Beating the Bears Is Always Special.

The Packers' domination over the Bears these last couple of decades never gets old. What does get old is watching the Pack's special teams units do everything in their power to give a game away. At least with all of the gaffes and mistakes in the Bears game, none of the issues involved Mason Crosby. So there's that.

Obviously, Green Bay withstood a mountain of special teams blunders thanks to their biggest playmakers and the fact that they were playing the outmanned Bears. A special teams performance like that one in the playoffs will end the Pack's season--make no mistake. After the game, Matt LaFleur stood behind special teams coach Maurice Drayton. Most of us would prefer if he stood next to him and escorted him out of Lambeau Field permanently. I don't know whether moving on from him this late in the season would do any good, but there clearly needs to be a change made heading into 2022.

It's funny, on "Packer Preview" Sunday I mentioned that with all of the special teams issues this season, at least the coverage units have been pretty solid--and then Sunday night happened. The coaches point to the injuries to key special teamers Dominique Dafney and Equanimeous St. Brown. But a couple of guys getting knocked out of the game shouldn't cause your units to implode. And as for the returners, I've seen enough of Amari Rodgers and Malik Taylor. There has to be someone on the roster who A) understands that if a kickoff is headed out of bounds you should leave it alone and B) when a punt is heading your way you need to catch the ball. At this point I'm ready to go without a punt returner. I have more faith that the offense can make up for it no matter how far they're backed up.

Other troubling issues coming out of the game: the bad luck on the offensive line continues, with Billy Turner the latest to get hit. His knee injury did not look good and the guy who's been the steadiest up front all season may be toast. We'll wait to hear on the severity of the injury, but I'm expecting the worst. Fortunately the Pack has a guy in Dennis Kelly who started all 16 games at right tackle for the Titans last season. But the line is now down four starters, with the lone holdout rookie Royce Newman. Let's hope David Bakhtiari returns soon to provide some stability for a group that just can't stay healthy this season.

And then there's Aaron Rodgers' toe, which the Bears owner said suffered a setback during the game. You wouldn't know it watching Rodgers' continued brilliance against the Bears, but it sounds like it's becoming a real issue and they're going to assess how to deal with it early this week. At this point it's obvious that it's not going to get any better until the season's over and we all have to hope he can play through it without it limiting him when it comes to planting that foot or moving around.

Let's look at the positives: the defense continues to get after the quarterback. Yes, an athletic QB like Justin Fields will make them pay with his legs from time to time, but they generated pressure on over half of his drop backs, causing the big strip sack and forcing him into bad decisions, like the one that led to Rasul Douglas' pick six. Once again Douglas showed what he means to this defense. If and when Jaire returns, the Pack will have one of the most solid trio of corners in the league. Throw in Amos and Savage and the secondary is the strength of a unit that may prove to be formidable enough to make up whatever curveballs the special teams throw at the team. The pressure came from a lot of directions, but Preston Smith destroyed rookie Teven Jenkins all night and Kenny Clark was a mismatch for the interior of the Bears' line. 

Offensively, Rodgers was the star, of course, on a night where Aaron Jones was used sparingly--just five carries and three big receptions. You have to wonder if that knee is still not 100%. AJ Dillon got 75% of the carries and continues to show why the team will lean on him heavily, especially with plenty of cold weather games still to come. Once LaFleur moved Davante Adams inside and away from corner Jaylon Johnson, the league's best receiver caught fire and the Pack's offense took off. But it was a big night for the supporting cast, with Josiah Deguara, Marcedes Lewis and Allen Lazard all making big plays.

But this seems to be a season when even after a win, you come away uneasy...whether it be another injury to a key player (a weekly occurrence this season) or the head-shaking performance by the special teams. When the Pack finally meets up with one of the NFC heavyweights next month, there's this sense of foreboding that all of the Pack's firepower could quickly get extinguished by a muffed punt, a big return or a blocked extra point. Or the way things are going, all three.


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Sorry Robin I should have posted something on the site about the show's move to 8:00 for the rest of the season. I did send out a few tweets and mentioned it on both of my shows, but forgot to make note of it on the blog. THCDec 13th, 2021 10:03 am
The Bears were more physical for the first quarter. They played harder and faster and to the echo of the whistle. They couldn't keep that energy up for the rest of the game. The Packers play more even. They pace themselves. This approach may not always work, but they don't burn out early and keep their mental focus. That said, the special teams were as bad as they could be. Will we be drafting a return specialist? lynndickeyfanDec 13th, 2021 11:57 am
The Packers extended their bye into the second quarter of Sunday night's game before they finally began to show up but fully engaged in the second half made short work of Da Bears once again. The win and Arizona's loss Monday night vaults the Pack back into the "top seed" position in the NFC. If they win out in the final four games it's theirs hands down for the second year in a row. Just FYI: AZ's final 4 are home to Indy and Seattle, at Detroit and Dallas. With the NFC North all but cinched this is the race that most concerns us in the final month. PackerliferDec 15th, 2021 4:55 am
I get it. I too am a traditionalist from Milwaukee. The Packers/Bears rivalry is first and foremost. But let's get real for a moment. This rivalry hasn't been much of one lately. Until the Bears get it together and actually field a consistently competitive team, you really can't call it much of a rivalry. It's more of a beatdown than anything else. If you want to consider what the real rivalry in the NFCN is in 2021, it's Packers/Vikings, and that's how it will remain until the Bears figure it out.VoiceDec 16th, 2021 4:58 pm
wow!!! my 3 favorites are writing on site . No more goofballs. Good for you THC. Hey. You can all call me crazy but I really think we would be better off if Jackson plays instead of Huntley. He is a better passer then Jackson and please wait till after the game to tell me I'm wrong. I have watched him play in preseason games and last week. Sure, Jackson can run a little better, BUT, he can do that too. Plus Jackson with the ankle may not run as much. Just my opinion, we will see. The ravens always seem to pull out close wins. They have a great kicker and it may come down to that. Crosby did look better last week though. No 69, no Meyers, no Jenkins no Turner, going to tough. we will not run on them, It will come down to short passing game again like zona game. I see it 23 to 20 Ravens. Been wrong a lot this year, I hope I/m wrong again. Go PackerslarryDec 18th, 2021 9:50 am
Need a big day from Packers beat up offensive line,if so Rodgers and receivers should have big day,Go Pack!Bud Grant Dec 19th, 2021 8:07 am
Beating the Bear is more special than beating the Ravens, even if it is old new. It's even more special than the Lions giving us some cushion by beating the Cardinals, talk about early Christmas presents! Now if we could just see some all pro players suit up before New Years, that would be great. Speaking of presents, I think the Special team coordinator will be getting coal. I think THC is taking some time off, so we might not hear from him again until next year. That is unless we tune it to the radio. That , he still has time for. Cleveland Browns on Christmas Day! Yes please, and thank you. That should be a good one. There are a lot of connections. Hopefully, The covid bug doesn't bring us down or get brought to us. LynndickeyfanDec 19th, 2021 9:23 pm

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