It was closer than it should have been for longer than it should have been, but it ended just as it should have as the Bears lost in Green Bay and ended their hopes for a playoff berth in fitting fashion. Josh McCown mounted a valiant effort, but it wasn’t enough to overcome Aaron Rodgers’ five touchdowns.
(14-1) Green Bay Packers 35
(7-8) Chicago Bears 21
On the very first drive of the game, Aaron Rodgers made sure his team grabbed a number one seed and never looked back, leading the Packers on a 9-play, 80 yard touchdown drive that ended with a 2 yard slant to Jermichael Finley in to make it 7-0. That drive featured ONE running play and some insanely accurate passing. The Bears couldn’t even hope to keep up, thought their defense held Rodgers in check for most of the first half… until he found James Jones on another slant to put Green Bay up 14-3 at halftime. Despite out-gaining and controlling the time of possession in the first half, Chicago had nearly nothing to show for it.
How did we even get 21 points again? After being used to utter ineptitude for the past four weeks, I have to say seeing anything in the twenties was shocking to me. I credit Mike Martz for calling a simple gameplan that allowed McCown to find his rhythm slowly and without seven-step drops. In a game without much to praise, Kahlil Bell shined thanks to an offensive line that blocked extraordinarily well. I won’t say Bell was outstanding though, as he did fumble twice. Lucky for him the second of those fumbles came at the goal line, where Edwin Williams was alert enough to snag it for Chicago’s first touchdown. A garbage pass to Kellen Davis late accounted for our only other TD. Luckily Robbie Gould made it a slightly more respectable score by hitting three of his four field goals.
McCown was unspectacular in his first start, but clearly a better choice than Caleb Hanie. McCown threw one poor interception straight to a rushing Clay Matthews, but his other pick tipped off the hands of Earl Bennett into the arms of Charlie Peprah. It wasn’t an awful performance by any means.
After benching Tim Jennings for his apparent screw-ups last week, Zack Bowman came out and got absolutely lit up on SEVERAL occasions. Two goal line slants and one back-shoulder throw fooled Bowman for three of the Packers’ scores. What astounded me is how easy the slant patterns (Nelson and Jones) came for Rodgers and company. They love that play at the goal line and it seemed as if the Bears had NO idea. That, idiotic penalties and the Jordy Nelson 55-yard score made up the list of mistakes the secondary made tonight. And where was the defensive line to make up for their deficiencies? Not taking advantage of a banged-up offensive line, apparently. Disappointing to be sure.
Finally, STOP with the “Josh should have been our quarterback all long” crap. We didn’t have him. No one was saying anything negative about Caleb after that NFC title game. In fact, there were SO many of you that were spouting “we’ll be better off with Hanie than we were with Cutler” hog-wash that how could the Bears have done anything different? Josh perhaps got in a week late, but I’m not mad about this. It’s Josh McCown. It’s not the second coming of Tom Brady. He managed the game relatively well, but still made a key error.Other Notes of Note:
-I’m not sure why everyone was up in arms about the McCown dunk on the two-point conversion when the Bears were still down by 17. Normally I’d be on the side of “act like you’ve been there before,” (one of my favorite ideologies) but its Josh FREAKING McCown. Without looking up his rushing statistics (which seems like a waste of my Christmas night), I’m going to venture that McCown hasn’t been there before and probably won’t be again. Therefore, he can celebrate.
-Not dressing Nathan Enderle is pretty telling about where the coaching staff thinks he is. Though they’re wrong about most of their personnel, so maybe that’s a good thing?
I’m already over this loss and you should be too. We were out of the playoffs weeks ago. Now it’s just time to finish this season with a whimper and move on. Who’s with me?
Bear Down and Happy Jay Cutler Day!
…And Merry F###ing Christmas!