Game Thoughts Packers/Bears

  • Man, that was closer than I was expecting.
  • The Bears came in and fought hard – surprisingly keeping their starters in the whole time.
  • I didn’t think it was too smart for Lovie to keep the starters in like that. I know he’s all about the rivalry – but sometimes I honestly think that all he’s about. One other reason it can be smart to yank your starters in a meaningless game like this is psychological. Like the Chiefs, who kept their starters in for most (I believe all) of the game and got blown out at home, now the Bears head into the post season with a deflating loss to a rival. If Lovie had pulled the starters they could at least say the starters weren’t in. They were also lucky to not suffer any injuries.
  • Our defense was phenomenal. I know Cutler was a bit questionable today, but our defense hung in there and importantly, kept the Bears out of scoring territory – TDs or FGs.
  • While I like to point it out when Desmond Bishop plays awesome – because he’s the greatest LB in history – I must say, today we got a glimpse of what it looks like when he doesn’t play that great. He was OK only – yet the D still managed to pull together to shut down the Bears.
  • Eric Walden was a monster. Very interesting that he was the only really healthy guy at OLB the last few weeks so he got a shot. Now, he’s taken advantage of that opportunity and I’d definitely say keep him in there even if Frank Zombo is back next week. Walden was very good in coverage and was a sure tackler.
  • Matthews was more disruptive tonight. He had just one sack but he was putting lots of pressure from over there and altering Cutler’s pocket. 2 of the other sacks were due to Matthews forcing the issue.
  • BJ Raji is just a force in the middle. He wasn’t as noticeable today but I think he was just as effective. I noticed that few of Forte’s runs were up the middle – lots of the gainers seemed to be the ones on the outside.
  • Howard Greene was a great pick-up by TT. He adds massive size in the middle but he also moves reasonably well for such a huge dude.
  • Though we had 6 sacks, I’d say at least half of those were coverage sacks. It seemed to me that whenever Cutler dropped back, he ended up holding onto it too long because his guys were covered. Our secondary was very good – Cutler completed just over 50% of his passes today.
  • Special teams was fantastic – starting with Tim Masthay. It’s also about time that Tramon Williams took some initiative back there. I love Tramon and believe he should be starting at CB in the Pro Bowl this year, but I do suspect he plays extra conservatively on punt returns perhaps because he’s told to (to avoid injury). But his big return tonight was big for shifting momentum.
  • Our coverage guys on special teams were good. Jarrett Bush had a great play on that one punt to down it at the 2 yard line. I remember when everyone (myself included) was calling for his head a couple years back because of his horrendous secondary play. Yet nobody on the Packer staff seemed to want to listen to the fans’ collective ire. Then he became a restricted free agent (I believe) and several teams came calling for him immediately. I read an article around that time that said the teams just love his special teams play. Interesting – he was very good today.
  • Our offense was bad. They did pull it together in crunch time and for that, I am seriously grateful. They knew they were playing like crap but they also knew they had the talent to put it together when it mattered most – and they did. Talk of Rodgers/McCarthy not being able to win the big game is getting quieter and quieter now. Also, they realized that when the heat is on, it does make some sense to put the ball in the hands of your most skilled and reliable players – in our case, Rodgers and Jennings. Nicely done gents.
  • But back to our offense being bad. If our offense doesn’t show up next week, Philly’s offense will do more damage than Chicago’s could tonight. Philly is the #1 offense in yards per game and #2 in points per game (at 27). Even if our D plays lights out, we will need the offense from the Giants’ game, not today’s game.
  • Bulaga should be forgiven for having 2 of those false starts – but to have 4 overall is sloppy. He needs to pick it up – defending Peppers or not.
  • Does Darren Colledge have a killer instinct? No. He’s better much better this year than in the past for sure and he needs to be given proper due there. But I saw a play today when he was coming at a DB on a run play or screen or something – most quality O-Linemen would have absolutely flattened the guy on the play. Colledge made an awkward lunge after the DB made a weak move to avoid contact and the result was no gain for us and a fairly easy tackle in fact. Guys like Colledge need to come out positively angry next Sunday. Angy.
  • Starks should start next week. I realize that it’s risky putting an inexperienced guy out there in the playoffs – B Jackson is at the least sure-handed. But I would argue that when we have zero rushing game with Jackson in (against good run defenses), opposing defenses can just focus squarely on our passing game making it that much harder on Rodgers and co. When Starks came into the game today, it immediately opened things up it seemed for our offense. He did his thing – either having a nice little run or getting 2 yards and then falling 3 more because he plays so upright/tall. In fact, he had 10 more yards that were called back on a holding call – otherwise he would have averaged 6 yards per carry. But with Starks running, I do think he could open things up a bit for Rodgers and co and even have a few big runs himself. Also, Philly will have very little film on him at all making preparation for the guy harder.
  • I’m just not sure why we didn’t incorporate more play action/screens today. Chicago’s pass rush was decent but not overly aggressive – but the problem today is that the other 7 guys for Chicago just sat back and clogged passing lanes. They didn’t have to do much to stop the run – we stopped it ourselves. And, with all the passing lanes full, it was remarkably easy to slow down red hot Aaron Rodgers. So, play action and screens would have been very helpful to force Chicago to respect action between their D-Line and the LB/secondary levels.
  • I was screaming on that first goal line stand when we settled for a FG because the situation was ripe for a play action call. Considering what Kuhn did last week, we had the perfect set-up for play action – which we didn’t do. We did, however, do a money play action fake on Donald Lee’s TD – great play call there.
  • I don’t know why but I just think that the Packers are considerably better than the Bears. Not just better but considerably better. I think the Bears will have a difficult time winning their opening playoff game – unless they somehow draw one of the NFC West loser teams battling it out right now.
  • This coming week we have a really difficult match-up against Mike Vick and company. It was fascinating to watch the Vikings dismantle them, but something tells me they will be ready for this game. The guy I’m most concerned about right now: LeSean McCoy. Forte went off tonight – was very good. And McCoy is often the beneficiary of Vick’s mobility in that Vick creates chaos for defenses to respond to often leaving McCoy open. In fact, there are times when McCoy is so wide open it’s shocking – it is not surprising that he leads all NFL RBs in receiving and he’s #14 in the NFL overall with 78 receptions.

31 Responses to “Game Thoughts Packers/Bears”

  1. Bob Schnell Says:

    Just a comment on Tramon returning punts. I feel this practice needs to end this year. TW is too valuable as a cornerback to lose to an injury when returning punts. Also, it is about time everybody gets on TT’s and MM’s case about actually drafting a good kick-off and punt returner. With the likelihood of rosters expanding next year due to the on-going collective bargaining dialogue, getting a natural returner should not be that big of a sacrifice for the Packers to make!

  2. dullgeek Says:

    I agree w/the playaction… or rather lack thereof. I even tweeted about it in real time:

    And then when we *finally* did it on two plays in a row, it resulted in a TD:

  3. AZWarrior Says:

    The availability of Eric Walden (and I’m really glad he was available, and that we got him!) makes one wonder about the draft / player evaluation process. As I recall, he was an undrafted free agent. Pretty amazing, isn’t it?

  4. Bill Says:

    You guys were lucky today. I can’t believe Lovie kept his guys in today either. I think the reason he did was in order to maintain the integrity of the game. Specifically, the Bears owed it to the rest of the NFC to see to it that the Pack earned their trip to the playoffs.

    That said, the Bears defense played the only way they know how. On the other hand, their offense played more like they were trying to avoid injury to Cutler or Forte than they were about trying to score. Also, Martz wasn’t showing much beyond the basic offense. The Bear’s defense is what it is, the league knows what they do and they could afford to play all out. On the other hand, The offense can be potent, but is fragile and they needed to protect their key skill players while not pulling out their entire play book.

    The fact that this game ended up only 10-3 should be a major concern to the Pack.

    • Dave in Tucson Says:

      1) The Bears didn’t owe the rest of the NFC anything. They could’ve laid down and no one would’ve said anything (c.f. the Colts last year, or the Eagles this year)

      2) The Packers have been in a lot of close, low-scoring games this year (including the first Packers@Bears game). This is the first one they won, so I’m marking it down as an improvement.


      • Travis Says:

        I know our offence didn’t look very strong today. Am I worried, no.

        People need to remember this is a bears packer game. A huge rivalry. We know each other so well. Bears came to knock us out, they don’t want us in the post season.

        Bears have the defence back and it’s strong. Packers of course have a very good defence as well. So you could imagine it would be a low scoring very close matchup. And it was.

        Did you expect a 49-0 romp with both teams coming to play? Rivalry’s like this, no matter how strong the teams are.. will struggle at points. Every little thing matters, and both sides make big plays to change the game.

        And I will admit, our offence is very good. But it can be shut down. Based on the play calling and lack of a running game, we could be shut down. And that’s how I imagine we get knocked from playoffs should we. But if we hadn’t been so unlucky with injuries this year, I’d say this team would be unstoppable.

        Packers can beat any team. But each game we play, it’s going to be a hard fight. We need to come and play each week if we want to move on. And the offence needs to be hitting on all cylinders starting next week. And if the defence can continue to prevent other teams from scoring, we could go far.

        But Bill, you keep depending on your Bears team. Favre’s idol.. he’s learned how to lose games for his team too. Keep cheering for the Bears bro.. best team in the league by far.. not

      • Bill Says:

        The Bears owed to the other teams, who’s playoff fates rested on the outcome of the Bears/Packers game, to make sure that the Packers earned their trip to the playoffs. To what extent the Eagles and Colts actions impacted the playoffs, I am unsure. If their decisions to sit their starters impacted who went to the playoffs, SHAME ON THEM! Furthermore, if you or anyone else on this blog believe that the Bears fear the Packers in the playoffs and that they were hoping to keep them out by beating them yesterday, you are delusional. Why?? If for no other reason, there is no way that the Packers will be the Eagles in the first round. Simple.

    • dullgeek Says:

      “You guys were lucky” is the funniest thing I’ve read in a while. When you consider that luck was a direct impact on several Bears games, that would have been losses except for that luck. Both Lions games, the first Packers game & the Bills game come immediately to mind. Not to mention the Bears have had NO significant injury problems.

      And your comment is the Packers were lucky? That’s just funny to me.

    • Kozak Says:

      If the packers were lucky today it’s about fricking time. The Bears have been lucky all year. Half the Bears wins have been thanks to blown calls by refs, lucky bounces and great timing for games involving teams that have been wounded. If anyone should be worried it should be the Bears. They gave it their best shot, to try and knock the Pack out of the playoffs and it wasn’t enough.

  5. AZWarrior Says:

    Upon further review, regarding Walden (from Kareem Copeland’s chat): Kareem Copeland: Street free agent that signed Oct. 27. Has played in 36 career games.

    Bill – Go far, far away.

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  8. DaveK Says:

    If I was Bear’s fan I would have been upset that Lovie played the starters as much as he did. It’s about winning a championship and avoiding injury and staying fresh is more important in that regard then giving honor to a rivalry or to ‘maintain the integrity of the game’. How pissed would fans be this morning if Urlacher or Cutler had a torn ACL.

    Walden had a good game keeping after a QB that was holding the ball too long. He did miss a few assignments that resulted in a few big plays. On the Bears only scoring drive he lost the edge completely and allowed Forte outside for a long run.

    Bulaga has been abused the past month. Detroit, Giants, and Bears have all rolled over him. If I had to pick one reason this offense is disappearing at times it is because of his play. Running game struggles because of it and Rodgers usually has no pocket and is seldom settled in the pocket. The Packers are lucky that Rodgers is so good at shifting in the pocket and making plays with things collapsing around him. How Bulaga holds up next week with go a long way in determining how the Packer’s offense functions.

    Starks is clearly the most dynamic runner on the roster. MM is always very conservative putting new players on the field. (How many games did Matthew’s sit in his rookie season?) Maybe MM isn’t ready to give him bulk of snaps because of pass protection issues or preparation issues but they need to have him active and part of the game plan. No need to have three FB’s active on game day.

    MM’s goal line offense is just absurd. I hate that his default formation is to take all the WR’s off the field and put all 11 guys bunched into the tackle box. Our o-line isn’t good enough to get one yard when the defense knows it is coming and yet MM thinks Kuhn up the gut will work every week.

    Huge game by special teams. Masthay out-punted Maynard. Eight punts and Hester only gets to return two of them. Pinning them inside the five twice late in the game was also huge. And, who would thought that Williams would have the big return and Hester was held to almost nothing. Huge part of the win. Eagles have a pretty darn good return units also.

  9. Ken Says:

    Lovie played it to the extreme last night. Very surprised but he takes this rivalry to another level.

    Can’t wait to see what Capers throws together. Have complete confidence in him.

  10. RayMidge Says:

    The key to making a long run in the playoffs may be getting Cullen Jenkins back. He elevates the run defense and is another pass rusher who can push the pocket. All of the guys who have filled in have done great jobs, but Jenkins is a difference maker.

  11. Bill Says:

    To the Packergeeks (with respect because they have respect) and to the PackerPukes (the kind that are all too visible because of their big mouths and their lack of respect)………be cautious before throwing darts at the Bears. READ my post. I’m not blind to the Bears shortcomings. And the intelligent among this group are not blind to the Pack’s shortcomings. I said that the Bears’ offense is FRAGILE. Everything has got to be clicking for them to score. Why Martz chose to pass so often yesterday leads me to question his sanity. Lovie should have Martz’s scull scanned today to insure that he still has a brain between his ears. Forte averaged 6.1 yds/carry but had only 15 carries. Over the past 2 weeks, the Bears’ offense has lit up a couple of pretty good defenses, Jets (38 pts.) and Vikings (40 pts.)! In those games their pass/run mix has been 50/50. So, yesterday’s game was an example of the fragile Jekyll and Hyde personality of the Bears’ offense as they try to learn Martz’s system this year, not to mention compensate for the sickest O Line in the NFL.

    As a few of your more intelligent guys have mentioned, you guys have reason to worry going into the playoffs. There is a reason that the Bears won the NFC North and the Pack didn’t. Big reason? The Pack can’t run the ball. One dimensional offense. Good defenses have shut down the Pack’s offense because it is one dimensional. #2 reason? The Pack can’t run the ball. If the Pack can’t control the clock and the ball in the post season, it will catch up with them. #3 reason? The O Line is almost as bad as the Bears’ O Line. Rodgers would get sacked as often as Cutler except the Pack runs the west coast offense which allows Rodgers to get rid of the ball quickly. But the lousy O Line has led to Rodgers’ concussions and contribute to the terrible running game. #4 Reason? I just took a glance at the Pack’s depth chart on My God!!! Injuries and depth are going to be a problem.

    I love the Pack’s defense. But all things being equal, considering the pressure that the Bears’ offense has put on the defense this year, I have to believe that their defensive stats would be a lot better if they they didn’t spend so much time on the field and didn’t find themselves backed up against their own goal line, so often, after the offense has turned the ball over. That said, I would take the Bears’ defense over the Pack’s defense any day against any team.

    Lastly, the Bears have the best special teams in the NFL. Period. It’s not even close. That cannot be overlooked. Taub’s special teams have ranked #1 4 times over the past 9 years, based on a stat which computes the combined effectiveness of all the various special teams.

    So, don’t count the Bears out. I’m realistic. The offense just needs to play within itself and keep to the 50/50 run/pass mix, and get a little luck. The defense and the special teams WILL deliver. They have a chance.

    The Pack? A one dimensional offense against that Eagle’s defense. Good luck! The Pack has a great defense. The big disadvantage that they have against the Eagle offense is lack of speed. Your defense will not be able to contain Michael Vick and his receivers. The Pack is down and out in round one.

    The Bears were never worried about knocking the Pack out of the playoffs because they feared them. The Pack isn’t getting out of the first round.

    • Joe Says:

      Bill – I know many Bear fans who expressed serious concern about facing the Pack in the playoffs. I sat next to one at the game on Sunday. And, I met another one at the game on Sunday. Anyone with half a brain would not want to play the Pack in the playoffs. Not because there the greatest team out there, but because they can be if everything is clicking. Only a moron would want to let the Pack in the other possible 6 seed was the Bucs.

      • Bill Says:

        You missed my point. Yes, the Packers are tough. The Packers are always going to be tough against the Bears, even if the Packers are 1-15. My point is that I don’t see any way that the Packers can get past the Eagles. What the Packers do on offense will work on most teams. But there is no way they get away with that stuff against the Eagles. The Packers have no running game. So they must pass. The Eagles outstanding corners will man up and slow down the Pack’s receivers while the Eagles blitz the Pack’s awful O Line and administer another concussion to Rodgers.

        Secondly, the Pack’s big, slow 3/4 defense will not be able to control Vick and the Eagles’ speed on offense.

        The bottom line is MATCH-UPS! The Packers got the worst possible match-up in the first round.

  12. 56Coop Says:

    Bill–Nice post. Packer’s had a good game yesterday and fortunately had the one series where they scored. Two very good defenses on that field. I will say however that if Jennings had Finley’s hands the game would have been a blowout. Rodgers had several balls dropped yesterday & I see that a little too often. Rodgers also has had a tendancy to overthrow the deep ball but appears to be getting better. In addition there were 2-3 Cutler picks left on the field.

    I’m very concerned about being one dimensional but it is what it is. With all the Packers have been through this year I’ll take the season even if it’s a one & done. It will be hard to contain Vick but the Vikings game is out there as a blue print.

    Good luck in your playoff run. Maybe they’ll get to settle it on the field but realistiscally speaking I doubt either one of them makes it to the big dance. Here’s to hoping I’m wrong (about the Packers).

  13. Bill Says:

    To all of the Haters on this site! You Packer Pukes are just pissed off that it was the Bears that knocked out Favre once and for all. You had relished the opportunity to see him knocked silly, laying on the turf of Lambeau Field, under the weight of one of your fat assed nose tackles, while you Packer Pukes screamed for his blood.

    Sorry, to those on this site who love the game, enjoy competition, and are not haters.

    • Nick Says:

      Now, why would you go and do that. Your last post made you look like a reasonable Bears fan, the Packer Pukes comment aside.

      Now, after this spewing this drivel, you look like an idiot.

      • Bill Says:

        Nick, I am reasonable. I’m not a hater. I am just taking a shot back at the haters. There are a lot of smart fans on this site, which is why I like to monitor it. On the other hand, you have to admit, there are a several haters, as there are Bear fans who are Packer Haters and that ain’t right either.

      • Nick Says:

        Totally agree. I’d love to see the Bears again in the playoffs. Would be one hell of a match-up for the right to go to the Super Bowl…..

    • Nick Says:

      And by the way, I totally respect the Bears team. They always play hard, tell it straight, and are typically reasonably good people. They never make excuses for losing.

      Why is it, then, that the Bears fans always do?

    • PackerBelle Says:

      Why would we be pissed that the Bears took Favre out? We beat him twice this year (including a beat down at the Dome) and were at least partially responsible for Childress getting fired mid-season.

      • Bill Says:

        Hey PackerBelle! Do you think that it was a good idea to get Childress fired? I loved to see the Bears beat lumps on the Vikings just as much as you loved seeing the Packers beat lumps on them. On the other hand, as long as they had Childress, they had the worst coach in the NFL and were guaranteed to be mired in mediocrity.

        Childress lost the respect of every man on his team the day he played chauffeur for Brett Favre. Can you imagine Lombardi, Halas or Ditka picking up his QB from the airport? Just the thought of it has me rolling with laughter.

      • PackerBelle Says:

        The Vikings are pretty much guaranteed to be mired in mediocrity for a few years with or without Childress. There current future at QB is Tavaris Jackson or Joe Webb. The William’s wall is getting older. Their secondary is less than stellar and their O-line is more akin to a sieve than a wall. Plus they have a number of free agents after this year they such as Berrian, Rice, Longwell, Greenway, Pat Williams, Leber, Edwards and 11 others. They can’t bring everyone back and given their performance this season, the lack of a reputable QB and potential move if they don’t get a stadium it will be harder to convince other free agents to come without paying top dollar.

  14. Nick Says:

    Back to the game.

    I thought it was a great defensive battle. Sure, some of our receivers dropped some balls, but I would say the Bears did too. We ended up having the better team that day and pulled out a great win.

    MM playcalling near the goalline needs to improve. I agree with Andy, a Kuhn play action after his huge game against NY (B) would have been the perfect call, and would have probably resulted in a TD.

    While I have heard a little criticism of Lovie on keeping the starters in, I think he was playing them until the game was not close. For example, I think if the Packers start against the Bears like they did against the Giants (14-0 in the 1st Q), Cutler and co. sit the rest of the game. But, because their D kept the game so close, he played them the entire game. Just the feeling I got from it.

    Ray – totally agree. We need Cullen back to give that D-line some depth. We also need better gap and position dedication so we dont let fast guys like Forte (or McCoy) get outside on us and gash us. Walden played really well, but he did mess that second long Forte run up.

    I’m pretty excited for next week, but not sure what to expect. After all the injuries I thought the Pack would be lucky to go 8-8, so this is a nice surprise for me (overall), and anything else is a bonus!

  15. DaveK Says:

    A little off topic. Here are the home games next year:

    Chicago, Detroit, Minnesota, New Orleans, Tampa Bay, St. Louis, Denver, Oakland

    Four play in domes plus two from warm weather locals.

  16. DaveK Says:

    Bishop extended for four years at a great price….that should make Packergeeks very happy!

  17. travis Says:

    This is so exciting especially for only 19 mil over four years. I’m wondering if its heavy incentive based because hell continue to play hard. Also he pulled out a hundred tackles this year which is good cause he didn’t start immediately this season and for his first year with a ton of playing time he did well and should be able to improve on that next year big time. Very exciting news for sure. Now to see what happens with hawk and barnett

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