Kevin King and the defense created the final turnover. Aaron Rodgers and the offense took full advantage. And Mason Crosby rebounded in spectacular fashion by kicking the game-winning 27-yard field goal as time expired.
The final score: Green Bay 33, San Francisco 30.
But this one did not come easy from a now 1-5 49ers team that showed from the game’s opening drive it came to play.
It was almost a must win situation for the 3-2-1 Packers, who after a much-needed bye week face a five-game stretch of games on the road at the Los Angeles Rams, New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks, and Minnesota Vikings. The only home game in that gauntlet comes on Nov. 11 against the Miami Dolphins.
“It’s big,” said receiver Davante Adams in a boisterous Packers locker room after the game.
“We just stayed the course and do what you’ve got to do. We’ve go the guys in the locker room to win games like this, in tight quarters. . . and definitely it’s going to make the bye week a little more sweet.”
For Crosby, it was sweet redemption after a nightmare afternoon in Detroit when he missed five kicks.
In eight days, he went from goat to hero. Crosby responded with one of the best performances. He showed his mettle by kicking four field goals (29, 39, 51, and 27 yards) and three extra points to be a difference maker in a much-needed Green Bay victory.
Rodgers statistics are impressive: 25 completions in 46 attempts. 425 yards. Two touchdowns. 100.4 quarterback rating.
At times Rodgers misfired. He was harassed all night by a 49ers defense that refused to give up. But in the end, with the game on the line, Rodgers delivered in the clutch.
He engineered a 10-play, 81-yard drive in final 1:07 to set up Mason Crosby’s final field goal attempt. His receivers stepped up, as three recorded 100-yard games: Davante Adams (10 receptions for 132 yards, 2 TDs), Jimmy Graham (5 for 104 yards), and Marquez Valdes-Scantling (3 for 103 yards).
King’s interception gave Green Bay one last opportunity.
With 1:13 left in regulation, the 49ers went for it all on 3rd-and-3 from the Green Bay 46.
49ers quarterback C.J. Beathard threw a high pass deep down the middle for Marquise Goodwin, who was covered one-on-one by King.
King had inside leverage and turned his head just before the ball arrived to snare the interception and give the Packers offense a final opportunity from their own 10-yard line with 67 seconds left on the clock.
Rodgers made three key plays on the final possession, first scrambling 21 yards up the middle to the Packers 45 with 43 seconds remaining. In the final 15 seconds, he hit Equanimeous St. Brown on a back-shoulder 19-yarder along the sideline and a 19-yarder to a wide-open Adams on the left sideline to advance to the San Francisco 9.
Rodgers called the victory an “important one” and acknowledged that the team needed to play better after the much-needed bye week with games against the NFC’s elite coming up.