The Green Bay Packers hosted the San Francisco 49ers on “Monday Night Football” in Week 6.
The game got off to a pretty hectic pace with both teams scoring quick touchdowns. That pace never really let up as both teams gave their all in what was a very entertaining contest.
In the end, the Packers prevailed on a Mason Crosby Field goal with time expiring, beating the 49ers by three points, 33-30.
These are the biggest winners and losers from the game.
Winner: C.J. Beathard had a heck of a primetime debut
It’s been a rough season for C.J. Beathard, who has struggled with turnovers and has been beat up quite a bit. However, in the first primetime game of his young career, this second-year quarterback put on a show.
Operating with surgical precision until his late interception, Beathard completed 16-of-23 passes for 245 yards with two touchdowns. He picked up key yardage on the ground as well scrambling for first downs.
He also very nearly led a stunning victory for the road team at Lambeau Field, making a game nobody figured would even be close very entertaining, indeed.
Loser: Robert Saleh’s defense is a problem
Far too often, the 49ers were out of position defensively or were just straight-up never in position in the first place to defend what Aaron Rodgers and Co. were doing.
The Ty Montgomery touchdown sticks out like a sore thumb. Green Bay had four men lined up in bunch formation on the left side. Saleh had two defenders lined up opposite those four. It was an easy decision for Rodgers to toss the ball to Montgomery behind the line, and he pretty much waltzed in because the 49ers didn’t have enough defenders to swallow up the blockers.
There were many other instances where it was clear that Saleh had the wrong defenders lined up, which gave the Packers easy mismatches that Rodgers exploited. As if he needed those mismatches to begin with.
Just a terribly schemed game by Saleh, who really does seem out of his depth.
Winner: Matt Breida and Raheem Mostert were incredible
The 49ers moved the ball at will thanks to a devastating 1-2 punch at running back. Matt Breida, who was questionable to play due to an ankle injury, had a tremendous night, as did his backup, Raheem Mostert.
These two piled up 148 total yards on the ground, thanks in large part to the excellent work to the offensive linemen up front, and Breida pounded in a score.
The balance these two backs provided San Francisco’s offense allowed Kyle Shanahan a ton of flexibility to attack Green Bay’s defense any way he wanted to.
Loser: Packers’ pass rush was lacking
One of the big reasons why C.J. Beathard had such a strong night passing the ball around is that he really just didn’t face much pressure.
Coming into Monday night’s game, the Packers had done a solid job of this, racking up 16 sacks in five previous games. But on this night, the pressure up front was lacking. Green Bay managed to sack Beathard just two times and hit him a grand total of four times.
Even a bad quarterback can find open receivers when he has time. Beathard isn’t bad, and he made the Packers pay.
Winner: Marquise Goodwin went off
Goodwin has struggled with a hamstring injury and missed two games this year because of it. The speedy receiver wasn’t active last weekend because of the nagging injury, and he had managed just five catches for 54 yards and one touchdown this year.
But on Monday night he was back on the field for the 49ers and exploded with a monster game.
Catching four passes for 126 yards and two touchdowns (both in the first half), Goodwin became the first 49ers player to catch two touchdowns in a game since Garrett Celek did it back in 2015.
Loser: Mike McCarthy refuses to make Aaron Jones his bell cow
Aaron Jones is the best offensive playmaker on Green Bay’s roster not named Aaron Rodgers. Right now (and probably for quite a while), Rodgers is banged up and not moving around well because of his knee injury.
Every time Jones touches the ball he’s a threat to break off huge chunks of yards. Yet Mike McCarthy continues to abstain from making him a bell-cow running back. On Monday night, Jones only received eight carries. But he was highly effective with those carries, going for 51 yards.
Monday night’s game was never one that saw the Packers trailing by more than one score. Aaron Rodgers didn’t need to throw the ball 46 times. McCarthy’s stubbornness isn’t helping the offense. If anything, it’s hurting it quite a bit.
Winner: Mason Crosby and Robbie Gould were perfect
It’s been a brutal year for placekickers around the NFL. One of the men who’s had his name plastered across the nation for all the wrong reasons is Mason Crosby, who had a career-worst game last weekend.
On Monday night, both Crosby and Robbie Gould were flawless. The combined to make all seven of their field-goal attempts and converted all six of their extra points.
Oh, and of course, Crosby hit the game-winner.
Loser: Jimmie Ward got torched
49ers fans cringe whenever Jimmie Ward is heavily featured on the corner. His performance Monday night was certainly cringe-worthy.
First, Ward gave up the 60-yard pass on the Packers’ first play from scrimmage. Later in the first quarter he was one of the defenders in zone who let Jimmy Graham (you know, the really slow older tight end?) get behind him for a 54-yard gain.
Those are just the glaring examples that “highlighted” a miserable performance by this defensive back.
Winner: Aaron Rodgers continues to amaze
It wasn’t Rodgers’ sharpest game. He got hit a bunch and definitely still is favoring that left leg. He missed some throws that he’d normally be able to make with his eyes closed.
Yet as we’ve seen seemingly countless times before, when he needed to make a play, Rodgers found a way.
The savvy veteran finished the game with 425 yards and two touchdowns passing, including the game-tying touchdown to Davante Adams late in the fourth quarter.
He then drove the Packers 81 yards on 10 plays in just over a minute at the end of the game, pulling yet another fourth quarter comeback win out of his hat.