Now that’s more like it!
This game had a vintage Green Bay Packers look with a stifling defensive effort, a solid running performance and a quarterback sticking the nail in the coffin at the end of the game.
The Packers defense was the stare of the game as they absolutely shut down the Bears offense. Cutler threw for over 300 yards last week, this week he only had 126 yards. The Bears rushing attack was held under 100 yards, the starter Forte left with an injury and was replaced by Michael Bush who had 54 yards. The defense completely shut down Brandon Marshall who only had two catches for 24 yards.
But the thing that will stand out the most is the sacks and the turnovers the Packers were able to get against the Bears offense. The Packers had pressure on Cutler all night and were constantly in his face and knocking him to the ground. The Packers had seven sacks, three and a half of them by Claw Matthews, who after two games is just a half a sack shy of his total sacks last season. The Packers also had 12 quarterback hits. Cutler spent the whole game running from pressure or throwing the ball with four Packers players within a couple feet of him.
All that pressure on Cutler led to poor and rushed throws, which led to four, yes four, interceptions for the Packers defense, one of those being Charles Woodson who now has 55 interceptions on his career.
For just a couple more impressive statistics for the Packers defense, they held the Bears to only 47 yards of offense in the first half, seven of those being passing yards. And at the end of the game they had given up only 168 total yards to the Bears offense.
And the big one, the Packers secondary, which was the worst in the history of the NFL last season gave up only 74 yards passing this game, just an incredible turn around from Sunday for the defensive unit.
Now there are three things that could have led to this performance. Either:
- The Bears offense will be streaky and this was an “off day.”
- The Colts defense could be downright awful. (The Bears opponent last week)
- The Packers defense has made really good strides in the short time since week one.
It would seem that option three is the way to go but it will remain to be seen if this is what fans can expect from the defense the rest of the season. The Packers clearly had a solid game plan. They blitzed as often as they could and they had two men covering Marshall all night. It was executed to perfection and it shows. Regardless whether or not this is how they will play all season, appreciate the defensive performance turned in tonight because it was something else.
Aaron Rodgers had a decent game. He didn’t put up the crazy numbers Packers fans have become accustomed to but he didn’t need the big numbers because of the running game and the dominance of the Packers defense. He still threw for 219 yards and got a touchdown but he was sacked five times, which was really the only negative for the offense. But he showed up when needed. After the Cutler threw one of his four interceptions, Rodgers found Donald Driver in the endzone on the very next play, which is the score that really put the game away.
The Packers balance they showed tonight should really make fans happy. They ran 33 passing plays to 28 running plays.
But the real star of the offense tonight was Tim Masthay! His shovel pass to Tom Crabtree on a fake field goal for a touchdown was the highlight of the night and the play that really got the Packers going as a team. It will be one of the more exciting plays you will see all year. This play also happened on 4th and 26, it took guts to call but it paid off.
Can’t forget Mason Crosby’s night, field goals from 35, 48, and 54 yards.
Overall it was a great performance all around. The defense completely shut down an offense that put up 428 yards of offense last week. The offense was balanced and still had Rodgers using his killer instinct to close out the game and the special teams was phenomenal, keeping the dangerous Devin Hester out of the endzone.
From here the Packers get a long time off as they wait until Monday the 24th where the team will travel to Seattle to play the Seahawks for Monday Night Football.
5 Things we learned from this game
- The Packers defense can be pretty dang good – You saw all those numbers up there. Check the box score if you don’t believe me. The Packers defense shut down the Bears offense in every aspect.
- Cedric Benson is starting to look comfortable – Cedric Benson not only gave the Packers a running game but he also caught the ball four times for 35 yards. But most importantly he looked much more comfortable in the offense. It can’t be forgotten that Benson didn’t really play in the pre season, so he is still learning the offense. He should only get better as the season goes on.
- The defense will have no problem getting its turnovers – The defense was not very good last season but one thing they were good at was getting turnovers and while there wasn’t much of it last week, the turnovers came in droves this game. The defense is still good at getting after the ball and getting those interceptions. This should be a trend all season, just like it was last year.
- Clay Matthews is in for a BIG year – Last year Matthews had only six sacks all season. This year? Five and a half sacks through two games. There is nothing to add here. The numbers speak for themselves.
- The Packers special teams unit has made huge improvements – One of the Packers biggest problems last season was their special teams play. They were downright awful at covering on punts and kickoffs. Today those units looked awesome. They also played very solid last week. Containing Devin Hester was much needed tonight and he only had one solid return. Special teams doesn’t always get the attention it deserves but the Packers units are much better than last year and that should help them win some games.