I'm a Bears fan so I'd better get this one done at the beginning. Great job to Aaron Rodgers and the rest of the Packer's offense to start the game. Green Bay came in wanting to win that game and they earned their Superbowl spot. Especially a great job by their receivers. Rodgers was zipping passes to his receivers and they were catching and holding onto the ball. I add this second part because the Bears defenders were hitting them hard after catches. There were more than a few times that I was shocked that the ball hadn't come loose.
Also a great job by the Packer's punter, Tim Masthay, and the rest of the punting team. He never once gave Devin Hester an opportunity to return the ball well. I think Hester's longest was 11 yards. When he averages about 40, that's saying something.
Given the Bear's poor performance on offense, I probably am not giving enough credit to the Packer's D, but since they're something like number 5 in the league this year, they're probably doing something right.
Ok, now that that's done. Since I'm on the topic of the Packer's Defense. I think that the Green Bay's coaching staff isn't doing their job right if at some point number 90 doesn't get his (enormous) butt chewed out. He intercepted the ball on the 14 yard line (good for him so far). He starts booking it towards the end zone (again, not happy since I'm rooting for the other team, but good for him). He then starts victory dancing and holding the ball out in one arm for the last 8 yards...with one of the Bears (Caleb Hanie) booking towards him within 10 yards (This is the part where I have an issue and his coach should too). When you only have to run 14 yards to get to the end zone, and half of the opposing team is in the immediate area, and you are not someone designed for speed, you do your dance AFTER you score. As it was Hanie knocked the ball out of his hands a split second after he crossed the goal line. Let me stop and say that this has nothing to do with the fact that he plays for Green Bay. I can understand showboating to an extent once you score, especially for a defensive player, but showboating early when there's a good chance that it could cost you points is inexcusable. To finish my point on him, giving yourself a nickname, any nickname let alone a nickname that's a sad copy of a truly great player is just lame. Calling yourself the "freezer", come on that's just sad and rates you right up there with Chad Eight Five.
Onto the Jay Cutler topic since it seems to be all over the news right now. I'm a bit torn on where I stand. He came out of the game after the half and no one really saw him take a specific hit to knock him out of the game. The official word was he has a knee injury that he was trying to loosen up on the bike. After he was replaced by Todd Collins, he was standing on the sideline. This is my one big contention. I don't want to jump down the guy's throat because I don't know him personally and maybe he's not one to visibly show pain too much. My issue is, if I have a knee injury that is severe enough to take me out of a game as big as yesterday's, would I be standing? I don't doubt that he had a knee injury of some kind. Based on his center, it was giving him problems in the first half. But if it's that bad that either Cutler said he's done or he was told by the trainers that he was done, I don't see him standing on it. The reports coming out today is that he has a torn MCL and he's scheduled for an MRI to determine the severity. I'm not a medical expert by any means, but if tearing the MCL is anything like tearing the ACL (MCL and ACL are 2 of the 4 main ligaments around the knee), then he probably shouldn't be standing and walking around on it. I could be wrong. Standing may have felt better than sitting and bending the knee, he could have been TOLD that he was done instead of asked. (I wrote this on Monday and today I did hear that he was told by the coaching staff that he was done) If it is a torn MCL, then his season was probably done anyway Superbowl or no, but it was still disappointing.
Speaking of disappointing, what's the deal with Mike Martz(offensive coordinator)? We started the season with no stability in the O-line. Martz eventually dealt with that a bit after the bye week and changed up his play calling to include a lot more running plays and a lot more short passes. This coupled with some stability on the O-line led to a bears offense that was firing on more cylinders than our team has had in the last 10 years. Now, the just because the line was stable, doesn't mean they were fantastic. They still had the most sacs allowed in the NFL this year. So when we get to the NFC championship game, why did Martz decide that he needed to put more plays in where Cutler was taking 7 step drops before throwing? WE DON'T HAVE THE OFFENSIVE LINE TO BE ABLE TO DO THAT!!! Not to mention that as much as I love Johnny Knox, a star receiver he is not. He's a great receiver, but he's not a "I'm throwing the ball to him and there's nothing the defenders can do about it" guy. Don't even get me started on Hester. He's better than I thought he'd be, but he's a return guy, not a #1 or #2 receiver. Anyway, back to Martz. Our key to moving the ball on Offense has been short passes and run plays. Case in point, Matt Forte had well over 100 yards by himself. Unfortunately most of that came after Cutler was out and Martz was forced to use backup QBs so he pretty much threw out his passing playbook. The really annoying part is that I've seen Martz in action this year where he had an offensive scheme that wasn't working great and suddenly in the second half they made some changes and it's tearing the other Defense apart. Why he feels the need to put Cutler's health in danger by working in these long pass plays is beyond me. Short passes, run the ball. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
My final thought is that if I'm disappointed as a fan, imagine how the Bear's Defense feels. They put everything they had into that game. After the Packers scored their second touchdown early in the second quarter, did they throw in the towel? NO!!! They didn't allow a single point for the remainder of the game. They got a couple of interceptions that gave the offense great field position. They kept the Bears in the game and made it much closer than I thought it would be after the first 20 minutes. They kept me from turning the TV off in disgust, but unfortunately for those guys, the defense can't always do it all.