Late-game heroics from Niners quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo weren't enough to hold off the Packers in a loss suffered in Week 3 of the 2021 season. (Courtesy of San Francisco 49ers)

The Packers beat the Niners in a heartbreaker: Don’t panic

San Francisco is no better and no worse than you thought they were.

By Mychael Urban

Special to The Examiner

Sure, Sunday’s last-second loss to Green Bay in the home opener was a heartbreaker. But don’t go calling your local sports talk radio channel.

Did you have the Niners going undefeated this season?

Did you have them unbeaten after three games?

Did you think that graybeard under center for the Packers was past his due date?

If you answered, “No, no and no,” congrats. You’re a realistic fan, and there really aren’t many of them left. Good for you.

One game. One loss. 30-28. Relax. The Niners, now 2-1, are likely no better and no worse than you thought they were. Unless, of course, you thought they were going to go undefeated.

No? OK then. Good. You’ve got perspective. So drop the hangdog vibe.

Here’s what we learned Sunday night.

Aaron Rodgers is still really, really good

Sure, he stunk it up in Green Bay’s opener, but he was back to his Hall of Fame self in Week 2. And while yeah, he looks about 58 when the camera zooms through his facemask and settles on his crow’s feet, if you’re a Niners fan and weren’t thinking 37 seconds was too much time to give Rodgers when getting into field goal range was all he needed, feel free to YouTube the guy.

He’s pretty good at that kind of thing.

Especially when Mason Crosby is his kicker.

You do remember who was named NFL MVP last year, right?

Right. It was Graybeard. And until he’s Whitebeard, and maybe not even then, a team with a depleted secondary doesn’t stand a chance.

Jimmy G’s pretty good, too

Poor Garoppolo. Seriously. Even if you’re president of the Trey Lance fan club, give Jimmy his daps. If the Niners D played just 37 more really good seconds, he’s got a feather in his cap walking out to his car after the game.

Staring down the league’s reigning MVP by guiding a late-fourth-quarter TD drive for a prime-time win might’ve gotten the forever doubters to mellow out.

Now, he and Kyle Shanahan are going to be targets for the doubters once again, and that’s ridiculous. This was so not on either of them.

Trey, two, one

Yes, that’s a countdown of sorts. And we all know many fans are counting the days until the third overall pick is on the field for the entire game.

They’ll likely include Lance’s TD run that made everyone sit up straight and say, “We got a game now!”

Relax. That TD was Shanahan’s brilliance and Trent Williams’ burial of the poor fella in front of him.

Nobody’s saying Lance isn’t good or won’t be great. Quite the opposite. He’s a stud, that’s indisputable. But let’s wait for a crap game by Jimmy G in a loss before we start pining for another man.

And by the way, if opponents aren’t assigning a spy to keep tabs on Lance every time he takes the field this year, they’re dumber than Lloyd Christmas.

War of attrition

Nobody wants to hear about a team’s injuries killing their playoff hopes.

If you’re one of those people, click away from this column now.

Ready? Here goes, and it’s not earth-shattering analysis by any means: The Niners are sunk if they don’t figure out how to get right in the defensive backfield.

Josh Gordon was helping some. Then he got hurt Sunday. And he wasn’t the only DB to go down. And this, of course, is in the wake of several other secondary injuries.

Playing for the Niners’ secondary appears more dangerous than drumming for Spinal Tap.

Smile of the night

Nope, it wasn’t when Deebo Samuel made catch after tough catch.

It wasn’t Kyle Juszczyk or George Kittle thugging their way to big plays.

It was NBC’s ad for next Sunday. Brady vs. Pats … set to Adele’s “Hello.”

If that didn’t make you smile, you’re hopeless.

Mychael Urban is a freelance writer who has covered Bay Area sports for more than 30 years.


Niners tight end George Kittle made a key play late in a loss to the Packers during a Week 3 loss to the Packers. (Courtesy of San Francisco 49ers)

The 49er Faithful showed up in force for the first home game of the 2021 season, but Aaron Rodgers and the Packers ruined the party with a last-second field goal. (Courtesy of San Francisco 49ers)

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