The Green Bay Packers’ defense held their own, and then some, in Thursday’s 23-10 victory over the Chicago Bears. With that win, the Packers won their seventh straight game against an NFC North opponent. More importantly, they won their first game of the season after their loss to the San Francisco 49ers in week one. The Packers improved their record to 1-1, while the Bears fall to 1-1.
As for the Bears offense, it couldn’t have been any more entertaining. Bears’ quarterback Jay Cutler’s frustration from Thursday night might carry into the weekend. NFL fans everywhere saw Cutler yell and push his offensive lineman, J’Marcus Webb, off to the side before walking away in frustration. A number of former NFL players have already expressed their displeasure with Cutler’s actions, and have suggested that Cutler should apologize to his teammate publicly.
Former NFL Super Bowl champion Tedy Bruschi and former teammate Adewale Ogunleye told ESPN.com that Jay Cutler needs to apologize and take responsibility for his actions.
Bruschi also told another ESPN.com writer, “Now J’Marcus Webb, all he did was get beat physically. He was in the right place, he did his best to block Clay Matthews, and he got beat. Clay Matthews got the sack on Jay Cutler. Clay Matthews has beaten many offensive tackles that are a lot better than J’Marcus Webb. So when you get on somebody and embarrass somebody on national TV for getting beat physically, it’s almost like you’re kicking a man when he’s down.”
Ogunleye told an ESPN.com reporter, “So the way I am looking at the game, no one is yelling at Jay when he is throwing the ball [four] times to their defenders. And you’ve got to have some sense of accountability. At the end of the day, you start losing the respect of the offensive line when, publicly, you’re bumping people and yelling at them in their face I don’t think it is the right thing to do.”
Wide receiver Brandon Marshall, running back Matt Forte and Cutler all had a rough night. Marshall dropped a go-ahead touchdown when the football hit him in the palm and bounced away from his reach. Forte left the game in the beginning of the third quarter with a high ankle sprain after throwing four interceptions and being sacked seven times.
The Packers defense was running on all cylinders. Outside linebacker Clay Matthews consistently beat his opponent off the snap, leading Cutler to yell and push Webb during the game. Matthews is the one to blame, because he is having a great start to the season. He sacked Jay Cutler three and a half times, assisted on three more sacks and had seven tackles against the Bears.
The secondary was also playing well for the Packers defense.
Packers’ cornerback Charles Woodson told reporters, “Well, Jay is a guy, he’ll give you a chance. You just have to be in position.”
Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense struggled to move the ball to start the game off, but were able to score early in the second quarter with a field goal and again with a fake field goal run on a fourth and 26. Despite their struggles, the Packers ended the first half with a 13 point lead.
In the second half, the Packers defense came through, leading to a short field position for Rodgers to do what he does best. Rodgers connected with Pro Bowl wide receiver Donald Driver for a fourth quarter touchdown to seal the victory for the Packers.
Rodgers won the quarterback matchup Thursday, but not by a whole lot. Cutler threw for 126 yards, completing 11 out of 27 passes and a touchdown pass. Meanwhile, Rodgers threw for 219 yards on 22 of 32 passes, with a touchdown and an interception.
Brandon Marshall had a rough night as well, with only two catches for 23 receiving yards. Simply put, the Bears offense had a hard time moving the football.
Statisticly, the Packers were one of the worst defenses last season, but that hasn’t been the case this season. The Packers’ defense has held their opponents to an average of 132.5 yards passing, third best in the NFL so far this season.