First Schofield Report of the New Year! Feedback appreciated.
Playing your starters: great move, considering you've locked up the division title and the #2 seed in the NFC playoffs. Had Cutler torn his ACL in this game, the Chicago media would be destroying Lovie Smith.
The Packers finish the regular season at 10-6 after a 10-3 win over the rival Bears.
Bears 20, Packers 17: Poor play by the Packers allows the Bears to stay in the game, and the Bears win a game the Packers would love to have back.
Packers 28, Detroit 26: Packers do just enough to win, but this game tastes bad afterwards.
Redskins 16, Packers 13: Rodgers knocked out in OT, another game the Packers would love to have back.
Dolphins 23, Packers 20: Packers can't close out Dolphins in regulation and lose heartbreaker at home.
Packers 28, Vikings 24: Packers finally close out an opponent, with no small amount of help from a certain QB 4's interceptions.
Packers 45, Cowboys 7: Wade Phillips gets axed after a horrible performance.
Packers 31, Vikings 3: Packers thwart unfounded revenge AND sweep the Vikings for the first time since 2007.
Falcons 20, Packers 17: ST can't stop big kick return, and defense can't stop Falcons from marching into FG range for the game-winner after an epic drive of their own.
Lions 7, Packers 3: Poor offensive effort leads to a Detroit win, their first of 4 consecutive wins to close out the season.
Packers 45, Giants 17: Packers take control of their own destiny with blowout of the Giants.
Packers 10, Bears 3: Packers secure 6th seed in NFC playoffs.
Passing; Aaron Rodgers didn't have a perfect game, and misfired on a few throws, but he completed 19 passes on 28 attempts for 229 yards with a touchdown...and a horrible interception. In addition, he was sacked twice and seemed to be running for his life much of the first half.
Grade: B+. Good work by Rodgers against the Bears' secondary for most of the day got the Packers going late in the game when they needed it, but that interception...was just bad. Jennings appeared to give up on the route, Charles Tillman made a difficult, questionable pick...and the Bears got absolutely amazing field position out of it thanks to bad tackling and downfield blocking. Still, Rodgers managed a 67.9% completion rate against a very good defense despite not having his main tight end. Not great, but not bad at all.
Rushing: Oh goodness, was this bad. Starks managed 4.0 YPC on 5 carries, for 20 yards total, but Aaron Rodgers was our leading rusher, with 7 carries for 21 yards. That's...not good at all when you want to keep the QB upright when you have control of your own destiny. Brandon Jackson's 7 carries for 19 yards was just maddening. And Kuhn had his worst game of the year, with 0 yards on 4 carries.
Grade: D. Your QB as your leading rusher is not a good thing at all, unless he has a great YPC (3.0 is not great). Rodgers was well-contained, and Starks wasn't used enough in my opinion. Jackson is not a great every-down back, which is what McCarthy seems determined to use him as.
Receiving: This was a good area. Greg Jennings definitely had a role in Tillman's pick, along with a couple drops, but overall, he had 4 receptions for 97 yards (24.3 YPC) along with a huge reception that set up a touchdown. Donald Driver caught 5 passes, and Donald Lee's 1 yard touchdown would go on to win the game. James Jones had a game to forget (1 reception for 8 yards) but Rodgers did an excellent job distributing the football to his receivers (finding 9 different players).
Grade: A-. The INT was pretty bad, but other than that, the Packers did a great job getting open for Aaron Rodgers to find them. Still, that goal-line play was...unimpressive and the first series was practically doomed to a FG.
Pass Blocking: Good overall after a poor start. Rodgers was running for his life for much of the first half, though, but after that, the Packers managed to contain whoever the Bears rushed.
Grade: B. A good second half saved these guys after a poor start. Story of our season?
Run Blocking: Not good. The Bears have a great run defense, but you need better blocking than what the Packers put together if you're going to get anything out of your running game. There's a relationship between rushing and run blocking that goes something like this
Good run game (W) = good run blocking (x) * good running from the backs (y)
We haven't really gotten good run blocking AND good running in the same game this year, IMO.
Grading the Offense as a Whole: B. There were definitely areas to improve on for this weekend against the Eagles, but overall, the team executed when it absolutely had to and got a much, MUCH-needed W.
Pass Rush: EXCELLENT. Cutler never looked comfortable and was sacked 6 times, inluding a pair of sacks by Erik Walden and one by HOWARD GREEN, of all people. Even when the Packers rushed three, they managed to make Cutler miserable in the pocket.
Grade: A+. When Howard Green gets a sack, you're having a great day rushing the passer.
Run Stopping: Definitely an area to improve on, but with Jenkins out things weren't exactly set for a great day stopping the run. The Packers held Matt Forte under 100 yards (he had 91) but he averaged 6.1 YPC. In light of how poorly Cutler was doing passing the ball and how well Forte was rushing the ball, it's rather unusual that Chicago didn't start running the ball a little more than they did. Oh well.
Grade: C. 6.1 YPC by the opposing feature back: DO NOT WANT. Packers will have to do much, much better against LeSean McCoy and the Eagles.
Pass Coverage: Excellent. 8 combined receptions by Bears receivers on the day left Cutler looking over the middle, and the Packers managed to contain Greg Olsen and Forte out of the backfield. Charlie Peprah's endzone INT was a thing of beauty that saved the Packers after the Tim Jennings INT. Overall, a very good performance, but there were some lapses, particularly on 3rd downs, where the Bears were able to exploit the middle of the field. Still, the secondary did its job and intercepted Cutler twice. Collins's INT sealed the deal.
Grade: A. Tramon Williams and Charles Woodson had good games once again, and Peprah had the endzone INT. I can't mention that enough. Collins's interception to end Chicago was much like Blake Sorensen's in Wisconsin-Ohio State earlier this year.
Grading the Defense as a Whole: A. Holding the Bears to 3 points, and 5-16 on 3rd downs? That was nice. The defense forced 8 Chicago punts, and held the Bears scoreless in the 2nd half.
End of the Day: The Packers stayed with the Bears, refusing to let Chicago take the game and keeping the Bears in check offensively. The 6th seed is ours.
Show me your moves!
Shout-outs: Charlie Peprah, who had a gorgeous read of Cutler for an INT, Erik Walden, who had 8 tackles and 2 sacks, Josh Sitton, for another solid game, and Tim Masthay, who was very, VERY good at getting the Bears almost no room to work with.
Next Week: 1/9/11 @ Philadelphia
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