Week 2 of 2012 marked the Bears first divisional game against the hated Green Bay Packers. I was very excited going into this game, considering the Bears had just handily defeated the Colts in Week 1. Also, the Packers were coming off a loss. I was expecting the Bears to come into Green Bay and win in an exciting Thursday Night Football game. Boy, was I wrong.
This game, like last week, started out horribly. I thought that the Bears had learned from last week; I thought they were going to find their offensive rhythm early, after causing an early 3 and out. Enter Clay Matthews.
On the Bears first offensive play, they went play action, and Jay Cutler was sacked by Matthews for a 13 yard loss. That pretty much set the tone for the offensive game. The Bears almost got back to the line of scrimmage on the drive and were forced to punt. The defense played relatively well and the first quarter finished scoreless.
The second quarter really angered me. A few plays in, on a third and three from the Bears 42 yard-line, Aaron Rodgers threw an incomplete pass to James Jones. 4th down. Time to punt, right? Wrong. A phantom 12-men on the field penalty caused the Bears 5 yards and the Packers ended up with a field goal. The Bears ensuing offensive drive was going fairly well with some nice Michael Bush runs, but that ended abruptly after a boneheaded Gabe Carimi unnecessary roughness penalty backed the team up 15 yards. Adam Podlesh had to punt again. The Packers put together a nice drive against the tired Bears defense, but it only would amount to a field goal. Or so we thought.
This play angered me more than any of the other ones. The defense had just held the Packers to a field goal. But a little trickery led to a Tim Masthay to Tom Crabtree 27 yard touchdown. It is the agonizing play of the game. Here’s the clip, if you dare watch. http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-fantasy/0ap1000000062171/K-Masthay-to-TE-Crabtree-27-yd-pass-TD-4th-down-conversion
Then the offense tried to get something going, when Cutler made a mistake. He threw his first of four picks to Tramon Williams. The Packers finished with a field goal and led 13-0 at halftime.
The second half was just as painful as the first. Matt Forte sprained his ankle early in the third. Brandon Marshall dropped an easy touchdown that would have made it a 6 point game. Cutler threw three more stupid picks. The dagger came on an Aaron Rodgers 26 yard touchdown pass to Donald Driver early in the fourth. Kellen Davis had his first of two touchdowns on the season in this game after a Jenning interception, but it was too little too late. The Packers ran out the clock with ease.
Jay Cutler finished with four interceptions, one garbage time touchdown, 126 yards passing, 7 sacks, and one “shoved” left tackle. Brandon Marshall only had 2 catches, none of which happened in the first half. The defense had a mostly solid game. Julius Peppers had 2 of the teams 5 sacks and Lance Briggs had 10 tackles. He earns player of the game honors, even in s losing effort. The defense also held Rodgers to only 219 yards passing. But the real deserving player of the game has to be linebacker Clay Matthews. He finished with 3.5 sacks, and no one on the Bears was really worthy of that honor. The full stats of the game are here: http://scores.espn.go.
Umm… The defense played well. Holding the Packers offense to 321 total yards is not bad at all, given their season average was 359.4. Sacking Aaron Rodgers 5 times was nice. Overall, the defense played a pretty good game.
The biggest problem with the Bears in this game were stupid mistakes. If the Bears don’t bite on that fake field goal, it’s a 3-0 game. Then they start a new drive. If Jay Cutler didn’t throw it over the middle to Tramon Williams instead of Earl Bennett, the packers don’t get another field goal. Who knows? Maybe the Bears could have tied it at halftime. If Brandon Marshall makes that catch, the Bears take a 10-3 lead and the complexion of the game is different. Who knows what would have happened without the Roach or Carimi penalty? This is a game that the Bears could have won if it weren’t for all the mental errors. The past is the past, but wouldn’t it be nice if we could change it?