Game Thoughts Packers/Bears

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  • Phenomenal win. No way. Just a fantastic win. We hung in there even when things looked quite grim. We overcame a number of mistakes on offense, defense, special teams and coaching. Seriously if we can win a game making those kinds of mistakes, imagine what we might be able to do absent a number of those mistakes.
  • Rodgers is amazing. That was one of the most clutch passes I’ve ever seen. Big moments call for people who aren’t afraid of the stage.
  • Jordy was also huge today. He is so underrated. 161 yards receiving.
  • Let Rodgers huge play here today on 4th and 8 erase our memory of 4th and 26! Completing 3 fourth downs on that final drive takes a lot of guts – just to execute under that kind of pressure is phenomenal. This team continues to surprise.
  • These wins are reminding me of the days of the “Heart Attack Pack” – when we kept winning barely, and at the last second. While I’d prefer less exciting endings, I’ll take them.
  • As excited as I am that we’ve pushed through to the playoffs, I think the fact that we’ve arrived here has more to do with our pathetic division (Bears/Detroit totally crumbled) than the Packers being great. But still, we did what we needed to do to win.
  • We won this game despite having to deal with some shady officiating. I don’t like to harp on that a whole lot typically but there were 3 calls that were terrible today. Quarless caught that ball, Eddie Lacy had that first down (which caused us to go for it on 4th deep in our territory), and Nelson was flattened on that last TD pass to Cobb. That last one was one of the worst no calls I’ve ever seen. Those were all critical plays.
  • I posted this a bunch of times throughout the game but McCarthy should have gone for 2 after that TD with 11 or so minutes left. Throw that decision into a pile of questionable coaching/game management decisions (end of the first half clock management issues, multiple timeouts that would have been avoided if our communication were better, continuing to throw on 1st down). McCarthy needs to be better on those game management decisions and I can’t help but think that if he weren’t so focused on playcalling, he’d be better at managing games and staying current with the flow of games.
  • The Bears D is really bad. They played hard today and eventually seemed to figure out our running game, but that is a bad defense. In the playoffs, there will be much better defenses we’ll need to contend with – starting next week.
  • Our defense wasn’t good either – though I suppose holding the Bears to under 350 yards stands as a positive based on the rest of the year. The defensive communication is such a problem it is just plain stunning anymore. Burnett not helping over the top on that Jeffrey reception, the timeouts that we should have never had to take, the Nick Perry play where he was playing zone and everyone else was playing man (and then Perry made one of the weakest tackle attempts I’ve ever seen). These things have to stop and I think a lot of that is on Capers (some on whoever our “defensive leader” is and some on the guy himself).
  • Tramon Williams didn’t have THAT good of a game, but he did have 2 huge tackles on Matt Forte that stopped him short of gaining a first down each time. They were the kind of tough tackles Tramon used to be accused of not being able to make.
  • Jarrett Bush had another good game. His contributions today were significant.
  • Starks ran hard again. I like that guy. And I love that Lacy toughed it out. He knew the magnitude of the situation and wasn’t going to let what is probably a nasty ankle injury keep him out. Just awesome stuff from both backs today.
  • While Forte just killed us – once again – I have to say Cutler and the passing game didn’t do the kind of damage I thought they would against this defense. The WRs had a few critical drops, but also just didn’t have many receptions overall – 15 total. Of course, part of the reason for the equal pass/run ratio (24/24) is that Trestman figured out in the second half that the Pack’s run D couldn’t stop the run. Still, Jeffrey only had 3 receptions and Marshall only had 6.
  • I suspected Cobb’s presence in this game would make a difference but I didn’t realize that he’d essentially be THE difference. He was fantastic with his 2 catches. His second TD was not only one of the most clutch TDs in Packers history, it was just smart. He caught his guy off balance and broke for the endzone probably figuring that if Rodgers could buy enough time he’d see him. That’s exactly what happened. Another 12 year veteran play by the youngster.
  • A much as Matt Flynn was painful to watch during most of his time filling in – we need to give the guy a thank you for pulling off the Dallas victory. He was key in that game and it really kept the season going.
  • I am actually excited that we’ll be playing San Fran. I think we would have gotten crushed by New Orleans. But San Fran has been inconsistent this year and at times they’ve looked a bit lost – despite finishing 12-4. They are beatable – and man, would I like to see us take it to them. I would love to see the same shot of Jim Harbaugh that we saw of Cutler today – sitting on the bench in disbelief.
  • San Fran is also beatable because Rodgers has worked off some rust, this team will be fired up to play against San Fran for sure and the team has to be starting to believe that anything can happen given the absolutely crazy finishes we’ve had in the last few games. There really is something in the NFL to how you finish games. And while the rest of the Packers’ games have left something to be desired, the fact is the Packers have closed out some huge games recently when everything was on the line (last week excepted). Man would I love to see the Packers rip apart San Fran.
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18 Responses to “Game Thoughts Packers/Bears”

  1. Gopackgo Says:

    Packers won despite McCarthys play calling and Capers terrible defensive coaching.

    Thank you Aaron and Randall for making these coaches look better than they are.

    I appreciate you both very much as a Packers fan. Good block also to Kuhn by the way.

    Go Pack Go!

  2. Gopackgo Says:

    I m not a hater. I just think that we can be better with a better D coordinator and a common sense coach.

    Favre and Rodgers have both made McCarthy look much better than he is.

    I live and love my Pack but we could of avoided this close finish and controlled this game.

    Maybe I expect too much sitting in the peanut gallery.

    Go Pack Go!!!!!

  3. RayMidge Says:

    That last drive was Majikowski-esque… All the 4th downs!

    I don’t expect this team to make much noise in the playoffs- not every year is a diamond- but they fought hard and they beat the Bears!

  4. Frank G Says:

    Congratulations to the Packers. They gutted out a win with clutch performances on offense and defense in the 4th quarter.

    I agree with you about SF. Kaepernick and the 49ers, despite their 12-4 record, have been a little off this year…they can be had.

    The Packers are a real long shot to make noise in the playoffs, but stranger things have happened. In 2008, the Cardinals stumbled to a 9-7 record, getting blasted 47-7 by the Patriots in week 16, and outscored their opponents by a whopping one point over the course of the season. But, they had an excellent QB and receivers who got hot at the right time and found themselves playing Pittsburgh for the title. Never give up on a team with Aaron Rodgers behind center. He is, as you said, amazing.

  5. Pam Smith Says:

    I agree with this and the comments. McCarthy should not be calling plays, although media praises him for it. “you get what you tolerate” is my favorite new quote by Ditka, we tolerate too much poor tackling. I believe the Coach should be managing the game and maybe he should put some emphasis on defense. I like most of our players and believe we should be a much better defensive team.

  6. Dave in Tucson Says:

    * There’s no question the Packers are in the playoffs because the NFCN is a weak division. The Lions needed two more wins to take the division, and lost to the Bucs, Giants and Vikings. They should’ve made it to 9 wins easy this year.

    * Have to be impressed with the halftime adjustments Trestman made in this game. I think the Bears will be in contention down the stretch next year too, and could be real trouble if they can put together a defense.

    * The Saints are bad on the road, and bad in poor weather. I honestly think they’d be more beatable than the 49ers. Like the last few meetings with the 49ers, I think we’re gonna need a really good game out of our defense to have a chance.

  7. Trav Says:

    Still in shock 2 hours later.

    Huge last drive with some great reads and throws. Kuhn with the unsung block of the game, just getting enough of a hit on Peppers to allow Rodgers to get outside the pocket and make the throw to Cobb.

    Cobb recognized immediately that there was no deep help and called for it. Great recognition.

    Jordy – Just a monster game,

    Loved how Lacy and Starks traded off today and ran. Even when the Bears d-line had it stacked up, they still were able to get positive yards, with a few exceptions.

    The D was rough and got lucky a few times, but did just enough.

    Rumor is Lions are contemplating Schwartz for another year. I so, so hope they do that. It’s like during the Wayne Fontes era. Every year they talked about firing him, but kept him around, much to the Packers benefit. Can’t believe how they fell apart this year, but it was great to see.

    Got a text for tickets next weekend. Just need game time to be announced so I can move stuff around. Can’t wait.

  8. Jay Timmons Says:

    On your comment, “I can’t help but think that if he weren’t so focused on play calling, he’d be better at managing games and staying current with the flow of games.”… YES! Exactly! He doesn’t seem capable of keeping all of the balls in the air. As I said last week, we need a quality play caller up in the booth.

    On the announcers mantra of “Blown coverage, blown coverage, blown coverage…”, how are such seemingly talented players so unprepared? Does the D not practice? Do they not study film? What’s the deal?!?!?! Tell me if I am wrong about their actual talent level…

    On the should have been two point conversion, my wife looked up casually from browsing Pintrist and asked why they weren’t going for it. I just looked at her incredulously and shook my head… If my wife who is barely half paying attention can get that call right, why can’t McCarthy?? Sheesh. Just indicative of paragraph one above.

    Rodgers was amazing in the second half after he settled down. One of my friends tweeted, “We need Mike Holmgren to tell Rodgers “no more rocketballs” like he did with young Farve all those years ago. :) Good call!

    Bottom line, Rodgers just lifts the whole team. Running for that first down and making that TD throw are just 50% of what he brings to the organization. You know how I said we need a play caller in the booth, I think (perhaps foolishly) that Rodgers would do a better job calling ALL the plays from the huddle than the status quo.

    Personal thoughts on next week – I am not happy to be playing SF. I grew up in California as a Niners fan from the time Montana was drafted. We moved to WI for work 16 years ago and have come to love the Packers, too. I hate to watch them battle. I never know who to honestly pull for. Oh well, to have my old home team and my new home team both in the playoffs is a burden that I will just have to bear. :D

    • wilsonmaywick Says:

      “I think (perhaps foolishly) that Rodgers would do a better job calling ALL the plays from the huddle than the status quo.”

      Not foolish at all Jay…I’ve been thinking and saying the same thing. I also wonder if some of the public differences of opinion between number 12 and MM is related to their difference of philosophy?

      • awhayes Says:

        Wilson – great point. I really do think some of the tension between McCarthy and Rodgers has to do with deciding which plays to call when. And I think what we’ve seen over the last 2 months with Rodgers injury and McCarthy’s clear joy that Rodgers was back (said something like “you’re darn right I’m glad the best player in the NFL is coming back”), points to a full-on shift in the power dynamic there. The shift had been in process, now it’s complete. This is Rodgers team now, not McCarthy’s team. There’s of course debate about whether or not that’s good, but given the success Peyton Manning has had I’d say on balance that’s a good thing. So let’s just let Rodgers run the show and have McCarthy focus on game management while contributing offensive play ideas.

    • RayMidge Says:

      My brother described Rodgers demeanor during his injury as “Will Hunting watching me do a math problem.” He really is a master, and what is difficult is easy for him…he might be about to go on a legendary tear.

  9. Jay Timmons Says:

    Oh hey… Question for you. I am sure you saw the stories on Pulaski HS in Arkansas. What do you think of the statistics based strategy? Think it could work in the NFL? I really enjoyed seeing Rodgers convert though 4th downs today!

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/scorecasting/09/15/kelley.pulaski/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

    http://www.sbnation.com/2011/9/15/2428040/kevin-kelley-pulaski-academy-onside-kicks-punting

  10. Trav Says:

    Jay – Read that same article some time ago and it is an interesting use of the data to make game management decisions. We talk about this at work all the time with our business partners: “the data doesn’t lie”. I think it’s a matter of who will have the guts to step up and embrace a data driven decision model like this and be willing to take the heat for it when they don’t make a 4th down conversion and force a short field for the D.

    I think what hurts NFL and College Head Coaches to the same extent, is that they have the precedent of “this is always how it was done” that rules their judgment along with, generally, being way too conservative in their management style.

    Using the NBA as a counterpoint, it is such a statistics driven league to the point of how to defend a player to push them to a particular point on the court because their shooting percentage is X percentage points lower than at a different spot. Same with MLB.

    You don’t read that much about the NFL using similar statistics, or I should say I haven’t seen cover stories pointing this out like the SI article you referenced. They may do it and it would be interesting to see how often the “gut” of the coach would override the data. I have to believe MM has a chart about when to go for 2 along with Asst Coaches with him and in this case went with his gut to kick the PAT rather than try it earlier in the 4th.

  11. Chris Says:

    I would have gone for two on the first two Packer touchdowns of the second half. But just playing Devil’s Advocate here………McCarthy must have been thinking on the fourth quarter TD, “If we go for two and don’t get it, and the Bears march down the field and score a TD, we’re down by 9, and then we’re screwed.” Now that’s defeatist thinking, but I can at least see why he elected to kick the extra point there. What’s even more frightening is McCarthy was thinking of punting on the fourth and one with 4:41 left!

    • awhayes Says:

      Solid point Chris. I did wonder that a bit too – if MM had reasonably lost faith in his defense to stop them there. But you’re right about that being pessimistic/defeatist thinking. I think this is an epidemic of thinking that affects lots of NFL coaches for some reason. Unfortunate really.

      If MM would have punted on that 4th down I would have passed out.

  12. Dave K Says:

    I have no problem kicking the extra point that early in the 4th quarter. There is a good chance of both teams scoring again with that much time left and you just can’t predict how important that one extra point will be later in the game. In my opinion, to many coaches go to the chart too early especially when you consider converting a two pt conversion is about 50/50 in the NFL and the Packers have been 1 for 8 over the last three seasons.

    http://www.sportingcharts.com/nfl/stats/team-two-point-conversion-statistics/2013/

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