Rapid Reaction: Packers 23, Bears 10
September, 13, 2012
By Michael C. Wright | ESPNChicago.com
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler backed up his bravado from earlier in the week by putting together one of the worst statistical performances of his career Thursday night in a 23-10 loss to the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.
Completing less than 41 percent of his passes, Cutler threw four interceptions and a touchdown and suffered seven sacks on the way to finishing with the second-worse passer rating (28.2) of his career. Cutler didn’t complete a pass to the club’s top target Brandon Marshall until there was 7:20 left to play.
Cutler’s outing against the Packers wasn’t as bad as Dec. 20, 2009, when he finished with a 7.9 passer rating against the Baltimore Ravens after completing 20 of 27 for 94 yards and three interceptions.
Against the Packers, Cutler hit on 11 of 27 for 126 yards.
What the Bears can take from this loss is the fact the issues the club had before the start of the season such as the offensive line, and subpar play at receiver still exist.
So it’s up to the Bears to continue to work to fix them.
What it means: Although the Bears squandered an opportunity to put the defending NFC North champions in an early bind, this loss isn’t particularly devastating. At this point, there’s still a chance the entire division can go into Week 3 with 1-1 records. So it’s still early in the division race, and coming off a four-day turnaround, the Bears likely feel lucky to come out of this outing without any major injuries.
Same o-line: After putting together a solid performance in the season-opening win over the Indianapolis Colts, which played a good portion of the game without top pass rusher Dwight Freeney, the Bears offensive line reverted to 2011 form in allowing Cutler to suffer six sacks against a relentless rush led by Clay Matthews (3½ sacks).
By allowing the pressure and hits, the offensive line played a major role in Cutler never developing any type of rhythm with the receivers.
Anticipating pressure, Cutler also seemed uneasy in the pocket, which likely affected his ability to throw the ball accurately.
At the same time, Cutler might share in the blame considering he appeared to hold the ball too long on most of the sacks.
Crucial drop: Marshall made several difficult catches with defenders draped all over him in the opener. So it came as a surprise when Marshall dropped a slightly overthrown ball from Cutler in the end zone, which would have gone down as a touchdown.
The pass from Cutler came in the third quarter, and was just the first ball thrown Marshall’s way all game. Marshall didn’t make his first catch of the game until there was 7:20 left to play.
Upon acquiring Marshall, there was slight concern within the organization about the receiver’s penchant for dropping balls. After all, he finished second in the NFL in dropped passes in 2011 (14 according to Pro Football Focus), and entered Thursday night’s game with one drop.
That deficiency in Marshall’s game reared its head against the Packers, and it cost the Bears a TD.
Marshall caught 13 passes for 201 yards in two prior outings against the Packers.
Defensive line pressures Rodgers: Coming off a three-sack performance in the opener, the Bears dropped Rodgers four times through the first three quarters.
Julius Peppers led the team with two sacks, while Henry Melton chipped in one with Shea McClellin and Corey Wootton contributing a half sack apiece. All the pressure didn’t do much to stop Rodgers, who threw a 26-yard TD pass in the fourth quarter to Donald Driver.
What’s next: The Bears take some needed time off and return to the practice field on Monday in preparation for the club’s Sept. 23 meeting with the St. Louis Rams at Soldier Field.