In the near 100-year rivalry between Green Bay and Chicago, there hasn’t been an outcome as one-sided as the 55-14 drubbing the Packers put on the Bears Sunday night.
The Packers deserve credit for coming out of their bye re-energized and prepared. However, Sunday night was more about Chicago than the green and gold. Blowouts aren’t new to the rivalry, but the Bears were saying “uncle” midway through the second quarter. They were undisciplined, committing 11 penalties for 163 yards. Their stoic response to Green Bay moving Clay Matthews to inside linebacker was frustrating to watch. Simply put, their sorry excuse of an effort made them unworthy of playing at Lambeau Field.
Football is better when its greatest rivalry means something. The Bears aren’t holding up their end of the bargain, and this could be the revelation the McCaskey family needed to clean house.
Chicago’s performance should also give Packers fans perspective. Fans have a love or hate relationship regarding coach Mike McCarthy and general manager Ted Thompson.
Nowhere does the hate come out more than during free agency, when fans are watching other teams attempt to get better by spending on outside talent. The Bears have been among the most active teams over the last several off-seasons, a fact highlighted by NBC’s telecast of the game. The Packers usually sit still, accepting that their improvements will come from within. The approach tests the patience of many fans, I included, but the Packers have never suffered an embarrassment like the one Chicago did Sunday night with Thompson and McCarthy at the helm. With both of them signing long-term extensions this season, they aren’t likely to anytime soon.
Sure, Green Bay has had its share of poor performances. Last Thanksgiving in Detroit immediately comes to mind, yet the Packers always put forth an effort. The game plan or execution might be off, but the effort is always there.
You can always count on them to compete on Sundays whether they miss the playoffs, bow out early, or win the Super Bowl.
Bears fans don’t have the luxury of feeling the same way.
On the first play of the second quarter, Rodgers hit receiver Jordy Nelson for a 73-yard touchdown pass. Chicago’s secondary was completely out-of-sync on the play. Nelson ran cleanly by cornerback Tim Jennings, who was playing cover two. The other corner was in man. Jennings looks at fault, but the Bears did check their coverage prior to the snap. Jennings appeared to have gotten the call, while the safeties did not. Blame them for missing the call.
Stud of the Game
Despite not playing a vast majority of the second half, Rodgers finished the game with 6 touchdowns passes and 315 passing yards. Most quarterbacks, notably Denver’s Peyton Manning, would stay in the game until midway through the fourth quarter and attempt to inflate their stats. Rodgers wisely bowed out midway through the third.
Play of the Game
Facing third-and-10 with 19 seconds remaining in the first half, Rodgers lofted a throw to the left side of the end zone, where receiver Randall Cobb made a spectacular one-handed grab. With that pass, Rodgers became just the second player in NFL history (Oakland’s Daryl Lamonica in 1969) to throw for six scores in the first half. The touchdown was also Cobb’s 10th of the season.
The Packers need to keep pace with Detroit in the NFC North, but if the Lions were to win the division, then Green Bay needs to qualify as a wild card. A win over Philadelphia, who is also in the thick of the playoff chase, is crucial if Green Bay is to qualify for the postseason.
The Eagles don’t have a good secondary, so you can expect the Packers to attack them through the air, and have success doing so. Protection could be an issue, as Philadelphia’s front is sneaky athletic. They’ll give Rodgers a plethora of different looks.
The defense faces a challenge matching up with Philadelphia’s high-octane offense. There might be enough pieces in the secondary to slow down the pass, but Philadelphia’s dynamic running game will give the front seven problems.
Expect Matthews to continue to play inside during running situations. He played well against the Bears, but Chicago was never in position to establish the run, so it’s still up in the air as to whether he has the discipline to read coverage and the athleticism to play in space. Please visit Row12.com for weekly articles done by myself on college and fantasy football. We also have a great staff of writers that covers every major sport.