The Green Bay Packers spent a portion of their 2013 offseason trying to figure out a way to stop running quarterbacks after Colin Kaepernick gashed their defense for an NFL quarterback record 181 rushing yards in a playoff loss to the 49ers.
It didn't work.
Kaepernick's legs were once again the difference in Sunday's game. His 98 rushing yards were the second-highest total of his career.
The two biggest plays of the game-winning drive were third-down conversions in which Kaepernick's escape artistry broke the backs of the Packers' defense. He avoided the pass rush to find Michael Crabtree for a 17-yard completion on third-and-10 and outran a gimpy Andy Mulumba for an 11-yard scamper to convert a third-and-8 scenario.
Dom Capers can take pride in the effort of an injury-depleted defense playing without run-stuffer Johnny Jolly and pass rusher Clay Matthews. The Packers also lost Mulumba and Mike Neal for portions of the game, leaving defensive end Datone Jones at outside linebacker -- a position he has never played above the high school level.
Even at full strength, though, Capers' defense surrendered the best passing game of Kaepernick's career back in September.
Sunday's game was just the second time since Halloween that the Packers held an opponent below 25 points.
Capers' beleaguered troops will be boosted by the return to health of Matthews, top cornerback Casey Hayward and talented young defensive end Jerel Worthy in 2014. After failing in three tries to beat Kaepernick, however, he's going to have to spend another offseason studying the possibility of schematic adjustments.
It's back to the drawing board for Green Bay's defensive coaching staff.