Skip to main content

AP Game Story: Packers Topple 49ers, 34-16


GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Donald Driver woke up with a case of food poisoning on Sunday morning, blaming it on a bad batch of spicy chicken wings.

Then he gave the San Francisco 49ers' defense a play that was difficult to digest.

Driver left a string of befuddled 49ers' defenders in his dust on a rambling 61-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown in the third quarter, providing the most critical play in the Packers' 34-16 victory at Lambeau Field on Sunday.

"I don't know what happened," Driver said. "All I know is when I caught it, I just started making moves. Unfortunately, you don't what kind of moves you make until you watch the film."

As Driver and the team celebrated, the crowd counted out all the tackles he broke as the play was replayed on the stadium video screens.

"That's one of the best plays I've ever been a part of," Aaron Rodgers said.

Greg Jennings caught six passes for 122 yards and a pair of touchdowns for the Packers (8-4), who picked up a critical victory as they make a push for the playoffs.

Rodgers was 21 of 30 for 298 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions.

Vernon Davis had 126 yards receiving and a touchdown for the 49ers (4-8), who came into Sunday's game with playoff hopes despite their disappointing record.

Addressing his increasingly shaky job status, 49ers coach Mike Singletary said simply that he coaches for his job every week. He struggled to find positives to take away from Sunday.

"I can't say that we accomplished much in this game," Singletary said.

But given the mediocre state of the NFC West, quarterback Troy Smith wasn't giving up on making the playoffs.

"There's no margin of error to where we can even try to think negatively about anything," Smith said.

It was a wintry day at Lambeau, with temperatures in the 20s and a stiff, steady 16-mph wind.

The conditions seemed to impede the Packers' passing game early as Rodgers was uncharacteristically off target, missing Driver in the end zone in the first quarter and failing to convert an open third-and-long throw in the second quarter because the ball bounced off a defender's helmet.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy said the wind didn't change the way he called the offense on Sunday because of the weather, but Rodgers acknowledged that he didn't account for the wind on the missed throw to Driver.

"I've played here enough times in the winter to know that the wind usually blows from our tunnel to the northwest side of the field," Rodgers said. "Unfortunately, I just forgot about that for a quick second. But it wasn't a huge factor."

Rodgers found his mark midway through the second quarter, when a defender jumped offside to give him a free play -- and Rodgers delivered a deep strike to Jennings for a 57-yard touchdown, giving Green Bay a 7-6 lead.

Green Bay was leading 14-13 in the third quarter when Driver made the play of the day, catching a sharp pass from Rodgers and bouncing off a series of potential tacklers on his way to the end zone.

"It ignited our football team," McCarthy said. "We needed that. We had some segments there in the first half where we weren't as sharp as we needed to (be)."

The 49ers answered Driver's touchdown with a field goal to cut the Packers' lead to 21-16, but Rodgers delivered a deep strike to Jennings to put the Packers in scoring position. Rodgers found Jennings again for a touchdown three plays later, giving Green Bay a 28-16 lead.

"To pretty much impose their will, move the ball when they want to, it's embarrassing," linebacker Takeo Spikes said. "It's embarrassing."

The 49ers were without running back Frank Gore, who fractured his hip in a victory at Arizona on Monday night.

Smith was 10 of 25 for 194 yards, including a 66-yard touchdown to Davis to cut the Packers' lead to 1 just before halftime.

Then Driver broke the game open, despite his uneasy stomach.

"I was struggling early on, but I was able to fight through it," Driver said. "Now I'm going home and getting into bed. My stomach is still hurting."

Game notes
Rookie running back James Starks had 73 yards rushing for Green Bay. ... McCarthy said defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins strained his calf. ... Recently signed kicker Jeff Reed hit three field goals for the 49ers. ... The Packers played Sunday's game with blue throwback jerseys recalling the 1929 team. "I thought it was awesome," McCarthy said.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content