NFL: Alex Smith, 49ers stop Rodgers, beat Pack in season opener

By Chris Jenkins

Associated Press

Published: Sunday, Sept. 9 2012 10:06 p.m. MDT

Green Bay Packers' Sam Shields (37) watches as referees talk about a play during the first half of an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

Associated Press

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Randy Moss found his way back to familiar turf, celebrating a touchdown at Lambeau Field in his new uniform.

The San Francisco 49ers' defense kept Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers out of the end zone for most of the day — then made sure they didn't give the game away.

Showing the same brand of dominant defense that powered them to the NFC championship game last season, the 49ers smothered Rodgers and the Packers offense, then made one last stand to stop a late rally in a 30-22 victory on Sunday.

49ers linebacker Ahmad Brooks said the 49ers' win could be an "eye opener" for the Packers, and a sign that the 49ers are poised for another big playoff run.

"Maybe we'll see them again in the NFC championship," Brooks said.

Facing a Packers team that lost only once in the 2011 regular season was a tough opening road test, but the 49ers were more than ready.

"We were just tremendously on it today, and that was a big part of our victory," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said.

Things went so well for San Francisco that when David Akers tried a 63-yard field goal at the end of the first half, it bounced off the crossbar and then kept going through the uprights to tie an NFL record.

"When you hit the goal post at any part it usually makes that horrific noise and then it usually bounces back," Akers said. "This time it got there. It was a sweet bounce. It was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime type of a deal."

The Packers came into their opener with hopes that a rebuilt defense and improved running game could help get them back to the Super Bowl after coming up short in the playoffs last season.

"They've got a great defense," Rodgers said. "You've got to give them credit. They've got some of the top guys in the league at their position."

Rodgers finished the game as the Packers' leading rusher, with new addition Cedric Benson gaining just 18 yards on nine carries.

The Packers don't have long to prepare for their next game, Thursday night at home against the division rival Chicago Bears.

Rodgers cautioned against blowing one loss out of proportion.

"It's one game," Rodgers said. "This is a team that was in the NFC championship last year. It's a good team. Hopefully we see them down the road in the playoffs."

Rodgers finished 30 of 44 for 303 yards with two touchdowns and an interception, but the 49ers held him in check until late the in the game. Jermichael Finley had a 1-yard touchdown for the Packers.

Alex Smith was 20 of 26 for 211 yards and two touchdowns while Frank Gore rushed for 112 yards and a touchdown.

Moss scored a 14-yard touchdown in the second quarter, a familiar — and painful — sight for Packers fans.

Moss turned his back to the crowd and pointed to the name on his jersey, opting for a more subdued celebration than the now-notorious fake mooning motion he made toward fans at Lambeau during his Minnesota Vikings days.

Linebacker Patrick Willis said the 49ers made a statement.

"You turn on the TV or you hear people say, 'No, the Packers are going to beat them by two or three touchdowns,' and you hear everybody saying all this and that," Willis said. "But we know what we have and we have complete confidence in one another here across the board, offense, defense and special teams. As long as we have that and we're still together, I think we're capable of doing anything."

Sunday's NFL scores

Chicago 41, Indianapolis 21

Minnesota 26, Jacksonville 23, OT

Houston 30, Miami 10

New England 34, Tennessee 13

Washington 40, New Orleans 32

Atlanta 40, Kansas City 24

N.Y. Jets 48, Buffalo 28

Detroit 27, St. Louis 23

Philadelphia 17, Cleveland 16

Arizona 20, Seattle 16

San Francisco 30, Green Bay 22

Tampa Bay 16, Carolina 10

Pittsburgh at Denver, 8:20 p.m.

Get The Deseret News Everywhere

Subscribe

Mobile

RSS