Packers XLV

Rumors of Defense's Demise Have Been Greatly Exagerrated

Posted September 14th, 2012 @ 04:09am

Clay Matthews and the defense were the difference in the Pack's dominant, back from the dead performance against the Bears. Seven sacks. Four Picks.  But it was Mike McCarthy's gutsy gamble that turned the game around.

I still can't get over the chutzpah it took to try the fake field goal. At the time the Pack was winning the field position battle and had the edge in a tight 3-0 game in the second quarter. Then on 4th and 26th from the 27 (finally, a 4th and 26 goes our way) he goes for the fake, knowing that if it didn't get sprung for a TD, the Bears would take over. But it ran to perfection. Tim Masthay flipped it to Tom Crabtree who had nothing but open air and green grass in front of him.

It knocked the wind out of the Bears: 10-0 Pack. The passing game was never really in synch. But from the start, the running game was productive. Benson had six carries for 27 yards in the first quarter, ensuring that the Bears had to respect the ground game. He caught a couple screen passes and finished with well over 100 total yards. If he can keep it up, the passing game will come around quickly.

Playing without the injured Greg Jennings, Rodgers relied on Jordy Nelson (6-84) mostly and sprinkled balls to the others. Finley and Jones had drops and both contributed to turnovers. The inconsistency we see from numbers 88 and 89 is maddening and makes me wonder how long the organization will stick with either of them. Cobb again proved to be a nice weapon in the passing and running game. His role will only increase.

But the story of this game was the play of the defense. They bottled up the run early and got constant pressure on Jay Cutler, who spent the past few days opining on how the Packers DBs would be able to cover his big physical receivers, Brandon Marshall and rookie Alshon Jeffrey. As it turned out, both were featured on milk cartons for most of the night, till Marshall surfaced dropping a potential touchdown pass in the end zone.

Kudos to Dom Capers for employing the same scheme he used on Megatron last Thanksgiving. With Tramon Williams sticking with him and Morgan Burnett staying back to prevent the big play, Marshall was a complete non-factor.

The night belonged to Matthews, whose 3 1/2 sacks give him six in the first two games: exactly as many as he had last season. He may get credited for another half sack. He completely embarrassed Jamarcus Webb and had Cutler on the run all night. Rookie Nick Perry took a seat early, as the Pack chose to go with Erik Walden and Dezman Moses instead. They were all disruptive, along with rookie Jerel Worthy who got the start for CJ Wilson. The pass rush caused Cutler to Gamble and the Pack's top two DB playmakers, Woodson and Williams made plays when they were there.

The offense has yet to find its rhythm through two games, but there are signs that it's getting closer. What's clear is the defense has a chance to be pretty good. Granted, they only get to play against Cutler and his ratty offensive line one more time, but there is more depth, youth and athleticism with this year's unit and it was on full display at Lambeau Field on Thursday night.

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Comments (8):

Wasn't last night a refreshing jolt to our collective psyche? Yes, the offense still needs a little work (particularly Finley and Jones), but can still manage to get the job done. The best part of the offense was Benson providing a kick start to the running game. I'm not going to proclaim that the defense is completely on track, but we at least witnessed what they are capable of. This is something for them to build off of. But a big thumbs up to whoever on the coaching staff had the testicular fortitude to call for the fake field goal. I don't care if it's not called again for the rest of the season - the timing and (most importantly) the execution were spot on. Now the Pack can enjoy their mini-bye week and get ready for a week from Monday. Great job!!

on September 14th, 2012 at 02:44pm

Let me add one more thing - during the drive home last night, listening to WBBM was quite entertaining, as it usually is after a Bears loss. Give it a try sometime (on a good clear night like last night, you'll find it at 780 AM).

on September 14th, 2012 at 04:26pm

Agree with all that DD needs to see the field more often. Rodgers is still finding his way as he is not close to the player he was last year just yet. We can't trade GJ, I just got my son a #85 jersey for his birthday in April. That would be cruel. Let's not forget that Jordy dropped two catchable, not perfect, throws in the first. Hardly steady at this point. Rodgers holding the ball too long. Glad to see Packers coaches recognizing that Hayward/Shields cover better than Bush, regardless of how hard he works in practice. Russell Wilson comes back to earth in 10 days. GoPack!

on September 14th, 2012 at 05:15pm

OSSG, I'm with you on the Jennings trade. Everyone is talking about what draft choices someone might give you. I don't really want to here that. Who do you have that is proven that we could use right now? Jennings can contribute now.

on September 14th, 2012 at 05:19pm

Great win. I'd agree with you guys that the offense still needs some work: Rodgers slightly off on his deep throws, Finley and Jones, as clueless as ever and the offensive line play is average. If defenses are going to force the Pack to play underneath the two deep coverage, it will demand a heckuva lot more mistake free play, than we've seen thus far. I was shocked at how well the defense played. It had been way too long since we'd seen that kind of performance. Jarrett Bush stayed on the bench, Nick Perry had a lot of his snaps taken by Walden and most of the other defensive rookies saw some action as well.

on September 14th, 2012 at 08:44pm

The more things change the more they stay the same. That looked a lot like the last five Packer/Bears games and I'm just fine with that. Dave, you talked about drops. You know who didn't drop the ball, Driver. I only mention it because I think he is still the leader of the receiver corp, but it's hard to lead if your not on the field. I say get him the ball, and he will light a fire under the rest. When the receiver are competing with each other as well as against the other team, that's a good thing. Get The Old Man The Ball! Just sayin - Go Pack

on September 14th, 2012 at 09:14am

I'm right with u lynndickeyfan, dave thought driver would be gone, he can still play and should be playing over jones. nice call voice of reason on low scoring game, did not see that coming, but old dom, must be reading your posts dave. Isaid last week, play man to man and let the safteys float, just what they did, tramon can stay with anyone. and shields does better in man also. that is the way they need to play, thank u dom for listening. I was way off on score but I did say tramon would get 2 picks, not bad for a predictaholic. needed this win, and now they can rest until monday. that will be a tough game at the seahawks, they have a tough secondary. let's enjoy this and watch the queens and lions lose this weekend, go packers.

on September 14th, 2012 at 11:56am

Great seeing all the diehards at the Park Tavern...fun time for all with this game. Nice to see the D step up. Nice to see what can happen when you get a pass rush. Claymaker was obvious.....but Ragi and Worthy were getting a nice push. If this game is an indicator....Worthy will be taking over for CJ Wilson. Having Eric Walden back on the edge helped...as Nick Perry is still a work in progress. Getting the 2010 good Tramon Williams is a huge asset. The offense is still a work in progress....Jones and Finley got to be getting on your nerves. Jordy is steady and Driver can still contribute. Gregg Jennings is turning into this years enigma.....creeping nagging injuries....his salary status for next year( will get nowhere near the 15-16 mil he wants}. I know there have been trade rumors for him ...but I say listen if you can get 2 possible starters that can have an immediate impact....but if not keep him....it is a long season and Jones is not a capable trusted replacement. If Benson can give us 60-70 yards running and catch a few passess a game it really opens up our offense. Hope MM keeps working Randall Cobb into more touches. One of the highlights in this game for me was seeing Claymaker looking at his hand after his third sack and counting 3 fingers. Check it out on the Internet it is precious. Nice to have the time until next Monday....lets keep the positive momentum going. GO PACK GO !!

on September 14th, 2012 at 12:25pm

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