The Green Bay Packers beat the Chicago Bears 21-14 to keep the team in playoff position. It was a satisfying win for the team, but one that should or could have been a blowout.
The Packers lead 13-0 in the first half, but as they’ve done all season, let their opponent back into the game with a lackluster game plan.
Greg Jennings was robbed of a touchdown when Aaron Rodgers threw a perfect ball to the receiver in the end zone. Jennings controlled the ball with two feet in bounds, but the ball was knocked out of his hands by Charles Tillman and went out of bounds – a clear catch and fumble with the Bears last touching the ball, which should have resulted in a Packers’ touchdown. Packers coach Mike McCarthy challenged the call, but the referee inexplicably called an incompletion, despite clear evidence to the contrary.
The Packers kicked a field goal to go ahead 10-0, and then McCarthy went into conservative mode, rather than stepping on the throttle against a clearly overmatched Bears team.
The Packers’ offense had a mediocre game, despite Ryan Grant’s big day. Grant finished with 137 yards on the ground and two touchdowns, with most of his yardage coming on a 62-yard run on the first play from scrimmage – his longest of the season and the most electrifying play he’s made since 2008. Aaron Rodgers was a mediocre 16-of-24 for 180 yards with a fumble.
The Packers defense carried the day, picking off Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler twice and sacking him three times. They also held the Bears’ pathetic rushing game to 59 yards. With the offense sputtering, the Packers’ defense played well enough to get the win.
The biggest disappointment on the day was McCarthy’s play calling. Case in point: with the Packers up 21-14 in the fourth quarter after a Bears’ punt, McCarthy played for a field goal. While a made field goal would have put the Packers up by two scores, kicker Mason Crosby hasn’t been making anything other than extra points lately, and missed a 42-yarder wide right.
It was a disappointing effort against an overmatched opponent, but nonetheless, it was a tough win in a game the Packers needed.
If McCarthy ever lets the dogs loose, the Packers may end up being a dangerous team in the playoffs.