Chicago Bears – 14
Green Bay Packers – 35
The Packers played host to their first division game of the 2017 season, hosting the Chicago Bears in the game that would decide who would take the lead in the 94-94-6 all time series between the NFLs oldest rivals.
Behind a makeshift offensive line featuring an admirable performance by Lane Taylor making his first ever start at left tackle, the Packers saw off the Bears with a 35-14 victory that was even less close than that score would suggest, finishing the game with Rodgers taking a well deserved rest after his 4 touchdown performance and Brett Hundley mopping up.
The victory was overshadowed, however, as the result of some poor officiating and one of the dirtiest hits I can remember seeing from a garbage human masquerading as a linebacker for the Bears.
Keys To The Game
The injury bug on this team might be as bad as I’ve ever seen. The offensive line went in missing it’s top five players at tackle. The defense was missing its de facto #1 corner in House as well as the most important player on the team outside of Rodgers in Mike Daniels. Ty Montgomery left early with what turned out to be broken ribs. His replacement rookie Jamal Williams lasted one play before being ruled out with a knee injury. Joe Thomas (ILB), Blake Martinez (ILB), and Josh Jones (S) were all lost to injury at various points. Then there was the frightening loss of Adams which I’ll discuss more later.
At the end of the game the Packers were missing arguably 5-6 of their best 10 players, but still managed to stomp a division rival into the dirt in a game coming off a short week.
Hopefully with the mini bye week provided by the long rest following the Thursday night game the Packers will have a good number of these players back by the time they play at Dallas in week 5 and will have a replenished line and defense ready to plow into the more important portion of the season.
There was a silver lining from this however. With Montgomery and Williams down, rookie running back Aaron Jones out of UTEP was forced into some playing time and boy did he impress. While 49 yards on 13 attempts with 1 touchdown isn’t a mind blowing stat sheet, considering he did it coming on in relief, behind a makeshift offensive line of sixth stringers, against what is still a mean Bears front 7 is impressive. More importantly, he passed the eye test. There was good vision with some very nimble cutbacks, and he looked comfortable out there. With Montgomery likely out a few weeks and no word yet on Williams, I’m excited to see what Jones does with his newfound responsibility in the offense.
Instead of player of the week, we’re having villain of the week today. Let’s not mince words here. Bears linebacker Danny Trevathan is a despicable human being. In the third quarter, on the play following a holding penalty that negated a touchdown on a hold that didn’t exist, Davante Adams was already stopped by multiple Bears defenders, the play was all but over when Trevathan launched himself crown-of-the-helmet first directly into the face mask of Adams with all the force he could muster.
The call immediately went out on the field for medical help at which point the official finally threw a flag (suggesting he initially wasn’t going to) but Trevathan the Garbage Human was not ejected and appeared to celebrate the hit and taunt Rodgers. Guard Jahri Evans who had good position on the hit said that ‘I truly believe he hit what he wanted to hit’, casting doubt on the lying statement of Trevathan that it was merely a mistake on his part with no malice.
Thankfully as of Friday evening all news is that Adams has no structural damage and it’s just a concussion, so fingers crossed he recovers soon and continues what to date has been a fine season from the receiver.
Doms Defensive Dilemma
A quarter of the way through this season and I still don’t know where I stand on this defense. Week to week they can either be utterly dominant as they were with Seattle or Cincinnati, or they can lay a complete egg like they did with Atlanta. I went into the Bears game thinking the defense was going to have to carry the team with the offensive line situation, and do that they did. Starting the game with a forced fumble on which Clay Matthews became the Packers all time sack leader they’ve shown they can dominate and run games when they need to.
My hope looking forward based on the play of the last couple of weeks is that King is coming into his own, despite not being stellar yesterday, and is showing flashes in coverage of true #1 corner ability.
Any time Josh Jones is on the field at that hybrid safety-linebacker position in the nitro package he’s on the verge of an impactful play and looks as solid covering in heavy traffic across the middle of the field as any early career safety could.
To top that infusion of young defensive talent off, after the definitely now a bust Randall was benched after being badly beat for a touchdown and throwing a tantrum as if it was everyone else’s fault but his, Josh Hawkins was put in as the #2 corner and ended up with 4 passes defended and made some brilliant plays in coverage. Following this Randall disappeared from the sideline and wasn’t to be found in the locker room after the game, in what McCarthy called an ‘internal issue’. If he left the sideline and the game of his own volition I wouldn’t be surprised to see him be cut going into next week.
- For all the improvements and well deserved praise on the defensive side of the ball, this team still really has a problem with its 2 minute defense. You can almost be guaranteed to score against the Packers if you get the ball back with more than 90 seconds left before halftime. That’s the kind of thing that can become a problem come crunch time, but as we get some players back and the big guys like Clark continue to develop I think that can have a big impact there.
- The ‘blocked punt’ that was at least 3 metres (About the same as 3 yards for my American readers) away from being blocked was the perfect encapsulation of how horrendous the officiating throughout this game was. Chicago safety Deon Bush ran full pelt into punter Justin Vogel while his leg was still fully extended from the punt, in the most textbook case of roughing the kicker possible. However, somehow the officials decided the ball was tipped thus there was no roughing penalty. Almost immediately after however it was seen on the broadcast and in the stadium that no Bears player had a hand even in the same area code as the ball. Thankfully the game was locked up at this point, but how officials are missing such glaringly easy calls as that goes a ways to explaining how they are so poor as to not eject a player for something like what Trevathan did.
- This one’s a more personal rant, but jeez I really hate a weather delay. Courtesy of that lightning the game finished at 6am for me. It’s just one of the many things we have to suffer through as UK fans, and hopefully the sacrifices we make like that will have the people who complain about the prospect of a London Packers game remember that we love this team to no end also.