Our weekly "Chips Report" always includes two blue chippers (outstanding, exceptional play), two red chippers (good, though maybe not great) and two cow chips (dud performances). From the Week 17 33-28 win over the Chicago Bears...
- Wide receiver Randall Cobb––Making his first appearance since Week 6 when Cobb's fibula was broken against the Baltimore Ravens, the Packers were obviously trying to bring Cobb back slowly, not wanting to overwork him or give him any extra exposure to potential re-injury. But every play Cobb was on the field, he gave it his all. He only caught two passes on the day, but their impact can't be overstated, a seven-yard touchdown grab in the third quarter and then his 48-yard bomb from Aaron Rodgers to clinch the game and the NFC North division crown. Not be be overlooked was Cobb's tenacity in blocking that helped spring James Jones on more than one occasion.
- Wide receiver Jordy Nelson––In Rodgers' first game back since breaking his collarbone Week 9 against the Bears, Nelson became his quarterback's security blanket. Rodgers targeted Nelson 16 times on the afternoon, completing 10 of them for 161 yards, average of 16.1 yards per catch. Nelson bailed the Packers out on several occasions in converting first downs, none bigger than his fourth-down catch to keep the chains moving on Green Bay's game-winning drive.
- Running back James Starks––Fellowing running back Eddie Lacy carried the ball 21 times for the Packers, but he just wasn't at full strength, averaging 3.1 yards per carry. So the Packers leaned more on Starks than any time since Week 3. Starks was highly effective, gaining 88 yards on 11 carries (8.0 ypc). He also grabbed one pass for seven yards and helped set up several touchdowns with his performance.
- Cornerback/special teams ace Jarrett Bush––Just as he's done much of the season, Bush has made an understated impact on both defense and special teams, and Sunday's game at Chicago was no exception. He first saved the Packers in the second quarter by recovering a muffed punt by Micah Hyde that could have given the Bears possession in Green Bay territory. Bush later forced a fumble on Devin Hester on a kickoff, although the Packers didn't recover. Then to top things off, Bush broke up a third-down pass intended for Bears receiver Alshon Jeffery that forced the Bears to punt.
- Defensive lineman B.J. Raji––Outside of one tackle, Raji's impact was nil and sometimes stood out for the wrong reasons, getting blown off the line of scrimmage by the Bears offensive line. He had almost no impact on either the running game or the passing game, as the Bears averaged 9.3 yards per pass and 5.0 yards per run.
- Linebacker Nick Perry––Perry hasn't been right since breaking a bone in his heel and then compounding matters by spraining his ankle, but for the second straight week, Perry made a critical error. Last week it was jumping offsides on a field goal that gave the Steelers a first down and eventual touchdown. This week, Perry looked out of sorts trying cover Matt Forte on a pass to the flat in the second half, then made a woeful attempt to tackle him in the open field.
Brian Carriveau is the author of the book "It's Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America," and editor of Cheesehead TV's "Pro Football Draft Preview." To contact Brian, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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