By the time the second half rolled around Thursday night, I found myself locked in after each play, just to see who was still lying on the ground. It’s been one of those seasons so far, but the Pack is exactly where we thought they’d be, record wise, through the first quarter of the season.
But there are plenty of issues to be dealt with as they get ready for a tough two game road test. Chief among them: the health of Davante Adams. It sounds like he escaped serious injury, despite the ridiculous, dirty hit by linebacker Danny Trevaithan, who should get hit with a big time fine and possibly a suspension. We’ll wait to hear how long Ty Montgomery expects to miss with broken ribs (and naturally, his back up Jamaal Williams is also banged up, though replacement Aaron Jones showed substantially more juice).
Then there’s the case of Damarious Randall, who got benched, after surrendering the touchdown to Kendall Wright at the end of the half. If he left the sidelines on his own during the game to pout in the locker room, he may not have a future with this team. When you throw in the fact that Quentin Rollins had already been benched, Ted Thompson’s top two 2015 draft picks look like busts. Suddenly, Josh Hawkins may be the Pack’s nickel corner. He played well Thursday night, but the matchups get tougher the next three games.
As for the game, it couldn’t have gone better. Lane Taylor stepped into the left tackle role and handled his business. As did Lucas Patrick, making his first start at left guard. The Pack committed to the run in the opening series and Montgomery and the line dominated. It was a perfect opening drive. And when Clay Matthews knocked the ball out of Mike Glennon’s hand on their first play, the Pack had an instant 14-0 lead and never looked back.
The weather delay threatened to quash the Pack’s momentum, but the Bears couldn’t take advantage. I was very happy to see Dom Capers scrap the nitro for this game and go with his standard 3-4. If ever an opposing offense demanded it, it was this one. The Bears are all about running the ball (until, at least, rookie Mitch Trubisky takes over). It was great to see the run defense keep the clamps on Jordan Howard and electric rookie Tarik Cohen all night.
And it was about time we saw some takeaways, four on the night. Needless to say, we don’t get to play against Glennon each week. But the Pack took advantage of his mediocrity and turned this one into a laugher. Morgan Burnett and Ha Ha Clinton Dix continue to play at a very high level. Toss in Josh Jones (and even Kentrell Brice) and the Pack’s safeties are the strength of the unit.
So now, for the first time in 85 years, the Pack leads the overall series against the Bears. That means a whole lot to those of us who grew up in the Milwaukee area and have seen the Bears hold a big series lead through the 70s and 80s. The Favre-Rodgers eras have turned the tables–I honestly never thought I’d see the Pack take the all-time lead.
So with a mini-bye on tap, the Packers have a chance to get three of their most important players back for the Cowboys game: Bakhtiari, Daniels and Bulaga. If Montgomery and Adams miss some time, the Pack can make do–as long as they’re back for the post-bye second half push.
The main takeaway for me is that the Packers were able to dominate a game where their offensive line consisted of four guards and a center. That versatility and experience those young guys got will serve the team well as they make their way through the season.
There will be a “Packer Preview” show as usual, Sunday morning on the Fan. Just a heads up that I will be pre-recording the show ahead of time, so there’s no need to call in or email me.