Packers 23 Bears 10: The Rest of the Story
You already know the Packers beat the Bears 23-10 thanks in large part to a vastly improved defensive performance that included 7 sacks and 4 interceptions. Here's what a review of the game tape also showed.
-Several of those sacks had as much to do with coverage as pass rush. Quite simply, Jay Cutler had nobody open. The revamped secondary, with Sam Shields at corner, Jerron McMillian at safety and Casey Hayward as the dime defensive back, communicated and covered well. Tramon Williams had Brandon Marshall the far majority of the time and the 6'4" 230 pound receiver's bottom line read 2 catches for 24 yards. In his spare time, Williams also had 2 of those interceptions. Helluva game.
-Talk about a beast. It gets overshadowed by his ability to rush the passer, but Clay Matthews is also a force against the run. Players like him just don't come around very often.
-The Bears wound up with 8 penalties. If the officials had called all the flagrant holding by their over-matched offensive line, they would have had twice that many. It was ridiculous.
-The Packers used a line stunt out of their base 3-4 that I haven't seen them use before. Defensive end charges inside and up the field while the nose loops around him. Not terribly complicated but pretty effective. On one occasion, B.J. Raji was at LE, penetrated inside and blew up the blocker, and around comes Ryan Pickett to tackle Armando Allen for a 3 yard loss.
-The Packer offensive line did a much better job of generating some push at the line of scrimmage. They use a lot of combo blocking where it's two against one initially, and if those two can knock that one off the line of scrimmage, you've a got a play. On the Packers 2nd rushing attempt, T.J Lang and Jeff Saturday were working together on the nose, got good push, but neither ever got off for the linebacker. Brian Urlacher did make the tackle, but it was only after Cedric Benson had gained 7 yards.
-Perhaps yours truly has his head buried in the Green and Gold sand but the Packers offense isn't that far away. There were throws that were inches away from becoming big plays. Jordy Nelson on the sideline, Jermichael Finley down the middle, and James Jones in the end zone come instantly to mind. As for the running game, the Packers actually had one. With the talent the Packers have on that side of the ball, it's a matter of time before it clicks. But please don't use last season as the standard. We may never see numbers like that again, they were other-worldly.
-Marshall Newhouse gave up a pair of sacks but I still think he'll be a good left tackle. The same people ( McClellin, Peppers) who beat him for sacks are the same people he blocked pretty well most of the night. The difference was Marshall. When he executes his own techniques properly, (good footwork, good hands), he's a very effective player. When he doesn't, he isn't. Newhouse has more than enough talent.
-It spoke volumes, that's a play Ryan Pickett made in the third quarter. Short pass to Matt Spaeth and he's heading outside to try to make hay up the sideline. Ryan Pickett, who began the play in the center-guard area, turns and on a dead sprint manages to catch Spaeth and limit the play to 4 yards. Outstanding effort from the big man.
Thanks for reading, we'll be back next week with a look ahead at the Seattle game.