The Green Bay Packers (5-3) took a 27-20 loss to the Chicago Bears (5-3) on Monday Night Football to create a tie for first in the NFC North. Due to tie breakers the loss actually moves the Packers down to 3rd in the division and out of the playoffs. To make matters worse the Packers lost Aaron Rodgers on the final play of the opening drive of the game to shoulder injury. There is no diagnosis as of yet which means there is no time table for return. Early indications show a small fracture in Rodgers collarbone, which would keep him out about 3 weeks. Still waiting on more tests.
Seneca Wallace came in for Rodgers and looked slow. I thought it was going to be ok when Rodgers went out because I was under the impression that Wallace had some speed, but alas I was wrong.
Keys to the Game
Eddie Lacy – With Rodgers out Lacy did his job. Lacy had 22 carries for 150 yards and a touchdown. It’s scary to think of what would have happened had Rodgers played the whole game. The Packers finished with 199 rushing yards with James Starks adding another 40. Grade A
Eddie Lacy ran all over the Chicago Bears defense to the tune of 150 yards and a touchdown
David Bahktiari – The Packers let up 5 sacks on the night, my guess is that had a little to do with the Rodgers injury and Wallace’s inability to scramble in the pocket. Julius Peppers had two pass deflections (one deflection was a running play that Wallace decided to throw on) and a sack. Bahktiari did not have any penalties, but there was a lot of pressure on Wallace. Grade C+
Devin Hester – The special teams as a whole was phenomenal against the Bears. A blocked punt, a recovered onside kick and four punts downed inside the 20. In the 3rd quarter there was one slip up and Hester had a 23 yard punt return that gave the Bears the ball in Packers territory. Grade B+
Player of the Game
If we are talking Packers player of the game, then Lacy was the right pick here (so I’d give that pick an A grade). The only issue is the Packers didn’t win and you can’t be player of the game. This has to go to Josh McCown. McCown stepped in to the Bears starting line-up after two weeks of practice and played a great game. Maybe he should have been picked off twice, but he wasn’t and instead stayed calm, bought time and made perfect throws. McCown finished the game with 272 yards and 2 TDs.
Since I picked Green Bay to win and they didn’t Grade F. Easy as that.
1. The Run Game – Another 199 yards on to the Packers already great running game. Rodgers injury is going to cause them to lean more on the run, so it was good to see that Lacy and Starks were able to run with no presence of a passing game.
2. Special Teams – I said it all in the Devin Hester section. Special teams played great and there is another spot the Packers are going to have to keep going to help the team survive Rodgers injury.
3. Penalties – There were none. Very clean game out of the Packers, you would have thought with how many times the Packers ran the ball there would be one holding call.
1. QB Pressure – Or lack thereof. If you look at the stats you’ll see a sack and 5 QB hits, but watching the game McCown was able to sit very comfortably in the pocket. There is no doubt in my mind that Clay Matthews plays next week even after just getting the pins in his thumb out. The defense is going to need to carry the Packers and the pass rush will have to lead the way.
2. Turnovers – This defense has been bend don’t break and they are still that way. If they can start creating turnovers they may be able to get rid of that stigma. Casey Heyward needs to become the ball hawk he was last year. Tramon Williams dropped an interception that would have been huge.
3. Not Challenging – How does Mike McCarthy not challenge the Andrew Quarless catch on the sideline? It’s not like they didn’t have time. I don’t always question McCarthy, but this Tuesday I am.
The Packers can’t win with Aaron Rodgers in a hoodie
Seneca Wallace was not ready to be thrown into action. I can’t believe I said this last night, but I wish the Packers kept Vince Young. Young could have at least escaped a few of those sacks and got more running yards out of the play. Why is Wallace making a decision to throw the slant and not run the ball. Peppers was unblocked because Bahktiari was blocking for a run that was going to the right. Terrible decision Wallace, but let’s get a week of practice under his belt and hope that he can get it together. Do the Packers bring back Matt Flynn?
The Philadelphia Eagles (4-5) coming off a dismantling of the Oakland Raiders with Nick Foles throwing for 7 TDs. What Eagles team is going to show up? For the Packers sake let’s hope its the team that didn’t score a TD in 8 quarters.