Insider: Thumbs up to Kuhn, down to Crabtree's big day

Jan. 5, 2014

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Michael Crabtree


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One of the more interesting seasons in Green Bay Packers history ended with a loss to the San Francisco 49ers ... again. Aaron Rodgers’ broken collarbone exposed a team that had become too reliant on winning shootouts. In the end, when the defense needed to make a stop and give Rodgers a chance to win the game, it failed. Shoring up that defense again will be a focus of the offseason.

Thumbs up

John Kuhn scored on a 1-yard run to give the Packers a 17-13 lead near the start of the fourth quarter, but he made two other plays that were just as important. Both were big third-down receptions that kept alive eventual scoring drives. The first, an 8-yard reception, came on third-and-4 and led to the Packers’ first touchdown. The second, also an 8-yarder, was on third-and-5 on Green Bay’s final scoring drive that tied the score, 20-20.

Thumbs down

In the season opener, the Packers couldn’t stop wide receiver Anquan Boldin, who torched them with 13 receptions for 208 yards. On Sunday, it was Michael Crabtree — who didn’t play in the opener — who did the biggest damage. With Sam Shields on the sideline with a knee injury, the Green Bay secondary was at a loss covering Crabtree, who caught eight passes for 125 yards. Twice on third down and once on fourth down, Crabtree converted, including on third-and-10 for a 17-yard catch on the 49ers’ game-winning drive.

Turning point

With about 6 minutes to go in the game and trailing 20-17, Rodgers did his best Houdini imitation by somehow escaping a sack and hitting Randall Cobb on a 25-yard pass to the San Francisco 9-yard line. A freezing, but suddenly energized Lambeau Field crowd sensed a shift in momentum. But the Packers failed to punch it into the end zone after three plays netted 3 yards. They had to settle for a field goal and a tie instead of a lead. Five minutes later, the season was over.

By the numbers

5: Game-time temperature at Lambeau Field, the seventh-coldest game at Lambeau and the fourth-coldest postseason game at the stadium.

279: Total rushing yards by Colin Kaepernick against the Packers in two playoff games.

77: Number of points scored in the playoffs by kicker Mason Crosby, setting a franchise record

5: Consecutive postseasons in which Kuhn has scored a touchdown, most among active players and tied with Dorsey Levens for the franchise record.

Did you notice?

■ When Andy Mulumba went to the sideline with a knee injury after the Packers already had lost Mike Neal, Datone Jones got his first snaps as an outside linebacker.

■ When Kuhn scored on a 1-yard plunge, he slipped trying to made a Lambeau Leap, bumping into the wall instead of scaling it.

■ The Packers went three-and-out on their first three possessions.

■ The 49ers remain the only team in the league to not allow a 100-yard individual rusher this season. Eddie Lacy came close with 81 yards.

■ Boldin led the NFL in the regular season with 33 catches for 529 yards on third down but was held without a third-down reception Sunday.

What's your take on the Packers Family Night change?

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Football fans

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.

Special Reports