Upon Further Review: Packers Week 9

November, 5, 2013
11/05/13
12:00
PM ET
A review of four hot issues from the Green Bay Packers' 27-20 loss to the Chicago Bears on Monday night:

[+] EnlargeSeneca Wallace
AP Photo/Mike RoemerSeneca Wallace mostly struggled after taking over for injured Packers QB Aaron Rodgers on Monday.
Wallace’s woes: Backup quarterback Seneca Wallace has not won a game as a starter since Oct. 3, 2010, when he led the Cleveland Browns to a win over the Cincinnati Bengals. And it showed. He was rusty during his three-and-a-half-quarter relief appearance after Aaron Rodgers left the game after getting sacked on the game’s opening series. It showed up the most on third down, when Wallace was forced to make plays. The Packers were just 1-of-9 on third downs, including 1-of-8 with Wallace in the game. He missed a key throw on third-and-goal from the 5 to tight end Andrew Quarless in the third quarter. “Seneca, he needs to perform better, and he’ll definitely do that with a week of practice,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said after the game. “We’re on a short week.”

Running game not enough: Usually, when the Packers go heavy on the run, they win. But not even 199 yards rushing, including a career-best 150 from rookie Eddie Lacy, was enough. The Packers ran the ball on designed rushes 50.9 percent of the time (28 of 55 plays) against the Bears. According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Packers had a 33-2 record since 2008, the year Rodgers took over as the starter, when calling designed rushes at least 40 percent of the time. Lacy had 97 yards after contact, the most by any running back in a game this season, and had 110 of his rushing yards between the tackles, the most by a Packers running back since Week 5 of the 2010 season. In all, the Packers gained 156 of their rushing yards between the tackles, the most the Bears have allowed since Week 11 of 2008 (157, also against the Packers), according to ESPN Stats & Information. “We knew we could go out there and run the ball,” Packers left guard Josh Sitton said. “That was our game plan coming in. You know, we wanted to pound them on the ground and run play-action. We were able to do that throughout the whole game, we just couldn’t convert on third down a lot.”

Missed tackles: While missed tackles were a problem, Monday’s game wasn’t the Packers’ worst tackling performance of the season. According to ProFootballFocus.com, the Packers missed nine tackles against the Bears. A week earlier against the Minnesota Vikings, they missed a season-high 12 tackles. They also had an 11-missed-tackle game in Week 1 against the 49ers. Against the Bears, perhaps the bigger problem was not getting to the ball carrier soon enough. Running back Matt Forte ran for 80 of his 125 yards before contact, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The Bears’ 113 yards before contact were the most the Packers have allowed this season. “They did pretty much what they wanted on our defense,” defensive tackle Ryan Pickett said. “We didn’t have a stellar performance at all.”

Special teams comes through: Half of the Packers' points came as the result of big plays on special teams. Jamari Lattimore's blocked punt in the first quarter led to James Starks' 32-yard touchdown run. In the third quarter, Lattimore recovered Mason Crosby’s surprise onside kick, which led to a 23-yard field goal. “I thought the special teams played well,” McCarthy said. “We recovered the surprise onside kick and then did a pretty good job with [Chicago return man] Devin Hester.”

Rob Demovsky

ESPN Green Bay Packers reporter

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