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September 8, 2013
Late hits, mistackles mark first half between Packers-49ers

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If you didn't see a late hit on Colin Kaepernick coming in the run-up to today's game, you weren't paying attention.

The Packers defensive players, mainly linebacker Clay Matthews, said they were prepared to rattle both the 49ers quarterback and the 49ers coaching staff by hitting Kaepernick when he ran out of the read option formation.

Kaepernick didn't have any read-option runs in the first half, but he took off on scrambles three times, including on a third-down scenario near the goal line. Kaepernick ran out of bounds short of the first-down marker but Matthews still hauled him down well out of bounds.

That drew a penalty, but so did the 49ers' reaction to the obvious late hit. Joe Staley was flagged for a personal foul, and the penalties offset, erasing the most intriguing play so far. When the was replayed, Kaepernick hit Anquan Boldin on a slant pattern for a yard touchdown, giving San Francisco a 14-7 lead.

Kaepernick, who eight months ago set a rushing record for a quarterback against Green Bay, has done nearly all of his damage as a passer. He's thrown for 177 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown to Vernon Davis in the first half. He has 10 rushing yards. The 49ers retaliated with a late hit on Aaron Rodgers -- committed by linebacker Ahmad Brooks -- on a drive that also led to a touchdown.

Mistackles by the defense also led to big plays by the Packers.

Linebacker NaVorro Bowman couldn't bring down running back Eddie Lacy on a screen pass, and he picked up 31 yards to the San Francisco- 5-yard line. That led to a short touchdown pass to Randall Cobb. At the end of the half, the 49ers had Green Bay in a third-and-long scenario but Nnamdi Asomugha could not tackle Jordy Nelson after a short pass, and he picked up the first down. Later in the drive, cornerback Perrish Cox failed to tackle tight end Jermichael Finley, who continued down the sideline for a touchdown that tied the game at 14.

Asomugha has played every defensive snap so far for the 49ers. Save for the mistackle and a 31-yard gain by Nelson in the first quarter, he has played well. Rookie Eric Reid also got his first career interception after Finley bobbled a pass from Rodgers. He also won a jump ball in the end zone on a free play for the Packers. The interception didn't count, of course, but a reception for a touchdown would have.

Despite having perhaps the best offensive line in the NFL, the 49ers have not dedicated themselves to running the ball. They have just 16 yards on the ground at the half, and Frank Gore has seven carries for eight yards.

Phil Dawson missed his first attempt of the season, wide left, from 48 yards.

-- Matt Barrows



MATTHEW BARROWS

Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.

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