‘Don’t Be Stupid’ And Assume Same Result in Rematch
GREEN BAY, Wis. – If you think San Francisco’s 37-8 beatdown of the Green Bay Packers on Nov. 24 means a darned thing with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line on Sunday, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan would like to have a word with you.
“Don’t be that stupid,” Shanahan told 49ers beat reporters on Monday.
No doubt, those words were intended as much for his players as the media. San Francisco was dominant that night in every phase. Aaron Rodgers’ 38 dropbacks resulted in a mere 66 net passing yards. Aaron Jones averaged 2.9 yards per carry, Davante Adams averaged 3.58 yards per target and Green Bay failed to convert its first 14 third-down plays. On the other side of the ball, Jimmy Garoppolo had a 145.8 passer rating, the Niners averaged 5.1 yards per carry and tight end George Kittle was unstoppable.
The 49ers are healthier than they were for that game and will once again be at home. Based on all of that, there’s little reason to believe the outcome for Round 2 will be appreciably different.
“That’s not real. This is about Sunday's game,” Shanahan said.
That’s not coach-speak. Shanahan’s words are rooted in experience, and it’s a point he’ll no doubt drive home to his players this week. First and foremost, there’s a two-week span late in the 2015 season when Shanahan was with Atlanta.
“I could give a thousand stories of things like that, parts and plenty of games from my history that I've been a part of,” he continued. “I remember losing to Carolina 38-0 when they were 13-0 and we had to play them two weeks later and then we beat them at Atlanta and they ended up being 15-1 that year. There's so many stories like that and this is the NFL. The game before never matters like that. There's four teams left and it's four very, very good teams. It's going to be a hard game for all of us. Also, our players, the type of guys they are, the way they've been all year, I'm not concerned about that. They'll have to answer that question, I'm sure, a lot, but I don't think that'll be a worry for our players, which means it won't be for me.”
A few days after that game, when asked about a potential playoff rematch, Packers receiver Davante Adams noted the Packers won’t start this game with a 29-point deficit.
“It doesn’t matter what happened earlier. It doesn’t matter if we’re playing against the Monstars,” Adams said.
It’s a mentality echoed by receiver Allen Lazard on Monday.
“I don’t see it as a hill to climb," he said. "We’re not down 29 going into the game. We know we played our worst game of the season in that game, and they’re obviously very good and they played a really good game. We know we’re not going to go out there and lay an egg this time.”
After the Packers victory over the Seahawks on Sunday, rookie head coach Matt LaFleur went home and relaxed with his family for an hour before hitting the sack. There would be no Victory Monday for him or his staff. After waking up, it was right back to the grind of finding answers to beat the team that crushed his squad a month-and-a-half ago.
“I’m going to look at everything,” he said. “And everything that anybody that’s had success against them. I mean, that’s a really good team. In all three phases. They’ve got obviously one of the top defenses, I think it’s one of the top offenses and they’re really solid on special teams. I’ve got a lot of respect for everybody over there. We have a big challenge in front of us. But it’s something that I think our guys are going to roll up their sleeves and come in and prepare the right way and be ready to go.”