The Green Bay Packers escaped Lambeau Field with a 21-15 victory over the Chicago Bears last night.
I say escaped because despite a rousing performance by the Packers’ defense, which forced Bears’ quarterback Jay Cutler into four interceptions and held Matt Forte to just 55 yards rushing, the team was lucky to come out with a victory.
The Packers’ offense, which was touted as the second coming during the preseason, looked anemic and out of sync for most of the game. It wasn’t until under two minutes the big play everyone seemed to be expecting all night finally happened.
That’s when Aaron Rodgers connected with Greg Jennings for the game-winning 50-yard touchdown on 3rd and 1. Up to that point, Rodgers had thrown for 134 yards and zero touchdowns.
The Packers will certainly take the win, but there seem to be some real problems on offense. Allen Barbre, making his first regular season start at right tackle was overmatched by Adewale Ogunleye, who racked up two sacks and continually pressured Rodgers. Barbre wasn’t alone in getting beat, though. The Bears racked up four sacks and sent Rodgers to the ground multiple times.
Some of the pressure can be attributed to the number of blitzes Bears’ coach Lovie Smith called, but it’s clear that recipe for frustrating the Packers’ offense is getting pressure on Rodgers, and other teams are likely to follow the Bears’ blueprint.
Another thing the Packers need to correct are the dropped passes. Jordy Nelson, I’m looking at you. Nelson wasn’t alone, though. Donald Driver had some mishaps, as well, including pulling up on a long pass from Rodgers in the first half. What was supposed to be one of the best receiving corps in the NFL looked pedestrian on Sunday, outside of Jennings.
The Packers running game wasn’t much better. Despite Bears’ starting linebackers Brian Urlacher, who was lost for the season, and Piso Tinoisamoa sitting on the sidelines for much of the game with injuries, the Packers couldn’t establish a consistent rushing attack. Ryan Grant finished with 61 yards and 16 carries.
Despite all the problems on offense, the Packers’ defense ultimately carried the day and looks much improved over the vanilla version the team ran last season.
If the Packers can correct their issues on offense, look out. A visit from the Cincinnati Bengals next week should go a long way towards that cause, but those Super Bowl dreams need to be put on the back burner for now.