Friday, September 14, 2012

Packers Win Recap: Packers Defeat Bears, 23-10

A win against the Bears is always good because, you know, rivalry, but a win against a divisional opponent can matter in playoff seeding. It also helped the Packers bounce back from a disappointing home opener, and gives them something positive entering into their mini-bye week (10 days off). It also gave the running game and the defense some signs of life after a bad game against the 49ers.

Looking back at the game film from last week, it was apparent the Packers needed to run the ball more (Benson only had 18 yards rushing against the 49ers) and involve more receivers (only 5 players caught passes against the 49ers). This would help them beat the two-deep safeties who are taking away the Packers' deep threat. They did both, using a combination of Benson and Cobb to rush for over 100 yards and completing passes to 7 different receivers (though Rodgers only completed passes to 6).

That offensive strategy didn't help Rodgers's stats (219 yards, 6.8 ypa) but 5 sacks certainly disrupted what he wanted to do. Also, he's just not quite on the same page with his receivers as Nelson and Jones missed out on long receptions. You know he's going to start completing those passes at some point.

After a poor defensive effort against the 49ers, the Packers defense staged a dramatic turnaround. It certainly helped that the Bears' offensive line has some problems (Go Clay Matthews, Go!), but the Packers made three changes in personnel.
The soft coverage of CB Jarrett Bush was replaced by a lot tighter coverage by CB Sam Shields and rookie CB Casey Hayward. The pass rush alone might have made the difference, but this change certainly helped.
Maybe this was done because Walden is known for big games against the Bears, and he did finish with a half-sack and 2 QB hits. Maybe rookie LB Nick Perry is better with fewer snaps and maybe rookie LB Dezman Moses deserves some too. But Perry was part of the problem in pass coverage against the 49ers and maybe the coaches were trying to address that problem too. Unfortunately, the Bears had their only success when throwing to whoever was covered by LB D.J. Smith, so that's something that still needs to be addressed.

Also, rookie S Jerron McMillian had a big game with one INT (it looked like he held onto it) and one dropped INT. That's probably not quite reminding anyone of former S Nick Collins yet, but he's already made more big plays than I've ever seen from S M.D. Jennings.

It's not the way I would hope to start the season, but 1-1 after the first 2 games isn't a disaster either. They don't play again until Monday, September 24th (at Seattle) after which they hopefully have WR Greg Jennings and RB James Starks back from injury. If they can start connecting on those deep passes once in a while, they'll start looking a lot like the Packers we've watched over the past couple seasons.


PackFaninFl said...

I know Packer Nation is breathing a collective sigh of relief (and I was as tense as I've been in this 2-plus year run of awesomeness), but I think we need to relax if we think "things are all right."

I recall how last year we utterly shut down the Lions in Detroit on T-Giving and held Megatron to nothing, etc. We also played quite well defensively in both of our games against Chicago last year.

In other words, one game does not make a trend.

1) Expect Nick Perry's snap count to continue to diminish. I saw him get destroyed on a run play. He is a one dimensional pass rusher. And he looks like Kampman 2.0 out there, especially on pass coverage. I think he would be MUCH better in the 4-3 with one paw on the ground (so that he can focus on his pass rushing technique and not so much pass coverage duties)

2) Saddened for Bush. I think this was more of a correlation vs causation issue. Bush did not cause our defensive problems, I think it was more a safety issue/poor tackling against SF. But not having Bush in the lineup meant having Chuck near the Line of Scrimmage and he balled last night. He was active, he had an INT. That's the biggest drawback about Bush, he excels in the same position where Woodson excels, and at this point, you rather have the future HOF'er out there.

3) We got back to fundamentals. Our tackling was very crisp and good in this game. Not the slop we saw against San Fran. What a difference good tackling makes!

4) Opponent. We are a team that feasts on Turnovers. San Fran just doesn't turn it over, the way Chicago (Cutler) does. That helped a lot.


Brandon said...

I don't know about the dynasty part :)

I guess I'm a bit higher on Nick Perry than you, though it's obvious he's not a complete outside linebacker at the moment. I see all the potential but it's obvious he's learning a new position. Knowing Dom Capers unpredictability, I'm not expecting the same rotation from the outside linebacker spot from week to week, but if it's a near even split between Perry, Moses, and Walden, until one of them emerges; so be it.