Thursday, September 13, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Packers 23, Bears 10
By Kevin Seifert
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Some thoughts on Thursday night's events at Lambeau Field, a 23-10 Packers victory:
What it means: Led by their defense and special teams, of all things, the Green Bay Packers evened their record at 1-1 and picked up an important early NFC North win. The Chicago Bears' much-vaunted offense flopped in its first real test of the season, managing just 168 yards and 11 first downs.
TramonWatch: The Packers sacked Bears quarterback Jay Cutler seven times and intercepted him four times. Linebacker Clay Matthews got credit for 3.5 sacks to bring his season total to six after two games. But to me, no single player turned in a better performance than cornerback Tramon Williams. I'm no expert in cornerback play, but it would be hard to imagine a player at that position doing any better. Williams blanketed Bears receiver Brandon Marshall and intercepted Cutler twice. Bears fans might be upset that Cutler didn't look Marshall's way more often, but they should credit Williams for that. Marshall's only playmaking opportunity came in the third quarter after Williams slipped in coverage, but he dropped Cutler's pass in the corner of the end zone.
Special specials: The Packers' only touchdown through the first three quarters was Tim Masthay's 27-yard shovel pass to tight end Tom Crabtree on a fake field goal in the second quarter. That's the kind of play a coach calls when he knows his offense isn't going to score a ton of points, and the timing was perfect for the Packers. The Bears' Charles Tillman chased place-kicker Mason Crosby for a few steps, opening space for Crabtree to start downfield. Meanwhile, Crosby later hit a 54-yard field goal after earlier converting from 48.
Injury report: Bears tailback Matt Forte did not return after suffering a right ankle injury on the opening possession of the third quarter. The injury appeared to occur at the end of a 14-yard third-down reception. Forte was tackled by Packers cornerback Charles Woodson on the play. Michael Bush (54 yards) and Armando Allen took the Bears the rest of the way.
Slow it down: The Packers' game plan smartly reflected the Bears' recent ability to limit their downfield passing game. They handed the ball to tailback Cedric Benson on their first two offensive plays, and Benson finished the game with 81 yards on 20 carries. It was the right approach for this team against this opponent at this time.
What's next: The Bears will host the St. Louis Rams on Sept. 23 at Soldier Field. The Packers will have an extra day of rest and then travel to the Seattle Seahawks for "Monday Night Football" on Sept. 24.