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Around the NFC West: 49ers go cold

Taylor Price of 49ers.com says the 26-degree weather in Green Bay wasn't as cold as the team's offense in the red zone. Quarterback Troy Smith has completed 2 of 7 passes for 20 yards, one touchdown, no interceptions and a 79.2 rating on passes thrown from inside opponents' 20-yard lines. Former starter Alex Smith completed 21 of 28 passes for 136 yards with eight touchdowns, no interceptions and a 124.4 rating in that area of the field. Troy Smith has given the 49ers a much greater big-play ability, but the offense can be less efficient with him under center. I'm not sure which quarterback I would rather have on the field at this point. Troy Smith completed only 40 percent Sunday.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee checks in with 49ers president Jed York, who says the team still has playoff aspirations. York: "Our guys can't give up."

Also from Barrows: "Linebacker Patrick Willis said he thought the key play in the game came on a third-and-one situation in the second quarter when outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks, who started ahead of injured Parys Haralson, jumped offside. That gave (Aaron) Rodgers a free play, and he took advantage of it with an aggressive throw to receiver Greg Jennings deep down the sideline. Jennings caught the ball over cornerback Shawntae Spencer and then plowed through a tackle attempt by Reggie Smith for a 57-yard touchdown. The Packers never trailed again."

More from Barrows: The 49ers held up against Rodgers for all of one quarter.

David White of the San Francisco Chronicle says the 49ers found a kicker, only to use him too frequently. White: "Consider the job all but officially his for the rest of the season. The 49ers plan to place kicker Joe Nedney on the season-ending injured reserve list as soon as today, according to a team source, with a right knee injury that hasn't gotten better after three weeks off."

Also from White: The 49ers got a first-hand look at a playoff team. Willis: "We had the mind-set of showing the world what we're capable of doing against a very good football team. We just found a way to lose it, kind of like we've done the whole year."

More from White: a 49ers report card noting that Green Bay converted all five times on third-and-1.

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says the 49ers played without Parys Haralson and then lost nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin to a groin injury.

Also from Maiocco: He did not see much fight from the 49ers against the Packers.

Eric Branch of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says the 49ers were no match for Rodgers. Branch: "In his past four games, Rodgers has thrown 11 touchdowns and no interceptions and has averaged 308 yards. He actually hasn't thrown an interception since Oct. 24, a span of 177 attempts. San Francisco's ravaged defense was sufficiently impressed."

Also from Branch: He thought the 49ers were too conservative during their defeat at Green Bay. Not that the 49ers were going to win a shootout with Rodgers.

More from Branch: additional thoughts on the 49ers' philosophy against the Packers. Branch: "It might be more tolerable to lose while acknowledging, for example, that (Brian) Westbrook isn't Frank Gore. Westbrook had nine carries. And, on the play-by-play sheet, seven of those runs were up the middle and one was over left guard. Westbrook did run outside on one occasion ... when San Francisco was trailing 34-16 with three minutes remaining. Last week, the Falcons beat the Packers 20-17 in a game in which running back Michael Turner (23 carries, 110 yards) attacked Green Bay on the outside."

More yet from Branch: a 49ers report card with a "D" grade for Troy Smith.

Mark Purdy of the San Jose Mercury News sees little from the 49ers suggesting the team would finish the season strong. Purdy: "The 49ers did absolutely nothing Sunday to make any sane human think this team is capable of winning three or four more games. To be sure, the Packers were the better team. Heavy favorites. But you'd like to say that the 49ers, even in defeat, showed enough moxie and spunk to give them semi-momentum going into next weekend's must-win against Seattle."

Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News offers a 49ers report card featuring a C-minus grade for the passing offense.

Also from Brown: "If the 49ers are going to seize their playoff hopes, they will have to hold on tighter than they did against the Packers. A sensational catch-and-run by Donald Driver typified the 49ers' defensive frustrations. Driver shook off repeated tackle attempts on his way to a 61-yard touchdown."