Packers defense dominates in triumph over Bears
Photo: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Next game: Monday, September 24th at Seattle
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McCarthy to Larry McCarren:
On defense, 7 sacks, 4 INT's: "Our defense really set the tempo. I'm so proud of the way they came...Chicago had a big day four days ago. New coordinator, not a whole lot to study...I just thought the intensity, pace, tempo they set was the determining factor in the game."
On Clay Matthews' 3.5 sack night: "Clay is off to a big time start. He's all over the place. He's a fun guy to watch."
On Tramon Williams nearly blanking Brandon Marshall: "I really feel like he's back. It's great to see him flying around."
On running game: "There's a commitment to the running game. I thought their D-line was a challenge. We definitely got better running the football."
On fake field goal: "It's a play we've been practicing for a couple years. We've been looking for the opportunity to call it."
10:35 p.m. Packers' 5th Drive 3:16
Benson blast! An ankle tackle away from a 30-yard touchdown run.
Victory formation time.
10:27 p.m. Bears' 4th Drive 4:19
Robert Francois owned Devin Hester during the punt return. He gently tossed Hester like a rag doll after going out of bounds. No flaggage, despite Hester's protests.
SACK TIME! Worthy rigns one up! Coverage sack this time. Uh oh. Raji down...but he gets up under his own power.
SACK TIME, V. 2! Clay Matthews! Co-MVP tonight with Tramon Williams.
NOT SACK TIME! Marshall gets his second catch of the night. I don't think Williams was on him.
4th-5 at CHI 23: PICK! McMillan's first pick of his career!
10:20 p.m. Packers' 4th Drive 6:49
Larry McCarren: "6:49 left. Let's eat some clock."
Not much clock eaten after the first two plays, forcing 3rd-11 at GB 19: Jordy Nelson! HUGE catch over the middle. Nelson absolutely burned Jennings, who had played a fantastic game to this point.
Wayne Larrivee: "That was huge."
Two runs produce -1. Lots of complaints about play calling. I have no problem with play calls with a pass on 2nd down when you're trying to run out the clock. I have a problem with execution of the running game. When you can't run, clock management is a bit harder.
3rd-11 at GB 45: McClellin's 2nd sack. The guy can play. The Packers had their eye on him for the draft. I see why.
10:15 p.m. Bears' 3rd Drive 8:04
Green Bay 23, Chicago 10
Cutler-Davis 21 yd TD pass
Chicago still has some life. 24 yards to a two-score lead.
Make that 31 yards, after the Claymaker did his thing. He is owning this game. Along with Tramon Williams.
End zone throw to Marshall for his second catch? Not this time. Underthrown ball. A perfect throw, and it's a two-score game.
4th-7 at GB 21: Davis. Wide open with a post pattern. D.J. Smith burned. Again.
10:11 p.m. Packers' 3rd Drive 8:14
Lots of extracurriculars all over this 4th quarter. The Bears will get nailed for a face mask personal foul on one of them after the Chicago punt.
And in the meantime, the fans chant "The Bears Still Suck!"
Rodgers picked off, an oh-by-the-way pick by Jennings. A "why did you throw that pass, Aaron" throw. Cutler-like.
10:05 p.m. Bears' 2nd Drive 11:17
Folks, we are now in garbage time. Moses. 15 yard gift for the Bears. Not good.
Cutler with loads of time. Too much. Enough to give him time to find a strip of land big enough for him to run over and get to midfield. You could build a $500,000 home on all that land he ran over.
In Chicago territory, A.J. Hawk's tip was enough to shorten a throw to a wide-open Spaeth downfield. Hawk had one of the most delayed blitzes in history, but it worked.
Cutler houdini'd enough to avoid a sack and turn death into an incompletion.
HUGE SACK! 4th sack tonight for Green Bay! Mike Daniels, and this defense is owning this game.
3rd-21 at CHI 49: Kellen Davis fails to handle a magic juggling act kind of catch. Cutler could have checked down there, since it is four down territory.
Maybe not. Cutler to the sidelines. White flag?
10:01 p.m Packers' 2nd Drive 11:22
Green Bay 23, Chicago 3
Rodgers-Driver 26 yd TD pass
DAGGER! Rodgers. Driver. His first catch of the year. A dagger every catch? 100% Not a bad percentage.
9:58 p.m. Bears' 1st Drive 11:38
Cutler. Deep. TRAMON WILLIAMS! He is owning Marshall! He is also making a big return! 37 yards later, the Packera are in the red zone.
9:50 p.m. Packers' 1st Drive 15:00 left in 4th quarter
Green Bay 16, Chicago 3
Crosby 54 yd FG
D.J. Williams' first touch is an easy catch in the flat, and then he made Lance Briggs miss an open field tackle. Williams looks like a poor-man's Sterling Sharpe out there.
Finley makes the hard catches including this five-yarder, and he gets the "Bronx Cheer" as Wayne Larrivee puts it.
3rd-1 at CHI 36: Kuhn. Naaaaathin. Bears' line owned them.
9:48 p.m. Bears' 1st Drive :53
3rd-6.5 at Chicago 23.5 (we get exact here with the WTMJ game blog): Hester with butterfingers. Low throw, but a pro wide receiver should catch that. Hester is not a pro wide receiver.
9:43 p.m. Packers' 2nd Drive 3:05
Rodgers. Nelson. Clockwork. All day. No one covering him.
Benson with a fantastic recovery after being bumped by his own guy in the backfield. It was well enough blocked ahead of him that there was still a hole big enough, maybe not for a truck, but at least an SUV to drive through.
AGH! Second miss of a big play tonight. James was open. Rodgers slightly high on the throw.
3rd-6 at CHI 23: Rodgers down to Finley...fumble...Tillman...and his All-Pro stock is dropping more. Ugh.
9:34 p.m. Bears' 2nd Drive 6:49
Matt Forte's return is doubtful after an ankle injury.
3rd-.5 yards at CHI 34: Bush. Clockwork. Pickett got blocked bad before Bush ran right at him.
Wayne Larrivee: "They're beginning to gash the Packers defense on the ground."
Then Pickett blew up Michael Bush. Badly. Perfect timing, Ryan.
3rd-6 at CHI 41: now 3rd-11 at GB 36 after someone got jumpy worrying about Clay Matthews.
Cutler PICKED AGAIN! Woodson! Just sat back there and let Cutler make a mistake. 55 picks in one of the great defensive back careers in the last 20 years.
9:29 p.m. Packers' 1st Drive 8:49
Benson on a throwback left...and he went to acting school. He faked being a backfield blocker before being wide open on a screen pass.
3rd-1 at GB 29: Benson fail. Chicago linebackers flowed to the football, and Jeff Saturday got owned trying to negotiate a very hard block.
Kuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuhn! Open-field undercut tackle against Devin Hester. Bowling-balled right at the best returner, maybe, in history. n Just a seven-yard gain.
9:14 p.m. Bears' 1st Drive 15:00 left in 3rd Quarter
Green Bay 13, Chicago 3
Gould 45 yd FG
Devin Hester will not return this kick. It's out of the end zone. Crosby kicked the thing to Shawano.
3rd-5 at CHI 25: Cutler got pressured, but Forte was a fabulous safety valve for Cutler. 15 yard gain after Forte owned D.J. Smith, who is so far not a great cover guy against running backs.
Near pick! Kellen Davis was downfield, and McMillan missed a great chance for his first NFL pick. RIGHT IN HIS HANDS!
3rd-9 at CHI 41: Loads of time...Forte beats Woodson. Never thought I'd say that in my lifetime. 14-yard gain. Halftime adjustments seem to be working for Chicago.
3rd-1.5 at GB 37: Cutler play action and Spaeth was wide open. No problem. Looked like Ditka with his receiver skills.
Big combo of Hawk and Worthy getting Forte down behind the line of scrimmage. Makes 2nd and short a 3rd and not very short.
3rd-4 at GB 27: Cutler downfield - just missed Marshall who was wide open. SUPER wide open. Blown.
8:50 p.m. Packers' 3rd Drive 1:07
Green Bay 13, Chicago 0
Crosby 35 yd FG
48 yards to a three score lead with 67 seconds. Very do-able for ARod and company
3rd-1 at Chicago 39: Kuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuhn! Barely a first down. Wayne: "Nothing easy in this game." Urlacher made it hard with a crunching hit.
:31 left, ball at Chicago 38: Flaggage as a pass for Cobb goes errant near the 25. We don't mind five yard penalties where five seconds go off the clock.
:26 left: ball at Chicago 33: Near pick by Briggs, after Rodgers tried to throw into triple coverage for Jones. Phew. A rare "what were you thinking throw."
:21 left, ball at Chicago 33: Half of that gained by Kuhn on a fantastic screen pass.
Tick, tock, tick, tock, time out with :01.
8:43 p.m. Bears' 2nd Drive 1:50
Lambeau Field is alive with the first non-quarterback touchdown pass in Packers history, I think, since the single-wing era. (I could be wrong. Who knows if Bucky Scribner ever tossed a scoring throw.)
Forte deep and Cutler had all the time in the world. Forte just beat Smith. Bad.
BURNETT! Missed opportunity. He came flying towards the Bears sideline to try to stop a deep throw. Stopped the throw. Missed gluing the ball into his hands.
Cutler deep - THERE'S THE PICK! Diving pick by Tramon Williams! Cutler will give you about 4-5 of those chances every game.
8:26 p.m. Packers' 2nd Drive 8:26
Green Bay 10, Chicago 0
Masthay-Crabtree 27 yd TD pass
Benson. This time, he was waiting to set up his blocks. They never really came. He just churned his legs and earned a yard.
3rd-7 at GB 23: Cobb! Fantastic 20 yard gain. Finally something open downfield. Just before then, Larry McCarren: "Nothing for Rodgers cooking downfield." Until that Cobb catch.
SCREEN! Benson gets first down yardage. A one-man screen with Crabtree. Wasn't going to get a huge amount of yardage, but enough for a first down. That's all you can ask for.
Benson is being showcasted the way the Packers probably wished he could have been against the 49ers, but their run defense is seemingly much more stout than Chicago's.
3rd-3 at Chicago 39: Cobb on a pitchout run for 28 yards! The outside speed that Benson doesn't have. Fabulous job of playcalling.
Peppers beats Newhouse again and gets to Rodgers. This may be on repeat tonight.
Two guys to to Rodgers this time. Not Newhouse's fault this time. The right side's fault. Bad job of picking up a stunt on the outside.
3rd-26 at Chicago 27: Cobb lets a ball sail through his mitts. The ball was behind him, but it was catchable.
FAKE! Masthay was so non-chalant on the pass to Crabtree...he must have been whistling. That's how you get past a rock rib defense.
8:15 p.m. Bears' 1st Drive 12:56
Uh oh. Hester. 40 yards return thanks to a great wedge block, and Bush slammed him down following a Crosby tackle whiff. This was Chicago's best offensive weapon before Brandon Marshall showed up.
3rd-1 at CHI 46: Bush goes slamming off right tackle, and an easy first down.
Chicago now tries to establish the running game with a fresh Bush. Trying to run a pounding game up the middle. Effective last week for San Francisco.
Bennett makes a first down catch after a hook pattern, thanks to Cutler taking a hit and delivering a throw. Toughness in the pocket.
WHOA! A.J. Hawk missed nailing Gabe Carimi where the sun don't shine, and Carimi pushed him over. Flaggage. 15 yards. Out of field goal range. A little OSU-Wisconsin hatred spilling over into the pro game.
CLAYMAKER! BIG SACK! Wayne Larrivee: "My goodness! This guy just falls out of the sky."
8:06 p.m. Packers' 1st Drive continues from 1st quarter
Green Bay 3, Chicago 0
Crosby 48 yd FG
FINLEY! Hold on to the football. Rocket throw, but the all-world tight end wasn't there.
3rd-3 at CHI 42: Rodgers flushed and he threw it in the vicinity of James Jones. Still not the best throw. Could have re-set and re-thrown there.
So why is Mike McCarthy challenging? The number of defensive players Chicago had on the field. McCarthy was right! 12 guys were on the field. Fantastic awareness by the PAckers' coaching staff and, I think, Aaron Rodgers.
Finley did a horrible job blocking his guy on the one-man screen on 1st down. Those all-pro votes are dwindling early, Jermichael.
3rd-7 at Chicago 34: Rodgers to Kuhn...not enough for a first down. Rodgers was forced into a dumpoff because of Bears' pass rush.
7:59 p.m. Packers' 4th Drive 2:35
Love that shootout that's developed. All these points. So underwhelming.
Benson gets into space in the passing game with a smart checkdown throw from Rodgers. Simple circle route. No one guarding him. Easy money. 17 yards.
Take 2: Rodgers short throw to benson. Half the yardage or so, but still a good play, especially on first down.
Sitton and Melton paved the road for Benson on a first down run. 8 carries, 32 yards.
A lot more after the next run off left guard. Cutback inside running. Seven yards. Productive. Saturday/Lang owned their white-shirted opponents.
7:56 p.m. Bears' 3rd Drive 4:37
80 yards to the end zone, Cutler gets a big gain because of D.J. Smith's second obvious instance of pass interference, and the first one that was caught. Although Davis also drew the contact and bumped him, too.
CLAYMAKER! Walden! Forces the sack inside the 35! That could be an NFL record for longest-haired combo sack.
3rd-22 at Chicago 32: Handoff again to Forte, the seeming modus operandi on a 3rd-and-forever play. Twice tonight we've seen that.
7:48 p.m. Packers' 3rd Drive 6:31
Benson gets the first really solid gain of the game - eight yards. Again, cutback running up the middle. If he can move piles in the center of the line and gain big yards there, it's better than running wide, because you draw the defense in.
Though they use the outside run left, and he gets first down yardage.
2nd time downfield for Nelson that was missed. Rocket throw by Rodgers to an open Nelson, but slightly high. ARod is off.
3rd-10 at GB 46: Driver is in. Rodgers can't throw to him, or anyone else. Peppers too good. Beat Lang. Rodgers stepped right into him.
7:43 p.m. Bears' 2nd Drive 7:55
Chicago has 83 yards to go to the end zone, thanks to a good sideline punt by Masthay.
Uh oh. Rodgers warms up, though I think he may have dinged his hand.
Forte around right end, and he showed immense patience in waiting for blocks to set up a five-yard gain through traffic.
3rd-5 at CHI 22: make that 3rd-10 at CHI 17 after Cutler took more time to get the snap off than it takes for me to pick a flavor of frozen pizza at the store.
Inaccuracy ends this drive, as Cutler double-pumped before a throw to Forte. Honestly, D.J. Smith did interfere with him, but Cutler was off target. He also missed seeing a wide-open Davis.
7:37 p.m. Packers' 2nd Drive 11:26
This time, play action on first down and a rocket to Finley gest Green Bay near midfield. It truly was a rocket throw in between three defenders.
Muddle huddle...Benson ain't getting much against this defense by running outside. He has better success with inside running lanes so far.
Play action again, and Rodgers is getting forever. Nelson was wide open for 22 yards over the middle. Just sat there and waited for the Rodgers cannonball.
Cobb with a run this time and he pinwheeled for about seven yards...never mind. Holding penalty. T.J. Lang. Cobb also went off the field. Stinger?
It's always interesting to try and read mouths of linemen in between plays. Lang had a few words with Chicago's linemen. Not for broadcast, or for my normally G-rated blog.
Ugh. McClellin slammed down at midfield. Marshall Newhouse had horrible footwork.
3rd-26 at Chicago 49: FUMBLE! He pump-faked and the ball slipped out like it had butter all over it. Ruled incomplete. That's little comfort.
7:32 p.m. Bears' 1st Drive 13:37
Play action on Chicago's first play, and that did NOTHING to stop the Green Bay blitz. D.J. Smith hog-tied Cutler for a 14-yard loss!
3rd-19 at Chicago 9: A run with Forte isn't going to get Chicago anywhere. He did get eight yards, but like Wayne Larrivee said, "It's kind of like a wave of the white flag."
A shank punt like bounces across the 40 yard line...SHIELDS! What are you doing? You touched the thing and not only did it bounce 10 yards backwards, but you barely kept control.
Granted, he was almost pushed into the ball, but he has to have better awareness of where the ball is.
7:30 p.m. Packers' 1st Drive 15:00 left in 1st quarter
Game time. Randall Cobb with a short return, coming out two yards inside the end zone, and he ran tentative towards the wedge.
Benson...three yards the first run off scrimmage. Didn't seem to explode into the hole as quickly as he could have. He should have made an inside cut and he would have had a much bigger opening.
Much better on seco9nd down. Simply slamming up the middle.
3rd-2 at GB 25: Tim Jennings did a fantastic job of tipping a great pass to Nelson. He reached around him, but not drawing a yellow flag. Three-and-out. Not the way the Packers want to start.
Coin toss time: Bears call tails...and they win the toss. They choose to defer, and the Packers will start with the ball.
McCarthy to Wayne Larrivee on Newsradio 620 WTMJ's "Packers Gameday":
On Packers-Bears rivalry: "It's going to be a tough game. The 185th meeting, that alone tells you how important this game is. We always look forward to playing them."
On not having Greg Jennings after a short week of practice: "If it was a seven day week, the outcome would probably be different."
On the close games over the years against Chicago: "You're looking at two fundamentally sound football team over the years...that's why these games really come down to being such tight games."
Your inactive Packers tonight, sadly for Green Bay, include one of the best receivers in football, Greg Jennings.
James Jones will start for him. This probably means Donald Driver will see playing time in four WR sets.
Other inactives for Green Bay: Wilson, Boykin, Richardson, House, Starks, Manning.
Three years ago to the day, Aaron Rodgers led a comeback over...you guessed it...the Bears, a win that put him and his Packers into prominence as a true championship contender.
Fans heading to Green Bay for the Packers-Chicago Bears contest Thursday night may want to prepare for an even earlier departure from Southeastern Wisconsin.
They'll also want to bring a poncho and long sleeve clothing for the tailgate party and the big game.
The Green Bay Packers are waking up this morning realizing tonight's matchup with the archrival Chicago Bears is as much of a must-win game as you can get in week two.
It's your archrival. It's a home game. You're a game back of the rest of the division, and if you lose, you'll be two games back in the standings and 0-2 at home - unthinkable at the start of the season.
How can the Packers get it done?
The one I absolutely think is critical involves the first that both of them mention - the ability to create turnovers, particularly against interception-prone Jay Cutler.
Green Bay is at its best when the defense does what it does best - gets the ball back in the hands of the offense.
Even when it gave up the most passing yards in NFL history for one season, in 2011, the Packers' defense produced success by forcing their opponents to give up the ball.
The Packers were the best in the NFL in 2011 when it came to forcing turnovers, with 38. What did it do against San Francisco last week? Force zero.
That's the biggest reason why the Packers lost.
Green Bay must win the turnover game and get the ball in the capable hands of Aaron Rodgers more times. If it does that, success will come.