There was no miracle finish this time for San Francisco, not even the hope of one. Instead, it was just one more bad performance for the 49ers, while the Green Bay Packers stayed close in the tight NFC Central race.
Brett Favre passed for two touchdowns and Green Bay’s defense held San Francisco’s struggling offense without a touchdown as the Packers sent the 49ers to their seventh straight loss, 20-3, Monday night.
“Brett carried the football team,” Packer Coach Ray Rhodes said. “He was putting the ball in guys’ hands who were making plays. I feel like we’re starting to come together.”
Not so for the 49ers, who are in the midst of their longest losing streak since 1980--when they dropped eight games in a row. San Francisco (3-8) is also assured of its first non-winning record since going 3-6 in the strike-shortened 1982 season.
And a crowd used to seeing the 49ers win turned on the home team, showering them with boos as the players were pelted by rain late in the game. The 49er offense has failed to score a touchdown in four of the last five games.
“Our offense is terrible. There’s no other way to say it,” tight end Greg Clark said.
Green Bay (6-5) pulled within a game of Detroit, Tampa Bay and Minnesota in the NFC Central and ran its record to 6-1 against the 49ers since 1995, including four playoff games.
San Francisco’s lone victory in that span came in last January’s wild-card playoff when Steve Young threaded a 25-yard touchdown pass to Terrell Owens through three defenders in the final seconds.
But this time, Young watched from the sideline. He has not played since suffering a concussion in Week 3 in a Monday night game against Arizona.
“It’s obvious it’s not the team that it has been,” said Favre, who completed 25 of 36 for 246 yards. “But I’m not here to knock them. Steve Young is the heart and soul of this team. They’ll be back. When you’ve been on top so long, you’ve got to be knocked down sometime.”
Rhodes, a former 49er assistant, got his first win in eight Monday night games. 49er Coach Steve Mariucci, a former Packer assistant, lost for the first time in eight Monday night games.
Steve Stenstrom, who began the season as the 49ers’ third-string quarterback, threw an interception in the end zone. On another occasion, he had the ball slip out of his hands trying to pass, and the 49ers had to scramble to recover the fumble.
Late in the game, running back Fred Beasley lost a fumble and wide receiver J.J. Stokes was flagged for pass interference in yet more signs of San Francisco’s ineptness on offense. The 49ers reached the Green Bay 1, but on third down Beasley was stopped short and Stenstrom’s fourth-down pass fell incomplete.