Thursday Night Football: How the Packers Were Able to Dominate Jay Cutler
That sure was ugly.
After talking smack early in the week, Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears offense were absolutely stonewalled and completely overwhelmed by an attacking Green Bay Packers defense to the tune of seven sacks and 168 total yards on offense.
The high level of frustration could be seen on nearly every Bears offensive player, and even when Chicago had a chance to make it a game, a continually collapsing pocket and ill-advised passes from its quarterback led to the humiliating defeat.
So, what did the Packers do to dominate Jay Cutler?
Utilize Clay Matthews in a variety of ways
Yes, Matthews ate J'Marcus Webb's lunch, took his lunch money, whatever. He victimized the often victimized left tackle for most of the evening. Shocking, right?
While Matthews probably could have rushed on Webb's side of the line all night and still have gotten to 3.5 sacks, defensive coordinator Dom Capers was smart to not get too greedy with the clearly advantageous matchup.
He moved Matthews all over the defensive line, not allowing Webb to make adjustments against the stellar pass-rusher on every down.
Early in the first quarter, Matthews got his first sack of the game with a ferocious bull rush as a stand up RDE by attacking left guard Chris Spencer.
Because Matthews got a good burst off the snap and was able to gain inside leverage on the overmatched guard, he was able to fight his way directly at Cutler, thus forcing the quarterback to take the sack with nowhere to run.
In the second quarter, Capers had Matthews line up in his more traditional 3-4 outside linebacker spot.
As was the case for most of the night, he blew past Webb and, well, Cutler was toast.
Although Matthews didn't play all the defensive line positions, the fact that he rushed from the interior and on the edge kept the Bears offensive line from getting into a rhythm as a cohesive unit all evening.
Wouldn't let Brandon Marshall beat them
During the telecast, Brad Nessler and Mike Mayock made it clear that like the rest of America, they were wondering why star wideout Brandon Marshall wasn't even getting the ball thrown his way.
Much of that had to do with Chicago's matador-esque offensive line, but the Green Bay secondary had a brilliant game plan to stop Marshall and were disciplined throughout the duration of the game.
It doesn't take a football mastermind to realize a safety should be kept over the top on Marshall's side, regardless of where he lines up.
Yeah, also known as double coverage.
That's exactly what the Packers did all night.
Mayock pointed this out often, and it was an astute observation.
On Jay Cutler's severely under-thrown interception in the fourth quarter, Tramon Williams and Charles Woodson were both in the vicinity of the pass—a completion would have been difficult even on a good throw.
The Bears have other pass-catching talents like Devin Hester, Earl Bennett and Alshon Jeffery, but they weren't going to let Marshall beat them, and they did a marvelous job even keeping targets away from the menacing receiver.
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