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Packers have soul-searching to do after blowout loss

The Green Bay Packers exited the playoff picture last season believing they were done in by a bad night at the wrong time.

The Packers can't possibly feel the same way after their latest postseason ouster, an ugly 45-31 pounding by the San Francisco 49ers on Saturday that will trigger some serious soul-searching at Lambeau Field.

This was an embarrassing loss for the franchise, a game in which Aaron Rodgers watched from the sideline while Colin Kaepernick presented himself as the new world order at the quarterback position. Kaepernick passed for 263 yards and rushed for 183 more, shredding Green Bay in the read-option.

Kaepernick set a NFL record for rushing yards by a quarterback and was personally responsible for four touchdowns. It was equal parts validation for Jim Harbaugh and a coronation for Kaepernick.

This will be incredibly difficult game tape for to digest for Packers coach Mike McCarthy. The 49ers rolled up 579 yards of total offense, video-game production that could have grave consequences for defensive coordinator Dom Capers. After an early pick-six, the Packers simply weren't competitive when their defense was on the field.

And that's the shame of it for Green Bay. The Packers have the game's best quarterback in Aaron Rodgers, smack in the prime of his career. Given the opportunity, Rodgers undoubtedly would've kept the Packers in this game. He might have even won it. But the failures on defense were so egregious that Rodgers was essentially taken out of the equation.

"It's pretty frustrating. We put a lot into this," Rodgers said. "Now you stand here and realize that's the last time that group will be together, we'll be a different team next year. There will be additions, subtractions, that's the most frustrating part. ... To go out and play like that is disappointing."

Which brings us back to Capers. In the Packers' last three playoff losses, Green Bay has allowed 51, 37 and 45 points. A win in Super Bowl XLV earned plenty of rope for McCarthy and his staff, but there's no hiding the weak link now.

Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @DanHanzus.

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