Breaking Down Game Tape of the Green Bay Packers' Win over the Chicago Bears
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In this article, we'll take a look at three big plays for the Packers that were crucial to their success, one each on offense, defense and special teams.
It's only appropriate to start with special teams seeing as it was that unit that had the highlight-reel play of the evening, the 27-yard touchdown by Tom Crabtree on a toss from holder Tim Masthay.
What made the play all the more memorable was the circumstance under which head coach Mike McCarthy called for a fake field goal. Following back-to-back sacks, the Packers were faced with a 4th-and-26 situation, which is not typically the place to go for broke.
On an appearance on CheeseheadTV.com's morning talk show Railbird Central on Friday, Crabtree set the scene by saying, "It was all or nothing on that play. It was either a touchdown or a horrible call and someone didn't do their job and someone didn't execute."
According to Crabtree, the Packers had the option to "kill" the fake, but when they got the look they wanted from the Bears defense, they decided to go through with it. A huge alley was open to the Packers to the right side of the field. All they had to do was block it correctly.
At the snap of the football, kicker Mason Crosby raced to the left, trying to bring as many defenders with him as possible. Meanwhile, the Packers made a risky move by pulling left guard Don Barclay, potentially leaving Crabtree open to a defender knifing through the hole.
Crabtree got through the line untouched. Bears safety Chris Conte dropped back into coverage but was easily overmatched by Barclay and fellow offensive lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith.
The resulting touchdown gave the Packers a 10-0 lead before halftime, and it was at that moment when the metaphorical floodgates opened. From that point forward, the Bears were playing in what seemed like desperation while in catch-up mode.
The Packers' passing game didn't see a ton of success against the Bears, especially compared to their accomplishments of last season.
The aerial attack's one shining moment, however, was a sweet one for wide receiver Donald Driver. Following on offseason of scrutiny that saw him win the reality television show Dancing With The Stars, Driver accepted a pay cut as part of a restructured contract and then was kept on the Packers' roster while the Packers parted ways with younger wide receivers.
In Week 1 against the 49ers, Driver played in only three snaps, and he wouldn't have even played in those had Greg Jennings not suffered a groin injury late in the game.
With Jennings out versus Chicago, Driver received increased playing time, but not exactly the type that made him a prominent part of the offense. Driver played only nine snaps on Thursday, yet made the most of his one early in the fourth quarter with the Packers up 16-3.
Following an interception by Tramon Williams, the Packers offense lined up at the Bears' 26-yard line on 1st-and-10. Driver lined up in the slot to the left side of the field with Jordy Nelson on the perimeter to Driver's outside.
Facing a Cover-2 look from the Bears defense with two deep safeties each covering one half of the field, Nelson ran a go route to the end zone that the safety to that side had to respect. As a result, a gaping hole opened up in the middle of the field.
Rodgers easily found Driver wide open for a touchdown. As part of his celebration, Driver displayed his dancing skills learned during the offseason to the delight of fans and made a statement that he should play an even bigger role going forward.
With that score, the game was put out of reach. The Packers went up by at least three scores and led the Bears 23-3.
Before Driver's touchdown, the game was still in question late in the third quarter when the Packers led 13-3. Green Bay hadn't scored since halftime and allowed the Bears to finally get on the board just minutes earlier thanks to a Robbie Gould field goal.
The Bears were trying to muster some semblance of an offensive attack and get themselves back into the game. Quarterback Jay Cutler needed to be aggressive but had to guard against desperation at the same time.
On their own 36-yard line, the Bears faced a 3rd-and-11 situation. Knowing Chicago basically had no choice but to pass if they were going to get a first down, the Packers implemented their "Bat" defense with only one down defensive lineman (Jerel Worthy), three outside linebackers (including rookie Dezman Moses) and six defensive backs.
Charles Woodson played a single-high safety, 20 yards off the line of scrimmage that gave him the ability to keep everything in front of him and simply read the quarterback's eyes.
When the play breaks down and Cutler is forced to flee the pocket, he heaves a throw toward wide receiver Earl Bennett who tried to find a hole in the zone, but the play takes too long to develop.
Woodson has plenty of time to break on Cutler's pass and benefits from Bennett waiting for the pass to come to him instead of working back toward the direction of the throw. The Packers veteran safety continued to fluster Cutler and came up with his 55th career interception.
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