Cheeseheads were on the receiving end of their worst nightmare when the unheralded Chicago Bears whipped up on the Pack 21 - 10 last Sunday in Lambeau. The oldest rivalry in professional football has played down a little bit in recent years due to the Pack's domination of the lowly Bears. But the Bear's new coach set a team goal of defeating the Packers this year and they sure did. Sunday's shocker will no doubt re-kindle the rivalry flames.
The game seemed to start in the predictable fashion with Ahman Green running hard and putting up over 100 yards of rushing offense in the first half, but mistakes started to compound. Ryan Longwell missed a field goal. A couple passes were dropped, penalties started cropping up, Brett Favre threw some questionable balls and the defensive line couldn't contain the Bears' running game. Just before the half, the Packers were on the verge of scoring and taking the lead, but a block was missed and a Bear defender ripped the ball from Green, whose fumble was scooped up and promptly run back 95 yards for a Bears' touchdown. The play was a critical 14 - point swing which turned out to be the difference in this game.
In the second half, the subdued hometown crowd continued to witness Packer miscues. The most concerning of which appeared to be the lack of production by the Packers' defensive line. The loss of injured Grady Jackson was painfully evident as the Bears rolled up 182 yards rushing. Defensive tackle Cletidus Hunt is being paid a huge salary and isn't producing right now. Bob Slowik's super-aggressive pressure-orientated defense may prove to be, well, too aggressive. It seemed to me that the Bears' misdirection running plays always seemed to be one step ahead of the Packer defense. The Bears' moving pocket also allowed their quarterback to avoid the blitzing pressure. It pains me to write it, but the Bears' offensive game plan and execution was better than what the Packers could counter on defense.
There isn't a whole lot positive to be said about a game lost to da Bears in Lambeau. Especially when the Pack was an 8 _ point favorite and has superior personnel. Ok"¦ the Packer linebackers played well, but other than that, no gold stars. If the Pack commits similar errors and mistakes next week in Indianapolis, they will get beat by 30 points. The Colts have one of the NFL's best aerial duos in quarterback Peyton Manning and wide receiver Marvin Harrison. Edgerrin James is one of the finer feature backs in the NFL but he may not play due to injury. At any rate the Packers will have their hands full containing the Colts high-powered offense.
On the other side of the ball, the Colts do not have a dominating defense. Favre, Green and company should be able to put some serious points on the board if they can avoid the mistakes that cost them this game. Look for a high scoring game next week and possibly a shake-up in the Packers' defensive personnel. Look for Mike McKenzie to reclaim his starting cornerback position, and Cletidus Hunt to see more time on the bench.
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