Thursday , October 21 2021

Packers-49ers mess shows COVID-19 becoming greater threat to NFL schedule

The NFL made the choice to permit the Packers and 49ers to play Thursday regardless of COVID-19 considerations on each side throughout a brief week.  

It led to a one-sided blowout. Inexperienced Bay gained 34-17 and the second half might have been mistaken for an exhibition when the 49ers had been on offense.

PACKERS-49ERS: Scoring updates, highlights from ‘TNF’ game

This was nowhere close to final yr’s NFC championship recreation, which was no less than a aggressive blowout. The finish consequence would possibly not have been averted even when the groups waited till Sunday, Monday and even Tuesday.

That is a byproduct of the league’s determination. San Francisco continues by way of a season that can’t be thought-about a Tremendous Bowl hangover as a result of, nicely, hangovers are by no means this dangerous. 

Jimmy Garoppolo, George Kittle and Nick Bosa had been already misplaced to damage. The league’s COVID-19 testing protocols left the 49ers much more short-handed.  

Brandon Aiyuk, Kendrick Bourne and Deebo Samuel had been three of the 49ers’ high 4 targets this season. Kittle was the opposite. In consequence, backup quarterback Nick Mullens was throwing to a solid that included Richie James, Trent Taylor, Ross Dwelley and River Cracraft. These 4 got here into the sport with a mixed 15 catches for 177 yards this season and sure had been the topic of a number of “Who’s?” Google searches through the recreation.

The 49ers (Four-5) had been at a aggressive drawback towards the Packers, who had COVID-19 problems with their very own. Third-string working again A.J. Dillon examined constructive on Monday and backup working again Jamaal Williams was thought-about a “shut contact.”  Operating again Aaron Jones was energetic after lacking the final two video games, however had Jones sat out, the Packers would have been right down to Tyler Ervin and Dexter Williams, who had a mixed 4 carries coming in.  

The Packers (6-2) additionally needed to make a West Coast journey after their facility was shut down Monday. So why did the NFL let this recreation occur on a brief week? The brief reply could be that the Packers already had their bye in Week 5 and a postponement would have created one other scheduling hurdle. 

Issues will not get simpler within the second half of the season. CBS Sports activities reported Thursday that 40 percent of NFL teams had no less than one COVID-19 case this week. The USA set a single-day report with greater than 120,000 COVID-19 cases Thursday.  

School soccer will face the identical hurdles, however the Energy 5 conferences are enjoying abbreviated schedules of between six and 10 video games. Applications equivalent to Florida and Wisconsin have needed to take prolonged pauses, nevertheless it’s simpler to cobble collectively a four-team playoff than a 16-game season.  

The NFL has already had talks about increasing this season’s playoff discipline from seven groups in every convention to eight, maybe as self-defense for the mess that may very well be created by COVID-19 in November and December. Will the NFL need to shorten the common season? That is an uncomfortable query that might come up.

MORE: How a 16-team playoff would work

Up to now, the NFL has been capable of alter. That mentioned, 22 groups have had their bye weeks — and 7 groups have had their bye weeks moved. COVID-19 might have a major influence on the second half of the schedule and drive the NFL to make extra worth selections just like the one it made Thursday.  

Was it the best name? It is laborious to say both manner. The 49ers are an excessive case as a result of the group has handled a ridiculous variety of accidents, however COVID-19 positively affected play. The product suffered, and it felt extra like a late-season throwaway recreation than a midseason recreation between two NFC playoff contenders.

Sadly, this gained’t be the final recreation prefer it in 2020.  

There are a number of tougher selections to come back.

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