- Michael C. Wright, ESPN Staff Writer
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Offensive line: It has been a long time since Chicago’s offensive line protected this well against the Packers, and the group’s performance provides a glimpse of just how far the Bears have come. Not only did the Bears limit Green Bay’s defense to one sack, the line provided enough push in the ground game to allow the Bears to chew up eight minutes, 58 seconds on an 18-play drive in the fourth quarter with the club clinging to a four-point advantage.
Defensive line: Led by Shea McClellin, who churned out a career-high three sacks, Chicago’s front four finally generated a strong enough pass rush to produce a season-high five sacks. Along the way, the Bears knocked Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers out of the game, and there’s no question that played a significant role in the team’s success. Julius Peppers finally emerged as a disruptive force and tallied a sack and an interception in addition to batting down two balls. It would be easy to say the group pass rushed so well because of injuries to Green Bay’s offensive line. But let’s not lose sight of Chicago’s injury situation along the front four.
Then again: The defensive line bears some responsibility for the team’s horrid showing against the run. That needs to get fixed ASAP. It wasn’t as if Green Bay’s offensive line dominated the Bears up front, either. The gaping holes the Packers ran through on many occasions came as a result of improper run fits from the defensive line and linebackers. In addition, the safeties either took bad angles or tackled poorly, which resulted in extra yardage from the Packers after contact. Eddie Lacy averaged 6.8 yards per carry and gained 150 yards for Green Bay. That’s too much yardage allowed for the Bears to be consistently successful.
What to do with Cutler: Jay Cutler is expected to play Sunday when the Bears host the Detroit Lions in a showdown for sole possession of first place in the NFC North. But if there’s any question as to whether Cutler would be susceptible to reinjuring his torn groin muscle, the Bears shouldn’t hesitate to sit him another week and give Josh McCown another start. In his past two outings, McCown has proven plenty capable of engineering Chicago’s offense at a high level, generating passer ratings of 90.7 and 119.6 with three touchdowns and no interceptions.