Packers 23, Bears 10: Game Balls and Lame Calls All Green Bay Packers All the Time
Clay Matthews sacks Jay Cutler - again and again and again.
Clay Matthews sacks Jay Cutler – again and again and again.

Take the ball out of Aaron Rodgers’ hands, pound the ball with Cedric Benson and let the defense rule the day.

Just what everyone expected, right?

Utilizing a rather unorthodox (for them) gameplan, the Green Bay Packers beat the Chicago Bears 23-10 and moved to 1-1 on the season.   The Packers of 2011 played with an offense with so much firepower and a defense that was notorious for bending, but not breaking.

Last night, however, was something out of some kind of mirror universe.  The Packers sacked Jay Cutler seven times (with Clay Matthews accounting for exactly half of them) and intercepted him four times (Tramon Williams accounted for exactly half of those).  The Packers shut down Brandon Marshall and the defense created a Bears meltdown no Packer fan will soon forget.

The offense on the other hand showed some signs of rhythm, but still was nowhere near the juggernaut it was a season ago.  Aaron Rodgers was sacked five times and his receivers continued to be plagued by a case of the drops.

So who stood out? It’s time for another addition of Game Balls and Lame Calls.


Game Balls


LB Clay Matthews

I think It’s safe to say: the Claymaker is back.

Want proof? Through two games this season, Matthews has accumulated six sacks. His total from all of 2011 was….six. He is currently on pace for 48 sacks though he likely won’t finish with quite that many.

Even when he wasn’t throwing Cutler to the ground, Matthews was blowing up plays. The Packers found a favorable matchup and exploited it.

Looks like Matthews is back in 2010 form


CB Tramon Williams

Speaking of returning to form, Williams looks to be recovering nicely from the shoulder injury that plagued him throughout 2011.

Not only did he pickoff Cutler TWICE, he shut down one of the best receivers in the NFL in Brandon Marshall. Thanks to a bad throw that would have resulted in a touchdown, Marshall finished with two catches.

When you consider that Cutler rarely looked the way of his all time favorite target, then this adds up to a career night for Williams.


RB Cedric Benson

The Packers established a running game. The end must be nigh.

Benson gained 75 yards on the ground in one of the more memorable games for the Packers on the ground in well over a year.

With Benson also performing well in the screen game, the Packers had an all purpose back for once. If Rodgers and the passing game can get going, the offense could be even more lethal.


TE Tom Crabtree

That fake field goal? Probably one of the most impressive plays I have seen in quite awhile. A gutsy call followed by flawless execution by Crabtree and the field goal unit.

That’s not the whole reason he gets a game ball. Crabtree is a blocking specialist and he had some killer blocks allowing Benson and the running game to finally show some signs of life. With Finley continuing to struggle, Crabtree is quietly making a case to see more playing time going downfield.


Lame Calls


TE Jermichael Finley

What else can be said?

Finley has ball control issues. Many were convinced his drops last year were a mental issue. With the same problems reoccurring this year, you can’t help but think something else is afoot.

In his defense, that fumble was a fantastic play by Charles Tillman. That’s not all on Finley.

Still, Finley again dropped passes. When he did catch a ball, the Lambeau faithful gave him a sarcastic “Bronx cheer.”

The patience fans had with Finley is obviously gone. Could his coaches be far behind?


LT Marshall Newhouse

Newhouse’s poor play nearly gave Packer fans a heart attack.

After giving up a sack, Rodgers was favoring his elbow and Graham Harrell began warming up. Thankfully, the crisis was averted and Rodgers came back.

That said, Newhouse has got to play better. You can’t let the franchise quarterback take a pounding like the Packers have been. Unfortunately, thanks to no depth on the offensive line, there really is no suitable player that can.truly push Newhouse to perform better.


LB DJ Smith

Memo to Dom Capers: stop putting linebackers on wide receivers.

Smith, like Nick Perry, is not good in coverage. He has plenty of ability in the blitz, but he is liability in pass coverage. If you are going to be a linebacker in Capers’ 3-4, you need to be able to cover.


WR Jordy Nelson

Once again: drops.

I’ll just blow this off as one bad game for Nelson but he cost the Packers a couple scoring opportunities. He had a decent game otherwise, but a couple more catches would have made this an even bigger blowout.


Kris Burke is a sports writer covering the Green Bay Packers for and WTMJ in Milwaukee. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) and his work has been linked to by sites such as National Football Post and


25 thoughts on “Packers 23, Bears 10: Game Balls and Lame Calls

  1. I agree with 99 per cent of your post except for Jordy………….for every one pass Jordy catches, he drops two. He also has ball control issues just like Findley. Re-watch last years championship game. The ONLY Packer that did not have dropitis is Donald. Jordy and Findley have been with us too long to be excused by their constant pass dropping. Either they learn to catch and hang on to the ball or they risk being replaced by someone who can!!

  2. Yes, Newhouse gave up two sacks, but there were no other QB pressures on pass plays (per PFF). I’m guessing over the course of the season, the majority of LTs the Bears go against will do as bad or worse stats than that. I think he’s gotten noticeably better since last year, and as you say, still has room for improvement, but going against the 9ers and Bears in a 5 day stretch, I think he did a heck of job.

  3. The problem is not with Jordy right now, it’s with Aaron. His throws have been off, and really hasn’t been consistent in my view. Normally Aaron is one of the best deep throwers in the league, but he seems to be off. The throw to Driver showed that he still has got the touch.

    Perhaps Aaron doesn’t feel comfortable with the offensive line yet.

    Finley, well, yeah.

    Not being a debbie downer, but I am not going to say Matthews is back yet, because I want to see a few more consistent games like this. Although I will agree that it’s very much more encouraging after a drought after last year.

    Benson may have fumble problems, but that shouldn’t keep McCarthy from using him. Benson is never a person with self-motivation as he needs someone to do it for him. Aaron is a excellent leader, and Benson finally has THAT Quartback which will allow him to fully become a RB.

    All in all a great game, although I will say I am optimistic, I am still not convinced yet of the defense. I usually take about 6 games to fully get a profile of the team at hand. We are at Game 3 now next week. If this pass rush stays consistent, well then I will be fully ready for the playoffs this year.

    I know I am going to get blasted, but I don’t care about the rest of the team at hand except for one facist. We know about the receivers, and quarterback. We know what to expect. They key for every Packer game this year: THE PASS RUSH from the Defensive Line. You saw last night how it made Clay Matthews Thor-like. That is how we dominate the scoreboard, with pressure. We will need it in the playoffs.

  4. Kris are a brave one but also misguided to have the ‘AUDACITY’ to rank Nelson in the Lame with Finley.I will even say Newhouse has been insulted considering what Newhouse is subjected to and what Finley consistantly fails to live up to.

  5. DJ played a very good game. The one issue was coverage on the TD. That was not a WR but the TE who scored. The play anticipated the TE staying in to block. Pressure on Cutler for that play was not as immediate. DJ was slow to cover after the TE released. Does he need to improve, yes? Is he an inadequate replacement for Bishop, also yes? By mid-season he will prove his worth.

    1. Ron,
      I’d say he had a mediocre game at best.
      He also had a PI penalty while defending a TE and he gave up a big pass play to Forte.
      He did have the sack to open the game but at ILB, Hawk had a MUCH better game.

      1. Woodson gave up a big play to Forte also. But then rolled down on his ankle n took him out a few weeks. But Forte is a stud n will make many men look inadequate for a few more years.

  6. Overall a solid win for the Pack. The defense played very strong and I hope that this is the beginning of a very positive trend for the defense. I am still concerned about the offensive line and the dropped passes. Maybe Cedric Benson is finding his game. That would be huge for the offense. GB still needs some work on penalties. Enjoy the extra days off. Catch up after the Seahawks game. Thanks, Since’61

  7. It must really suck being s Bears fan today (and always). They thought the had the answers and thought they were going to get a rare win with cutler against the hated Packers. But then reality set in as they got clobbered by the Pack. Cutler is 1-7 against the Pack . It amazing how much this guy folds tent when under pressure. Remember when Favre was cutlers age? The harder they hit Favre, the more fight he had in him. Cutler is a disgrace.

  8. wish Woodson would back off on Cutler, make an initial comment, then stop. Too much fodder for next game. This is the NFL. So hope not, but next game Clutzler could be a hero. God, Allah, budda, n many others forbid. Woodson, you are a seasoned pro, let them talk n u just keep doing what u do! That wr on your pick could have took a couple steps toward Clutzler n u would have had to tackle him instead have caught the pick. Your play is so good Woodson, you ain’t got to say nothin’!!!!

    1. Chuck Bednarik Award Winner…
      Heisman Winner…
      National Champion…
      Defensive ROY…
      7-All Pro Years…
      Defensive NFL POY…
      Super Bowl Champion…
      Top 5 Interceptions for TD…

      Charles can say what he wants, when he wants. He has earned everything there can be in football.

      1. I will be blasted for this but when CMJ blocked a pass, Charles was too slow and missed a Pick Six! Just Barely. Two years ago that was an easy TD for Mr. Woodson. Of course he is still better than 90% of the DB’s in the league.
        HOF in five or less!

        1. I agree well his speed has gone down, but on that previous play you mentioned, he was already going sideways and then he slid a tad trying to make a play.

  9. “If you are going to be a linebacker in Capers’ 3-4, you need to be able to cover.”

    I got news for ya Kris, Smith isn’t going anywhere and he will continue to start for the foreseeable future. So if your quote is the case, it would probably behoove Dom to tweak coverage assignments because we can both agree coverage is not “currently” one of DJ’s many strong suits. I personally have a lot of faith in the kid, though he’s not near a fnished product.

    GBP 4 LIFE

    1. Agree completely Fitz. DJ’s critics are the same guys who predicited Borel and Gurley would displace DD.

  10. As I said last week, if we can run the football we will have a good season. If we can’t run, Aaron will take a beating because pass rushers like nothing better than a team that can not run the football. Against SF we stopped running the ball way too early. Mike McCarthy admmitted as much. Benson can not only run but he was great getting open for short passes. He was easily the strongest performer on offense given the dropsies by our receivers and the uncharacteristic erratic throws by AR.

    If Aaron returns to anywhere near last years form, our receiving improves and Benson keeps playing this way, it will be a great season.

    Clay Matthews is back for one simple reason. Opponents can not focus on him like last year when there was no pass rush by anyone else. 7 sacks – wow.

    1. What I said was, IF the Packers can not run the football they would have a terrible season as defenses would pressure Rogers BIGTIME.

      Well, Benson got over 100 yards between rushing and short passes.

      1st Game – no rushng – LOSS
      2nd Game – rushing – WIN

      to be cont.,

  11. There is hope for this defense.Walden gave them a boost.Their main guys all played well.Matthews looks like a man on a mission.Last years passing show not there yet.Jennings was missed,but I’m tired of seeing big drops(Finley is a bit of a head case).Great win though,starting out 0-2 at home would have been hard to overcome.

  12. John Kuhn

    Gets a game ball for the best tackle of Devin Hester I have ever seen by any player on any team. That was a highlight reel tackle.

  13. Was a great game. Two things–It was great not having to see Bush getting burned, (did he even play?) and Crabtree should be starting, Finley can’t catch or block!!

  14. Marty, Crabtree is proving to be a very versatile weapon. He hasn’t been given that many chances to show what he’s really about as a receiver , but he’s shown he can motion around to wherever he’s needed and block the hell out of someone. He’s our second FB imo.

  15. Is Sherrod ever going to play again? I have this ugly feeling that he will injury prone and turn out to be a wasted pick. I hope not.

    Another question, why is Bulaga playing RT? I thought when they drafted him, he was supposed to be the LT of the future.

    I don’t trust Newhouse to protect the franchise.

Comments are closed.