By Cam Inman, Contra Costa Times –
GREEN BAY, Wis. — Randy Moss celebrated his emergence from a one-year retirement with, in part, a 14-yard touchdown catch Sunday to help spark the 49ers’ season-opening win.
Moss didn’t start but still saw significant action, and none better than his touchdown that put the 49ers ahead 10-0 in their eventual 30-22 win over Green Bay.
“We got what we were looking for, and he blew open,” quarterback Alex Smith said. “His eyes lit up bigger than mine, and he made a great catch.”
It was Moss’ ninth touchdown in nine games at Lambeau Field, and no one ever has caught more touchdowns against the Packers than Moss’ 14 in regular-season action.
“He had a lot of juice,” 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said. “He blocked well. He got open. He was a great big target in there a couple times, and so was Mario Manningham and (Michael) Crabtree.”
That receiving trio figured to improve the 49ers’ passing attack this season, and they combined on 15 receptions for 152 yards. Moss caught all four passes Smith threw his way for 47 yards. Crabtree had a team-high seven catches for 76 yards, and Manningham, in his 49ers debut, had four receptions for 29 yards.
Moss’ touchdown was his first since Oct. 24, 2010, that also coming at Green Bay, when he caught a Brett Favre pass for the Minnesota Vikings. Sunday’s touchdown vaulted Moss into sole possession of second place on the NFL’s all-time touchdown reception list with 153. Moss had been tied with Terrell Owens and now trails only Jerry Rice (197).
Crabtree and Kyle Williams lined up as the starting receivers before Moss and Manningham promptly entered on that opening series. Moss was not available for comment after the game.
—Harbaugh declined to publicly chastise the officiating crew, made up of replacements amid the league’s lockout of the regular officials. Harbaugh wouldn’t even reveal the explanation he was given after officials threw a flag, then opted not to call an illegal block against the Packers on Randall Cobb’s 75-yard interception return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. “I don’t know what I’m supposed to say or not say, so I’ll let you write the story,” said Harbaugh, who lost both his replay challenges.
Officials enforced 18 penalties in the game, eight against the 49ers for 66 yards and 10 against the Packers for 77 yards. “There were calls on both sides that were interesting,” Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. “A couple of plays were either no calls that should have been calls, or not the correct call.”
—Frank Gore produced the largest opening-day rushing totals of his eight-year career, managing 112 yards on 16 carries. It was Gore’s 30th career 100-yard game, and he became the first 49er to eclipse the century mark on opening day since Garrison Hearst ran for 187 yards in the 1998 overtime win over the Jets.
Gore’s 23-yard, fourth-quarter touchdown run was his longest of the day, and he endured a hard hit from cornerback Tramon Williams while backpedaling across the goal line.
—Tight end Vernon Davis (three receptions, 43 yards) has caught a touchdown pass in each of his four career games against the Packers. Regarding Smith’s 4-yard touchdown pass to Davis in the third quarter, Harbaugh called it “a great throw, putting it in the only spot it could be.”
—Coming off a 14-sack rookie season, Aldon Smith’s first sack this season was a controversial one. After tripping up Rodgers on the Packers’ debut series, Smith pulled off his own helmet and drew a 15-yard, unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty.
—Cornerback Carlos Rogers’ first sack of his career snuffed out the Packers’ opening series, and it came on a third-down blitz.
—Kyle Williams was flawless fielding punts in place of an injured Ted Ginn Jr., totaling three fair catches while his only return went for 20 yards.
—Ginn (right ankle) was inactive, as were running backs Brandon Jacobs (left knee) and LaMichael James, guard Joe Looney, nose tackle Ian Williams, tight end Garrett Celek and quarterback Scott Tolzien.
—Sprinkles of red-clad 49ers fans appeared in every section among the crowd of 70,523, the 303rd consecutive sellout at Lambeau Field.
—Rodgers has thrown a touchdown pass in 30 consecutive regular-season home games, a franchise record. This was his 23rd career game in which he’s passed for over 300 yards.
—Packers linebacker Clay Matthews, often taking on left tackle Joe Staley, produced 21/2 sacks.
—Harbaugh joined George Seifert as the 49ers’ only coaches to have won season openers in their first two years.
—The 49ers are 7-2 on the road under Harbaugh, the second-best mark in 49ers history behind Seifert’s 16-0 start on the road.
—The 49ers are 11-0 when Alex Smith has a passer rating over 100, and Sunday he posted a 125.6.