Jclombardi reviews & grades Packers victory over Bears.
Summary: In another ugly win, RB Grant rushed for 137 yards and 2 touchdowns to lead the Pack past the home team Bears 21-14. On a cold balmy day, the Packers left points on the field with missed opportunities, but they got enough against the spoilers Bears to win.
Video Highlights: NFL.com.
Game Balls: 1. TE Finley 2. RB Grant 3. FS Collins 4. LB Hawk.
1. LeRoy Butler: They’re playing very well–good enough to get away with an average kicker; good enough to overcome some penalties; good enough that they’re winning with injuries. This shows a good team. I’m excited because they’re finding ways to win instead of finding ways to lose. They’re very well-coached and they know who they are on offense and defense. Special teams is hurting them, but they’re good enough to get away with it.
Report Card–Good, Bad, & Ugly: LA vs SE.
Pass Offense—C vs C-. QB Rodgers had another shaky outing completing 16 of 24 passes for only 180 yards, 0 passing touchdowns, 0 interceptions, and 88.9 passer rating. On one pass play, he fumbled twice leading to a turnover. His misses to open receivers were glaring mistakes. The two sacks resulted from good coverage and effective blitz. Against an awful Bears secondary, the entire receiving corps had a poor day excluding Finley. TE Finley had 5 big receptions for 70 yards. WR Jennings had 3 receptions for 56 yards, but he dropped a touchdown pass. TE Lee had 2 receptions for 16 yards. WR Drive had only 2 receptions for 11 yards.
Rush Offense—A vs A. Against a tough Bears with a persistent box-in-eight defense , the Packers had 146 yards on 31 carries. RB Grant had an outstanding day with 20 carries for 137 yards averaging 6.9 yards and two touchdowns. On the Packers’ first play from scrimmage, Grant’s explosive 62 yards touchdown run helped set the winning tone for the game.
Pass Defense—B vs B. The 3-4 defense stopped the Bears with big plays by FS Collins and CB Woodson. QB Flacco completed 23 of 36 passes for only 209 yards, 2 interceptions, 2 touchdowns, and a poor 74.9 rating. If Woodson hadn’t dropped a pair of passes right in his hands and the Green Bay secondary hadn’t fought over a tipped ball that somehow wound up on the ground, Cutler would have suffered another 5 interceptions day. The red zone defense continues to be an issue as the Bears went 2 for 2.
Rush defense—A vs A. The short-yardage defense continued their stout performance against the rush. Even without stout NT Pickett, the Packers chocked off the Bears’ running game. The Bears got only 59 rushing yards averaging only 3.5 yards.
Special teams—B vs B-. The coverage team had a good day. The Bears averaged only 18.6 yards on kickoff returns. They had a minus-1 yard average on Bennett’s punt returns. Nelson provided no real offense on returns averaging only 6 yards on punt returns and 17.5 yards on kickoffs. As effective as Crosby was in mixing up deep and short kicks to keep the Bears from doing damage on kickoff returns, the struggles persisted for the Packers kicker on field goals. He drilled close-range attempts 33 and 26 yards to help stake Green Bay to the early 13-0 lead, but with the Packers trying to build on their newfound 21-14 lead in the fourth quarter, Crosby was wide right from 42 yards. P Kapinos had 3 punts averaging 43.3 gross yards.
Coaching—B- vs B. On the good news, the Packers had 16 first downs and 315 total yards. However, in 3rd down efficiency, they had only 5 for 13. In the red zone, they were a poor 1 for 4 and their 8-of-19 results (42 %) over four games has to be a concern. As a graver concern, the conservative game calling in crucial series has to change. McCarthy needs to remedy what’s being called and how it’s being carried out, especially in the red zone, as the offense is imploding by not scoring touchdowns.
Overall Game—B. In an away game against the lowly Bears team, the Packers “bearly” won game.
Oates’ Grades: Offense—C. Grant had a long touchdown run on the first play and ran hard all day. Rodgers seemed just a tick off throwing the ball. The offense has to score touchdowns in the red zone instead of settling for field goals. Defense—B+. Except for two touchdown drives, Chicago got next to nothing. Cutler was able to beat both Packers cornerbacks for touchdowns despite having very ordinary receivers. Collins’ interception won the game. Special Teams—C. Crosby’s third missed field goal in three weeks was potentially costly. Nelson just isn’t explosive as a return man. The coverage units were outstanding. Overall—B-. The Packers should have buried the Bears in the first half, but needed Dom Capers’ defense to save the day. The unit stops the run and forces turnovers, a recipe for success in the NFL.
CTV Good, Bad, & Ugly: Good—Grant, Capers, & Williams; Bad—Rodgers, McCarthy, & Finley; Ugly—Crosby.
Rodgers vs Favre series: week 14. “Silver Fox” Vikings 11-2. Packers 9-4.
Commentary: On Fox prime time NFL football, the prime time pressure showed as the Packers got an ugly win against the bitter rival Bears. The Packers need to adopt a killer’s instinct to put these games away. After 5 straight wins, the Packers are in the playoff hunt with three games left in the season.
Preview: A tough road game against the Super Bowl champion Steelers.