Packers vs. Bears First Impressions – 2014 Week 4

Packers vs. Bears

Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears:  2014 Game 4

As always, these are unfiltered initial reactions as the game progresses.  Everything is up for discussion.

GAME NOTES:

The Packers are on a three-game winning streak at Soldier Field and pulled out a dramatic win in their last appearance during week 17 of the 2013 season to clinch the NFC North.  In his last three games in Chicago, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has thrown 15 touchdowns to four interceptions.

Bears quarterback Jay Cutler is 1-8 against the Packers since becoming Chicago’s starting quarterback in 2009.

The Bears are 2-1 on the season but have yet to get their first win at home.  They lost to the Buffalo Bills in week one and have won their last two games on the road.  The Packers are searching for their first road win of the season so something has to give today.

Bears rookie cornerback Kyle Fuller is responsible for five of Chicago’s eight takeaways so far this season.  Fuller has three interceptions and two forced fumbles and has assumed the starting role vacated by the injured Charles Tillman.

Over the past three seasons, the Packers have not lost back-to-back games that Rodgers started.

Despite the good start the Packers defense has enjoyed, they are ranked fourth-worst in third down defense, allowing a 50% conversion rate.

Both starting running backs are off to slow starts.  Green Bay’s Eddie Lacy has just 113 yards and Chicago’s Matt Forte’s has 136.  Neither has a touchdown this season.

The Bears and Lions enter the day 2-1 while the Packers and Vikings are 1-2. The best-case scenario for the Packers would be to win and have the Lions lose to the Jets, which would create a logjam at 2-2 atop the division. The worst-case scenario would be a Packers loss and a Lions win, which would put the Packers two games back of two division rivals just one month into the season.

 

Today’s Packers’ captains will be WR Jordy Nelson (offense), CB Tramon Williams (defense) and P Tim Masthay (special teams).

 

Inactives for today’s game:

Green Bay PackersGreen Bay Packers
11 WR Jarrett Boykin
16 QB Scott Tolzien
39 CB Demetri Goodson
54 LB Carl Bradford
59 LB Brad Jones
72 C Garth Gerhart

WR Jeff Janis is active for the first time this season.  Davante Adams will

Chicago Bears
27 CB Sherrick McManis
50 LB Shea McClellin
63 C/G Roberto Garza
68 G Matt Slauson
69 DE Jared Allen
72 T Charles Leno, Jr.
90 DT Jeremiah Ratliff

On defense, 93 DT Will Sutton starts for Ratliff, 97 DE Willie Young starts for Allen and 57 LB Jonathan Bostic starts for McClellin. On offense, 70 G Michael Ola starts for Slauson and 64 C Brian de la Puente starts for Garza.

Also, FB 43 Tony Fiammetta was cut by the Bears this week. His roster spot was taken by LB Darryl Sharpton, who is active for today’s game

 

Mike McCarthy Pregame Show on 620 WTMJ:

On playing at Soldier Field:  “Great place to play. Longest rivalry in the history of the NFL…two very good football teams.

Turnover Ratio:  “Turnover ratio is critical. Big play production is critical. To come out and win both categories is vital”

WR Boykin inactive today:  “Jeff Janis will be active today and is ready to go”

On the Packers’ defense and third down:  “Have to give up less yards after contact.  I like our third down defense and the way they’re trending”

Bears QB Jay Cutler:  “Biggest change in footwork and timing.  Comparing this offense vs. past systems, he looks more in command.

Bears WR Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery and TE Martellus Bennett:  “Talented.  Can get vertical and stretch the field.  Bennett is a big target and they do a good job getting him the ball”

Bears struggles getting RB Matt Forte going:  “Anticipate they’ll try to run the ball.  It’s a focus for our defense.  Forte is a dynamic player, very smart.

Bears effective screen game:  “They have an excellent screen package”

Ingredients to get a win:  “Need a fast start.  Solid preparation and execute well.”

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Packers vs.Bears – First Impressions – First Half:

Let’s hope this Soldier Field turf doesn’t get any of the good guys killed today. . .

Forte, Forte, Forte.  Gets a first down on his second-straight run.  He will be a big factor today.

Sam Shields goes for the pass break up instead of the sure tackle and Bennett picks up a first down with the YAC

Peppers misses the third-down sack on Cutler and he scrambles for a first down.  Packers penalized to boot.  Penalties will kill the Packers today.

Cutler looks more in control than I’ve seen him against the Packers.  70+ yard opening drive and a touchdown with some help by Davon House and an apparent case of vertigo.  Marc Trestman has been a good thing for Jay.

And the Packers answer with a quick touchdown drive of their own.  Six plays and Eddie Lacy gets his first rushing touchdown of the season.  Aaron Rodgers looked sharp and found tight end Richard Rodgers twice to get down field.

Matt Forte is just embarrassing the Packers defense and the Packers defense seems happy to oblige.  Forte is on pace for just over 600 yards today at present clip.

Score at end of 1st quarter:   GB 7 CHI 7

 

And the universe has corrected itself.  Packers defense sucks and penalties (questionable) adding to the carnage, offense playing well.  Bears bailed Packers out with a few off-target Cutler throws on that second drive.

Packers still trying to run wide right and having zero success.  Don’t ask me why they do it but I do know the definition of insanity.  Still, that run right has netted negative yards for the Packers all season.

That “Cutler drops the snap” play is working well for the Bears.  Cue up the circus music for the Packers defense.

Bears offense making the Packers defense look amateur.  Nicely-designed play leaves Alshon Jeffery wide open for a walk-in score on a fake reverse.

Bears take a page out of Packers’ play book and try the surprise on-side kick.  Packers recover.  I don’t blame the play call.  Packers have been stiff and slow to react today.

After a terrible incompletion on a check down, Rodgers throws a perfect bullet TD pass to Cobb to give Packers the lead back.  But did they leave too much time for Cutler and the Bears with a minute on the clock?

The answer is YES.  Bears drive down inside the red zone and may have scored a touchdown on a catch and reach by Bennett.  But not enough evidence to overturn and the ruling on the field stands.  Bears are denied the score.  Still, that Chicago drove down field so easily means another tough second half for the Packers.

Score at end of 1st half:   GB 21 CHI 17

 

Packers vs. Bears – First Impressions – Second Half:

The one adjustment Mike McCarthy needed to make at the half is on the side of the ball that’s not his “Forte”.  Needs to find an answer to the Bears’ running back and fast.

After a nice start to the opening drive, two Corey Linsley holding penalties not only kill the drive but nullify a touchdown.  Crosby with an incredible 53-yard field goal to get something out of it.

Packers defense finally makes a play.  Tramon tips a Cutler pass into the hands of Clay Matthews.  First turnover of the day and the Packers needed it.  Packers turn it into seven points.  Incredible throw and catch by Nelson to add to the Packers lead.  You just can’t stop Rodgers to Nelson all day.  Just can’t.

Packers’ defense finally showing some signs of life with another interception of Cutler after a miscommunication with Marshall.   Packers drive down and stall.  Mason Crosby FG try coming up.

Score at end of 3rd quarter:   GB 31  CHI 17

 

After holding the Packers to a field goal try, the Bears are called for defensive holding on the try, giving Green Bay a first and goal at the three.  Next play, Rodgers finds Cobb for a TD.

Tramon nearly gets a third interception of Cutler.  Play is overturned as Williams didn’t maintain possession.  Packers step up and get a sack, hold Bears and get the ball back.  Second half a complete heel turn for this defense.

Cobb quickly makes everyone forget about the drop in the end zone with a nice catch-and-juke.  Takes it down to the 3-yard line.  This is why the Packers need to get more creative in getting the ball in Cobb’s hands.

Packers always seem to have issues with penalties in Chicago.  Had a first and goal at the three-yard line and were called for holding twice.  Crosby’s FG attempt is tipped.  No good.  Still, that should do it whether Bears score or not.

 

Final Score:  GB 38  CHI 17

 

Final Thoughts:

After a rough start by the defense, they forced some turnovers and finally showed up and joined the offense at the party.  These are the results when the Packers play a more complete game on both sides of the ball.  Still gave up too many rushing yards and have to improve there if they want to win close games.

Tackling is still an issue.  Had this game not gotten out of hand and the Bears continued to feed Forte, it may have ended much differently.

Third-down defense is still not good enough.  They just can’t get off the field and are constantly out-schemed and out-played series after series.  They have to find a way to make it tougher for good offenses to gain more than five yards and get the ball back to the offense.

A.J. Hawk wasn’t terrible so let’s stop maligning the guy, OK?

Aaron Rodgers is good after all.  He’s not “over the hill” and “on the wrong side of 30” just yet.  Four touchdowns, no interceptions and a smiling high-five to McCarthy.  Got the ball out faster and his only sack taken was on a scramble for no yards.

The Bears were without several key guys today but the Packers have been on that side of the equation many times.  Still doesn’t diminish that this was a huge road divisional win.  Packers have now won four straight at Soldier Field.  More importantly, they improve to 2-2 and return home on a short week.  They’ll face the Minnesota Vikings next.

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Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on AllGreenBayPackers.com

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47 thoughts on “Packers vs. Bears First Impressions – 2014 Week 4

  1. Richard Rodgers gets “his first 2 catches of the season” for 50 yards. Coaching staff is changing things – about time.

    1. It was great to see Rodgers getting involved early. Not sure what happened to him the rest of the game, but it’s a start.

  2. Defense, well……….terrible so far, but 1st Quarter and maybe Capers does something.- Pack run defense is 30th against the run – it shows. By the end of the game at this rate they will 32nd.

  3. MVP – 1st half: Not even close. It’s the referee staff by far.
    1) Gave us a first down on Jordy’s catch on 3rd an one which was about a yard short and Bears blew the opportunity for a red flag
    2) Didn’t see Bear touchdown on last play of the half with an assist by Micah Hyde..
    3) A few crucial 15 yard personal foul calls to keep 3rd TD drive going. Please keep it rolling in the 2nd half. Thank You. Thank You.
    Lastly, Please Vince – tell the angels to not allow Cutler to fumble anymore. Those two plays were amazing recoveries. Oh, and we need a sack or two. Cutler has 10 seconds to throw every pass.

    1. Even if the ball crossed the line at the end of the half, something you have to believe without seeing, Bennett juggled the ball afterward. Dix made the play of the game.

    2. You forgot the reversed illegal use of hands that was called on Peppers despite him being the recipient of the move, on 3rd down, which would mean a very long Bears FG.

    3. Referees were bad. What was Cory’s holdoing call on Eddie’s reversed TD? Where you can see holding? This is the only one example, there was a lot of bad calls in yesterday game. Do you want to talk about Sam Shields penalty on Jay Cutler run? They call it with no reason to do that! So, if you want to feel miserable, please, do. But do not try to make others day miserable…

  4. Just for fun, I’m going to replay the first half of this one at 3x speed and play the theme music from Benny HIll.

    1. Those were my EXACT thoughts when it was going on. Does anyone have amazing video skills to create a Youtube with the soundtrack?

  5. Thank God for Cutty being Cutty. Bears are mixing run pass really well in the 1st half and if Hyde doesn’t mask Bennett’s TD, Bears go in at half up 24-21. Packers can’t tackle Forte, but Trestman decides to have Cutty air it out in the 2nd half, leading to Pick City.

    AR wakes up and realizes there’s a reason the Packers are putting all these dollars in his account every week, and finally plays to a level that matches what he’s getting paid.

    Easy now, homers and apologists. This is a team that is .500 and couldn’t tackle a safe bolted down to a concrete floor.

    8-8 at best.

  6. The Bears were always going to get their yards passing the ball. They have a very good passing offense. But GBs rushing defense (as we worried in July) is TERRIBLE. Just TERRIBLE. If it doesn’t get better (and there’s no reason to think it will) it’s going to be another NFCN Division Title, and another home playoff loss. Capers. Has. To. Go.

    That said, any day you beat the Bears by more than 20 it’s a good day. GO PACK GO. Kick the Queens next week.

  7. Hats off to The Fox Network for their decision to keep Joe “you suck” Buck and Troy Aikman on the west coast. John Lynch and the other guy made it much more enjoyable to watch.

    1. John Lynch’s commentary makes it seem like he is a well educated (Stanford) former excellent player (on those tough Bucs
      defenses).

      Oh yeah, he is.

  8. Looks like A. Rodgers is back. OL had a good game pass blocking but not so good run blocking. D got some turnovers but the run defense was bad. Lattimore made some good plays and needs to continue to start regardless of B. Jones status. Dix made some nice plays. Solid divisional win on the road. Now at short week with the Vikes up at home. We have a chance to win 2 divisional games in 5 days, which will give the season a completely different feel. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since ’61

  9. Watching Clay Matthews return that pick made it very clear that he was not his dynamic self. With a healthy CM I would think he would have provided more help with the pass rush and stabilize the run defense. Just Saying.

    1. Agreed, that groin injury limited him. Plus he must have been a tad tired, he played for a quite a while last week, and today.

  10. Bridgewater already over 300 yards, a rushing TD, and a 2 pt pass with 9 minutes left. Why did Cassell have to get hurt?

  11. “Yeah, where are all those people calling for the firing of Capers now?” said some last week, despite the Packers ranking 30th in the run game. Well, they’re still here, and with good reason. 2 high safeties all game long, even on obvious run situations, with the exception of a couple of plays. This, despite the glaring problems of the DL.

    That being said, this game was mostly on the players. Just terrible execution all around. The only player on defense that played well was Tramon Williams. The rest all sucked. Especially the DL and Morgan Burnett. As long as he and AJ Hawk are staples of this defense, the Packers will always be vulnerable through the middle. They’re just too slow to react. Yeah, Hawk had a couple of surprisingly good plays, but the majority of the time he was late getting to the hole/to his receiver and, even though almost always on the right spot, getting pushed back when he did make contact.

    As for the offense, damn it’s good to see Rodgers at his peak. What a great quarterback. But the reason he played so well was due to having all day to throw. I don’t know if that’s more on the OL that has played badly so far or on the putrid Bears’ pass rush. I’d like to think it’s the former, but I doubt it.

    A great win, still a long season to go, plenty of chances to correct things and win the division. But I’m still very pessimistic about it all, I doubt we even win this division, and even if we do, going past the divisional round is a delusion at this point.

    1. My impression was that the Bears were hoping their secondary could hold up, but weren’t going to let the Packers run the ball and that the Packers would rather take the chance that Forte would bleed them out, but weren’t going to let the Bears beat them over the top.

      Whatever the case, I’m now very worried about the Packer run game. They should’ve been able to gash this Bears defense and it didn’t happen. I don’t know what the solution is, but it sure looks like we’re back to ARod carrying this team on his back with virtually no help coming from the guys toting the rock.

      1. I think they played a lot of tampa 2 (cover 2 zone, which teams rarely do against the Packers, it’s usually cover 2 man) and got burned on the edges.

    2. You must be kidding. Morgan Burnett? He had 12 tackles and 1 assist tackle. The most of any Packers. Do you know who was the second? A. J. Hawk with 10-3. You say they both played bad? So, others were even worser?
      Put the glasses on your eyes. You are embarrassing yourself…

      1. How many of those were after a gain? How many of those were stops? Not a single tackle for loss. Not a single pass breakup. Not a single sack. Not a single pass breakup.

        Here’s all the tackles by Burnett (http://www.pro-football-reference.com/boxscores/201409280chi.htm):
        1 3:2623CHI 44Ka’Deem Carey right guard for 12 yards (tackle by Morgan Burnett)
        1 1:1931GNB 35Matt Forte right tackle for no gain (tackle by Morgan Burnett)
        1 0:24110GNB 10Jay Cutler pass complete short right to Josh Morgan for 9 yards (tackle by Morgan Burnett)
        2 7:3437CHI 49Jay Cutler pass complete short right to Martellus Bennett for 23 yards (tackle by Morgan Burnett)
        2 0:3625CHI 38Jay Cutler pass complete deep left to Martellus Bennett for 26 yards (tackle by Morgan Burnett)
        3 8:1931GNB 26Jay Cutler right guard for 2 yards (tackle by Morgan Burnett)
        3 2:1327CHI 46Jay Cutler pass complete short middle to Martellus Bennett for 9 yards (tackle by Morgan Burnett)
        4 14:47110CHI 14Matt Forte left tackle for 5 yards (tackle by Morgan Burnett)
        4 4:47110CHI 28Ka’Deem Carey right tackle for 13 yards (tackle by Morgan Burnett)
        4 4:13110CHI 41Jimmy Clausen pass complete short right to Josh Morgan for 9 yards (tackle by Morgan Burnett)
        4 3:392150Ka’Deem Carey right tackle for 5 yards (tackle by Morgan Burnett and Mike Pennel)
        4 2:07110GNB 35Ka’Deem Carey right guard for 1 yard (tackle by Morgan Burnett)
        4 2:0029GNB 34Ka’Deem Carey right tackle for 2 yards (tackle by Morgan Burnett)

        Of those 12 tackles and 1 assist, 4 were for big gains (more than 10 yards) and 5 were during scrub time, against the Bears’ reserves.

        Against the Bears’ starters, with the game on the line? Only 2 tackle for short gain. AND ONE WAS IN A CUTLER SCRAMBLE FOR A FIRST DOWN!

        So, back to my questions: Excluding garbage time, one tackle was a stop. The one on Forte in the first half for zero yards. All the rest were gainst.

        Tackle, by itself, is the most useless stat in sports.

        1. I’m sorry that I answered to you. You are right. Stupid safety was not present himself 5 yards behind Bears OL to tackle Bears WR and TE. Not to mentioed he was not able to sack Jay Cutler at the same time while he was tackling Matt Forte…
          For you sun never shines good enough. Nature is complete failure and I’m sure you would arrange it better than God…
          My bad. Please accept apology…
          EDIT: I know that it sounds stupid, but that horrible, horrible Packers defense was keeping Bears offense on high 17 points, while wonderful 9ers & Jets defenses gave them to score only 28 & 27 points… It is clear that they summoned better defenses then Packers…

  12. Yeah, that first half defense was horrible. But I saw something that could possibly transform this defense into the dominating one most of us thought they would be.
    The was the very first game that Mr. Mike Pennel finally got some playing time. I would estimate he had maybe 7 plays or so. What excited me was during those 7 plays Pennel was in, the Packers defense forced three turnovers. Pennel was responsible for the Matthew int return with a huge bull rush up the middle forcing Cutler to throw it early.
    I watched this guy closely and I have to wonder why the hell it’s taking Capers so damn long to play this guy. He’s better than Guion and Boyd yet there’s Capers pussyfooting around being afraid to play him. He better get his head out of his ass and realize this defense will only be good with a solid interior and Mike Pennel gives us all that and more. Play the man Capers!!

    1. you can put a folding chair out there instead of Guion, at least it may get in the way…Ted’s big pickup, no wonder the ViQueen fans were laughing….

      1. I agree Billy. I have not been impressed at all with Guion. Boyd hasn’t done much better but today I saw Pennel in for the first time of his career and he had an immediate impact in the outcome of the game and it was a positive not a negative.

        I’ll say it again. In less than 10 plays in this guys’ career, three turnovers by the defense were produced when he was physically on the field. Three!! One he was the cause by bull rushing Cutler and forcing the int to Matthews.

        Here is what we do know so far. Guion and Boyd are not getting it done. We are getting gouged 4 straight games by opposing offenses running up the gut. Mike Pennel was activated two games so far and both those games we won. I think it’s pretty simple solution going forward to solve our defensive woes… You play Mike Pennel more and Leroy Guion and Boyd less. Class dismissed!! Everyone can leave except Dom Capers who is in detention for not getting it.

        1. Well… some of the students in your “class” are curious as to how the Packers got three turnovers yesterday. I count two. Did I miss one?

          Yes, Pennell got good pressure on a bull rush during the Matthews interception. That’s good.

          He was also on the field during the Shields interception. The best you could say for him on that play is that he was double teamed. Other than that, he was a stationary non-factor.

          Hey, I agree with you that I’d like to see Pennell on the field more often. But I think maybe we need to curb the enthusiasm just a smidge.

          1. You are correct, there was only two actual turnovers. I also counted the “intimidation factor” of Mike Pennel when Cutler fumbled the snap at the mere sight of him lining up over the center. They got the ball back but Pennel simply being on the field has resulted in huge plays on defense. This is a fact and one we cannot deny.

            Either way less than 10 snaps to this guys career and we are talking two int’s for the defense and a fumble by the qb. If I don’t see Mike Pennel on the field more Thursday I swear Capers is purposely trying to lose these games and needs to be tarred and feathered down Oneida Street after the game.

    2. I was telling that from the preseason. Pennel is real thing. He is huge, yet very fast. OK, he is young, little naive, but he will progress by the time. I support you. Play the guy. He is huge upgrade for the DL and he is excellent in geeting of the blocks…

  13. While there are certainly new concerns about the defense, didn’t I tell you so? Seriously, everyone was panicking about the offense like it had no chance of rebound, but it did what it always does, it corrected itself. Although Lacy is clearly no longer the answer at running back. Why the hell isn’t Starks being utilized more???? Any explanation for this???

    Good win, hope for the run game and the D to turn around against the Viqueens this week.

      1. I can understand why you would say that, certainly the run blocking hasn’t been the same. But James Starks is averaging 5 yards a carry, if the offensive line was that bad then why isn’t he being shut down like Lacy?

        In either case, there’s just no excuse for not seeing Starks on the field today.

        1. GB had 18 rushing attempts (to the Bears 41) and only 23:38 TOP. That’s why Starks didn’t play. Lacy was never winded.

          Lacy didn’t suddenly lose his talent from last year. He’ll be fine.

          1. I find myself wondering if EDS and Barclay really made that much difference on the offensive front. I’d like to think that Bulaga is at least an equal for Barlcay, so that leaves me thinking that it’s the revolving door at C (with a rookie left to start at the 11th hour) that’s a part of the problem.

            1. J.C. Tretter was supposed to be someone who could run block and pass protect like a bull. Things could resume back to normal when he comes back.

            2. Hi dobber. I really don’t think that’s the issue. Bulaga is a much better player than Barclay, and EDS had issues reaching second level blocks. However, it may be taking Lacy some time to acclimate to the new combination.

              I think the issue is the way the games have developed. Except for SEA, the games have had weird beginnings. Hard for Lacy to get in a rhythym when GB is down early.

    1. i have no idea why Starks didnt at least get a few runs…thats bullhead McCarthy, force feeding Lacy the ball to get him going…it isn’t working…very strange use of our running backs this game…

  14. Glad for the win, but I had Bears as 4th best in the division since beginning of season. I haven’t bought into Bears. With Bridgewater leading Minneo, Packers have a fight to get 2nd place.

  15. Yes, run defense was horrid, but I think Capers decided he was going to shut down the twin tower receivers, and dared Chica to beat them with Forte running. Yes, still awful run defense.

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