 yards for a touchdown and 7-0 Packers lead. Later in the first quarter Shields knocked down a third-down pass intended for Delanie Walker to force a punt.

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If you've ever answered "Who has the ball?" with "It's halftime," you might recognize The Airhead. Check out the characters in our cartoon gallery of oddball fans.

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