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The knock on Aaron Rodgers has been his inability to win a game in the waning moments. I think we can put a check mark in the box that says he can get it done in the clutch.
Here’s the situation. The Packers had just given up a field goal to fall behind the Bears 15-13. Facing third-and-one with the ball at midfield with 1:28 to go in the game, the Packers go for the jugular. In a manner inconsistent with the play calling of last season, Green Bay went play action. The result was a 50-yard touchdown completion from Aaron Rodgers to Greg Jennings.
The training wheels are off. Hopefully for good.
The game was not over yet. With the score of 21-15 the Bears had 1:11 to drive 62 yards for the game tying touchdown. This is the reason they traded for Cutler, right? The man with the million dollar arm would lead them to victory, right? One Al Harris interception later and it was time for my favorite play, the victory formation.
When commenting on the defensive performance after the game, coordinator Dom Capers said, "We did what we felt we needed to do to change things up. We wanted to be as disruptive as we could in terms of timing. You want to keep the quarterback out of rhythm, especially a guy like Jay Cutler. He hit us on a couple big plays. We have plenty of things we need to get cleaned up, but I was proud of the way our guys competed and we continued to take the ball away. That's normally the difference in the game."
In 2008, the Packers would have found a way to lose. Last season, they lost eight games after either leading or trailing in the fourth quarter by less than one score.
From the Grill
- If the offensive play call above is any indication, McCarthy has opened the playbook and is trusting his young QB to get it done.
- McCarthy’s c'est la vie attitude towards penalties will be the downfall of his teams. The Packers must fix the stupid penalties.
- Mark Tauscher’s phone line should be abuzz today. Allan Barbre was absolutely owned by the aging and fading Adewale Ogunleye. After the game, McCarthy said, "I don't want to be here critical, but Allen Barbre had some tough moments. We had, I think it was three sacks off seven-man protection and that's not going to cut it. That's what we'll look at the film tomorrow and we'll correct it as an offense." Be critical coach.
- The Green Bay defensive front seven was highly effective. Cullen Jenkins and the defensive line (without BJ Raji) penetrated the Bears backfield all night. They forced the outside runs deep. The deepest linebacking corps in the league swarmed to the ball and gang tackled.
- The Dom Capers blitz packages were extremely disruptive.
- I love what I see from the new defense. The Packers have become aggressive. Forcing the plays rather than waiting for the opposing offense to dictate what they will do.
- The fact that the Bears struggled with injuries and the Packers still had to rely on a last second touchdown pass to pull out the victory concerns me. The offensive line was entirely too pliable.
- Jay Cutler looked confused and the career-high 4 interceptions show it.
- Brandon Chillar has earned a spot on the starting defense. The Packers have to find a way to put him on the field.
- I picked the Bears to finish 9-7. With the injuries they received in the game, they could be worse. Much worse.
- Safety Atari Bigby has a knee sprain.
- Mark Oct. 5 at 7:30 CST on your calendars