The Green Bay Packers held off the Chicago Bears 27-17 Sunday. Here are my initial thoughts.
1. A win is a win. The final score was close to the final prediction — “If the Packers control both lines of scrimmage, the Packers should get a big road game to go 3-0. Prediction: Packers 28-17.” Although the actual final score of 27-17 indicated a close game, the Packers wrapped up the game at 27-10. Running back James Starks’ fumble allowed the Bears to get back into the game after scoring a big touchdown with 11 minutes to go to make it closer at the end.
2. The Packers won the game with tough run defense, big defensive plays, and an offense that produced 297 passing yards and 100 rushing yards. Aaron Rodgers completed 28-of-38 for 297 yards, three touchdowns, one interception and had a 111.4 passer rating. The offense had two turnovers total.
3. The playmakers were wide receiver Greg Jennings who had 119 yards, tight end Jermichael Finley, who caught three touchdown passes, running back Ryan Grant, who had 17 carries for 92 yards, safety Morgan Burnett, who had two big interceptions, and defensive end Jarius Wynn, who got two sacks.
4. The Packers’ maligned defense got three sacks total, forced two turnovers, held the Bears to only 13 net rushing yards, and 3-of-11 third down conversions. In the third straight game, the rushing defense was solid, holding Bears running back Matt Forte to two yards. The Packers front seven neutralized the Bears biggest offensive weapon, not allowing him to get to the second level.
5. Overall, the offensive line had a good game, excluding several pre-snap penalties. Although tackle Bryan Bulaga was injured (bruised knee), his replacement, Marshall Newhouse, did an outstanding job holding the edge.
6. Unfortunately, Starks had a tough game, getting only five yards on 11 carries. Nick Collins’ replacement at safety, Charlie Peprah, also had an awful game, getting burnt on three big passing plays.
7. The lack of a consistent pass rush continues to be a concern. Outside linebackers Clay Matthews and Erik Walden got no sacks, and applied no pressure, even against a leaky offensive line. The Packers need to figure out what’s wrong fast and correct the issue.