With a raucous crowd at their back, the Packers drove the field on nine plays covering 80 yards in 4:34 to take a 7-0 lead on their first possession. What was to follow was a tightly-defensed first half – mostly by the Bears – followed by a second half the Packers quickly turned into a route.
Despite giving up a bazillion yards, most of it on the ground, the Packers got five touchdown passes from Aaron Rodgers, a big night from Jordy Nelson and James Jones, and the satisfaction of home field advantage with the win.
“The goal was home field and that was accomplished tonight,” Coach Mike McCarthy said after the game.
However, he was also concerned about the issues that have caused difficulties with the team. For instance, the number of players who have been injured the last month.
” We have to get healthy as a team,” McCarthy said.
Though he didn’t address the issue, McCarthy will most likely take a close look at who and for how long he will play specific players. Does he start Aaron Rodgers? Probably … and play him at least a half.
McCarthy did say he would do everything in his power to play to win the football game next week – the Detroit Lions come to Lambeau for the final game of the regular season next Sunday. Both teams are in the playoffs, so it could be a sub-fest.
Needless to say, McCarthy was pleased with how his team came back from being defeated by the Kansas City Chiefs.
He complimented the offensive line – a line put together with guys out of position and second stringers stepping up. And it was apparent from the outset that this was ultimately going to be a game the Packers would win decisively.
The Packers started the game on fire, went to sleep for most of the first half and then exploded for 21 second half points to put the game away.
The Packers first drive was indicative of the different ways the Packers can score. Tight end Jermichael Finley accounted for four catches including a 2-yard catch for a TD, his fourth against the Bears this year.
Jordy Nelson also went over 1,000 yards on the season with a first down catch over the middle on the drive.
With the touchdown, Rodgers has now thrown a TC in 29 straight regular season games at Lambeau Field. A team record.
But that was not to be the end of production for Rodgers.
Before he was done midway through the fourth quarter, Rodgers was 21-29, for 283 yards 5 touchdowns, and a 142.7 rating.
He hit James Jones and Jordy Nelson twice each, in addition to the first touchdown he threw to Finley.
“Thirty-five points on that defense that’s a good night,” McCarthy said.
However, it was the inability for the Packers’ defense to get off the field throughout the first half and an unbalanced time of possession in favor of the Bears, that really bothered the coach.
“I knew we would be challenged up front, on both sides of the ball … but at the end of the day, we had more points.”
It was the Bears who controlled the offensive line of scrimmage in the first half, with Kahlil Bell and Armonde Allen carrying the load on the ground. They combined for 161 yards on the ground.
Throw in the 19-28, 242-yard performance by Josh McCown, who was staring his first game in five years, and the Bears had a productive night.
However, getting into the end zone was a struggle for the Bears as the Packers defense continued to make the plays when needed.
In the third quarter, the Bears hit pay dirt first. They scored when Bell was hit and fumbled at the goal line, but the ball was quickly scooped up by E. Williams for the score. The touchdown cut the Packers lead to 14-10.
But that was short-lived. The Packers came right back about two minutes later when Rodgers hit Nelson for a 55-yard touchdown pass to the put the Packers up 21-10.
The Packers continued the scoring barrage with touchdown tosses to James Jones and Jordy Nelson to put the Pack up 35-10. The Bears scored one garbage touchdown and a field goal as time wound down in the fourth quarter and Matt Flynn took over at quarterback for the Packers.
McCarthy praised his players for taking care of the fundamentals and utilizing their ball skill drills to help them improve.
“It’s about fundamentals …,” McCarthy said. “handling the football throughout your whole football team … and having two takeaways, and no giveaways …,” were advantages for the Packers.
With the win and the earning of home field advantage, McCarthy was asked about the importance of home field advantage.
“It’s most important … we had three goals: wining the division; home field; and winning Super Bowl. There’s nothing like our fans. our surface is in great shape … everyone would like to play at home.”
With today’s win, the Packers are one of two teams in the league that, as of today, have the opportunity to play at home as long as they win in the Playoffs.
Statistics from this game are deceiving – as they have in several wins for the Packers this year. The defense gave up just shy of 450 yards to the toothless Bears. Most crucial is the lack of run defense by the Packers. Bell had 121 yards on the ground, followed by Allen’s 40 and McCown’s 38.
Grant led the Packers with 44 yards, followed by Aaron Rodgers’ 18, and James Starks’ 13.
Starks left the game with an ankle injury.
Nelson led all receivers with 115 yards on six catches. Jones had 5 on four catches, Jermichael Finley had three, while Grant, Driver, and Cobb all had two.