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.
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.
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.
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 AllGreenBayPackers.com 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 CBSSports.com. Follow @KrisLBurke