Game Review: At Bears – 2018 Week 15

I love this rivalry, and this was a fitting next chapter.

The Bears ended their near decade-long playoff drought by beating their biggest rivals at home for the first time in 8 years, knocking out of the playoffs the team that embarassed them to start the season.

It wasn’t a perfect game by the Bears by any means, barely serviceable, but they were better than their uninspired, slapd!ck opponents, for sure.

Patchwork D
The Packers game into this game missing their entire starting defense line, both starting cornerbacks, and half of their starting linebackers and safeties from the beginning of the year. I knew this would be a tough assignment, but they actually held their own and certainly can’t be blamed for this loss.

B!tchwork O

On offense, there were just missing a couple linemen, meaning they had a chance.

McCray was like their 5th option at RG and Spriggs was… well, Spriggs. Considering they were facing what I consider to be the best defense in the league, I don’t think they fared too bad.

What sucked was the fact that they failed, again and again, to take advantage of any momentum, refusing to take a quick-rhythm approach except for one drive… but it ended in a touchdown so they stopped.

Oh, and I’ve held my tongue and given the benefit of the doubt on Jimmy Graham all year, but now I just have to say: he sucks.

I didn’t like it when they signed him and I couldn’t have imagined it being this bad.

Re-sign Jared Cook for fux-ache.

Missed Chances
More than anything, this game was defined by the Packers failing to take advantage of the nearly endless stream of chances they had to take this game over.

Even after dropping a hail mary to end the half (never mind the refs robbing them of a field goal attempt), the Packers had plenty of chances in the second half.

The Packers stopped a (totally unnecessary) fake punt, marched down and punched it in with a two point conversion to tie it up.

This should have given the team momentum and enegry.

It didn’t

They just let the Bears march down to the twenty, where they tried a stupid (and also unnecessary ) gimmick play and fumbled. The Packers recovered.

Now, with all the momentum in the world, did they put together another bang-bang drive of quick hitters to move the chains like they did last drive?

Nope.

They tried three deep passes, compelteing zeo and gave the ball right back to the Bears… tacking on a special teams penalty because they’re the Packers.

In the two drives following what should have been a momentum-turning fumble recovery, the Packers had a three-and-out for negative two-yards followed by a three-and-out for negative-five yards.

That’s it – a combined negative-seven yards after the could have taken the game over.

The Bears scored after both drives and when the Packers finally marched down to cut the lead, Jimmy Graham popped another ball up for a record-streak-ending interception.

And of course, with a chance left for an onside kick, you just knew the special teams group wasn’t going to come up with – but they managed to squeeze one more penalty in.

So many chances.

All lost.

Question of the Week
In our preview column, we asked:

How many points will the put up against the Bears (who rank 3rd in the league allowing only 19 points per game)?

The correct answer was, sadly, 17 and @WhinerTroll got it dead on. Sigh.

Other Notes

  • I know that after the fumble, Rodgers wanted to go right for the dagger, but… don’t.
  • Cobb’s dropped slant was huge – that’s the only reason he’s here… I’m not sure he’s back.
  • Philbin deferred when he won the toss then ran from inside his own 5 twice… remind you of anyone? He’s got two weeks left.
  • I’m ok with Jaire taking a risk and missing early, coming into a game with such a depleted defense. I just love watching him play.
  • I’m shocked the Packers managed to get a punt on their first defensive series… of course special teams would feature players bumping into each other and almost fumbling on the attempted return.
  • They flashed a stat that said the Packers allowed the most sacks in the league on third down and I was extremely unsurprised.
  • Josh Jones looked like he came to play with energy. I like his intesity. Hopefully he can keep his assignments.
  • Breeland keeps making plays – they need to keep him.
  • Jaire Alexander’s pass interference in the 4th seemed like the kind of call the Packers never get – it wan’t atrocious, just the kind of inconsistency that has become defined a s”good” officiating lately
  • As long as we’re whining about the refs: I like before the half how Rodhes signas fot a timeout with 24 seconds left and the ref lets it run down to 17 so he can look like hes doing them a favor by putting it back to 20. Their last play started with 5 seconds left – if it was 8 seconds, they had time for another play. If they did a quick out and kicked a field goal, the ending could have been a lot different.
  • Kumerow sighting!
  • Backup defensive line played absolutely out of its mind
  • I didn’t want Jimmy Graham and thought they couldn’t cut him with that contract, but they might have to after this year… if not just right now. Horrible signing.

Self-Grading
A look at how we did in the predictions we made in the pregame column.

The Packers running game fizzles Yeah and it looked like that even before Jones got hurt
Cobb comes up big out of the slot in the void left by injured Bears CB Bryce Callahan I was expecting bigger than 30 yards
Rodgers determines the outcome of the game Sadly, he did.

Jaire Alexander gets a pick He almost had it on the first series
Kyler Fackrell gets another sack No, he’s apparently back to being who we thought he was
The Packers defense will get fooled by some gimmick play  (Pettine’s defense is only in year 1 and there are a lot of replacement parts; the Bears seem infatuated with these things) They probably would have been if the Bears wouldn’t have fumbled.

Special Teams buffonery robs the team of a precious chance: A returner collided with a blocker on their first return, they shanked their first punt, never seemed to keep a kick returner inside the 25 (but kept kicking short of the goal line), then, when they need to pin the Beras back at the end to have a chance at a win, they let Cohen return a punt almost for a touchdown, fumbled a punt return, penalty on the onside attempt… par for the course.

Final Score: Packers 10, Bears 13 The Packers actually gave up more than that many total points.

Well, that does it for playoff hopes. Now we get to watch two absolutely useless games before we can officially finish this nightmare.

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