Kaepernick, 49ers beat Packers by air
SAN FRANCISCO—Anquan Boldin's sensational San Francisco debut helped keep the 49ers on quite a roll against Green Bay.
And Vernon Davis did his part in a prolific passing game led by Colin Kaepernick in a 34-28 victory over the Packers on Sunday.
From Super Bowl champion Baltimore to contender again with another coach named Harbaugh, Boldin was unstoppable. He caught 13 passes for 208 yards and a touchdown.
Davis made a pair of TD catches as Kaepernick threw for a career-high 412 yards for the NFC champion Niners.
Boldin sure showed he is a reliable replacement for injured 2012 top wideout Michael Crabtree.
Frank Gore scored a go-ahead, 1-yard touchdown with 5:47 remaining as the 49ers made it three straight against Aaron Rodgers and Co., after beating Green Bay last September to open the season and then 45-31 in the NFC divisional playoffs.
Boldin sure has a knack for season openers, delivering with 10 catches for 217 yards in his first career game with Arizona, seven catches for 110 yards in his first outing for the Ravens in 2010—then this fine outing.
Kaepernick marched his team 80 yards on five plays to take the lead. The 49ers answered after Packers rookie Eddie Lacy put Green Bay ahead on a 2-yard run with 8:26 left.
Rodgers threw for 333 yards and three touchdowns, but the Packers departed from Candlestick Park with another defeat eight months after that embarrassing postseason game.
Boldin came back from an apparent twisted right knee early in the fourth quarter to deliver a 43-yard catch in the decisive drive. He also converted on fourth down with a 15-yard catch that set up Phil Dawson's late 33-yard field goal.
Standout rookies, stellar debuts, ill will—this one had it all. In a picture-perfect setting, to boot, as Candlestick Park kicked off its farewell season.
In this fierce rivalry between a pair of NFC favorites, Packers linebacker Clay Matthews made his point, too. The Packers promised to target Kaepernick, but they probably meant for it to be in bounds—not the way Matthews did it.
Matthews had a hit out-of-bounds on Kaepernick midway through the second quarter, and 49ers left tackle Joe Staley made contact with Matthews after the play and received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Both teams scuffled out of bounds, and the officials mistakenly replayed the down even though both penalties were dead-ball fouls.
San Francisco took the lead on that play when Kaepernick found Boldin for a 10-yard touchdown. Had it been fourth down, the Niners might have tried a field goal.
Jim Harbaugh, whose big brother, John, previously coached Boldin before trading him away, became the first coach in 49ers franchise history to win each of his first three season openers.
Davis had six catches for 98 yards on a sun-drenched day at sold-out Candlestick, where portable fans were used on the sidelines to keep players cool.
The Packers tied the game at 21 in the third quarter when Rodgers connected with Jordy Nelson for an 8-yard touchdown pass.
Davis made a pretty, reaching 37-yard catch on San Francisco's ensuing drive. Matthews sacked Kaepernick for a 7-yard loss and the Niners settled for a 27-yard field goal by Dawson, who hooked an earlier 48-yard attempt wide left.
Green Bay's defense spent nearly eight months determined to find ways to stop San Francisco's reliable read option and big-play, running quarterback. So San Francisco switched things to a more wide-open passing attack utilizing Boldin and Davis.
Top San Francisco draft pick Eric Reid had an interception in the safety's NFL debut.
Lacy, the former Alabama star drafted to boost a lackluster Green Bay running game, carried 14 times for 41 yards.