SAN FRANCISCO–The Packers rallied for a 14-14 tie with the 49ers at halftime of Sunday’s season opener at Candlestick Park.
With the score tied, 7-7, the Packers defense forced a punt early in the second quarter, but rookie running back Eddie Lacy fumbled on first down and the 49ers recovered the ball at the Packers 14-yard line. The fumble is reminiscent of Jeremy Ross’ fumble of a punt near his goal line in the January playoff game.
On a key third-and-one at the 5-yard line, the 49ers were flagged for illegal procedure. Frank Gore had rushed to the 3-yard line for what appeared to be a first and goal. The Packers had the 49ers stopped until Clay Matthews was flagged for a late hit on Kaepernick, but an ensuing dead-ball foul on the 49ers canceled Matthews’ penalty and caused the down to be replayed.
That was no problem for Kaepernick, who used the down-over play to pitch a 10-yard touchdown pass to Anquan Boldin on a quick slant. Safety Jerron McMillian whiffed on the tackle attempt. The 49ers led, 14-7.
Packers safety Morgan Burnett is inactive with a hamstring injury.
The Packers began a drive at their 13 later in the quarter. A 22-yard completion fron Aaron Rodgers to Jordy Nelson moved the ball across midfield. That’s when lightning struck the Packers in the form of a pass that bounced out of tight end Jermichael Finley’s hands and into the hands of 49ers rookie safety Eric Reid. Reid returned the interception to the Packers 3-yard line, where Rodgers made the saving tackle.
Automatic replay review, however, determined Reid had been touched down by Finley at the 49ers 44-yard line, with 4:28 to play in the first half.
Kaepernick immediately went to work. He threw a 22-yard completion to Boldin. Two plays later, however, Kaepernick was sacked by Matthews, forcing a third-and-18 on the first play inside the two-minute warning. Phil Dawson eventually missed wide to the left on a 48-yard field goal attempt, leaving the Packers with outstanding field position at their 38-yard line.
A pass to Finley and a roughing-the-passer penalty moved the ball to the 49ers 35-yard line with 1:24 to play. Guard Josh Sitton, however, was flagged for his third foul of the half, which helped create a third-and-20 from the 49ers 45. The Packers got a break when an offside penalty negated a Rodgers interception, and on third and 15 Nelson caught a pass along the sideline, broke a tackle and got the first down.
Rodgers found Nelson, again, this time over the middle at 15 with :42 to play in the half. John Kuhn converted a third-and-one and Rodgers followed that play with a 12-yard touchdown pass to Finley, who broke a tackle.
Rodgers was 14 of 23 for 203 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Kaepernick was 13 of 19 for 163 yards and two touchdowns. The Packers defense held the 49ers to 16 yards rushing.
Time of possession could become an issue in the second half, as the 49ers enjoy a seven-minute TOP advantage on a warm day.
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