Pack It Up: Finley For Three!

Posted: September 26, 2011 by Kodi in NFL, Pack It Up


#YOTTO (Year Of The TakeOver) #ItsHappening #Again

Everyone knew it was going to happen, they  just kept asking when?

If the Packers Defense is what they need to worry about, they need not worry

Green Bay has found a balanced attack on Offense which doesn’t bode well for their opponents

The Green Bay Packers traveled to Soldier Field on the banks of Lake Michigan to participate in the longest Football rivalry against the Chicago Bears. This is a match-up that goes back over 90 years with the Bears holding the winning margin with a 92-84-6 record against the Packers. When you look at the last 38 games, including Sunday’s, dating back to November of 1992 the Packers have made a tremendous comeback in the series. The Packers have won 27 games and lost just 11 but most importantly they haven’t lost back-to-back games to the Bears since 2007.

This is the first time that Chicago and Green Bay will face off since the 2010 NFC Championship game that every Bears fan would like to forget. Bears QB Jay Cutler would love to completely forget about that game as he was 6-14 with 80 passing yards and 1 INT before pulling himself with a knee injury. Cutler’s ability to lead and his heart were questioned heavily by many after that pathetic showing during the young QBs chance to play his way to SBXLV.

Cutler has beaten the Packers just once in his career and has thrown for just over 1100 yards, 5 TDs and 9 INTs in 5 match-ups before Sunday. Cutler didn’t play well but he did have statistically have his best game against the defending Super Bowl Champs. Cutler was 21-37 for 302 yards, 2 TDs but had two bad INTs that he threw to Packers S Morgan Burnett who has had three huge games to open the 2011 season. Before his 6 tackles and 2 INTs against the Bear Burnett was the second leading Tackler and Forced a Fumble as well as intercepted Cam Newton in last weeks game.

This is huge for the Pack because Green Bay also lost S Nick Collins for the year to a neck injury. Burnett has stepped up in a big way and Charles Woodson agree’s “He came up big; he came up with some huge plays. He does a great job of keeping depth when he needs to. He’ll get a lot more [INTs] this year if he just does that” nothing like a vote of confidence from a future HoFer and Defensive Player of the Year. HC McCarthy is noticing it too “Morgan’s a playmaker back there. He did a nice job. I think he’ll definitely be a candidate, after I watch the film, for Defensive Player of the Week. He was Defensive Player of the Week in week 1, and I’m sure he’ll have a strong shot at it again”.

Another prospect for that award may be DL Jarius Wynn, given the opportunity to start after some injuries on the Defensive Line, who recorded 2 Sacks against Jay Cutler. The entire defense was solid and they made Jay Cutler look rattled and uncoordinated while also achieving a feat that hasn’t happened in over 50 years. The Packers held the Bears to just 13 rushing yards on 12 rushing attempts leaving them with a 1.1 yard per carry rushing average. Forte has never been the same caliber of player as he is week-to-week compared to when he plays the Pack. Coming into the game he had just over 360 yards in 6 games, just 159 receiving yards and only 2 TDs. On Sunday he had 9 carries for 2 yards and 7 catches for 80 yards.

The Packers offense however just kept firing on all cylinders and this weeks winners were Ryan Grant, Greg Jennings and Jermichael Finley. HC McCarthy has said all along that he was going to ride the hot hand in his RB committee, and during the first two games that was James Starks. Starks however did not have a good game against the Bears, rushing the ball 11 times for 5 yards and was targeted 4 times by Aaron Rodgers but pulled in 3 catches for a measly 9 yards. Starks was the Packers leading rusher coming into the game with 21 carries for 142 yards, a TD and 3 catches for 30 yards. Starks not only was unproductive he lost his first Fumble. It happened on the opening play after Green Bay took a 27-10 lead deep in their zone and the very next play Cutler hit TE Kellen Davis for a 30 yard TD.

Ryan Grant had lacked burst thus far this season after returning from a season ending ankle injury in 2010 but was a 1200+ yard RB in 2008 and 2009. Grant looked solid against the Bears and found some pretty big holes allowing him to rack up 92 yards in just 17 carries. Grant had just 15 carries and 65 yards in the previous two games. The Packers had 100+ rushing yards for the third straight game and seem to have found a complimentary running game to their prolific passing offense.

Their offensive line play has a lot to do with it and there was a huge scare early in the game when 2nd year RT Brian Bulaga went down with a knee injury. The Pack spent their first round Draft Pick on Derek Sherrod but he has been battling injuries himself. Marshall Newhouse stepped in and did a great job against a couple of great pass rushing Des in Julius Peppers and Izrael Idonije. HC McCarthy “watched him a little bit in the beginning. We really didn’t change the way we played. . . Really no concern from the coaching staff on the adjustments that were made between series. Marshall stepped up and gave us a chance to stay with our plan”. On Monday McCarthy reported to the press that Bulaga had suffered a bruised knee and was listed as day-to-day.

Greg Jennings absolutely torched the Bears Cover 3 defense on the opening drive of the game. He did so well that he forced Bears HC Lovie Smith to revert back to their normal Cover 2 defense. Jennings opened the game with a 13 yard catch, followed it up with a 12 yarder, then a 19, another 11, followed by a free shot thrown to him deep left that was Intercepted but called back due to Briggs Offsides and after that Rodgers went back to him for another 19 yarder before finding Jermichael Finley in the back of the end-zone for a TD. 7 of the first 9 Packers plays went to Jennings and he racked up 74 yards on the opening drive. He finished the game with 9 receptions and 119 yards and no TDs because Rodgers and Finley had something beautiful going on in Soldier Field on Sunday.

It may have been that the Bears two starting Safeties were injured or that big athletic TEs normally do well down the middle of a Cover 2 but no matter what it was, it was great for the Packers. Jermichael has been used early and often in all three Packers games, but in the first two it seemed as if he was lost among all the other passing weapons in Rodgers arsenal. He had 8 catches for 121 yards in the first couple of games but pulled in 7 balls for 85 yards and 3 TDs of 6,7,10  yards. Finley was hurt most of last year but before his season ending injury in Week 4 he posted 9 catches for 115 yards against the Bears in Week 3.

“I put in work in the off-season, and I guess it’s paying off right now. But it’s just the beginning. . . I know it’s play by play. I’m trying to win every play” Finley said after the game. His QB, Aaron Rodgers, agrees with him “[Finley’s] a great player. I think his best ball is still in front of him though. A couple of those plays he might no have been doing the right thing, but we made it work. He’s a big time player and incredible athleticism and the more he studies the more he is going to get the ball”.

Rodgers played an exceptional game once again finishing 28/38 for 297 yards and 3 TDs. He did throw a INT to Bears LB Brian Urlacher, Rodgers first INT of the season. Overall he made some great plays and extended others when he needed to, breaking out of the pocket and creating more time while still keeping his eyes downfield. When he was asked about how good this team can be he responded by saying “it’s exciting. We’re still not clicking on both sides of the ball and on special teams. I think offensively- the thing you’ve got to point to specially is we’ve had a lot better balance. We’ve thrown the ball effectively but complemented it with the running game. . . Defensively, I still think they’re trying to figure things out. They played very well today. . . but I think we have the potential to get better. . . And the standard we have set around Green Bay is excellence. So until we’re at that point, there’s going to be a lot of hard work during the weeks”.

This is Mr. Rodgers’ neighborhood and he said it folks, Titletown has the standard of excellence and this team won’t stop working hard until they reach that goal.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s