Chicago Bears Week 12: Takeaways

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Well, that was fun! I forgot how great it feels to beat the Packers. When you consider that it was Thanksgiving, they were playing in Lambeau, were nine-point underdogs, and it was Brett Favre’s jersey retirement ceremony… It’s just that much sweeter.

Most of the storylines in the local media today focused on Jay Cutler winning just his 2nd game against the Packers and first ever in Lambeau, but the real story is the Bears defense. They played their best game of the season against a QB in Aaron Rodgers who has owned the Bears since he took over as the Packers starter in 2008.

The Bears held Rodgers to just 202 passing yards, 1 TD pass, and a Lambeau career low 62.4 QB rating. It was the worst performance of his career verse the Bears and it was a no-name Bears defense that finally beat Rodgers. He had four shots from the Bears 8-yard line with around a minute left in the game, and for once Rodgers didn’t come through. The Bears stopped all four pass attempts and came away with a surprising 17-13 win.

On his last four TD attempts Rodgers was thwarted by two players, Tracy Porter and Bryce Callahan, who weren’t even expected to contribute this season. The Bears got stellar contributions from those two and other unexpected sources like Willie Young, Jonathan Anderson, Lamarr Houston, and Chris Prosinski to name just a few.

I’ll break down the individual contributions below in this week’s takeaways.

1.) There were no Jay Cutler jokes today!

It was a pleasant change not waking up to a bunch of Jay Cutler memes after a Bears / Packers match-up. Cutler looked like the usual Green Bay Jay in the first quarter, missing a TD pass to Marquess Wilson on the Bears opening drive and almost throwing an INT under pressure from one of the Packers many blitzes. In his defense Cutler was victimized by both penalties (5 in 1st quarter) and some drops as both Alshon Jeffery and Jeremy Langford dropped passes that would have resulted in first downs early in the game.

Cutler turned things around in the 2nd quarter and from that point on, ending the day with 200 yards on 19 completions, 1 TD and most importantly no INTs! He was under pressure all night but was able to maneuver out of trouble, extend plays and find an open receiver when the Bears needed it most. Cutler was able to out play Aaron Rodgers in Lambeau on national TV and lead the Bears to a victory. It’s a Thanksgiving miracle!

2.) The Bears no-name defense shut down Aaron Rodgers and the Packers 

Tracy Porter, Bryce Callahan, Jonathan Anderson, Chris Prosinski, Mitch Unrein, Adrian Amos… these are names that most Bears fans didn’t know coming into this season but under the direction of defensive coordinator Vic Fangio they are part of the best Bears defense in years. A defense that is holding teams to just 14.6 points over the last five games and just beat Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in Lambeau Field.

The Bears got big contributions from more well-known names as well like Willie Young, Lamarr Houston, Eddie Goldman, and Shea McClellin, but they couldn’t have done it without big plays from the no-names which I will get into in more detail below. As I mentioned above the Bears are holding teams to just 14.6 points per game, which would be tops in the league by a wide margin, over the last five and for the season they are ranked 4th in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game. It’s hard to believe how fast Fangio and Fox have turned around one of the worst defenses in the NFL.

Next: More Takeaways