Three Reasons The Packers Beat The Bears
It was a game the Packers could ill afford to lose, and a Green Bay defense that’s been heavily criticized stepped up and manhandled Chicago in a 23-10 win. Here are the three main reasons why the Bears got beat so handily on Thursday night in Lambeau:
1) Chicago’s protection neglect-ion: Jay Cutler faced a virtually impossible situation on Thursday and paid the price in the game, the stat sheet and in the unforgiving, critical world of the interwebs. Cutler was sacked seven times, three time by Clay Matthews alone, and hurried and hit a bunch more. Of course Cutler made bad decisions, it’s hard to throw four interceptions without at least a few flawed thought processes, but he had absolutely no help from his offensive line. Matt Forte’s injury hurt as well, as his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield would have been able to keep the defense honest and possibly stem the tide of the Packers blitzes.
2) Green Bay won from the ground up: Cedric Benson’s failure to get into any sort of rhythm last week against San Francisco made the Packer offense one-dimensional and predictable. Benson finally broke through towards the latter stages of the first half and had a very serviceable 81 yards on 20 carries. Though that doesn’t seem like much, it was able to keep the Bears defense from totally keying on the pass and opened up opportunities for Jordy Nelson on the outside. Rodgers was able to spread the ball around to eight different receivers in part because of Benson’s strong production.
3) Chicago’s explosive players were neutralized: The Packers’ superior pass rush undoubtedly helped, but the Green Bay secondary did a tremendous job on the Bears’ wide receivers and tight ends. Brandon Marshall, Earl Bennett, Kellen Davis and Alshon Jeffrey were targeted a total of 19 times. That quarter combined for six catches for 73 yards. Tramon Williams, Sam Shields, Charles Woodson and company did tremendous work and the Packers got their Super Bowl swag back.
-The Bears could be in deep trouble if Matt Forte has a high ankle sprain, as multiple publications are reporting. Michael Bush has never really proven he can be a primary back, and a lot of Forte’s value comes in the short passing game. Chicago’s inability to protect Cutler will prevent this team from throwing the ball down the field, and their woes will be compounded by any kind of lengthy absence for Forte.
-Clay Matthews has six sacks in two games and has returned to his elite level of two seasons ago. He has the ability to carry a defensive unit on his back, which is a scary thought for opposing offenses. ”I thought Clay was off the charts, just with the energy and production that he brought,” Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said.
-Quote of the night- ”Maybe we’re not as good as we thought we were. We’ve got a long ways to go.” –Bears LB Brian Urlacher said.