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Packers vs. Bears instant takeaways: Jordan Love leads playoff-bound victory

The Green Bay Packers are playoff bound following their Week 18 win over the Chicago Bears. Success for the Packers on both sides of the ball started with controlling the trenches.

Live from the press box, here are my instant takeaways from the Packers’ performance:

— The scoreboard didn’t necessarily reflect it, but the Packers offense was pretty much doing whatever they wanted for much of the game. Green Bay averaged nearly 7.0 yards per play for the game. For some context, San Francisco entered Week 18 leading the NFL in that category at 6.7 yards per play.

— However, what kept Green Bay off the scoreboard were some self-inflicted errors. Anders Carlson missed another field goal. There was a rough sequence before half that cost them a field goal opportunity and Jordan Love fumbled as the offense was driving into the Bears side of the field. The Packers were also just 2-for-4 in the red zone, but that could have been 4-for-4 if it weren’t for some drops by Romeo Doubs and Bo Melton.

— A big credit to the Packers offensive line in this game. Love was sacked and hit only once in this game. Aaron Jones in the run game totaled over 100 yards for the third week in a row at nearly 6.0 yards per carry. Coming into this game, the Bears were allowing only 3.7 yards per rush this season. In terms of creating running lanes, this seemed to be the best that the offensive line has looked all season.

— Calm. Cool. Confident. Efficient. Just becoming the norm when it comes to describing Love’s performances. In just about any situation these last three weeks, he is seemingly in complete control. In a must-win, Love delivered in a big way. Like Matt LaFleur said last week, the “sky’s the limit.”

— The Bears were shorthanded along the interior offensive line and the Packers interior defenders were able to take advantage. That group dominated, doing a great job of creating push up the middle to help keep Justin Fields in the pocket and to limit the run game. I also thought the Green Bay edge rushers were setting strong edges consistently. Chicago entered the game averaging 4.6 yards per rush but were held to just over 3.0 and eight tackles for loss.

— The Packers’ pass rush came away with five sacks, three of which came on third down. Just like last week, we saw Joe Barry dial up some more blitzes – something Kenny Clark and Quay Walker complemented him for after that game – and two of the team’s sacks were generated on those rushes. The other third down sack came off a stunt by Kenny Clark.

— Two examples of what tells us Bo Melton’s impact is going to go beyond just the end of the 2023 season is his ability to make contested catches and the feel he has to find the soft spot in coverages. Not to mention that his 4.34 speed is not easy to keep up with.

— Green Bay did well containing DJ Moore. Of his 64 yards, 33 came on one play when matched up with Quay Walker. Not every play, but often we saw Jaire Alexander lining up across from Moore pre-snap.

Luke Musgrave returned and while he didn’t technically start, saw his share of snaps. It looked like Tucker Kraft and Ben Sims were the blockers with Musgrave being used only in passing situations. Speaking of Kraft, he has become so good as a blocker.

— There have been various Packers throughout the season at receiver who have stepped up in key situations. In fact, that’s been one of their strengths: any player on just about any play can get the ball. But these last two weeks, Jayden Reed has become that go-to guy in those must-have it situations.

— This is one of the rare instances where the Packers lost the turnover battle but won the game. The Packers entered the game 1-6 when losing the turnover battle this season.

— Third down success – or failures – often dictate games. The Packers offense was 7-for-10 and the Bears offense just 3-for-11. Chicago was also 0-for-2 in the red zone.

Story originally appeared on Packers Wire