Monday, November 4, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Chicago Bears
By Michael C. Wright
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- A few thoughts on the Chicago Bears' 27-20 win over the Green Bay Packers on Monday night at Lambeau Field:
What it means: Playing without starting quarterback Jay Cutler, the Bears forced a three-way tie atop the NFC North with the win over the Green Bay Packers. Because they lost at Detroit on Sept. 29, the Bears technically sit at second place, despite owning the same 5-3 record. The victory sets up a showdown against the Lions on Sunday for sole possession of first place in the NFC North.
Stock up: Matt Forte put together his first 100-yard outing of the season, rushing for 125 yards (with 179 yards from scrimmage). Forte has rushed 216 yards over Chicago's past two games for a 5.4-yard average. He made several key runs down the stretch, and had the presence of mind to stay inbounds at the end of the runs to keep the clock moving.
McClellin sack makes difference: Second-year defensive end Shea McClellin produced his first career three-sack game against the Packers, but it was his first sack of the night that undoubtedly affected the outcome. McClellin collected his first full sack of the season (he posted a half sack in Week 1) at the end of Green Bay's first possession, and the play knocked Aaron Rodgers out of the game with an injured shoulder.
McClellin dropped Rodgers for a 3-yard loss on third-and-8 from the Chicago 9, and as the quarterback tumbled to the turf, the defensive end and nickel corner Isaiah Frey crashed down on him. Rodgers immediately went into the locker room, and team officials declared him out.
Seneca Wallace filled in and compiled a passer rating of 37 in the first half.
Confidence in McCown warranted: Bears coach Marc Trestman said all last week he wouldn't scale back the offense for backup quarterback Josh McCown, and he certainly didn't. The veteran quarterback operated the full scope of the scheme, and did it at a high level, completing 22 of 41 passes for 272 yards, two touchdowns and, most importantly, no turnovers.
McCown displayed unshakable poise in the pocket -- especially on the 23-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Marshall in the first quarter when it appeared he was about to suffer a sack -- and made smart decisions with the football.
The Bears expect Jay Cutler back on Sunday against the Lions, but they'd definitely be in good hands if they had to go forward with McCown as the starter.
What's next: The Bears will take Tuesday off before beginning preparations for Sunday's clash with the Detroit Lions at Soldier Field.