Coaching decision: Coach Mike McCarthy didn’t like that he was questioned about his decision to accept an illegal formation penalty in the second quarter on third-and-1 from the 5-yard line. The Packers stopped Frank Gore for no gain on the play, which would have set up a fourth-and-1. Instead, the 49ers got a third-and-6 play from the 10, which was the play on which Clay Matthews hit Colin Kaepernick late out of bounds and the fracas ensued.
“We went for third-and-6,” McCarthy said. “Obviously, the play went into another sequence of plays where there were two fouls called. I don’t really think that even factored in the game. So if that’s your criticism, then that’s fine.”
Bouncing back from turnovers: After running back Eddie Lacy fumbled and tight end Jermichael Finley dropped a pass that was intercepted, both got shots at redemption. Lacy bounced back from his second-quarter fumble and, after getting benched for a couple of series, scored his first NFL touchdown on a 2-yard dive over the pile in the fourth quarter.
“You pretty much have to sit out and get your mind back right and calm yourself down,” Lacy said. “It was my first regular-season game, and you just have to calm down and go out and play the game that they know I’m capable of playing.”
After Finley’s dropped pass resulted in an interception for safety Eric Reid, quarterback Aaron Rodgers went right back to Finley on the first play of the next series. Finley finished with five catches for 56 yards and a touchdown.
“He said, ‘Big fella, I’m coming back to you,’” Finley said. “That gives me confidence.”
Big days spoiled: For the first time since Week 6 of last season at Houston, the Packers had a pair of 100-yard receivers. Jordy Nelson caught seven passes for 130 yards and a touchdown, while Randall Cobb caught seven passes for 108 yards for a touchdown. But neither was in a mood to celebrate. “Nothing individual means anything if you lose,” Nelson said.
Jolly’s return: Defensive tackle Johnny Jolly played more snaps than perhaps anyone could have imagined in his first game since getting reinstated after a three-year suspension. He experienced cramps late in the game and afterward sat in his locker and looked exhausted.
“It was good, but you know it’s not about me right now,” said Jolly, who had two tackles. “We’re a team, and that’s how we’re going to be.”