The Packers and the Bears met for the 181st time today. As would only seem appropriate for these two long-time rivals, defense ruled the day, with the Packers pulling out a do-or-die 10-3 victory. Yes, they’re in the playoffs. Bring on Michael Vick.
Oh, and thank you Lovie Smith for playing the game to win. The Packers had to beat your best to get in and that’s the way it should be.
My game day impressions:
As tweeted by Mike Vandermause, this is first time in history of Packers-Bears series that both teams enter game with 9 or more wins.
MY KEY TO THE GAME: If I had to pick JUST ONE thing, it would be this: Protect Aaron Rodgers.
The Bears come in with one of the best front sevens in the league. As I said in a previous article:
They’re not going to dominate the Chicago DL, but they don’t need to. Like last week against the Giants, they just have to hold them off long enough to give Rodgers some clear looks in the Bears secondary.
My 1A key to the game: This could be a toss-up between avoiding Devin Hester and harassing Jay Cutler. Assuming the Packers meet the goal of my #1 key, there won’t be many punt return opportunities for Hester, so I’ll go with pressuring Jay Cutler. Make him uncomfortable and the mistakes will follow.
Inactive for Green Bay on Sunday:
Green Bay inactives: Harrell, Bigby, Hall, Gordy, Zombo, Dietrich-Smith, McDonald and Jenkins.
Erik Walden will start at ROLB for Zombo.
Jenkins, out once again. Will he be back if (when) Packers play in the playoffs?
James Starks (Neo) is active today!
MM Comments on WTMJ Pregame show:
We’re not paying attention to what else is going on. We’re focused on winning the football game and playing our best football.
Physicality: We stress it all the time. Ability to play your best football at the end of the year. When you pass a lot, people think you’re not physical. That’s not the case at all.
Aaron is a pro bowl quarterback. Strength is his intelligence, reading defenses. Statistically, he was not where he normally is early in the season. I just feel he’s now back to normal. He’s doing an excellent job in the pocket with his feet.
Bears: Exactly the same team we saw back in September. Playing with a lot more continuity. Hester having his finest season – biggest impact player on their football team.
Cutler’s improvement: You’re seeing a QB more on the same page with his offensive coordinator.
Mike Tice has done a great job with the OL – biggest improvement in the Bears.
Very important for us to play at a high level on special teams. We have to be disciplined.
Bears have three top returners. We need to make tackles and get off blocks. Special teams has been a key to the bears success
Packers Organization choose not to show the Giants score at Lambeau – I like that.
Excellent early read by Rodgers as he audibles to a quick slant to the area vacated by a blitzing DB.
I say this every week, but I’d really like to see the Packers try to block a punt – at least once.
I hate to say this, but Aaron Rodgers throws a poor screen pass.
Donald Driver, trying to get the first down spins and loses the ball. fumble.
Early on, Jay Cutler’s trying to throw an INT, but the Packers have to catch ‘em.
Bears have success on two straight plays running to Erik Walden’s side. Interesting that he’s in there over Francois. Thought Francois was solid against the Giants.
Score: Packers 0 Bears 0
Holding call on Bulaga wasn’t even close to being a hold. Awful call- especially with the ref being right there.
Matt Forte proving to be the most dangerous weapon on the Bears offense.
Walden on a big sack of Cutler. But, when you have an uncontested shot like that on the QB, you have to hit the arm, Walden…
OK. I’m getting really tired of seeing Rodgers have nobody underneath to throw to, and I don’t mean just today.
Hoping maybe a 2 minute drill will find the Packers offense some rhythm.
Packers get very lucky with a roughing the passer call that was not.
Greg Jennings with yet another drop. And then Jones lets one through his hands. So much for the offense getting into a rhythm…
Score: Packers 0 Bears 3
Packers defense looking very confused on the bears first drive. But they get a big stop as capers starts to dial up the pressure, bringing 6 on 4th down.
OK, so we’ve determined that the Packers offensive players are the worst tacklers on the planet.
AJ Hawk really came to play today.
Another 3rd and two deep throw when you’re desperately trying to find a rhythm as an offense. I think this one was on Rodgers. Seemed to pass up a lot of other options.
Gee, you think when everybody in the building knows kuhn is getting a handoff on a goal line dive that it may not work? As Alex of Packers Lounge mentioned, a bootleg off of that is a sure TD.
Seriously, on the goal line,Rodgers shows again that he throws an awful short pass. Herky jerky. Have said that forever.
You know you’re holding the ball too long as a QB when Howard Green gets to you.
Well, now we know why Erik Walden is playing today – pass rush. great delayed blitz by Walden.
Score: Packers 3 Bears 3
Another goal line situation. Please let it be something other than a dive play.
Prayers answered: play action TD to wide open Donald Lee.
Jordy Nelson on a bad read of a block. Doesn’t get the first down on a otherwise nicely executed WR screen.
Tim Mathsay coming up big in a big spot today. Awesome punt puts the ball on the Bears 3 yard line.
It’s a sack party!
The packers offense just cannot seal the deal. It stays a one score game and they give the ball back to the Bears for one final try. Thanks to Ray Guy, Tim Mathsay, the Bears need to go 98 yards.
Fittingly, a Nick Collins interception ends the Bears drive deep in Packers territory.
Final Score: Packers 10 Bears 3——————
Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of AllGreenBayPackers.com, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for Drafttek.com.