*This will be a weekly post with updates after each game based on performance.*
From both the weather to the play on the field, this was a total slog of a game to watch. While the Packers escaped with a win and some positives to build off, there were many other issues that persist. Injuries will be the headline, likely having lost Aaron Jones for a few weeks, and Montgomery continuing to battle a rib injury. The Offense continued to spin its wheels in yet another mud bowl. The defense gave up far too much yardage to arguably the worst offense in the league. This wasn’t a heavy weight match up between long time rivals that it’s usually advertised as – this was a pillow fight among teams who can’t seem to piece it all together despite talent on both sides.
It wasn’t all bad though. Brett Hundley picked up his first touchdown and win of his young career. The ground game looks to be a strength of this team despite a plethora of injuries. The youngins on the defense seem to keep improving and give hope for the future.
Coaching – 3 out of 10
MIGGBY. McCarthy’s timeout usage is inexcusable. You can say Hundley was responsible for the one in the first half, and you’d be right. However, using 2 timeouts in the 3rd quarter in a 1 score game is completely and entirely unacceptable. Even when Rodgers was healthy, this was a constant problem. Late in games, it seemed like every other week, the Packers used a second half timeout because the play got in late. This isn’t on the QB, especially when Rodgers was healthy. Look no further than the Dallas game this year. Dallas left too much time of the clock, and spared McCarthy blame for only having 2 timeouts because they called one in the 3rd quarter. Mike – timeouts give you this magical, god-like ability to stop time, which is invaluable in crunch time. Stop wasting them in the 3rd quarter in tight games.
Aside from that, the Packers looked a bit more prepared for this one, albeit against a lesser opponent. The game plan looked like they spent a week of preparation, actually shut down the Bears run game, and made some calls that actually schemed guys open on offense. And let’s be honest, at least he isn’t using a challenge that ended up giving the opposing team the ball. However, there are still some concerns moving forward.
Offense – 6 out of 10
Say what you will about the Bears as a team – they have a solid defense, and the Packers were able to move the ball pretty well at times. Despite injuries to Jones and Montgomery, the Packers were able to move the ball fairly well on the ground. The passing game still has some kinks, but it seemed like overall there were some things to build off in the coming weeks. Again, we shouldn’t forget that this was a rainy game on the road against a division rival – all bets are off, and it’s rarely as pretty as you think it will be.
One more rant – wildcat. Why!? You do not have the personnel for it, and it hasn’t been successful in years. This isn’t 2008 and you don’t have Ronnie Brown. At least run the read option with Hundley to confuse defenses more than telegraphing run every down. I mentioned it last week – at times, it seems like McCarthy tries to outsmart his opponents and ends up outsmarting himself. Wildcat was a rabbit hole that was filled with cement years ago – let it die.
Quarterback – 5 out of 10
After about 2 quarters, you would have thought we were in for another Hundley snoozer. Everything in the second half gave you a bit more confidence in Hundley moving forward. He made a beautiful backshoulder throw to Adams for his first career touchdown pass in which he evaded the rush, didn’t lose his composure and threw an absolute dime. To seal the win late, Hundley threaded the needle to Adams along the sideline with about 2 minutes left that should have set up the clinching field goal, but the botch snapping operation messed that up. Hundley won’t light up the stat sheet, consistently throw well beyond 15-20 yards, or stop being jittery with the pressure – but there were a lot of positives from this game to build off.
Runningbacks – 7 out of 10
Aaron Jones looked like he was in for a good day until he hurt his knee. Montgomery had a great TD run before he reinjured his ribs. Williams had a solid day with most of his yards coming after contact. How can you not like this day? Oh, yeah, right, injuries of course. Honestly, this was very encouraging to see the ground game more involved this week, and I think moving forward, this needs to be the blueprint for how the offense rolls.
Offensive line – 7 out of 10
With the plethora of injuries to this unit, it is nothing short of amazing to see how well this line played against a tough Bears front 7. Sure, McCray got beat a few times and looked miscast as a right tackle, but all together, the line held up well. Averaging 4.3 ypc on 37 rushes is pretty incredible given their opponent, and 8.4 yards per attempt in the passing game is nothing to shake a stick at. Make no mistake – there is still a ton of talent on this offensive line, Hundley just needs to trust them more.
Receivers – 5 out of 10
On the one hand you have Adams and Cobb who each turned in respectable games against a solid defense in the driving rain. On the other hand, you have Nelson and the tight ends who really haven’t done much since the departure of Aaron Rodgers. While I still think Nelson has a lot left in the tank, it’s hard to argue that Adams has completely taken the crown as the Packers best receiver.
Defense – 4 out of 10
Oy vey. There was a lot to digest here and I don’t have get nearly enough fiber. The run defense held its own against the Bears 2 headed monster, but they also knew it was coming. The pass defense didn’t get torched and held its own, but the Bears passing offense is atrocious. I won’t get suckered in, but there were encouraging things coming from the young guys, including Clark, Jones and King.
Defensive Line – 6 out of 10
The strength of the Bears is very clearly their running game. They have a decent offensive line, and can move guys pretty well. Daniels and Clark at their lunch, and outside of 2 long gains, they all but shut down the run. Lowry still leaves much to be desired, as he bit horribly on a screen early, and since Daniels and Clark are regularly taking on double teams. The depth here is non-existent, and for all intents and purposes, so long as the starters don’t get injured, this is surmountable.
Linebackers – 4 out of 10
Martinez may be the best chance the Packers have at a Pro-Bowler (though I think pound for pound, Clark’s had a better year), he had a slow game on a slow field. Martinez’s marginal speed showed on the notoriously horrible Soldier field, and only had 2 tackles on the day. Jake Ryan played ok with 4 tackles and 1 for a loss. Both of these guys get burned in coverage too easily, which will lead to rollercoaster performances for them both.
Perry had a monstrous game, 3 sacks, 3 tackles for loss, and 6 total. Now that he’s playing without a club, he’s close to earning that massive pay bump. Matthews was downright bad in this one. His all-out playing style was hampered and didn’t play well in the slow conditions. Fackrell looked lost and aloof, while Biegel and Brooks looked okay. Opposite of Perry, the Packers need to find something that resembles a pass rush.
Cornerbacks – 2 out of 10
Outside of a few nice Kevin King plays and mostly keeping plays in front of them, this unit was shredded underneath. They have long lengthy corners on the boundary that play press at the line, but rarely jam or redirect. In some cases I get it, if you have a bigger WR lined up across from you or someone with incredible ability to get off the line of scrimmage. Too regularly though these guys are beat without putting up much of a fight. It’s not for lack of talent either. All of these guys are athletic enough to make plays. It just seems like they’re being told to play conservatively.
Safeties – 4 out of 10
Josh Jones had a few nice plays and ended the day with 4 tackles. Ha Ha did a fine job keeping everything in front of him and took better angles this week. Evans held up fine in his first extended action all season, and we got our first taste of Jermaine Whitehead. All in all, it could have been worse, but definitely room for improvement.
Special Teams – 0 out of 10
The special teams were bad. They were worse than bad – they were the worst I’ve seen since the Packers fired Slocum. The Packers had several penalties that called back decent returns from Davis that absolutely killed them in a field position game. Davis fielding a punt in the endzone was mind-numbingly stupid. The kicking operation had another botch when Vogel mishandled the snap for what would have been the ultimate dagger. Not one facet of the Packers special teams were good. Not a single one. Hopefully the addition of Brett Goode will return some order to the kicking operation, but there are so many issues elsewhere in this unit to rest there.