Packers vs. Bears: Quick Takes from Green Bay’s 31-23 Win in Week 1

Quick takes from Green Bay's Week 1 win over the Chicago Bears. 

A triumphant return for James Jones and another typical quarterback battle between Aaron Rodgers and Jay Cutler paved the way for the Green Bay Packers to beat the Chicago Bears by a 31-23 scoreline Sunday at Soldier Field, giving the Packers a 1-0 start for the first time since 2011. 

 

It was over when…

…the onside kick team executed, blocking up front and allowing Davante Adams to catch Chicago’s kick unimpeded to end the game. Amazing what happens when everyone does their job instead of trying to be a hero.

 

Game Balls

  • James Jones: His Packers return could have ended with a four-touchdown day, had it not been for a holding call negating one score and a near-catch in the end zone on the game’s dagger play. Jones was otherwise excellent, catching two scores and making a big play down the field on a free play. His first game back in Green Bay ended with four catches on four targets for 51 yards and the two touchdowns. Rodgers still has all the confidence in the world in No. 89, and Jones looks like he’ll be a weapon, especially down in the red zone. 
  • Clay Matthews: The defense was pushed around for most of the afternoon, but Matthews delivered what every Packers-Bears game needs: a Jay Cutler turnover. Matthews made a smart read and stepped in front of Cutler’s attempt to Martellus Bennett down the seam. Earlier in the game, Matthews should have saved the Green Bay defense four points when he ran down Matt Forte from behind to prevent a sure touchdown. No sacks, but he made the big plays when they were needed. 
  • Ty Montgomery: The rookie showed some spark as a kick returner, gaining 106 yards on three returns—with a long of 46. The Packers started scoring drives at the Chicago 35 and 41 following Montgomery returns. Kudos to Mason Crosby for making his only kick and connecting on all four of his (longer) extra point attempts. 

 

Stat of the Game 

80%: The Packers were 4 of 5 scoring touchdowns in the red zone. The only blemish was a field goal make after a James Jones touchdown was called back on a (questionable?) hold. Meanwhile, the Bears were just 1 of 3 scoring touchdowns inside the 20.  

 

Other Notes

-- The enduring chemistry between Aaron Rodgers and James Jones was so obvious. Rodgers went to him in the red zone on the first score, came back to him again on a third-and-short, used a free play to target him down the field and audibled to him near the goal line. These aren’t situations where you’d expect a player acquired a week earlier to contribute, but Jones wasn’t your typical pickup. What a life saver to have a veteran receiver come in and transition back so smoothly with the quarterback. 

-- Sunday was a good reminder of how much more deadly a healthy Aaron Rodgers is. His ability to move the pocket, extend plays and scramble for first downs is such an important part of the way he plays. He didn’t have it last January. Really makes that “what if” scenario sting a little more. 

-- You never want to over-react to the first week, especially after playing a new offensive staff. But the Packers defense still looks soft as snow in the middle, and the overall team tackling wasn’t good enough. Green Bay made Matt Forte its defensive focal point, but he still ran for 141 yards and caught five passes. Overall, the Bears rushed for 189 yards. And that prevent defense after taking a 15-point lead? Ugly. There’s plenty to clean up before Marshawn Lynch and the Seahawks roll into Green Bay next Sunday. 

-- The quarterback script in this rivalry continues to play out exactly the same. Rodgers threw three touchdowns against just five incompletions, good for a passer rating of 140.5. Cutler was careful for three quarters, but his late interception was a killer. His passer rating ended at 67.5. Tough to win games when there’s a 73-point difference between passer ratings, but that’s what the Bears consistently have to work against with Rodgers and Cutler under center. Rodgers has 13 touchdown passes over his last three games against Chicago, while Cutler still hasn’t made it through a game without an interception against Green Bay. 

-- This was a good win, even if most expected an easier looking victory. It’s tough to win on the road in the NFL, and it’s even more difficult to gameplan against a new staff in Week 1. The Bears covered up a lot of their own deficiencies with scheme and coaching. The Packers have plenty to get fixed before next week, but there’s no apology needed for leaving Soldier Field with a win.  

-- The Packers are 1-0 to start a season for the first time in three years. The NFC champion Seattle Seahawks, fresh off an overtime loss in St. Louis, head to Lambeau Field in Week 2. Green Bay conquered their onside kick demons; might as well check another one off the list next Sunday night. 

 

Zach Kruse contributes to Cheesehead TV. You can reach him on Twitter @zachkruse2 or by email at [email protected]. 

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Comments (64)

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 13, 2015 at 04:14 pm

I saw nothing wrong with the defensive line up the middle. I thought Forte did all of his damage off the edges. Daniels had a forgettable day, not sure really who played the other DE (Boyd for a while at least), and the OLBs lost contain repeatedly in the first half, but it largely got fixed in the 2nd. Palmer was up and down, but did some good things. Randall looked good. Shields doesn't want to tackle, Dix repeatedly ducked his head and missed a lot of tackles going for the ankles rather than the thigh/waist. I would not want to tackle Martellus Bennett either. Sean Richardson still has tons of physical ability but needs work learning how to cover (can we just admit that he can't learn coverage?) and to avoid silly penalties. I didn't see Pennel at DE. Did I just miss that? Elliott looks slippery, made some plays and just missed having a few more nice plays. Too many snaps for Peppers.

Happy we signed a patch FA at WR to come in with one week of practice and be our #1 WR. Cobb and Richard Rodgers contributed nicely. I hear Davante played some snaps. I suppose he earned his keep by securing the onside kick. O line was good enough and kept a mobile Rodgers upright, but the Bears' d-line looked better than advertised. Ty Montgomery looked quite good @ KRs.

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HankScorpio's picture

September 13, 2015 at 04:45 pm

I agree that Forte got the edge way too easily way too often. Poor outside run defense sure seemed like a bigger issue than poor inside run defense, at least to me.

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jh9's picture

September 13, 2015 at 07:29 pm

I agree, the edge defense was weak against the run. I saw too many LBs out of position and getting hung up on blocks. Unacceptable. The linebacking play must improve.

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Tundraboy's picture

September 13, 2015 at 07:00 pm

It is frustrating. The edge was a nightmare at times, especially on third downs.

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Oppy's picture

September 13, 2015 at 04:54 pm

Shields had a poor outing today, but it wasn't because he didn't want to tackle. I think you may be letting your memories of years past taint your view of Shields' performance today.

I urge you to rewatch the game and pay close attention. Shields actually made a number of attacking tackles that he wouldn't have even attempted three years ago.

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NashvilleCheesehead's picture

September 13, 2015 at 06:59 pm

However, he made several critical mistakes. Against a better team we would be talking about how he cost us the win with that kind of play.

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WKUPackFan's picture

September 14, 2015 at 08:58 am

Shields had a great pass break up in the 2nd quarter, then appeared to lose it on the next few plays. Seemed that all of of his mistakes came in a bunch then. Even professionals zone out sometimes. He was steady the remainder of the game.

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PaulRosik's picture

September 13, 2015 at 04:56 pm

In the first half you could see the edge runs coming. The B#%rs consistently took advantage of lineup problems and got to the edge by formation. You could call it from your couch that they were about to pitch it right or left and no one would be there and yet the Packers did not adjust to it until the second half.

Davante Adams was the leading receiver in yards. All he didn't have was the TD.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 14, 2015 at 09:02 am

Adams had 4 receptions on 8 targets (50% completion rate) for 59 yards against a bad Bears team with Rodgers not getting hit once. Rodgers only threw 5 incomplete passes all game. Nothing for the uber-talented Adams to write home about. We'll see how Adams fares against Seattle. He is not terrible, just perpetually underwhelming in terms of actual production.

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PaulRosik's picture

September 14, 2015 at 02:47 pm

perpetually?

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DrealynWilliams's picture

September 13, 2015 at 06:38 pm

I didn't have a chance to catch this game, but I knew Ty would show up on either the offensive side or ST. I'll say it again, If James Jones takes snaps away from Ty, he will be more dangerous and efficient. I expect to hear/read/see (highlights) of Ty making plays. The offensive standout play will come slowly.

Let me guess, the run defense package that gave up the most yards was the 4-2-5?? I thought Pennel won a starting spot? Daniels, Raji and Pennel is a respectable base lineup. I guess I'll continue to hope for some 3-3-5 subs.

Were the ever 4 WRs on the field? Just curious.

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Dan Stodola's picture

September 13, 2015 at 08:06 pm

Pennel started only because Guion is suspended. But he did start and was terrible early and seemed to be yanked in favor of Boyd rest of the game. Daniels was a no show but Raji played really well at NT.

Very few 4WR looks if any that I saw, unless a TE was the 4th WR, but otherwise Montgomery and Janis for that matter played very limited snaps on Offense.

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vj_ostrowski's picture

September 14, 2015 at 07:59 am

It wasn't until the Bears third series that they REALLY started gashing us in the run. Palmer got a stop for 1 yard, then it was boom-boom-boom, three big chunk runs in a row from Forte. Imagine my lack of surprise when I went back to see that we were in a 2-4-5 on those plays.

I get that Dom likes the coverage/pass rushing flexibility of 4 LBs and 5 DBs, but when you can't even adequately stop the run in that scheme, you need to can it and play more base. We actually do okay in base!!! Raji had a hell of a game as the NT in the base.

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Since'61's picture

September 14, 2015 at 09:28 am

VJ - excellent comment! I hate the 2-4-5 as well. Thanks, Since '61

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croatpackfan's picture

September 14, 2015 at 07:04 am

Pennel started and stopped every run comes in his way... Bears runs Forte again on the other side of DL when Pennel was in the game or they just get off the edges... All running thriough DL came when Josh Boyd was DE... It was also very often 2 men DL with Raji and Daniels or with Pennel and Raji, or with Pennel and Daniels...

Dan Stodola, when you write something better be sure that you watched what you are writing about...

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vj_ostrowski's picture

September 14, 2015 at 09:49 am

Not exactly. Forte's first big run came when Pennel bullrushed his guy to try to get to Cutler. Too bad Cutler had already long since handed the ball off. Forte got stuffed up the middle (Raji), but he saw the HUGE gap that Pennel vacated and ended up getting about 20 yards on it, I think.

He played pretty undisciplined football. It's like he and Raji each flipped their play from preseason to regular season - and THAT'S the difference between 1st round talents and UDFA.

I like Pennel. He's still #Penneltration to me. But he #Penneltrated without regard for consequence, this past Sunday.

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Dan Stodola's picture

September 14, 2015 at 10:45 am

Its all about discipline and particularly gap discipline. He didn't maintain it and allowed big plays as a result. Its essential in stopping the run.

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DrealynWilliams's picture

September 14, 2015 at 12:51 pm

I'm watching the game now. Barrington and Richardson over persued Forte. That should have been a 2 or 3 yard gain. Richardson has stiff hips.

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Oppy's picture

September 15, 2015 at 06:20 pm

Correction, he didn't maintain it (once) and allowed (A) big Play, not PLAYS.

But, you know, whatever fits your narrative.

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Idiot Fan's picture

September 13, 2015 at 04:17 pm

I don't get it, why couldn't they kneel down with first and goal on the goal line? Even if they can't quite run the clock off, kneel three times, kick a fg to make it a two-score game, and only leave them a handful of seconds.

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Bohj's picture

September 13, 2015 at 04:19 pm

I believe that may have been Jay Cutler's best game against the Packers I've seen. The guy actually pulled down the rock and run with it a few times instead of throwing into triple coverage resulting in more picks.

I also liked some of the production from the rookie corners. Good to see them getting reps early. I liked that breakup on Jeffrey by Rollins? Randall...I forget.

Shields. Come on man. You're the veteran DB. Get it together. Special teams was overall fantastic today minus that Shields off sides. That was on him alone though, not the unit as a whole. Thank god....because that special teams made us cringe in preseason.

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PETER MAIZ's picture

September 14, 2015 at 06:45 am

Special teams is much better and Montgomery has an explosive side to him which means he'll be returning kicks all year. Masthay, however, averaged what? 33 yards per punt?

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

September 13, 2015 at 04:21 pm

Sam Barrington is not a very good football player and Sam Shields is a box of rocks.

That said I'm not going to freak out over the defense yet. The Bears were certianly pumped for this game on thier home field. And, the Packers D did a good job in the redzone. Lets see if they can put it to the Seahawks next week before getting to upset over a win on the road in the division.

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Bearmeat's picture

September 13, 2015 at 04:27 pm

They're not going to "put it on" anyone, not to mention the Seahawks unless the front 7 on defense plays better than they did today. The Bears OL is BAD, and while Forte is a very good player, Lynch is much better.

Let's hope things get better on defense. And quickly.

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Tundraboy's picture

September 13, 2015 at 07:04 pm

That's for sure.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

September 13, 2015 at 07:06 pm

They did for three quarters in the playoffs, so we know they are capable.

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Oppy's picture

September 13, 2015 at 04:56 pm

I agree about Barrington (who only played what, two or three series today if that?) but disagree about Shields.

He had a shitty day, for sure, but he also graded out as one of the top 5 CB's in the league last season.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 13, 2015 at 05:10 pm

Barrington played hurt and then aggravated the same injury. Jury is still out on him. I'm not the biggest fan of Barrington but I think he can rise to close to average. Oppy, somewhere you made a good reply to me, and I concede the point - IIRC, it was about Shields. I think Shields still doesn't want to tackle using proper form, but he seems willing enough.

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Oppy's picture

September 13, 2015 at 05:49 pm

He actually made a number of decent form tackles today.

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NewNikeShoes's picture

September 13, 2015 at 06:07 pm

I gotta agree with ya on Barrington.
He reminds me of Micah Hyde playing safety last year, they're both just there for the rooks to get the speed of the game, then they become rotational players. hopefully Jake Ryan becomes a beast halfway thru the season too, like haha last year. I can wish, right?

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Lphill's picture

September 13, 2015 at 04:25 pm

Division road win, good way to start the season, BJ Raji back in action, Lacy off to a better start than last year, the defense will tighten up as time goes on,and we have a return threat, lets enjoy the win seems some fans would only be happy if the Packers beat everyone 50 to 0, not happening. I think the D comes to play next week for sure, go pack go!

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chs's picture

September 13, 2015 at 04:32 pm

James Jones deserves a raise or a bonus for his play, the Packers only kept Jarrett Boykin for salary cap reasons.

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Oppy's picture

September 13, 2015 at 05:51 pm

Jarrett Boykin looked poised to have a break out season.

Then something happened. What, I don't know, I don't think anyone knows. It was never discussed or explained.

He simply disappeared, never showed up again.

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HankScorpio's picture

September 13, 2015 at 04:42 pm

On the road, the Packers played very sloppy against division opponent with a new coaching staff. They got the win anyways. I'll take it and move on to next week.

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Allan Murphy's picture

September 13, 2015 at 04:57 pm

Sweet !

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Since'61's picture

September 13, 2015 at 05:34 pm

A good win. It's only the first game but our defense needs to tackle better. We're going to face better runners than Forte in the next 2 games.
Our offense is fine. I thought Lacy ran really well and the OL was very consistent considering it was the first game of the season. A. Rodgers delivered an MVP performance.
Special teams especially Ty Montgomery look better.
Feels good to be 1-0. Go Pack! Thanks, Since '61

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DrealynWilliams's picture

September 13, 2015 at 06:43 pm

No shocker reading about HHCD's tackling issues. I don't know what else to say.

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DrealynWilliams's picture

September 13, 2015 at 06:45 pm

I can't wait to watch film on this one.

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Imma Fubared's picture

September 13, 2015 at 07:17 pm

If you were to look at film the Bears pushed our D line back on running plays. Whomever ran for the bears got three yards often before a packer touched them.
The O was the game and I EAT crow for questioning Jones acquisition. WIthout him we lose.
Does Dix know how to tackle and play coverage?
Does Perry even play? Seems he is taken out at every play that goes at him. He is non existant.
Need some speed rushers up the middle. Raji is just too slow to be effective. They run around him not at him. A lucky win this win.

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Duke Divine's picture

September 13, 2015 at 09:05 pm

Stated perfectly, Mr. Kruse. I love CHTV and wins!

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PaulRosik's picture

September 13, 2015 at 09:41 pm

Aaron Rodger's ability to get teams to jump off sides even on the road is just amazing., And his awareness to go for the deep ball on every one of them is fun to watch. Now his receivers just have to step up and go get those deep attempts.

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Amanofthenorth's picture

September 13, 2015 at 11:37 pm

No matter how poor LB play was, no one is calling for the return of another Jones.

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sheppercheeser's picture

September 14, 2015 at 05:40 am

I'm hoping to chalk up Sam Shields play as an anomaly and hopefully we won't see that kind of play out of him again. I wonder if the plan to use James Jones was premeditated, since the Bears had little time to prepare for him. Regardless, it worked well. The penalties were very concerning to me- a sign of an undisciplined team.

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RCPackerFan's picture

September 14, 2015 at 06:34 am

James Jones did exactly what I thought he would do. Provide a target for Rodgers on 3rd downs and in the Redzone. That is what Rodgers needed the more then anything after Nelson was lost for the year.

I expect Jones to continue to be Rodgers top target on key plays early in the season.

Moving forward I think we will start seeing Montgomery start to be used more in the offense. Starting this week against Seattle.

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PETER MAIZ's picture

September 14, 2015 at 06:55 am

James Jones will be a target all year. The man deserves more money or some hefty bonuses.

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Since'61's picture

September 14, 2015 at 08:20 am

I forgot to mention in my earlier post that I was surprised that the Bears did not test Hayward very much in his new CB role yesterday. Either he very quietly did a great job in coverage or the Bears liked the matchup between Jeffery and Shields. Thanks, Since '61

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4thand1's picture

September 14, 2015 at 09:23 am

Fixing glaring problems. ST's looks good so far, picking up Jones, great move, didn't wait to pull the trigger. Offense no problem, lets see, what am I missing? Oh yeah, same defense, WTF!

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vj_ostrowski's picture

September 14, 2015 at 09:55 am

Our secondary looked good, minus Shields and HHCD. Cutlet's stat line would have looked even paltrier without Shields' several mistakes.

Our LBs, apart from Clay and Peppers, look atrocious. Palmer did a couple good things in coverage, but hit the wrong gap and got swallowed up several times in the run.

The DL was really the biggest disappointment. Raji did well in the base. VERY well, in fact. Forte found little room to run while Raji was at NT. Plus he notched half a sack.

But Daniels? Oh brother. Dude better shake Sunday off, because he was dogshit. By the Bears' 3rd offensive drive, a makeshift Bears OL had Daniels, Pennel, and Boyd on sleds. Completely controlled whoever they wanted. OL were getting to the second level with ease. As bad as our LBs not named Clay and Julius were, it's almost hard to fault anyone else so much when the DL was that bad. Gotta keep the bodies off of them. That's the very basis for a 34 defense.

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DrealynWilliams's picture

September 14, 2015 at 01:00 pm

Watching the game for the first time:

Packers D had some communication issues on the first drive. I noticed this in the Eagles and Patriots game. When one side of the field is overloaded and an additional guy is motioned over -- the Packers break down. The guy who motions over is ALWAYS open.

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DrealynWilliams's picture

September 14, 2015 at 01:08 pm

Watching the game for the first time:

3rd and 3.

The first 4-2-5 call had Mike Daniels and Josh Boyd at DL.

*straight face* Scary (end sarcasm)

Bad communication and bad zone coverage. The LBs got too deep. They need to work on passing receivers off to the next man in zone and not trail

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DrealynWilliams's picture

September 14, 2015 at 01:18 pm

Watching the game for the first time:

Not a bad first series by the D Line. If anything, it was (a select few) LBs who had mental slip ups which led to conversions. Not sure why Boyd even seen the field - but that's irrelevant.

Also, enough with the off coverage...

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DrealynWilliams's picture

September 14, 2015 at 01:23 pm

Watching the game for the first time:

First series for the Pack I'm not sure why we didn't continue to run Lacy. Especially since the Bears kept 2 deep safeties.

Adams could/should have broken off that hitch a tad bit sooner. Small and fixable.

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DrealynWilliams's picture

September 14, 2015 at 01:30 pm

Watching the game for the first time:

Wow! A positive run defense out of the 4-2-5! Mike Daniels and Raji stuffed the 1st down run. There was actually two run stuffs with those guys in at DL.

Also, Dom did a great job of mixing things up early on the Bears 2nd series. 4 or 5 men at the line turned into a 3 man rush and Jay overthrown ball could have been picked.

Peppers is ballin'

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DrealynWilliams's picture

September 14, 2015 at 01:43 pm

Watching the game for the first time:

Lol @ my self...

On the 2 series for the Pack I thought to myself," who the hell is #82!?"

That PA fake from Rodgers was something so beautiful. He had Cobb open, but I'm assuming his reads were endzone, mid and then short. On that same play, Adams HAS to learn how to use all of that extra field he had available. I'm sure Jordy will point that out. I know that play irked Rodgers.

Umm, could that TD pass have been placed any better?

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DrealynWilliams's picture

September 14, 2015 at 02:09 pm

Watching the game for the first time:

Bears 3rd series:

Nick Perry and Mike Neal are to blame for the big gain runs. The DLine (minus Boyd) has played well so far. 1 negative, Daniels jumped offside.

On that 4th and inches against the Packers Base -- who do the Bears run to? Josh Boyd! I'm just sayin'.

On that dropped Forte TD pass Nate Palmer took the absolute worst angle to cover that I've ever seen.

Mental mistakes. Hopefully fixable.

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DrealynWilliams's picture

September 14, 2015 at 02:33 pm

Watching the game for the first time:

Jarret Bush was a better tackler than HHCD.

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NewNikeShoes's picture

September 14, 2015 at 09:10 pm

whoa there, thats taking it a bit too far

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DrealynWilliams's picture

September 15, 2015 at 09:35 am

I don't think it is.

That's not saying Bush is/was a better overall player than HHCD.

That's equivalent to A. Rodgers or someone saying R. Rodgers has the best hands on the team. That statement doesn't mean they think R. Rodgers is the best receiver. It's just one aspect of their game.

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Imma Fubared's picture

September 14, 2015 at 02:57 pm

The game I watched, the Bears clearly attached the outside of the line and did it effectively, not the middle. That's why I question a BJ Raji, he has a role if they run right at him but stupid they aren't. He actually is the reason for the success at running. He gets in the way of others trying to make a play. He is like a pillar.
This is not a good defense. GB will pay dearly for down the road. Datone ain't saving us anytime soon.

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RCPackerFan's picture

September 14, 2015 at 03:29 pm

'Datone ain't saving us anytime soon.'

Sorry but Datone Jones still plays for the Packers, not the Vikings. Of course Jones can't help the Vikings.
Please wait till after Jones' contract is up first before the Vikings try adding him to their roster.

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Bearmeat's picture

September 14, 2015 at 03:36 pm

RC - Don't bother talking to him. Unlike Cow, Imma is not a Packer Fan. He's a Vikings troll

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DrealynWilliams's picture

September 14, 2015 at 03:37 pm

Attacked???

I think Raji had a pretty nice game. In pass rush and run defense. The OLBs (Perry and Neal) are at fault for the majority of the big gains. They just weren't holding the edge and ended up with their backs facing inside rather than the sidelines.

I do agree with Datone not saving anything. Guion will surely help though.

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vj_ostrowski's picture

September 15, 2015 at 01:21 pm

"The game I watched, the Bears clearly attached the outside of the line and did it effectively, not the middle. That's why I question a BJ Raji, he has a role if they run right at him but stupid they aren't. He actually is the reason for the success at running. He gets in the way of others trying to make a play. He is like a pillar."

What?

"They attacked the outside and not the middle. And that's why I question BJ Raji"

I mean...what?

That means that Raji was mostly doing his job.

Show me another NT in this league that consistently chases down running backs laterally on stretch and toss plays. Raji is the NT, meaning he's going to draw double-teams, and if Forte doesn't have a lane up the middle that's good. It happened several times, in fact. And when Forte was forced to bounce outside ON DESIGNED INSIDE RUN PLAYS - it's completely up to someone ELSE to get to Forte. The stall job that Raji created up the middle on a handful of plays should not have resulted in 10-20 yard gains when he re-directed to the outside. That delay should actually give the other players (LBs, safeties) enough time to diagnose the play and chase it down. That's someone else blowing their gap assignment, or backside contain.

What you seem to be exhibiting is a fundamental misunderstanding of what Raji's job is.

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DrealynWilliams's picture

September 14, 2015 at 03:42 pm

Yo, the tackle attempt HHCD pulled on Bennett was so laughable. The fuck was that!?

Now I know Bennett is a huge TE, but damn, dude. That???

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