Countdown to the NFC Championship: 6 DAYS (Part 1)
Our first two parts of coverage regarding the game this upcoming Sunday afternoon will be a recap of the previous two meetings this season between our Bears and the Green Bay Packers (Just as a reminder, both teams held serve on their home fields for a season split).
In Week 3, the Packers traveled to Soldier Field for a Monday Night tilt with the Bears. The Bears came out on top, 20-17; with the score tied in the 4th quarter, Brian Urlacher stripped Packers’ WR James Jones of the ball from behind, and Tim Jennings recovered the ball—giving the Bears great field position to kick the game-winning FG. Here is the box score from the game, via ESPN. A couple observations from that game:
1) Julius Peppers finished the game with 0 sacks, but completely dominated the Packers’ offensive line. The Packers committed 18 PENALTIES—and most of those were either holding or illegal procedure.
2) Devin Hester FINALLY got back into “Devin Hester Return Mode” with his 62-yard punt return for a TD in the 3rd quarter. Also, Danieal Manning added a 44-yard kickoff return.
3) Our offensive line struggled mightily. In what probably should have been a scary forewarning to what would happen one week later in New York against the Giants, Our line not only allowed 3 sacks and 6 hits on QB Jay Cutler, they helped pave the way for—get ready—14 rushed for 38 yards (a 2.7 average) for our RBs, Matt Forte and Chester Taylor. In fact, QB Jay Cutler was our leading rusher with 37 yards on 3 scrambles.
4) TE Jeremichael Finley gave the Bears’ defense fits. For a team that prides itself on the LBs’ ability to clog up zones inside the hashmarks, Finely gouged us for 9 catches for 115 yards. He was only targeted 9 times—so every time they threw the ball his way, they were successful. We couldn’t even bat one down or something.
All in all, Cutler wasn’t bad (16 for 27, 221 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT); but the running game was non-existent, and the Bears used an old formula to pull this game out—outstanding defense + special teams.