Air Aaron Sends Bears Back to their Cubby-HolePosted:Oct 21st, 2016 2:58 pm
It was just one night. But it was fun to watch, interesting and different. Faced with no proven, trusted running backs, Mike McCarthy aired it out and Rodgers and his receivers delivered. But it begs the question: is that type of offense sustainable over ten weeks?
We'll discuss that in a moment. For now, let's enjoy it for what it was. The second half awakening dawned after Rodgers once again got careless with the ball, giving the Bears a brief lead early in the second half. Prior to that, we saw a Packers offense that showed itself in spurts, but failed in the red zone. And McCarthy's play call on fourth and goal was laughable. You don't ask your wide receiver turned running back to punch it in from a yard out. You roll out Rodgers and let him work his magic. If it fails, it fails.
After Clay Matthews and company likely ended Brian Hoyer's season in the second quarter on a hit that broke his arm, it felt like the Packers had no chance to lose this one. Yet there we were, early in the third, trailing 10-6 and you could almost see the smoke coming out of the players' ears.
Finally, the offense took off. Credit McCarthy and company for crafting a creative offensive game plan on a short week that took advantage of the guys who were able to suit up. We didn't know whether Davante Adams would clear the concussion protocol in time for the game, but he was active and had the game of his career. Let's hope we can bottle that Davante Adams for the rest of the year.
Ty Montgomery has to share most valuable player honors, after his hard-nosed effort as a running back and receiver. I keep asking myself whether his body can handle all the pounding and that's where I come back to the sustainability question. Asking Rodgers to drop pack 50+ times in November and December seems like a recipe for disaster, as does asking Montgomery and Cobb to carry the football. If Starks is back in a few weeks, and maybe Lacy for the last couple of weeks and playoffs, this Air Aaron attack might work in the short term.
As expected, the defense bounced back after the Cowboys debacle. Sure, the Hoyer loss rendered the Bears clawless, but the Bears weren't doing much when Hoyer was in there. Hopefully the ten day break will be enough time for Randall and Rollins to heal and the defense will be as close to healthy as possible for a date with the Falcons, the league's top offense.
Weather won't be an issue in that game and the Falcons defense is still a work in progress, with just one real playmaker, Vic Beasley. They rank 24th in yards allowed and 26th in points allowed, so there should be opportunities to keep the momentum going. The following week the Colts come to Lambeau and they're even worse defensively.
So it appears that the sky is not falling. The Packers are 4-2, and have ten days to tweak their new offensive reality and get guys healthy. Beating the Bears at Lambeau doesn't qualify as a major achievement, but after losing twice to them at home in the last three years, it feels awfully good. And Bears fans probably weren't even watching, with the Cubs playing a far more meaningful game at the same time.
It also feels good to know that the 'what's wrong with Aaron' narrative will be silenced for a while.