When the Chicago Bears and the Green Bay Packers squared off in Lambeau Field on September 13, it would mark the 185th meeting between the two storied franchises. At least two trends should have kept me from picking the Bears to win this game. First, Jay Cutler has not played too well against the Packers during his time in Chicago. Secondly, the Packers had taken six of the previous seven games against their rivals from the Windy City. Despite my initial instinct, I decided to give the Bears the benefit of the doubt. Unfortunately, that did not work out too well for me. The Bears were out of sync for the entire game and the result was a 23-10 defeat that seemed much worse than the final score indicated. Here are my thoughts on why the Packers came out on top.
After making steady progress through the preseason and the season-opener, the offensive line took a huge step back against the Packers. For the second straight game, this unit gave up a sack on the first play from scrimmage and would allow six more before the evening was done. For those of us who watched the game, it was not difficult to understand why Cutler was visibly upset with the play of the guys up front. Along with that, Cutler's struggles against the Packers continued as he completed only 11 of his 27 passing attempts for 126 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions. Charles Woodson made comments to the effect that their defense only had to be in the right position and Jay Cutler would throw them the football. After this dismal performance, he may have a valid point.
Not only did the Packers' defense win the battle in the trenches, their secondary did an excellent job of shutting down our guys on the perimeter as well. Following his nine catch, 119-yard game against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 1, Brandon Marshall did not catch a pass in this game until the fourth quarter and was held to just two catches for 24 yards. In the days leading up to this game, both Cutler and Marshall invited the Packers to play a physical brand of defense on the receivers. Needless to say, they got exactly what they asked for and then some.
So what lessons did I learn about these Chicago Bears from this loss? Well first of all, I learned the offensive line is still a work in progress and that could be the case for some time to come. Secondly, the Bears are a good football team, but not a great one. The most important lesson I took from this game is that it's just one loss in the second game of the season and there is plenty of time for the team to turn things around. With a Week 3 match-up against the St. Louis Rams, the Bears should be able to get back on the winning track.
James Tillman III is a resident of the Chicago-land area, who has followed the Bears for more than twenty seasons. James is also a Featured Sports Contributor for Yahoo! Network and a Sports Journalist for Sports Rantz Magazine. Follow him on Twitter @jtillman9693