The Green Bay Packers did exactly what an NFC contender should do when facing a team decimated by injuries and COVID-19 absences.
Aaron Rodgers threw for 305 yards with four touchdowns as the Packers cruised to a 34-17 victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday Night Football.
In addition to the numerous injuries keeping players sidelined, the 49ers had to play without receivers Kendrick Bourne, Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk, and tackle Trent Williams due to Bourne’s positive COVID test on Wednesday. The 49ers had to call up receivers Kevin White and River Cracraft, tight end Daniel Helm and safety Johnathan Cyprien up from the practice squad as replacements to fill out their roster for Thursday night’s game. Samuel was going to miss the game due to injury anyway.
Safety Jaquiski Tartt was then forced from the game due to a foot injury after missing the team’s previous two games due to a groin issue.
A six-play, 75-yard opening drive from the Packers set the tone for the night with Rodgers and Adams connecting on a 36-yard touchdown to take a 7-0 lead.
The 49ers’ only substantial drive of the first half led to a 22-yard Robbie Gould field goal that closed the gap to 7-3. But the dam would then break as the Packers took full control.
Nick Mullens was intercepted by Raven Greene and the Packers immediately responded with 1-yard touchdown pass to Marcedes Lewis extended the lead to 14-3. A quick three-and-out from the 49ers was answered by another touchdown drive for the Packers. Rodgers and Valdes-Scantling notched the first of their two scores with a 52-yard strike to take a 21-3 advantage into halftime.
The duo hooked up again on the opening drive of the third quarter on a 1-yard score as Green Bay took a 28-3 lead. Mason Crosby would add a pair of field goals from 19 and 53 yards out to push the lead to 34-3 before Rodgers handed the reins to Tim Boyle for the rest of the night.
Richie James had the only big night offensively for the 49ers with nine catches for 184 yards. He caught a 41-yard touchdown from Mullens with five minutes left to play.
Jerick McKinnon added a 1-yard touchdown run with four seconds left to cut the final margin to 34-17.
Mullens completed 22 of 35 passes for 291 yards with a touchdown and interception.
The Packers out-gained the 49ers by a 405-337 margin, but 155 yards for the 49ers came on the final two drives of the game in garbage time.