The Packers needed a win this weekend.
What they got was a rout when Brian Urlacher and the rest of the Bears challenged them to an honor duel at Lambeau Field.
I'd like to say that Ryan Grant led the charge with his 145 yards and a touchdown run, but that's hard to do because Aaron Rodgers completed 23 of his 30 pass attempts for 227 yards and two scores.
The defense also played well in their first game without Nick Barnett, allowing only 234 total yards and 83 rushing yards. The defense had an interesting way to deal with the loss of Barnett.
They used AJ Hawk, normally an outside linebacker, to play in the middle. When the game started, though, they rarely used their base 4-3 defense and played many defensive snaps with five defensive backs and only two linebackers, Hawk and coverage specialist Brandon Chillar.
It worked against the Bears, and it wouldn't surprise me to see that alignment for the rest of the season, especially next week against the pass-happy New Orleans Saints.
The defense also continued its takeaway trend. Nick Collins had an interception negated by offsetting penalties, but on the next play, Kyle Orton mishandled the snap. Reserve linebacker Jason Hunter scooped up the loose ball and took it 53 yards for the team's ninth return touchdown, which set a new franchise record with six games left to play.
The slumbering giant known as the Packer offense finally woke up on this cold November day, and the improvement started up front with Mark Tauscher, Jason Spitz, Scott Wells, Daryn Colledge, and Chad Clifton.
The offensive line didn't give up a sack and opened up gaping holes for Ryan Grant and Brandon Jackson.
Rodgers' performance reflected the time he had in the pocket, as only six of his passes hit the ground (his other incompletion was an interception). Another thing that certainly helped him this week was the fact that he got to participate in every practice this week, something he hadn't been able to do since he separated his shoulder against Tampa Bay.
Grant finally looked like he did last season. He averaged nearly six yards per carry against a statistically superior Chicago run defense.
With this win, the Packers are tied for first place in the division, and if the season ended today, they would be the division champions and headed to the playoffs.
The wide margin of victory also put other teams on notice. Their performance against another contending team was dominant, and if they play like they played against the Bears, they can beat any team in the NFL.
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