Packers 38, Bears 17: Game Balls and Lame Calls

Is everyone relaxed now?

A week after their worst offensive performance in years, the Green Bay Packers roared to life and demolished their arch rival Chicago Bears 38-17.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who told fans on weekly radio show last Tuesday to “R-E-L-A-X,” led the offense to it’s best performance of the season while the defense shut the Bears out in the second half after allowing 17 points in the first half.

Bears quarterback Jay Cutler threw two interceptions in the third quarter and that was enough to give the Packers a rare blowout victory over Chicago. Games between both teams have been incredibly tight the past several years so this was a performance not many were expecting.

Here’s the best and the worst for the Packers in the victory over the Bears.

Game Balls

QB Aaron Rodgers

Someday I’m going to learn not to doubt the Packers quarterback.

All week we heard and debated about what was wrong with Rodgers. He had one of the worst games of his career last Sunday against the Lions and the offense as a whole struggled. This was not the surgical Rodgers fans had grown use to seeing.

Turns out reports of his demise were greatly exaggerated. Rodgers went 22/28 for 302 yards and four touchdown passes. His quarterback rating was a ludicrous 151.2. This was more like it.

Sure Chicago’s secondary is banged up but that’s never stopped these games from being close before. This was a huge injection of confidence for a quarterback who didn’t really need anymore to begin with.

Look out NFC. Rodgers is back (even though he never really left).

WR Randall Cobb

With the return of Rodgers comes the return of Cobb.

With only 14 catches in the previous three games, Cobb’s seven catch, 113 yard and two touchdown performance signals a breakout game this season for him. Rodgers practically zoned in only on Jordy Nelson the first three games but Cobb finally got involved this week and that helped the offense immensely.

Cobb actually had more yards than Nelson, which is a feat deserving of a Game Ball in and of itself.

CB Tramon Williams

I’ve been tough on Williams but his resurgence over the latter part of last year and the first quarter of this year has been awesome to watch.

He didn’t have any interceptions but he was in position to help make plays against the Bears. His move against the slant rout that Brandon Marshall ran in the third quarter helped force the interception that all but sealed the win.

Williams is no longer the liability he was in 2011/2012 due to a nagging shoulder injury and appears to be back in 2010 form. With Sam Shields opposite him, this is quite the Packers secondary.

Lame Calls

Missed tackles

No need to go in depth on this one. It’s a problem that plagued Green Bay’s defense for the last few years.

They cleaned it up in the second half but the way the Packers seem to lack any kind of fundamentals when it comes to tackling at times is baffling. The players are there. They just can’t finish and that keeps teams in games longer than they should.

Run defense

The Packers clearly miss B.J. Raji.

Matt Forte had 23 carries for 122 yards and might have had a lot more had the Packers not taken such a big lead which forced Chicago to turn to the pass.

The depth along the defensive line is paper thin and Letroy Guion as Raji’s replacement at nose tackle has been a disaster. Green Bay could have used Ryan Pickett who sadly signed with the Houston Texans last week.

Datone Jones has played better but that’s not enough to replace an anchor in the center of the line. This might be a season long struggle for Dom Capers’ defense.

RB Eddie Lacy

It’s still too early to declare a sophomore slump on Lacy but the Packers have to be concerned.

His offensive line hasn’t done him many favors, but Lacy isn’t hitting holes as hard as he should be and he isn’t getting into the linebackers as often as he did last season.

The Packers can’t give up on the run, as they’ll need Lacy in the winter months of the season. The focus just needs to be on getting the offensive line better at run blocking and getting Lacy to run like his old self.

His concussion earlier this season may have spooked him but he still has to be true to himself. Trying to run like someone you aren’t often leads to disaster for NFL running backs.


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


40 thoughts on “Packers 38, Bears 17: Game Balls and Lame Calls

  1. A win is a win right? Rodgers looked like Rodgers again and Cobb helped ease some concerns I had rather or not if he’d lost a step due to his leg injury last year. Cobb and Nelson played great yesterday and if they play like that in the coming weeks, the Packers offense will continue to improve and score points. Nice to see Rodgers “Trust” Rodgers II enough to throw him the ball twice in the opening drive. If he can become more involved, the Packers will be much better because of it. That block he threw was a thing of beauty.

    To bad about Pickett, I’d call Jolly if I was Ted T. If not Jolly then someone, anyone because Guion is really horrible. Yes the Packers held the Bears scoreless in the second half, they also gave up 33 first downs and 235 yards on the ground. The time of possession was as warped as it was because of the 1st half, at the end of the day the Packers can’t give up that much yardage and that many first downs and expect to win.

    1. Unlike da Bears, the Vikes have a defense. If TB brings his A game, THU could be a see-saw battle. 10 point favorite looks rich.

      1. Could be a battle of Teds Thursday night. Teddy T vs Teddy B.
        Whoever loses this game we know one Ted or the other will get the majority of the blame.

    2. Johny Jolly’s season ended last year with a neck injury that required c5/c6 spinal vertebrae fusion.. Kinda like Jermichael Finley, Sterling Sharpe, Nick Collins, although not necessarily the same vertebrae (Finley’s were c3/c4, or, higher up the neck, for instance.)

      The point being, yes, Jolly’s doctors have cleared him… but so did Finley’s and Collins’.. My guess is that Jolly’s career is over, since I don’t think ANY teams have given him a medical pass and he’s been cleared by his doctors since before preseason started.

      1. I was hoping perhaps because it was lower maybe they’d bring him in. You’re right though, to much risk no matter which vertebrae. To bad too, Jolly really brought a energy to the defense and locker room. Well Oppy who then, who’s available? 235 yards and that was without 2 starters on the O-Line. Lets hope Pennel is this years Sam Shields of UDFA.

        1. I like Pennel a lot, but he’s an UDFA at a position that typically takes 2-3 years for most rookies to grow into before being truly impactful starters.

          I will say this, though- on one play I watched as Pennel pursued laterally from the middle of the line straight down to the sideline, and he was keeping good pace just behind the LB’s. Pretty quick for a big fella.

          1. I saw him in there for a few plays. He wasn’t getting shoved back like Guion was the few plays I watched. He’s a big kid, had a ticket to a Pac-10 so who knows. He IS athletic for his size from what I understand.

  2. Guion has been a tremendous disappointment. I thought he had more to offer but he clearly is incapable of holding the point. His only game is shooting to one side or the other and being run out of the play. Pennel seems to be the only guy big enough for that role. — I thought Hawk made some nice plays and even tackled Forte immediately on those drag routes. — I will be shocked if we don’t see considerably more of Starks against Minny. He is running more decisively than Lacy and has had some big runs against the a Queens. — only a 4 day wait for our next game….I like the sound of that! GoPack!

    1. The key is 1-0 last week. Need to be 1-0 after the Vikes game this week. They’re all stats wins. 😉

  3. Why are we still talking about Guion? He shouldn’t have been an experiment for us to begin with. Are TT and MM really that assanine. Everyone around him in Minnesota said he sucks. So what do TT and MM do? wtf. He is the equivalent of Sherrod on Defense. TT and MM stop effing around and get someone that can play D-line. Hard to watch Datone giving up on plays all day as well.( I don’t consider a cheap sack in garbage time anything special). Why wasn’t Peppers jacked about playing his old team? He appeared to be playing scared. Matthews will be playing injured the rest of the way.(which is still better than anyone else). This D needs some reinforcements on the line. As far as the Offense… yeah baby…
    Gotta love Jay Cutler, he’s a sweetheart.

    1. With all due respect, were you watching Datone the entire game? What is your definition of “giving up” on plays?

  4. Kris – agree with your calls, although I might also add Dix to the game balls. He seems to be coming along strong at safety. As for Guion, the experiment is over. We need someone at NT now! Giving up 235 yards rushing to a Bears team with 2 starters hurt on their OL is not a good sign for our front 7. Lattimore made some plays but it seemed like Peppers was MIA for most of the game. Maybe we need to try Pennel as a starter. If we can solidify the run defense we can be a dominant team, because the offense looks to be back on track. Thanks, Since ’61

    1. What is it about this team that almost guarantees that if the opponent is struggling or facing adversity in some aspect of the game, they have personal or franchise highs in that very area when they play the Pack.
      I call it the ‘Jason Garrett Effect’.

      Bears were DFL in rushing coming in, so what’s the result? Gash the Pack for huge yardage. It’s uncanny how often stuff like this happens to the Pack.

      1. I agree in part, that many rushing yards is scary, however, the Bears were throwing the ball 70% of the time thus far in the season. The gameplan may have been to limit Jeffries/Marshall and in that case, it did really well. Did the two combine for 100yards? I don’t believe so. Additionally, we did hold an explosive offense to 17pts. Yes the yardage is scary and Guion is horrible, but scoring defense is more important than yardage defense. Gopack

  5. I am starting a drive to collect money to buy AJ Hawk a new helmet chinstrap.

    Send your donations to the “Help AJ Hawk Tackle Fund” c/o the Green Bay Packers football club.

    1. I agree Dix made a great play but the better part of the play and TD save was Hyde blocking the camera,even though unknowingly….we know it was a TD but the camera helped us on that one. 🙂

      1. Taryn, that was the right call by the officials. If you can review that play then pay attention to where M. Hyde # 33 is positioned in reference to the goal line and, the 33 on his jersey. When the ball carrier reaches toward the goal line with the ball you can still see his wrist to the right of M Hyde. This would mean that the ball or the players hands never went past the right three of the #33, nor did the right three cross or touch any part of the goal line. The ball carrier also lost momentary control of the ball as his forward momentum was stopped. It was not called a touch down on the field therefore no further visual evidence to refute the call. No touchdown. Great play by Dix.

        1. It was the right call for Packer fans eyes…the bobble of the ball was at the end of the play,but the ball was secure when it,by looking at the point just before Hyde blocked the view could easily been called it broke the plain,if arm extension was made a bigger factor.Whether its bobbled afterwards is moot as it only needs to break the plain of the goal line.He had possession at that moment.If the call was TD it would not have been over turned due to the same reason..but lets not kid ourselves..everyone as with the Fail Mary knew it was an INT… knew this was a TD.
          Both cases were bad calls.and we won and loss..that’s football in the NFL. 🙂

          1. Now thats funny. True i am a packers fan but also a fan of the game. That call is nowhere close to the fail mary call. That play had the entire football and non football world talking. This play was barely even mentioned. This play was properly called by the officials on the field and the booth. It was not what decided the game. The turn overs and the inability of the Bears defense to stop the Packers from scoring was the difference.

            1. I didn’t say the implications were the same as to the world talking about it…simply that both could have been called differently and review would not have changed the ruling.

              Also.the guys in the booth..thought the Packers got away with that call but agreed that Hyde blocking the view aided in the call stands..had a better view been available,call would more likely have been a TD.

              As to it not deciding the outcome..’if’,which I hate dealing with,calling it a TD would change the way the rest of the game is played and events such as INT’s may not happen….Every call in essence changes the game and it’s outcome possiblities to some degree. 🙂

  6. Even though he had a FG attempt blocked – and I think it was his fault, too – its getting to the point where Crosby needs a game ball here and there. He has been a weapon so far anywhere inside the 40, and his kickoffs have been very good. Lots of touchbacks.

    In fact, special teams in general have held up their end. They did well to recover the surprise onside kick, too. And Masthay might have had his best game ever yesterday…

    1. He’s been a weapon from ANYWHERE marpag. He’d hit 21 of 21 since last November or something right? The 53 yard FG was his 2nd from 50+ this year, ugly as it was!

  7. I agree with the criticism of Guion. Hopefully we will see Pennel get a lot more playing time going forward, as he seems to be the only ‘big-body’ on the roster capable of anchoring the middle against the run.

  8. I have good news and bad news. The bad news is our weakest link on the team is clearly Guion and the interior of the line. Guion is not the answer and Capers needs to get him out of the lineup. Sherrod used to be the weak link but with Bulaga back and getting healthy, none of us even noticed him and that’s what we want. Guion we all noticed because of those constant huge chunks of yards straight up the middle. They solve that interior and this team starts humming on both sides.

    Now the good news. Dom Capers or TT do not need to reach outside the organization to look for help on the interior. They already have the answer. His name is Mike Pennel. I’ll say this again and again until the obtuse Capers gets it. Mike Pennel is the answer. He is clearly better than Guion and Boyd. He has the massive size you need and he can offer a pass rush that even B.J. Raji couldn’t do. He is EVERYTHING this team needs. All Capers needs to do is START HIM!!! Play the man damnit!! It’s time!!!

    He was only in for 10 plays maybe and in those 10 plays resulted a fumbled snap due to intimidation by Pennel and two int’s. and one was caused by a bull rush by Pennel forcing Cutler to throw it early. I am going on record right now and telling you all this guy Pennel is going to be better than B.J. Raji ever was but he needs to be on the field. You listening Dom Capers?

    1. I agree. I watched the game a second time and watched Pennel. He looks real good. The question will be his stamina, but that should come with increased play time.

      1. The question is: how many snaps can he handle, with an eye toward keeping him fresh and effective over the game and the remainder of the season.

        The Packers will play as base against the Vikes as they have in just about any game this season, so far. That means they’re going to have to rotate all their interior DL to keep them fresh.

  9. Lame call to the officiating crew, even though many bizarre calls went to the benefit of the packers. I began to cringe when I saw yet another flag thrown. Felt sorry for the players on both sides.

  10. I’d give a game ball to Mike McCarthy. I’ve been critical of him all season, but he made some adjustments and the offense looked the best it has, in a long time. It’s amazing how effortless the offense looks when they throw shorter passes and get the ball out of Rodgers hand quickly. It opens up the field so much. Not sure why it took so long to figure it out, but it felt like the Packers were gonna score a touchdown every time they had the ball.

    McCarthy still needs to be more creative with Cobb, and try to get him the ball in space. On his one long catch and run, Cobb put the nastiest , ankle-breaker move on Kyle Fuller. Need to give him the opportunity to do that more often.

    I’m still not confident the offense can score consistently against a good defense but this was a great start.

    1. I’d love to see the Packers line up against the Vikings in a bunch route. Ever team in the NFL seems to have a ton of success with it, yet MM never uses it. Closet thing he does is the quick pass to the sideline with the other 2 receivers out front blocking. MM will start doing it once defenses figure it out. I’d also love to see some screens with Harris. MM has 3 really good RB that bring something different to the table yet he didn’t really play Starks or Harris.

  11. How can the Packers’ weakness vs. the run up the middle of the defense be attributable to the loss of BJ Raji?

    The last time the Packers had Raji playing NT was 2010, when the Packers run defense ranked 19th in the league and Raji totaled a career high 39 tackles.

  12. I am not sure that I agree about the run defense. GB played a ton of nickel to help out against Marshall, Alshon, and Bennett. Looked like GB was even in a nickel in their goal line defense once. Nickel isn’t meant to be a run stuffing defense, and it is a bad scheme for Hawk to function in against the run. There were a lot of missed tackles.

    I am not a fan of Raji. I know he looked good in preseason. Sitton and Bakhtiari looked like a run blocking machine in the preseason, too, but not so much when it has counted. I thought Guion was improving as he knocked the rust off, but he clearly regressed against the bears. Pennel looked okay in about 20 snaps.

    Happy to see R. Rodgers catch two balls, even if the long one was due to busted coverage. At least Rodgers saw Rodgers. He is still a lousy run blocker.

  13. After this game look for the run defense against Minnesota – They will not have combined 100 yards. Only issue can be young QB. But I think they can solve the problem…

Comments are closed.