Packers vs Bears: Immaculate(ish) Redemption
Packers (13-1) vs Bears (7-7)
Date: December 25th
At: Green Bay
Outcome: 35-21 Packers
GAINED HOMEFIELD ADVANTAGE FOR PLAYOFFS
While I was glad to see several of our players back from injury and though I’m happy we won, nothing either team did was very impressive, almost as if both teams knew what the score was going to be before they even started playing. Which is surprising considering the Bears REALLY NEEDED to win this game to keep their playoff hopes alive and the Packers REALLY NEEDED to win this game to ensure homefield advantage for the playoffs.
However, since this was on Christmas and I was watching a recorded playback of the game, alone, at midnight, after a long day of family and drinking, I have to admit that maybe I wasn’t QUITE as attentive as I normally am and that might have affected my impressions just a bit.
Just kidding 🙂 The Bears defense did make Rodgers scramble a little bit every now and then, but it wasn’t enough to stop him from completing passes (if they had been around last week…maybe a different story).
On the offensive side, while they made a good effort to run the ball with running back Kahlil Bell, the Bears didn’t have much of a passing game, and the fact of the matter is that if you do not have some aptitude in both rushing and passing, you’re just not going to beat the Packer defense. If you only have one of the two, they focus on that and in the end you’re done for, no matter how much time you spend in possession of the ball. You got to keep them nice and confused. That’s how Kansas City won I’m pretty sure–we were all confused during that one.
Same thing, different week.
The defense does what it always does–they stopped the Bears from running the ball, they intercepted some crucial passes (one of which was caught by Matthews YES!), and they shut down the drives in the red zone. What they didn’t do is what they never do–break up passes and stop third down conversions. So even though the Bears didn’t seem to have a very impressive passing game, the lack of coverage still allowed them to move down the field, but the massive wall of giant angry men kept their scored points down long enough for the Packer offense to put points on the board. By the time the Bears actually began scoring touchdowns, the difference in score was just too big.
Luckily, Rodgers looked a little less like a deer staring at incoming headlights this week. I’m not sure if it’s because they offensive line was looking a little more like it did in the beginning of the season or because his receivers were acting like professionals and not like newborn chimpanzees learning to walk without staring at their feet. Nelson and Jones both caught 2 touchdown passes, but the biggest surprise to me was Finley, who came out catching and opened the game with a touchdown after about four weeks of nothing but bobbles. Hopefully this is the start of an upward swing in his performance.
Side note: The Packers also managed to finish the game without committing a single penalty, which has got to be a first for the season.
None that I saw, which is a nice change from losing a man or two every week. In fact, several of our men returned to the field this week: James Starks (YES!) was back for the offense, and though I am not completely sure I believe I saw Josh Sitton bouncing around out there too. On the defensive side, Desmond Bishop returned after what feels like an eternity.
Still out are Bryan Bulaga, Chad Clifton, Greg Jennings, Ryan Pickett. My hope is we will see at least Pickett and Jennings return for the playoffs, but probably not before that.
NEXT WEEK: The Lions in Lambeau. Rawr! Let’s hope we can finish the season strong!
Regardless of how average this win seemed to be, it was nice to see the team smile again, and to know that we’ll be playing our games leading up to the Super Bowl on our own field. They always play so much better at home.