Packers 21, Bears 14: Instant reaction
Aaron Rodgers and the Packers are one step closer to a real championship belt. After Rodgers' brilliant opening drive (reminiscent of Ivan Drago vs. Apollo Creed, Round 1) and Jay Cutler's ineptitude, it seemed the NCF Championship Game would be a blowout. Major kudos to the Bears defense for adjusting and forcing Rodgers off-balance for most of the game. Rodgers' automatic pass into elite-hood will have to wait at least two weeks -- when he hits Dallas.
After Cutler went down with a "knee injury" -- and Todd Collins again proved he's unworthy of an NFL paycheck -- Caleb Hanie wowed us all with a gutsy performance that fell just short. I guess there's something to be said for the loose guy with no pressure, who's not feeling the same depths of pending depression.
But let's get to the real story of this game: Cutler and his questionable knee injury, where he (seemingly) took himself out after the first series of the third quarter. Honestly, he would have to have at least an ACL tear for that to be an acceptable move! (And, by the way, quarterbacks like Philip Rivers have actually played with a torn ACL). It's a little hard to believe it was that severe, considering Cutler was seen "post-injury" riding the bike and standing on the sidelines. (I'm not a doctor but I can't imagine anyone who prescribes to the Hippocratic Oath advising anybody to stand after a knee injury.) Cutler was immediately called out by the NFL community, perhaps most strongly by former Bucs LB Derrick Brooks.
Let's face it: Cutler's a jerk. He has no friends on the team except for Greg Olsen -- and they all seemed to rally behind the non-Cutler guy at the helm. If Cutler doesn't legitimately need surgery, the Bears had better pretend like he does. Otherwise, I don't see how he survives on the streets of Chicago in the future.
It was an ugly game. Kudos to the Packers for surviving and hoisting the Halas Trophy in Soldier Field.