Game recap: 5 takeaways from Packers' preseason loss to 49ers 

QB Jordan Love’s stats don’t tell the whole story

QB Jordan Love

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – The Packers fell to the 49ers, 28-21, in their preseason opener on Friday night at Levi's Stadium.

Here are five takeaways from the game:

1. QB Jordan Love played better than the numbers show.

Love played the entire first half and was 13-of-24 for 176 yards with two TDs and three interceptions, but Head Coach Matt LaFleur did not put the turnovers solely on him.

The first interception was a red-zone slant that bounced off the hands of tight end Tyler Davis, and the deflection was picked. The second was on a quick third-down out to rookie Romeo Doubs, who hauled in a 33-yard TD pass on fourth-and-short for Green Bay's first score of the game.

On the interception, Doubs was trying to make a "circus catch" near the sideline, to use LaFleur's words, and he nearly secured it. But while coming to the ground with the defender, the ball was ripped away for a turnover.

On the third pick, LaFleur noted there were two "busted routes" and Love had no choice but to try to hit a covered Amari Rodgers over the middle, and yet another deflected ball was picked.

"I thought there was a lot of good out there," LaFleur said. "All three interceptions were pretty unfortunate.

"I think two of those you totally take off him. I know he's going to want a couple of the throws back and certainly some reads. It's never perfect for a quarterback."

To his credit, Love didn't blame his teammates, and on the last interception he admitted his throw to Rodgers was too far inside.

"The ball wasn't bouncing our way tonight," Love said. "A couple misfortunate plays.

"I think for everybody it could have been a better night. The ball bounced weird ways and they capitalized on those plays. Obviously no one wants that to happen and it sucks when it does."

Love's first TD pass to Doubs was a perfectly thrown ball when Doubs beat his man cleanly off the line of scrimmage. The second came on a back-shoulder throw to undrafted rookie Danny Davis during the two-minute drill at the end of the half. The TDs covered 33 yards apiece.

2. Both Doubs and Davis showed they're rookies, though, too.

Doubs had a drop on a long-developing crossing route when Love was rolling left, and the competitor in him will say he should've caught the one that was picked off.

Davis made a nice adjustment to catch the back-shoulder ball and then followed with a slick inside move to get up the sideline and score.

"That one we changed the route at the line, and I gave him a go route," Love said. "The ball was still a little bit too far forward, but Danny made a great play to come back to get it."

Early in the second half, though, with No. 3 QB Danny Etling trying to finish a scoring drive, Davis nullified a fourth-down conversion by lining up offside. The mistake was compounded when kicker Gabe Brkic badly missed a 32-yard field goal.

3. The defense was also a mixed bag.

Green Bay's run defense held up well most of the game, limiting San Francisco to just 57 yards on 18 carries through the first three quarters (3.2 avg.).

The 49ers then gained 63 rushing yards on 11 fourth-quarter carries until three kneel-downs closed out the game.

The bigger glaring errors defensively came on two busted coverages in the first half that left receivers wide open for long touchdowns, a 76-yarder to Danny Gray and a 39-yarder to Ray-Ray McCloud.

"On one of them, we went up and challenged them, and the receiver made a nice move off the line of scrimmage, similar to the one Romeo scored his touchdown on," LaFleur said. "The other one Rico (Gafford) slipped on the back end.

"We gave up two big-time plays and had three turnovers on offense. That was ultimately the difference in the game."

4. The No. 1 offensive line looked stronger in the game than it has in some practices, and all the running backs had good moments.

The main unit up front for most of the first half featured (left to right) Yosh Nijman, Jon Runyan, Josh Myers, Jake Hanson and Royce Newman.

There were some struggles running the ball in short-yardage, leading to multiple fourth-down attempts, but by and large the pass protection held up well. Love wasn't sacked in 24 pass attempts. The only notable hiccups were two flags on Hanson.

"I thought the offensive line did a much better job," LaFleur said. "They held up really nicely throughout the course of the game. It wasn't perfect. There were a couple runs we could have blocked up better. But I was happy with the effort the guys gave, in every phase really."

For the running backs, undrafted rookie Tyler Goodson was the workhorse in the first half, gaining 61 total yards on 14 touches (12 rushes, 37 yards; two receptions, 24 yards).

Fellow undrafted rookie BJ Baylor started the second half by catching a wheel route out of the backfield from Etling and racing 68 yards downfield. Recent returnee Dexter Williams also broke off a 25-yard run on one of his three carries, and Patrick Taylor converted once in short yardage.

5. Special teams, like just about everything else, was up and down.

A penalty on the game's opening kickoff return wasn't the ideal start, but soon enough the special teams made a high-impact play with Amari Rodgers returning a late first-quarter kickoff 50 yards across midfield.

The black mark was Brkic's ugly hook left on the 32-yard field-goal try, following Baylor's long reception and the Davis penalty on fourth down. Brkic did go 3-for-3 on PATs.


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