Week 7: Packers Passing Game Beats Chicago
Jon: On a short week, the Packers stay home and face the Chicago Bears. It’s time for the Color Rush game on Thursday Night Football. The Packers find themselves in a very tough running back situation, but don’t worry everybody, Ted Thompson’s coming with something completely unexpected.
He goes out and trades for Kansas City Chiefs running back Knile Davis. The Packers expect to have him available for the game against the Bears, despite Davis arriving in Green Bay about 48 hours before kickoff.
This is also the first time Josh Sitton faces the Packers, but he’s in a walking boot watching from the sidelines. Most of the Bears secondary appears beat up, and it looks like Aaron Rodgers should be good to go.
And he’s looking pretty good doing it, too. The Packers wearing their white over white Color Rush uniforms, which I have to confess. I was very skeptical about, but I ended up not minding at all.
Gary: For new readers, you’re getting your first glimpse at Jon Meerdink’s Packers uniform nerdiness. I say that in a loving way, though! You do love the Packers threads, and I’m excited about your passion for that.
Jon: I have more passion for the Packers uniforms than just about anything else in my life. I think it’s probably my faith, my wife, Packers uniforms and then the Packers themselves. I can’t explain it, that’s just how it is.
Without a running attack, Rodgers throws and throws and throws...
Gary: As for the game, Rodgers sure seems to flip the switch. Just when you doubted him, he goes out and totally redeems himself. A franchise-record 39 completions in this game as the Packers are without their running game from the start.
Starks and Lacy are both out, and Knile Davis is there but is hardly into the playbook. Don Jackson, elevated from the practice squad, is the lead back. He leaves the game with a hand injury early in the first quarter, and Davis rushes only twice in the fourth quarter.
So where do the Packers turn? This is the first game where we start to see wide receiver Ty Montgomery with nine carries and Randall Cobb with five. McCarthy said after the game he was looking to get 25 carries out of the running game, and they reached 23 including some scrambles from Rodgers.
Meanwhile, the Bears are down to their third quarterback. Brian Hoyer suffers a broken left arm in the second quarter when Peppers and Matthews meet in the middle of the pocket and smash Hoyer. Jay Cutler’s out with a right thumb injury, and in comes Matt Barkley.
Hoyer and Barkley combine to finish 10-26, throwing for 120 yards and two interceptions. Not a great day for the Chicago passing game.
Three Packers had ten or more catches against the Bears. But Jordy Nelson manages only one catch for nine yards. The Packers running backs for most of the game are wide receivers. Between the running backs and Jordy Nelson, what’s the bigger concern in your mind?
Jon: Well, I’m not either concerned about either one at this point. It’d be nice to have a more traditional running back or to have someone with more experience as a running back. But, if Jared Cook had been on the field during this game, for me, this is pretty close to an ideal offense.
I think going to guys like Montgomery and Cobb is a great option. 42 of the Packers offensive plays were directed to one of those two. Sure, it’d be nice to get Jordy Nelson involved a little bit more, but that’s just one of those things that will balance itself out eventually.
It was also scary that this game was as close as it was for a long time. Despite the big numbers that Rodgers and the receiving corps put up, it was not an offensive explosion. The Packers manage only 26 offensive points, and this game was 6-3 at halftime.
The Packers do have four wins at this point, but they are all pretty ugly wins where they’re having to hang on at the very end.
This conversation first appeared in Episode 18 of our weekly podcast. Blue 58, powered by WTMJ Mobile, goes beyond the headlines to help you become a smarter fan of the Green Bay Packers. Hosted by former WTMJ newscaster Jon Meerdink and his friend Gary Zilavy, Blue 58 brings you a unique, upbeat perspective on your favorite NFL team, as long as that team is the Packers.