Our weekly “Chips Report” will always include two blue chippers (outstanding, exceptional play), two red chippers (good, though maybe not great) and two cow chips (dud performances). From the Week 9 loss to the Chicago Bears…
- Running back Eddie Lacy––Unfortunately the Packers couldn’t run 100 percent of the time once Aaron Rodgers left the game due to injury. Lacy, for his part, tried to carry the load. He toted the ball 22 times for 150 yards, an average of 6.8 yards per carry. And Lacy also did a good job picking up the blitz in pass protection, helping to keep the game close.
- Defensive lineman B.J. Raji––Thus far in 2013, Raji has played an inconspicuous yet solid role for the Packers defensive line, but on Monday evening he thrust himself into the spotlight. He foiled multiple screen passes to dangerous Bears running back Matt Forte with good play recognition. Raji also put a hit on Josh McCown on a second quarter pass rush that forced an incompletion in addition to making three tackles on the evening. For a player scheduled to hit free agency this upcoming offseason, Raji made the case for a lucrative contract extension.
- Running back James Starks––For the second week in a row, Starks complemented Lacy as well he could in limited opportunities. In just six carries, Starks rushed for 40 yards, including a 32-yard touchdown. Perhaps the most impressive part of Starks’ performance was not being even being touched by a Bears defender on his touchdown run thanks in part to good blocking but also because of the burst displayed by Starks to get upfield as quickly as possible.
- Linebacker Jamari Lattimore––With Brad Jones back in the lineup, Lattimore played more on special teams than he had in the past month, and the Packers benefitted greatly. First Lattimore came up with a punt block in the first quarter that set up Starks’ touchdown run and helped the Packers take a 10-7 lead. Then in the third quarter, Lattimore recovered a surprise onside kick, that again set up a score, a field goal that put the Packers ahead 20-17. Subbing in for Jones on defense, Lattimore also contributed four tackles.
- Packers secondary––Nearly every member of the Packers secondary was victimized at one time or another. Tramon Williams was beat by Brandon Marshall for first-quarter touchdown. Davon House lost the position battle to Alshon Jeffery on a third-quarter touchdown. Casey Hayward trailed in coverage on several completions. Morgan Burnett missed multiple tackles. And for as good as Sam Shields looked on breaking up a first-quarter pass in the end zone to Marshall, he later missed an open-field tackle that helped set up a Bears score. Bears backup quarterback Josh McCown completed 22 of 41 passes for 272 yards with many of those yards coming against the Packers secondary.
- Quarterback Seneca Wallace––Obviously Wallace isn’t Aaron Rodgers and can’t be expected to play like him, but Wallace did very little to keep the Packers competitive Monday evening when hosting the Bears. He completed a respectable 11 of 19 passes, but they only went for 114 yards. Wallace also absorbed four sacks, two on the final two plays of the game when the Packers were down by seven and had to drive in an attempt to tie the game, showing little elusiveness. Can the Packers win with Wallace as their quarterback? It was only one game, but it sure doesn’t look like it.
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 email@example.com.