Rapid Reaction: Packers 27, Bears 17
September, 25, 2011
By Michael C. Wright | ESPNChicago.com
AP Photo/Charles Rex ArbogastJermichael Finley caught a career-high three touchdown passes from Aaron Rodgers on Sunday.CHICAGO -- A few thoughts on the Chicago Bears' 27-17 loss on Sunday to the Green Bay Packers:
What it means: The Bears answered questions about where they truly stand in the NFC North. Although the truth may hurt, the club sits where it deserves to be: third place in the division behind the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions. With numerous issues on the offense (play calling, offensive line injuries, inability to run, subpar receiver play), and injuries at key spots on defense, the Bears no longer resemble the 2010 team that advanced to the NFC Championship Game.
The positive the Bears can take from Sunday's performance is the fact it's only Week 3, which means there's plenty of time to improve and rebound. The club also remained injury free.
Forte shut down: It's likely the Bears anticipated Green Bay would game plan on defense to shut down Matt Forte and force Jay Cutler and the receivers to beat the Packers.
It's also likely the Bears never anticipated the Packers executing the game plan so well.
The Packers limited Forte to just 2 yards on nine rushing attempts, and held the running back to seven catches for 80 yards. Coming into Sunday, the running back had been responsible for 52 percent of the team's offensive yardage and ranked second in the NFL in yards from scrimmage.
For the third straight game, Forte led the team in receptions.
Success against Rodgers ends: Chicago's run of success against Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers came to an end at Soldier Field on Sunday, where the veteran lit up the Bears for three touchdowns on the way to another game in which he produced a passer rating of better than 100.
Coming into Sunday's contest, Rodgers had completed close to 67 percent of his passes in seven career games against the Bears, but tossed just seven touchdowns to five interceptions, in addition to suffering 10 sacks.
Rodgers completed 28 of 38 for 297 yards and a passer rating of 111.4
Long ball blues: According to ESPN Stats & Info, Bears quarterback Jay Cutler had completed 16 of 49 on throws of 15 yards or longer against the Packers, including the playoffs, after Morgan Burnett picked off two long passes intended for Roy Williams. On those throws of 15 yards or longer, Cutler had thrown nine interceptions, which ranked as the most INTs by any player against a single opponent.
Then again: After throwing the INT, Cutler completed 7 of 12 for 155 yards and a touchdown to Dane Sanzenbacher in the second quarter. Interestingly, four of those seven completions gained 20 yards or more, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
But Cutler's performance dipped again in the second half. Cutler missed each of his first five passes to start the third quarter, as the team finished with three consecutive three-and-out drives.
Knox promoted: It appears receiver Johnny Knox earned back his starting job, after losing it during training camp to new acquisition Roy Williams. Knox came out with the starting offense against the Packers, and caught three of the four passes thrown his way in the first half for 77 yards.
Williams, meanwhile, was unable to come up with any of the four passes thrown his direction, including what should have been a touchdown in the second quarter that the receiver dropped.
Safeties torched: The Bears entered Sunday's game without starting safeties Chris Harris (hamstring) and Major Wright (concussion), and the Packers made sure to take advantage.
Exploiting mismatches against replacement safeties Brandon Meriweather and Craig Steltz, Rodgers completed three passes to tight end Jermichael Finley for 85 yards and three touchdowns. With 4:09 left to play, the Packers had targeted Greg Jennings 10 times with the receiver coming down with 9 balls for 119 yards.
What's next: The Bears host the Carolina Panthers -- coming off their first win of the season -- Sunday at Soldier Field.