What We Learned Against the Bears

5052aa0d8896b.preview-620It’s safe to say that the 2014 NFC North title is a two-team race. On Sunday night, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers routed their division rivals in prime time, delivering one of the most lopsided defeats in the two teams’ rivalry and effectively shutting the door on Chicago’s playoff hopes.

Completing their most dominant sweep of the Bears under Mike McCarthy was undoubtedly a sweet feeling for the Packers. But the ‘moral victory’ of fundamentally sound football in all facets of the game was what reinforced this team’s status as a contender in the NFC.

Receiving some of the best protection he’s had in years, Rodgers continued his MVP-caliber play, tossing six touchdowns for 315 yards in just over one half of play. On defense, it wasn’t difficult to win the turnover battle as Jay Cutler turned the ball over three times and failed to get the ball to his playmakers. The Packers converted all three of Cutler’s turnovers into points and only committed one turnover of their own (deep in Chicago territory).

The Packers’ two interceptions came from Micah Hyde and Casey Hayward, neither of which are every-week starters. Such depth in the secondary is a major advantage for Green Bay as they face Tom Brady, Matt Ryan and Matthew Stafford down the stretch. The depth on the offensive side of the ball is just as valuable; McCarthy has been able to preserve Eddie Lacy with the rotation of James Starks and DuJuan Harris.

Just as important as winning the turnover battle was playing disciplined, penalty-free football. The Packers allowed Chicago to make the mistakes, starting with a Bears holding call on the opening kickoff that resulted in starting field position from the Chicago 6 yard line. Chicago’s 11 penalties for 163 yards were simply inexcusable coming off of a bye week. By comparison, the Packers came out focused and prepared, which is encouraging as they enter a crucial playoff push.

The now-healthy Packers defense gave up just seven points against a talented Bears offense, thanks in part to the coaching staff’s decision to move Clay Matthews inside. The move allowed for the defense’s best players to be on the field at the same time and improved greatly versus run. Other players with great games on defense include Morgan Burnett and Julius Peppers.

The Packers won’t get a reeling Bears club each week going forward. However, three of their next four games take place at Lambeau Field, where they haven’t lost yet this season. The health of key starters will be of utmost importance as the Packers set their sights on the playoffs and division title.

What We Learned Against the Bears

One thought on “What We Learned Against the Bears

  • November 11, 2014 at 11:39 pm

    Nice article Mike.

    As dominant as our passing game with Rodgers was, we’re still struggling to run the ball. All offense stops when Flynn comes into games. He got a gift PI which should have been his 3rd INT on a terribly under thrown ball. McCarthy seems to need the spot light for 1 bad review per game, and there was no need for that review.

    That’s really all I found to complain about. Matthews played great inside, and outside. Peppers was dominant. Our secondary played very well. Our missed tackles were way down.

    Hopefully we’ll carry some serious momentum into the Philly game. But no time for celebration, must stay focused against every opponent if we’re to catch Detroit. Go Pack go! :)


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