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 tough 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," Packers 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."
And a crowd used to seeing the 49ers win turned on the home team, showering them with boos even as the players were pelted by rain late in the game.
"Our offense is terrible. There's no other way to say it," San Francisco tight end Greg Clark said of an offense that has produced just one touchdown in the last five games.
Green Bay (6-5) pulled within a game of Detroit, Tampa Bay and Minnesota in the NFC Central with five remaining and ran its record to 6-1 against the 49ers since 1995, including four playoff encounters.
But this time, Young watched from the sidelines, probably out for the rest of the season with a concussion suffered Sept. 27.
"It's obvious it's not the team that it has been," Favre said. "But I'm not hre 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 49ers assistant, got his first win in eight Monday night games. The 49ers saw one more streak end when San Francisco coach Steve Mariucci, a former Packers assistant, lost for the first time in eight Monday night games.
Steve Stenstrom, who began the year as the team's third-string QB, threw an end zone interception to end one promising drive. 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, Fred Beasley lost a fumble and J.J. Stokes was flagged for offensive pass interference in yet more signs of San Francisco's free-falling offense. The 49ers reached the Green Bay 1, and had a third-and-goal but Beasley was stopped short, then Stenstrom's fourth-down pass fell incomplete.
|Brett Favre threw two touchdown passes Monday night..|
But Stenstrom has yet to throw for a score in his three starts. And San Francisco has failed to score in double figures in the past four games for the first time in franchise history.
Green Bay, seeking a playoff berth for a seventh straight season, was sluggish offensively at the start but drew a key pass interference penalty to get going. Corey Bradford blew by cornerback Ramos McDonald, who was forced to grab him to prevent a long touchdown. The 47-yard penalty took the ball to the San Francisco 33 and five plays later Bradford finished the drive with a 13-yard scoring pass from Favre.
Ryan Longwell, who missed a 30-yard field goal try earlier, came back to make a 23-yarder to put Green Bay up 10-3 at halftime and Favre extended the lead with a 10-yard scoring pass to Tyrone Davis with 3:43 remaining in the third quarter.
Longwell added a 22-yard field goal with 11:36 remaining.
"We'd like to score more points," said Favre, who completed 25 of 36 for 246 yards. "We didn't turn the ball over and we didn't have many penalties."
San Francisco scored first, helped by an acrobatic over-the-shoulder catch by Rice that went for 32 yards, his longest reception of the season. But the drive stalled and Wade Richey kicked a 35-yard field goal.
Even though it allowed the 49ers to avoid their first shutout since 1977, it marked the fourth time in 11 games San Francisco scored only field goals.
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