We’ve been telling you that a win is a win since the season began and we’ll have to tell you that again this week. The Green Bay Packers beat a severely undermanned Chicago Bears team 26-10 on Thursday night.
When I say undermanned, it was really kind of like the JV playing the varsity. The Bears were without their top two quarterbacks, their top running back, their top offensive lineman, a starting receiver, a starting cornerback and probably some other guys I’m forgetting. And yes, the Packers were without a number of guys as well, but we all know the Packers have more depth than the Bears.
So basically, the Packers went out and did what they were supposed to do. Win handily over a much inferior opponent. In the process, they actually managed to cover the spread for just the second time this season. They can probably thank Brian Hoyer’s first half broken arm for that.
Do you sense some skepticism?
Look, if the Packers go to Atlanta and beat the Falcons next week, then my tune will change. Until a victory over a team that’s actually good is achieved, I will remain skeptical of these Packers.
So let’s get to it.
Dink and Dunk
I think that’s what we’re going to call Aaron Rodgers and Randall Cobb from now on. Rodgers is Dink and Cobb is Dunk. That’s obviously how the Packers piled up 406 yards of offense on Thursday. It’s how Dink surpassed 300 yards passing for the first time this season. The offensive game plan showed in his meager 5.8 yards per attempt. It also showed Dunk’s 8.6 yards per reception. We should all get used to this though. This is clearly the only way the Packers are going to be able to move the ball this season. Short, quick passes. To Dink’s credit, he actually made some tough, rhythm throws we haven’t seen him want to make in some time. Further, it was nice to finally see something different on offense. The Packers weren’t pretending that their vertical passing game — something that hasn’t worked in over a year — was going to work this time. So, also, begrudgingly, I will give some credit to Fat Mike and his gravy-filled head for possibly realizing that after all this time.
The Good and the Bad
I’ve already singled some of these guys out, but let’s just cover all of the receivers right here. Dropvante had his best game probably ever, with 13 catches for 132 yards and two touchdowns. It actually sickens me that those 13 catches tied a single-game team record held by Don Hutson. So now the best receiver in Packers’ history will have to have his name next to the worst receiver in Packers’ history. Ty Montgomery, meanwhile, has emerged as the best playmaker on the Packers’ offense. Perhaps the only reliable one. And I say that because the rest of the Packers’ receivers were terrible on Thursday night. Despite his 11 catches for 95 yards and touchdown, Randall Cobb — Dunk — should have had three touchdowns. He botched a good throw from Rodgers in the end zone early and then failed to drag his foot in the end zone after catching a ball a little bit later. Cobb’s actual touchdown came in garbage time. Meanwhile, Jordy Nelson hasn’t played well since week 3. Thursday might have been the low point, with just one catch for nine yards. Finally, Jeff Janis definitely got some opportunities, but he didn’t do anything with them. Two catches for nine yards on five targets. He looked lost out there.
Mason Crosby’s Turn
Most weeks, some part of the Green Bay Packers’ special teams unit is sucking up the joint so badly you want to sit on the top of the stadium with a sniper rifle and start picking them off one by one. Kicker Mason Crosby has been the one steady performer. Until Thursday night anyway. Maybe he got too close to punter Jake Bum and Bum’s suckiness rubbed off on him. Crosby missed a field goal and an extra point Thursday night. The field goal, of course, was blocked, so not entirely Crosby’s fault. Still, it’s not going to look real good on the stat sheet.
The Return of LaDarius Gunter
My boy Larry Gunter sucked it last week against Dallas. He obviously was well aware of that. Gunter came out and rebounded about as well as you can rebound on Thursday night. As the team’s de facto No. 1 cornerback, Gunter spent a good deal of time on the Bears’ No. 1 receiver, Alshon Jeffery. How did Alshon Jeffery fare? Just three catches for 33 yards. It’s not as if the Bears were presenting a passing juggernaut to the Packers, especially when Matt Barkley came in, but Gunter did his job. He’s certainly not the fastest guy, but I personally think he’s the best outside corner the Packers have right now.
The Definition of Team Defense
I was sitting here trying to find some other guys to single out on the Packers’ defense and I couldn’t really do it. Yes, Nick Perry had a great game, notching the team’s only sack and intercepting a pass to go along with his four tackles. But we could pretty much single out Nick Perry every week. The guy is not only playing the best ball of his career, he’s become the best player on the Packers’ defense. That defense held the Bears to 189 total yards. Various guys made plays — Blake Martinez, Jake Ryan, Clay Matthews, Julius Peppers, Datone Jones, Mike Pennel, Kenny Clark, Micah Hyde, Morgan Burnett… You get the point. Usually when the Packers play well on defense, it’s the result of a great game by Matthews or the secondary, etc. This was the rare game where it seemed like everyone was involved at one time or another.