Looking Back: Packers During The Second Half

CHICAGO IL - JANUARY 23: Sam Shields #37 of the Green Bay Packers intercepts the game's final pass and runs for 32-yards to seal the 21-14 victory for the Packers against the Chicago Bears in the NFC Championship Game at Soldier Field on January 23 2011 in Chicago Illinois. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

This isn't something I'm looking forward to. The Green Bay Packers had some success in the third quarter on offense (apart from that huge interception at the goal line). And their defense gave the Bears nothing in the third quarter. But you remember what happened in the fourth quarter. A near collapse that was averted only after the Packers defense forced two critical interceptions.

Second Half Total Offensive Plays Total Yards Points Scored TOP
Packers 29 104 7 16:41
Bears 39 198 14 13:19

Third Quarter

QB Jay Cutler tries to come back from his injured knee, but gives up after one pass. The Packers answer with a great drive, two more 20+ yard passes to WR Greg Jennings and WR Jordy Nelson, but it ends down on the goal line when QB Aaron Rodgers doesn't see LB Brian Urlacher, who easily intercepts the ball. He could have run it back for a touchdown, but Rodgers tripped him up mid-field. Other than that first drive, the Packers offense begins to stall as they can't get off their side of the field. After the failed Cutler possession, and two disastrous possession by backup QB Todd Collins, the Bears bring in 3rd string QB Caleb Hanie

Fourth Quarter

For some reason the Bears running game was revitalized along with their passing game when Hanie entered the game. They ran the ball six times on Hanie's first possession, compared to only two pass attempts. His pass to WR Johnny Knox towards the sidelines, and away from CB Tramon Williams, was a great throw for 32 yards. It sets up a short touchdown run by RB Chester Taylor.

The Packers respond with an awful drive that only moves them downfield because of two penalties (including the personal foul by DE Julius Peppers for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Rodgers.). They eventually punt after they struggle again in short yardage on 3rd down. The Bears next drive is a three-and-out, and it looks like Hanie's magic is all gone. The Packers punt again in Bears territory after another failed 3rd down attempt for short yardage.

But the defense responds. Three plays later, the Packers call a zone blitz, which Hanie doesn't see, and he doesn't see NT B.J. Raji either, who had dropped in pass coverage on the blitz. Hanie shows he's not ready to read an opponent's scheme, and Raji gets a touchdown run that's sure to be one of his career highlights forever.

A lousy kickoff gives the Bears great starting field position, and they move down the field again. Hanie connects on a touchdown pass to WR Earl Bennett after both CB Charles Woodson and FS Nick Collins gave up on the tackle, assuming the other's got it. WIth just under five minutes left, the Packers put together one of their worst drives of the season with a clock killing possession that fails in even that regard as RB James Starks run out of bounds to stop the clock on one play. 

It looks like Hanie might challenge the Packers with a game-tying touchdown drive. He takes them 40 yards, until the Packers decide to drop back in coverage (and make Hanie read coverages) instead of going for the blitz and the sack. That leaves CB Sam Shields in position to jump a route, and grab the game ending interception.

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