Packers 30 Bears 27: Game Balls & Lame Calls

The Green Bay Packers started well, fell apart in the second quarter, turned on the jets in the third quarter and let the Bears tie it late in the fourth quarter.  Fortunately the Bears left too much time on the clock and too much space for Jordy Nelson to run.  Nelson's catch of a deep ball for the first time this season set up a Mason Crosby game-winning field goal as time expired.  Table run still intact.  

Even numbered quarters were the adversary today for Green Bay but they managed to come away with a win.  Against a Bears team that had won only three games all season and had only "spoiling the Packers season" to play for, Green Bay toughed it out, forced four turnovers, and took advantage of losses by the Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings.

A win is a win and it's back to Lambeau Field for a Christmas Eve showdown against the Vikes.  On to the day's best and worst.

Game Balls

Mason Crosby

This man has gotten no love in this column all season long.  In his 10th season, he has been mostly rock solid (we can forget about 2012).  Game winner today in a big spot and to keep postseason hopes alive.

Ty Montgomery (Packers Run Game)

The Packers fed Montgomery early and it paid off.  He got around the edge for the only touchdown of the day to put the Packers up 7-0.  Later, he rattled off a 61 yard run and got the Packers into scoring range, but they weren't able to capitalize and add any points thereafter.  I've been saying that Montgomery is only doing good things with the ball in his hands.  His best run of the day, however, may have been late in the third quarter when he broke a tackle, cut inside and rattled off a run inside the five yard line.  He punched it in two plays later.  Now that the Packers have admitted what we already knew: Montgomery is a running back, they're getting production in multiple ways with his skill set.  He just refuses to go down easily and is just what the doctor ordered for a Packers offense that lost its work horse in Eddie Lacy earlier in the season.

The Packers had 217 rushing yards before the fourth quarter started, thanks to two long runs on the day.  Christine Michael added a 42-yard scoring run to put the Packers back in the driver's seat.  

Julius Peppers

Strip sack and fumble recovery on the first play of the second half.  Peppers has quietly put together a nice 2016 from a statistical standpoint.  All that was missing was a big impact play.  With this play, he gave the momentum back to the Packers and stole a possession.  The Packers need more big plays from Peppers the rest of the way, with Nick Perry out and Clay Matthews less than 100%.

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix

After missing out on the interception party last week against Seattle, Clinton-Dix had two on back-to-back drives.  Both were bad overthrows by Barkley but it's all about taking what is given to you.  Both turnovers gave the Packers good starting field position and both were turned into touchdowns.  

Lame Calls

Receiver Drops (Especially Davante Adams)

Jordy Nelson on an early deep ball to keep a drive alive, through his hands.  I think I'll forgive it, however.  Davante Adams, two touchdowns, the second of which was reeeeeeally bad.  It didn't cost the Packers the game but those are going to be killers in these next few games and if the Packers are fortunate enough to get into the postseason.  In honor of Packers-Bears, I'm quoting former Bears coach Mike Ditka when I say "Stop it!".  Adams had a nice catch and run afterwards and hopefully doesn't let today linger like he did last season.

Damarious Randall

After two big interceptions last week, Randall gave up a touchdown on an open field play early on.  He also whiffed badly on another short throw where he had the ball carrier dead to rights.  Add in a holding on the Bears fourth quarter touchdown drive and it turned into a not-so-great day for Randall.  He was benched in the fourth quarter, in favor of Quinten Rollins and Micah Hyde.

Even Numbered Quarters 

The second and fourth quarters were killers for the Packers but they found a way to break the spell at the very end of the game.  When the Packers were struggling, one of the issues was their inability to play four quarters.  Today was a reminder of what happens when they don't.

 

Others to mention

  • The offensive line did a decent job today against a Bears pass rush that might be underrated.  Rodgers was sacked several times but much of that can be attributed to his lack of ability to run.  Special recognition to David Bakhtiari who has been very good since signing his extension.  He doesn't sit out and plays through pain.  He's a warrior and is already making the Packers look smart for locking him up
  • Christine Michael runs fast and furious.  Made a nice cut back to finish his 42-yard touchdown run
  • Micah Hyde with two interceptions in two weeks and a huge pass break up on third-and-goal late to force fourth down and a field goal try.  He'll never be good in coverage but when it comes to football IQ and being there when opportunity strikes, he usually is (2013 wild card playoffs aside). 
  • Mike Daniels doesn't have flashy stats but he is a load.  Had a hand injury and fought back and played.  He chased down a play from behind late in the game and his motor never stops.  Blue chip guy all around
  • Jared Cook with some big catches today, finally doing what the Packers need from a tight end.  Big catches to exploit bad match ups, a few of which were big third down conversions
  • Jordy Nelson, deep ball.  We have waited 16 months for that and it couldn't have come at a better time
  • Mike McCarthy bet on his defense when he took his time outs late.  They held the Bears out of the end zone and gave the ball back to the Packers with enough time to get down the field and kick a game winner.  Not a bad day of managing the game for the head coach

 

Christmas Eve looms with a day game against the Vikings.  They were eliminated from winning the division but you can bet they have every intention of trying to ruin Green Bay's season for a second year in a row.  Will it be a happy holiday for the good guys?

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Jason is a freelance writer on staff since 2012 and also co-hosts Cheesehead TV Live, Pulse of the Pack and Pack A Day podcasts.  You can follow him on Twitter here

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Comments (39)

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EdsLaces's picture

December 19, 2016 at 06:25 am

All the love for me goes to the run game for sure. Monty looks like he was made to play running back. Extremely patient,takes what's given to him, and falls forward. This guy has a bright future. Michael was impressive as well. I'm sure it's been tough for him only being here a couple weeks, but you can tell he's hungry to make plays and that's exactly the kinda players we need especially in December and january....go pack go!!!!!

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Savage57's picture

December 19, 2016 at 08:50 am

All the love in the world for Monty. Man has some serious instincts and vision in traffic. Seems to take being tackled personally.

As to Michael, slow down. He was 3 carries for 4 yards before he popped one. He might have something, but I suspect his run was more attributable to outstanding blocking, but he did make a nice cut to break it back.

We shall see.

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zoellner25's picture

December 19, 2016 at 06:47 am

I think the sun affected Adams first dropped TD but the 2nd was terrible. Love the anger that Ty runs with and the burst of Michael. We found our backs.

The Oline was mostly great again today, hope TJ and Lane are ok. Very disappointed in the pass rush sans one play by Peppers. D. Randall might be fast and a ball hawk, but he needs to get smarter and tougher.

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RCPackerFan's picture

December 19, 2016 at 07:33 am

I questioned if the sun affected that one. He was looking back towards the sun and he short armed it. It did look like the sun affected it.

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4thand1's picture

December 19, 2016 at 03:52 pm

The chicago fans had mirrors and were reflecting the sun's rays in our receivers eyes.

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dschwalm's picture

December 20, 2016 at 03:15 pm

Randall is simply overrated. How many times do we have to endure his stupidity??

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RCPackerFan's picture

December 19, 2016 at 07:07 am

Game Balls -
-Rodgers. Playing on 2 bad legs. There was 4 bad drops. He should have had 2 deep throws completed and 2 more TD's. Then the throw he makes at the end of the game. I am not sure how many QB's make that throw.

-Montgomery. He is absolute find of a player. His natural running instincts are so impressive for a guy who never actually played RB before, outside of some plays here and there. His combination of vision, patience, speed, agility, strength and burst are unlike any RB the Packers have had probably since Green. I have said it before but he is an absolutely perfect fit for how the Packers want to use their RB's.

-Cook. He had 2 big 3rd down plays early in the game. They got away from him later in the game, but he made big plays.

-Peppers. His strip sack really changed the game. Tied game, the first play in the 2nd half he sacks Barkley stripping him and recovering the football. There wasn't another defender within 5 yards of the ball. That play was all Peppers.

-Clinton-Dix. 2 Interceptions. Some people talk about him being fortunate for over throws or tipped passes. But the truth is he is in perfect positioning to make those plays. He came about 1 yard short of another Interception too.

-Crosby. Game winning FG. Enough said.

-Giants beating the Lions. Colts destroying the Vikings.

Lame Calls -

-Decision to go for 4th and 1. I don't mind going for the first down, however the play call and execution was poorly done.

-Whoever decides that its an ok thing for the CB to play 10+ yards off the ball (outside of a Hail Mary attempt). Personally I don't like the CB's playing 5 yards off the ball, let alone 10.

-Allowing the game to be as close as it was. Shouldn't have allowed it to be that close. It is fitting though that the Series which went into the game was 1 point difference and 1 game difference in wins.

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Nick Perry's picture

December 19, 2016 at 07:26 am

Not only that RC, they called a TO too and still couldn't get it right. That play flipped the momentum in a game where it seemed to flip easily.

Series tied and Packers up by 2 points in the series!! : )

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RCPackerFan's picture

December 19, 2016 at 07:32 am

Exactly... I didn't see all the WR's to see if they were open, but that is the type of play that Rodgers has to get the ball out fast.

Isn't it funny. After all these years, the series is tied now and a 2 point difference... Crazy.

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fastmoving's picture

December 19, 2016 at 09:45 am

thats probably why Monty stated "I grew up as a RB" and had 5 times the carries compared to his receptions in high school...............

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dschwalm's picture

December 20, 2016 at 03:19 pm

Get used to the Packers' fade in Q-4. It is going to happen many more times while we have the old dinosaur as D.C. He has passed his "best before" date. I fact, he went stale in 09.

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Lphill's picture

December 19, 2016 at 07:09 am

I think on the first Jordy drop the defender got away with holding jordys hand just long enough for Jordy to not be able to pull it in, the ref was right there and Jordy didn't look for a flag but if he acted like he was held maybe he gets the flag. Doesn't matter now I guess. Seems the refs wanted as few delays as possible in the cold.

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RCPackerFan's picture

December 19, 2016 at 08:02 am

Yeah, the defender definitely prevented Jordy from catching that one. Holding his hand.

I thought it was funny that the announcers didn't really call that pass interference but when Randall did something similar later in the game they were calling it pass interference. Almost the same type of play.
Just irritates me a bit when announcers do stuff like that.

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Nick Perry's picture

December 19, 2016 at 07:21 am

Games Balls.... Ty the "Running Back" Montgomery. There was one specific play where he got so low he just squirted through for about 8 yards. I'd like to know how many yards he got after contact. Hell he even gained yardage on the left pitch from the shotgun play. He also ran out to congratulate Michael after his TD. I love this kid!!!

Aaron Rodgers... He should have had over 300 yards, 2 TD's, and a passer rating in the 120's. Held the ball too long and avoided some underneath throws but all in all a game ball is deserved.

OL... Outstanding Job. Sacks weren't on them one bit. Excellent job run blocking.

Cook and Nelson... Cook made some key 3rd down catches. KEEP him involved, he could be a weapon. Jordy delivers so many times you HAVE to excuse the 2 drops.

Lame Calls...

Randall Cobb.. Was it his ankle? I mean $10 million a year for what he's giving the offense is larceny. He WAS open underneath a few times and Rodgers didn't seem to even look at him.

Pass Rush... There wasn't one. AT ALL!

Giving up 17 points in a quarter to a 3rd string QB. Play like that and it will be tough to win moving forward.

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RCPackerFan's picture

December 19, 2016 at 07:42 am

Games Balls.... Ty the "Running Back" Montgomery. '

LMAO...

I saw on twitter yesterday something like the Montgomery had 158 of his 162 yards rushing come after contact. May not be the exact numbers but it was something insane close to that.

Cobb was definitely not healthy. He was open on a 3rd down play in the 4th quarter that would have kept the drive alive but Rodgers chose not to throw it at him. Perhaps he was more hurt then we know and Rodgers didn't want to risk injuring him more? Still though if he is open he has to throw it to him.

Pass rush was bad. Mathews is a shell of himself right now. And why didn't Elliott play more on defense?

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Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

December 19, 2016 at 09:40 am

RC, I think Elliott injured his hand sometime in the first half. Never heard anything about it though during the game. Hope it is nothing big.

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RCPackerFan's picture

December 19, 2016 at 10:07 am

Thanks, i did not hear anything about it, and didn't see that.

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EdsLaces's picture

December 19, 2016 at 09:43 am

I believe Elliot got hurt fairly early.

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RCPackerFan's picture

December 19, 2016 at 10:07 am

I didn't know that. Thanks.

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marpag1's picture

December 19, 2016 at 07:27 am

I know it's a judgment call but I HATE, HATE, HATED McCarthy's decision to go on fourth down and not to take the field goal in the second quarter - and I hated it BEFORE the conversion attempt failed. WHY???? I'm never one to really question play calling, but I can't see the slightest amount of sense in that one. And that was the very moment when things started going south. Lame call, in my book.

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zoellner25's picture

December 19, 2016 at 07:40 am

Couldn't agree more. MM passed on 3 points here when points are at a premium in bad weather. Stupid, not lame.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

December 19, 2016 at 07:41 am

It was stupid. No doubt about it.

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phillythedane's picture

December 19, 2016 at 07:54 am

The conventional wisdom is always take the points on the road. It was surprising to see McCarthy dispel that notion.

But, then again, he took the points on the road in the '14 NFC championship against the 'Hawks. Many fans savaged him for doing so.

Our rear vision is so clear-eyed.

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marpag1's picture

December 19, 2016 at 11:40 am

"Our rear vision is so clear-eyed."

Actually, no, it isn't. I guess I know what you mean, but when it comes to play calling there is very little that is clear-eyed about hindsight.

If your play call fails or succeeds, it doesn't mean that it was a bad call or a good one. Sometimes great calls don't work, and sometimes bad calls do work.

If you failed on the 4th down conversion, it doesn't mean that you surely would have succeeded if you had kicked it, or vice versa.

If you succeeded with Option A the last time that you did it, it doesn't mean that you will succeed the next time that you do it.

If the play call was successful, it doesn't mean that the other play call couldn't have been even more successful. Or if it bombs, the other one could have bombed worse.

You can't really judge play calls by results.

In this game against Chicago, I would have kicked the field goals. Why? Simply because that's what I think is best. McCarthy disagreed, went for it and got screwed. In the NFC Championship game, I would have kicked the field goals. Why? Simply because that's what I think is best. McCarthy apparently agreed, kicked the field goals successfully... and got screwed.

So on this question of "to kick or to go for it," is hindsight really all that clear?

I'm not saying that I would ALWAYS kick it. But in this situation I would, and hindsight has nothing at all to do with it.

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dschwalm's picture

December 20, 2016 at 03:21 pm

"clear-eyed"????

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RCPackerFan's picture

December 19, 2016 at 08:00 am

I don't mind going for the first down, but between the play call and the execution it was terrible.

When they decided to go for it I assumed a lot of it was due to bad weather. Which didn't turn out to be the case.

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MarkinMadison's picture

December 19, 2016 at 08:03 am

In MM's defense here is the sense I see in it:

The QB who makes the difference between your team having a shot every year or being a bottom half team is banged up. You want to get him out of the game as early as possible. You want to demoralize the Bears as quickly as possible. You have confidence in your offense. So you go for it on 4th and short thinking, if we can go up by two TDs now we are that much closer to pulling #12.

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stockholder's picture

December 19, 2016 at 12:28 pm

Go Packers.

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Razer's picture

December 19, 2016 at 08:22 am

Unfortunately, didn't get the broadcast. Got to see the Giants beat the Lions - yay. Had to watch the game via CBS gametracker. Following a game via the numbers may be crazier than watching the real thing. Cheering as we accelerated to a 27-10 lead then elevator dropping with the 27-27 collapse against their 3rd string QB. WTF!

We did get to see the last bit of the game and the heroics to steal the game (that was already in the bag). Not going to look a gift horse in the mouth but what is with this defense with guys running onto the field, last minute, game on the line. Second week in a row where we couldn't figure out who should be on the field. Sorry, but this defense is confused and a liability.

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PaulRosik's picture

December 19, 2016 at 12:13 pm

Living in Texas I often have to stream the games on the internet. I was in San Antonio visiting my step daughter and grandkids and the local fox had on the Giants/Lions also. There are a few good free streaming sites that work consistently. goatd.net has worked for me all season when I needed it. So I got to yell at the screen all I wanted. A great game to yell at, a lot of both good and bad moments to get the blood going.

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Since'61's picture

December 19, 2016 at 08:24 am

Game balls: Ty Montgomery, OL, A. Rodgers, Peppers, Cook and Jordy
Lame calls: 3rd downs (Packers only 3/11), 4th qtr. defense, pass rush, Randall, MM going for 1st on 4th and 2 in 2Q. MM stated in his post-game press conference that they felt due to wind Crosby chances were about 50/50 so he went for 1st. Should have tried FG IMO.

Packers need to get better on 3rd downs. Aaron needs to hit open receivers on shorter routes and move the sticks. Extending some of those drives helps to chew clock and close out Bears to limit their 4Q comeback.
Packers control their own destiny! Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since '61

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Savage57's picture

December 19, 2016 at 08:45 am

Words I'm tired of seeing after the Packers play an untested, pedestrian QB.

"Most yards ever."

"New team/NFL record."

"Season high."

Can this backfield actually defend a pass over the middle?

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

December 19, 2016 at 09:03 am

Did you mean RB?

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dschwalm's picture

December 20, 2016 at 03:25 pm

The answer to your question, Savage, is NO. That will be the answer to your question until we either get rid of Capers or draft some talent OR pick up a free agent or two in the off season, none of which will happen, of course.

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Spock's picture

December 19, 2016 at 08:55 am

Loved Ty and Michael's running. Crosby kicked the game winner essentially TWICE because of the TO by Chicago. No one's pointed it out (that I've seen) but the one thing about the 60 yard catch by Jordy that no one pointed out (including the announcers) is that AFTER the catch Jordy had the presence of mind to pull the ball in (he had just extended it out for the official to come take it) when a Chicago player came running up to try and knock it away (losing time for the spike). Watch that play again at the end; a real veteran move!

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Duke Divine's picture

December 19, 2016 at 09:10 am

Lame call: No pass rush and flat footed, eyes in the backfield (#24, #23) zone coverage.

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Razer's picture

December 19, 2016 at 09:28 am

I know that Micah Hyde is one of those guys that people like to rag on but his last defense on the goal line was clutch. He's not the fastest or most talented guys but he has made big plays late in games for this very average defense. Game ball to Micah for keeping his head when our starting corners were losing theirs.

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jyros's picture

December 19, 2016 at 01:22 pm

Defence seemed to play (covered mid-field) better with #42 at ILB... or was that just DC's 'soft shell'/'bend-don't-break' or limp dick, run out the clock D, implemented in the 4th QTR?

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PETER MAIZ's picture

December 19, 2016 at 01:55 pm

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times". Those cornerbacks have got to improve by Detroit time or we'll find they'll score a bunch. The defense will need to come through for Detroit.
The running was superb but third down conversions hurt the Packers.
"The worst of times...." the secondary and it seems Damarius should realize darned right quick what's at stake. Davante's dropped balls were bad.
Come Hell or high water, someone please improve that secondary or it may be deja vu all over again with the Lions.

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