Jclombardi reviews and grades the Packers loss to Bears.
Guest senior writer jclombardi @ http://lombardiave.com
Summary: With the game between the undefeated Packers and Bears going down to the wire, Packers’ mistakes and penalties eventually set up the winning field goal to hand the victory to the Bears 20-17. The Packers had 18 penalties, allowed a blocked field goal by Bears DE Peppers, committed crucial special teams mistakes, and had a winning drive stopped by a key fumble leading to closing meltdown and winning Bears field goal at the end of the game. Chicago is 3-0 and alone atop the NFC North. Green Bay fell to 2-1.
Game Balls: QB Rodgers. TE Finley.
Report Card Grades–Good, Bad, & Ugly (LA vs. SE):
Pass Offense—C vs C. With soft protection all day, QB Rodgers had a good game throwing 34 0f 45 passes for 316 yards and two total touchdowns. TE Finley had 9 catches for 115 yards. Finley developed cramps in the fourth quarter during an inopportune time with the Packers having their last offensive drive series. WR Driver had 9 catches for 61 yards. WR Jones 5 catches for 55 yards, but he fumbled on the winning drive and giving the game to the Bears. He has got to be more consistent. RB Jackson had 4 catches for 27 yards. WR Nelson had 3 catches for 20 yards. WR Jennings had 2 catches for 18 yards and one touchdown. He had a disappointing day along with rookie TE Quarless.
The offensive unit had eight penalties. The line seemed a bit slow causing their penalties against the physical and emotional Bears. OT Tauscher had another bad first half. He and Clifton had 3 penalties each. OT Clifton gave up a few pressures. C Wells had better days allowing some pressures. G Colledge give up some pressures and two bad runs. OG Sitton had the best day of the group.
Rush Offense—D vs C-. Facing a tough schedule, the Packers getting fifteen rushes for 63 yards averaging 4.2 yards is not going to make it for the season and the playoffs. The run blocking was horrible at times, especially by the tight ends. FB Kuhn rushed 6 carries for 31 yards. Less effective, lead running back Jackson had 7 carries for 31. RB Jackson just fails to see the cutback lanes running into tackles.
Pass Defense—D+ vs D. Bears quarterback Cutler had a decent day facing pressure in only one half. He three 16 times for 221 yards and one touchdown. The Packers simply had an unimpressive coverage night excluding CB Williams. CB Woodson had several bad plays including another interference call. S Collins dropped two interceptions. Two big interceptions were negated by an interference penalty by rookie safety Burnett and a roughing-the-passer penalty by rookie outside linebacker Zombo. Rookie CB Shields gave up three big offensive plays. LB Chillar gave up several downfield plays to TE Olsen including a touchdown.
Rush defense—B+ vs B. The Packers rush defense was good excluding Cutler’s scrambling yardage. The Bears had 18 carries for 77 yards averaging a good 4.3 yards. The numbers look good due to Cutler scrambling three times for 37 yards. RB Forte had 11 carries for only 29 yards.
Special teams—F vs D-. P Masthay had two of three booming punts, 58 and 57 yards. Yet, his net average was an awful 19 yards. Simply, the coverage units failed to do their jobs outmatched by the more physical and emotional Bears. The Bears’ return specialist Hester had a big game returning 28 yards on a bad line-drive 35 yards punts. Then, in the third quarter, Hester returned a 57 yards punt for a 62 yards touchdown. K Crosby kicked one kickoff out-of- bounds. His miss one due to a blocked field goal by DE Peppers. KR Nelson averaged a poor 19.4 yards on five kickoffs, but he had one for 40 yards.
Coaching—F vs D. The Packers were outmuscled, outplayed, and outcoached showing a complete lack of professional discipline. They had eighteen penalties and awful special teams coverage. The former falls on head coach Mike McCarthy for the lack of discipline not showing up in a prime-time game. The latter falls on special teams coordinator Slocum who was foolish to let P Masthay kick to Hester.
Overall Game—D vs CBS Sportsline Overall Grade–F. The Packers lost a division game that they should have had complete control over if it wasn’t for a franchise-tying 18 penalties, two huge special teams miscues and a big fumble by WR James Jones. Packers have only themselves to blame.
Commentary: No surprise. Old issues. Some of the veteran players simply had a bad game. Further, the Bears were going to target rookies CB Shields, S Burnett, and OLB Zombo who failed to do an adequate defensive performance. The rookies played like rookies. In the end, we forecast this scenario before the 2010 NFL season. Thus, the Packers need to use a consistent high-powered offense to control the tempo of games until their rookies become more experienced players. Every team will try to take advantage of these weaknesses on the Packers defense.