Aaron Rodgers’ demise greatly overstated, 49ers are for real

The Green Bay Packers vs. San Francisco 49ers Sunday Night Football game was less electric than previous weeks, but Aaron Rodgers produced.

Sunday Night Football wasn’t the most entertaining product this week, but the game was incredibly high quality. Aaron Rodgers led the Green Bay Packers to a 30-28 win over the San Francisco 49ers. With 37 seconds left and no timeouts, Rodgers led the Packers to the 49ers’ 33-yard line, where Mason Crosby kicked a game-winning 51-yard field goal. The biggest takeaway from the Packers vs. 49ers game — both these teams are legitimate NFC contenders.

Aaron Rodgers is #BuiltDifferent

This old, greasy man still has it. The throw he made to Davante Adams over the middle was just over Fred Warner’s outstretched arms. Rodgers is still a magician. He makes throws that don’t make sense. And he’s back to being consistently deadly on a down-to-down basis.

He completed 69.7% of his passes on Sunday night despite averaging 11 air yards per attempt. But the most impressive part was guys weren’t just out there running wide open. No, Rodgers is back to being the pinpoint gunslinger against man coverage. He’s still one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, even if some wanted to write his eulogy after Week 1.

His trust in Adams is extraordinary. Their on-field relationship shines in the way they connect on back-shoulder throws. Tonight, they combined for 18 targets. The next closest receiver was Marquez Valdes-Scantling with 4.

The 49ers are good enough to contend in the NFC West

I underestimated this football team heading into the season, but I should have trusted in the all-seeing, all-knowing Las Vegas oddsmakers. The 49ers are not and should not be seen as the division favorites, but they appear to be the second-most complete team in the NFC West, despite objectively having the least-appealing QB1 in the conference.

Jimmy Garoppolo is not good, but good enough for San Francisco

Through three games, Garoppolo has only thrown 4 passes farther than 20 yards downfield. The 49ers are in a unique position where they’ve built an offensive depth chart that excels in yards after the catch, so downfield shots aren’t necessary. That doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be nice to see them able to challenge defenses vertically.

Garoppolo is also inaccurate. He completes fewer passes than anticipated, according to Next Gen Stats. Far too many of his throws minimize YAC due to bad placement. However, he’s good enough for the 49ers to win football games. At the end of the day, that’s all that matters … for now.

Yet, throwing the ball backward is something an eight-year veteran shouldn’t have a problem with.

Officiating is hurting the NFL product

It’s 2021, and still, nobody knows what a catch is. The inconsistency on defensive and offensive pass interference has gone so far beyond agitating that I’ve started to develop a twitch every time a pass is thrown past 10 yards. Breathing on a quarterback wrong can be roughing the passer, but when a receiver gets chinned, we brush that off as football.

It’s disgusting and so widespread that there is no solution — except there might be. We saw it in the AAF, albeit briefly, and it was magical.

The “Eye in the Sky” is not there to belittle officials for missed or poor calls. It’s there to be as accurate as humanly possible, with the help of as many camera angles as one’s brain can comprehend.

But the Adams hit and the Garoppolo roughing the passer calls being so close to one another was just beautiful irony.

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