Green Bay Packers 30 – 27 Chicago Bears

The Green Bay Packers traveled to a bitterly cold Chicago to take on the Bears in an ugly bar fight of a game that nonetheless resulted in a 30-27 victory to both move the Packers up the playoff hunt and tie up the all-time series with Chicago at 94 wins each, the first time the Packers haven’t trailed since the days of George Halas.

Keys To The Game

Montgomery Magnificence
With James Starks out in the concussion protocol, Ty Montgomery was finally raised to the top of the running back depth chart becoming the first Packers rusher to reach 100 yards in a game since Eddie Lacy did it in week 3 versus Detroit. Eclipsing his previous career high 9 carries with 16 during this game, Montgomery can only be described as having gone off for one on the Bears.

He gained 162 yards and two touchdowns, with some impressive rushes where he showed a Le’Veon Bell like patience in waiting for the play to develop and hitting the hole. He had two large runs bouncing to the outside before turning upfield and hitting the gas with a mean stiff arm folding defenders back. He looked like everything the Packers need to establish a running game.

Crucial Drops
While many (myself included) have been turned into believers by Davante Adams after his drop induced sophomore slump last year, this game showed it is not completely a thing of the past. Adams watched two touchdowns sail right between his hands on perfect throws from Aaron Rodgers, and even Jordy Nelson had a crucial drop on a long play down the sideline.

I doubt this will be a problem going forward, however. Adams took a much more proactive stance in responding to his performance with a little self-scouting on twitter (seen to the left) immediately after the game, and I’ve every faith that we’ll see a big week out of him next week versus the Minnesota Vikings by way of atonement.

Missing: 1 NFL Defense. If found, contact 1265 Lombardi Ave.
Somehow, despite ending the game +4 in the turnover margin, the Packers defense managed to be a disappointing mess. Matt Barkley, in at quarterback for the Bears, was rarely under pressure, with the Packers defense only registering two QB hits. One of these being the strip sack and fumble recovery by ex-Bear and apparently ageless immortal wonder Julius Peppers. From this lack of pressure, Barkley was able to put up 362 yards of offense through the air.

This even resulted in supposed #1 cornerback Damarious Randall being benched, as he gave up big play after big play, and a touchdown, due to a complete inability to make any tackles. The defense was doing a Dom Capers special, allowing everything thrown between the numbers to be completed at will. For this team to have any chance at, and in, the postseason, somebody needs to remind Dom Capers that there’s a large area in the middle of a football field that also must be defended.

Key Moment – Dagger to Jordy
While not really a suitable play for a turning point, coming on the last play of the game that wasn’t a field goal, it was too beautiful not to be my play of the game. With 0:54 left in the fourth quarter, in a game tied at 27, facing 3rd and 11 the Packers offense snapped the ball. According to Aaron Rodgers in his post game presser, “I saw Jordy put his hand up, figured the backside safety hadn’t rolled towards the middle.’ and that was all she wrote.

A beautiful 60 yard rainbow to the man who, if there is any justice, will be the NFL Comeback Player of the Year setting up the winning field goal from Mason Crosby. And with that, the Packers are now able to focus on winning the NFC North by winning out the final two games, without having to rely on help from any other games that the Lions play.

Ty Montgomery Player of the Week Award

After missing out on the meal that was the 5 interception feast on Russell Wilson last week, safety Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix came away with 2 interceptions of Matt Barkley in this game, earning himself this week’s Ty Award, in a week where it is tough to not give it to its namesake.

Without these interceptions, which came at the GB 26 and 28 yard lines, the Bears would have likely had at least two more field goal tries, which would have been enough to cost the Packers not only this game, but their playoff hopes.

Clinton-Dix is now tied for 2nd in the league with 5 interceptions, trailing only former Packer Casey Hayward who has 7 in San Diego (and at the moment, seems like it was a terrible mistake on Ted Thompson’s part to let walk in free agency). Hopefully the stellar safety play Clinton-Dix has put out in recent weeks continues, and he’ll be back in the Ty Award segment in no time.

Totally-Not-Knee-Jerk Reactions

  1. Why does Mike McCarthy continue to go away from what works? Montgomery was averaging 10 yards a carry, and had only 7 second half touches. We’ve seen this happen with Eddie Lacy when he gets going also. It seems whenever Green Bay have a successful ground game, McCarthy forgets and stops using it as the game progresses. While he called good games in previous weeks, this game had the air of a vintage McCarthy choke-job around it as the fourth quarter progressed. Consistency in his lately improved coaching will be vital in the coming two weeks to decide the result of the NFC North.
  2. Clay Matthews is completely impotent on this Packers defense, it could even be argued it’s better when he isn’t on the field lately. While we all love Clay, the nagging injuries of recent years are mounting to the point where he is sadly unreliable and unimpactful, despite his warriors attitude of trying to play through the pain. With (per overthecap) a $15.2million cap hit next year, the situation with Clay may need to be assessed. His production is simply not worth that huge cap number, and releasing him would only result in $4million in dead money in 2017, saving $11.1million in cap room at a time when the Packers have some important pieces needing to be resigned. Let me be clear, I’m not hoping he is gone, but the contract will need some reworking if he is to remain part of the team.
  3. Aaron Rodgers may be a soothsayer or seer of some sort. R-E-L-A-X took the Packers to the NFC Championship Game, and it’s appearing as if “run the table” is in real danger of becoming true, and resulting in the Packers hosting a home play-off game (touch wood, not to jinx it). On the subject of Rodgers, I hope every moron who tried to blame the difficulties earlier in the year on Olivia Munn is now willing to give her the credit for the MVP caliber play of recent weeks.