Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Packers 0, Chicago 26. Well that was an ass-kicking. Looking at the stats, there was not any one area where the Packers lost. Watching the game, there was not one area where it was obvious that the Packers were overmatched. Chicago did not dominate, but they slightly outplayed and outcoached the Packers in every way, and it led to a really lopsided score.

It was a lot more similar to the loss in week 16 last season when Chicago won at Lambeau 24 to 17. If you look at the stats, QB Brett Favre had an awful game and the Packers couldn't run the ball. But they managed to string together one TD drive and a punt return for a TD by WR Antonio Chatman made the score a lot closer than the game actually was.

It was good to see RB Ahman Green return. He was able to run throughout the game, and not just during the second half when Chicago's defense was sitting back on the pass. Theoretically, the Packers were holding back showing off Mike McCarthy's real offensive playbook until this game, so this was the first time the offense played in a game situation with it. Unfortunately, they had to try it out against one of the best defenses in the NFL. Favre's passes looked high and it appeared that Favre and his receivers (excepting WR Donald Driver) were not on the same page.

This is apparently why the Packers paniced right after the game to sign the recently arrested WR Koren Robinson. It seems unlikely that Robinson will become a part of the passing game anytime soon, but can probably take over for Noah Herron immediately on kick returns. After the disasterous last preseason game when the special teams collapsed, they improved to awful with a missed field goal, a kick return fumble, and they allowed a kick return for a touchdown. CB Charles Woodson was finally used on punt returns and had one good return. The special teams directly cost the Packers 10 points in the loss and must improve.

The defense struggled to keep Chicago off the field in the first half and let Chicago build an early lead. S Marquand Manuel struggled again with a blown coverage that led to the long TD pass to WR Bertrand Berrion. CB Al Harris struggled against WR Muhsin Muhammad early and LB Brady Poppinga was completely overmatched in pass coverage by TE Desmond Clark. The Packers hadn't struggled against number 1 WR due to the great play of Harris, but getting burned by the tight end is something that has plagued the Packers for many seasons now. If a game ball is awarded, it would go to DE Aaron Kampman who had a great game. Honorable mention goes to the Packers run defense which held Chicago to only 3 yards per carry, which was a big improvement since RB Thomas Jones ran all over them last season.

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