My hat goes off to the Green Bay Packers and their defense, after posting earlier this week that the time was now to either “put up or shut up” they came to play on Thursday Night Football and sent the Bears home with a black eye. I admit I didn’t see a performance like this coming, while I thought this team would be motivated after a big loss to the San Francisco 49ers and after Jay Cutlers “good luck” wish to the secondary, I never imagined a performance like this.
I was harsh on Green Bay earlier this week, after what Jarrett Bush said about “beating themselves, San Francisco didn’t beat them” I had grown tired of the constant chatter from a defense that hasn’t delivered since 2010. I even stated in my title ” time for the Packers to put up or shut up”, and they did exactly that. After watching their performance on Thursday Night Football, not only did the Packers put up, they shut me up. Enough about what they did to me though, lets talk about how they embarrassed Chicago.
Coming off a Sunday loss to the 49ers, where their secondary gave up 2 passing touchdowns to Alex Smith, and allowed Frank Gore to run for 112 yards on only 16 carries. While yards have always been a problem for the Packers, the biggest issue that stood out was zero turnovers. It was going to be a short week for the Packers, with a game on Thursday against the Bears, the team would really only have 2 days of padded practice to make adjustments from last week. Coming off a disappointing loss to the 49ers this team needed little motivation for Thursday night, but fuel was added to the fire on Tuesday when Jay Cutler wished the Packers secondary “good luck” and “dared them to play press coverage”. I was ready at 5:30 for some hard hitting, high scoring football, I thought we were going to see Rodgers and Cutler air it out all game and both teams would score in the 30’s. While some will say this game didn’t live up to hype, in reality it was a classic Chicago Bears vs. Green Bay Packers game. The telling sign for Chicago could have been seen on their first play of the game, Jay Cutler dropped back to throw and was quickly dragged down to the ground after ILB D.J Smith used an inside rsh to bring Cutler down for a 13 yard loss. It was the first of many hits Cutler would take that night, as he became more and more familiar with the turf. Neither team ever established themselves on offense, while Green Bay had a respectable running game going, the Bears did a tremendous job putting pressure on Rodgers and not allowing him to find the open man. Green Bay jumped out to an early 13-0 lead, with the lone TD coming on a fake field goal shuffle pass from P Tim Masthay to TE Tom Crabtree. The early lead allowed Green Bay to bring constant blitzes on Cutler, and the man to bring the blitz was Clay Matthews. Matthews looked like his old self against the Bears, getting to Cutler with ease and racking up 3 1/2 sacks on the night, already giving him 6 in the 2 games, which ties his sack total from 2011. Matthews wasn’t the only man playing at a high level on Thursday, Tramon Williams picked off Jay Cutler twice, and provided lockdown coverage against Brandon Marshall, holding Marshall to 2 receptions for 24 yards. Meanwhile veteran Charles Woodson finally seems relaxed in his new role at SS, he showed great instincts cutting in front of WR Earl Bennett to intercept Jay Cutler. Woodson also provided a strong pass rush, although he failed to record a sack, he put more pressure on Cutler and irritated him to the point where late in the game the two exchanged words. The final stat line for Jay Cutler was 11 of 27 for 126 yards 1 touchdown and 4 interceptions, a 28.2 QB Rating on the night. The bigger picture here is this is the first time in a long time that Green Bays top notch defense of 2010 made an appearance, not just creating turnovers, but getting pressure on the QB and simply eliminating the Bears offense. This is a step in the right direction for the Packers, and if they can keep it up they should be just as good as last year, and ready to compete for the Super Bowl.
-Charles Woodson picked up the 55th interception of his career. It ties him for 19th all time with Aeneas Williams.
-In his first 2 games, Rodgers has already thrown 2 interceptions. He threw 6 in 15 games last year
Matt Forte (ankle) – Forte left the game in the 3rd quarter with an ankle injury and did not return