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As another game passes, we see QB Aaron Rodgers once again putting up big numbers. He finished the day completing 34-of-45 passes including one touchdown and one interception.
SB Nation's Acme Packing Company has a poll asking its readers who deserves the Green Bay game ball in the loss.
In first is Rodgers with nearly 80 percent of the vote followed up by TE Jermichael Finley who ended the day with nine catches for 115 yards.
Big day for the Bears and a frustrating loss for the Packers.
Check out Acme Packing Company to see what Packers fans are saying after the loss.
The Bears took home a thrilling victory against the Packers on Monday Night Football. Jay Cutler was bailed out a couple times on penalties after throwing interceptions and Devin Hester straight dominated on a return touchdown.
For Chicago, they did the little things right, according to SB Nation's Windy City Gridiron
In a game where there were big implications, it was the small things that made the difference. Cutler's confidence is unshakeable, Hester found his sexy, we left the penalties to the other team, and the biggest factor: We kept our composure.
Check out Windy City Gridiron to see what Bears fans are saying about the Monday Night Football game.
Chicago, IL (Sports Network) – Robbie Gould booted a 19-yard field goal with four seconds remaining in the game and the Bears took advantage of 17 Green Bay penalties to edge the Packers, 20-17, at Soldier Field.
Devin Hester returned a punt 62 yards for a score and Gould kicked two field goals in the final four minutes, the final one coming after a Green Bay turnover.
Aaron Rodgers completed a 12-yard pass to James Jones, but the linebacker tandem of Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher caused a fumble near the sideline. Tim Jennings pounced on the ball, and the Packers challenged the call, but replays showed Jennings stayed in bounds, giving Chicago the ball at the Green Bay 46.
Jay Cutler threw a 21-yard pass over the middle to tight end Greg Olsen. Two plays later, Cutler’s pass was picked off by Nick Collins, but Morgan Burnett was called for pass interference. That 17th penalty tied a Green Bay franchise record and set up the Bears at the nine. On fourth down, Gould’s kick kept the Bears (3-0) unbeaten.
Cutler finished 16-of-27 for 221 yards with a touchdown and an interception, while Rodgers ended 34-of-45 for 316 yards, also with a score and a pick. Rodgers also ran for a score, but the Packers (2-1), who were penalized 152 yards, suffered their first defeat.
For the second time in as many Monday night games, the football has stubbornly managed to stay in bounds on a crucial fumble. Last week, it was a Phillip Adams' muffed punt that refused to go out of bounds and doomed the 49ers. Tonight, it was a James Jones fumble at midfield forced by Bears linebackers Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher that just skirted the sideline long enough for Tim Jennings to make the recovery.
It was almost for naught. On the Bears second offensive play after the fumble, Cutler was almost intercepted by Nick Collins on a pass over the middle. It was a night where Cutler was lucky not to have thrown multiple interceptions. Two of them were overturned by penalties. On that play, it simply slipped out of Collins' hands into the Soldier Field grass. From there, the Packers had no better chance to stop Chicago from putting the game away.
Nevertheless, Cutler and the Bears did just enough to win, while the Packers killed themselves over and over again with costly penalties. On the whole, Green Bay committed 17 penalties for 152 yards.
Ron Jaworski had mentioned numerous times during the Bears-Packers Monday night broadcast that it had been more than two years since Devin Hester had taken a punt return for a touchdown, so naturally the football gods were sufficiently baited into making it happen. While Hester barely missed a touchdown return earlier in the second half, only to be tackled by Packers punter Tim Masthay, the second time Hester simply hurdled him to reach the end zone.
Everything had been setting up perfectly for the Bears. They got a score right before the half to close to Packers lead to 10-7. Green Bay took the opening drive of the second half deep into Bears territory, eating up eight and a half minutes of clock in the process. But when it came time to kick a field goal to extend their lead, it was blocked by Julius Peppers.
Chicago proceeded to move the ball back swiftly down the field, getting a 1st and goal at the Packers' 10. That soon turned into a 4th and goal at the 1. In a surprise play call, Cutler threw a quick side pass to tight end Desmond Clark, who couldn't haul it in, forcing the Bears to surrender the ball on downs.
While Clark certainly deserves blame for failing to make the catch, Cutler did him no favors by throwing the ball behind him with a downward trajectory.
Devin Hester may have suffered the shame of being tackled by Packers punter Tim Masthay in the open field, but Hester's 28-yard punt return helped Chicago get on the scoreboard for the first time in their Monday night game against the Packers.
On the following play, Jay Cutler hit Johnny Knox along the left sideline for a 31-yard gain. Three plays later, Cutler connected with tight end Greg Olsen for a nine-yard touchdown. The Packers tried to respond with a Hail Mary, but it was tipped and intercepted by Lance Briggs.
So, in a half where it seemed like the Bears repeatedly tried to torpedo a win with careless mistakes, they find themselves down only a field goal entering the second half.
Perhaps people were being a bit hasty with the reformed Jay Cutler talk. On the drive after the Packers went up 7-0 on an Aaron Rodgers touchdown pass to Greg Jennings, Cutler drove the Bears to the Green Bay 25, only to throw the ball into double coverage in the end zone. The pass was easily intercepted by Derrick Martin.
The moment of high comedy on the Bears second drive came when Cutler whiffed on making a block on Martin, who then ended up intercepting him.
The Bears were able to come up with a defensive stand, forcing the Packers to punt for the first time in the game. At the beginning of the ensuing drive, Cutler hit Devin Hester for a 16-yard first down pass on the final play of the first quarter. Of course, he was nearly intercepted for a second time by Nick Collins on the first play of the second quarter, but Collins dropped it.
Jay Cutler certainly had a more auspicious start than the last time he played against the Green Bay Packers in primetime. Cutler lead the Bears on a 48-yard opening drive, getting two first downs in the process. Unfortunately for Chicago, the drive terminated with a missed 49-yard field goal attempt.
Matt Forte appeared to have fumbled the ball on a two-yard run three downs prior to the field goal attempt, but he was ruled down on the field. Replays showed that the ball was out before Forte's knee hit the ground, but Packers coach Mike McCarthy declined to challenge the play because Bears center Olin Kreutz recovered the ball on the play.
Former Pro Bowl defensive tackle Tommie Harris has been listed among the Bears inactives for Monday night's game against Green Bay. Team sources told ESPN's Suzy Kolber that Harris is not injured, nor has he been suspended. The reason for him being inactive was simply stated as a "coach's decision." Harris only has one tackle through two games, but has not been listed on the injury report.
Among the Bears other inactives are receiver Devin Aromashodu, safety Major Wright and left tackle Chris William.
For Chicago, figuring out how to contain Matthews will be necessary, according to Windy City Gridiron.
Clay Matthews vs the Bears' protection. Matthews has six sacks in 2 games. He is absolutely killing it right now. The Bears offensive line is leaky. Frank Omiyale will get the start at left tackle. I'm quite sure he'll be given lots of help from the guard, tight end, and running back to block in passing situations.
It'll be interesting to see what Mike Martz will do at halftime if the Bears can't stop Matthews in the first half. He made some superb adjustments a victory against the Cowboys last week.
Check out Windy City Gridiron to see what Bears fans are saying about MNF in Chicago.
Chicago is gearing up for Monday Night Football's return to Soldier Field but the Green Bay Packers fans say they're going to spoil the party.
SB Nation's Acme Packing Company predicts a "close, low-scoring" game and gives the nod to the 'Pack.
All in all, I expect this to be an old-school defensive struggle, won by whichever quarterback can avoid turnovers and make one or two big plays. I think Rodgers fits that description better than Jay Cutler, and the Pack wins a close, low-scoring game.
Check out Acme Packing Company to see what Packers fans are saying about MNF in Chicago.
Both teams have started the year at 2-0, but only one of those marks is a surprise.
The Bears' early season success, which included wins over the Lions (19-14) and Cowboys (27-20), was of the unexpected variety. A Chicago team that entered the 2010 season fresh off a 7-9 campaign, and with a new and complex offensive scheme designed by coordinator Mike Martz, was expected to have some trouble finding its footing.
A less-than-stellar preseason showing, in which the Bears went 0-4 and struggled to find consistency on either side of the football, did not seem to indicate a team on the verge of a breakthrough.
But Chicago has shouted down its skeptics through two weeks, with quarterback Jay Cutler showing comfort in the new-look offense during the pair of victories. Cutler led the NFL in passer rating (121.2) heading into Week 3, after completing 44-of-64 (68.8 percent) of his pass attempts over the first two weeks for 649 yards, five touchdowns, and perhaps most importantly, just one interception.
Also re-born in the Mike Martz offense has been running back Matt Forte', who leads the Bears in receptions (12), receiving yards (188) and touchdowns (3) through two games.
Defensively, the Bears lead the NFL in rushing defense (28.0 yards per game) and yards allowed per carry (1.4) heading into Week 3.
With a win, Chicago would move to 3-0 for the first time since 2006, when it won its first seven games en route to a 13-3 finish and eventual Super Bowl appearance
Green Bay's most jaw-dropping work has probably been done on the defensive side of the ball, where pass rusher Clay Matthews has posted an NFL-best six sacks through the season's first two weeks, and Green Bay has been credited with an NFL-high-tying 10 sacks overall. Matthews last week became the first player in Packers history to notch three sacks in consecutive games.
The Packers have also received typically effective play from quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who has a 94.4 passer rating and has completed 63.3 percent of his passes thus far.
Green Bay is seeking its first 3-0 start since 2007, when it won its first four en route to a 13-3 finish and eventual NFC Championship appearance.
Monday's game will mark the 180th all-time battle between the Packers and Bears since the series began in 1921. It is the NFL's most-played rivalry.
The Bears are 20-33 (.377) all-time on Monday night, but are 4-1 under head coach Lovie Smith. The Packers are 27-28-1 (.491) on Mondays, including 3-8 since the 2005 season.
Chicago holds a 90-82-6 advantage in the NFL's most-played series, which as mentioned dates back to the 1921 season, but was swept in last year's home- and- home with Green Bay. The Bears were 21-15 road losers when the teams met in Week 1, and dropped a 21-14 decision when the clubs faced off at Lambeau Field in Week 14. The teams embarked on a conventional home-and-home split in 2008, including a Bears' 20-17 overtime victory at Soldier Field.
For all their storied history together, the teams have met just once in the postseason, a 33-14 Bears victory in a 1941 NFL Playoff.
Smith is 7-5 versus the Packers as a head coach, while Green Bay's Mike McCarthy is 4-4 against both Smith and Chicago as a head man.
WHEN THE PACKERS HAVE THE BALL
If there is a concerning element for the Packers right now, it is a running game that did not exactly bounce back strong from a Week 1 season-ending injury to Ryan Grant in last week's win against the Bills. New starter Brandon Jackson (92 rushing yards, 1 TD) mustered just 29 yards on 11 carries for the day, and though he did score a touchdown, Jackson was outplayed by utility back John Kuhn (51 rushing yards, 1 TD). Kuhn, who logged 36 yards on nine carries, could be in line for a larger role on Monday night along with the emerging Dimitri Nance. The passing game will remain the preferred mode of travel, with Greg Jennings (8 receptions, 1 TD), Donald Driver (9 receptions, 2 TD) and tight end Jermichael Finley (8 receptions) the main targets for Rodgers (443 passing yards, 4 TD, 2 INT). Finley led the way with 103 receiving yards against the Bills last week, while Driver and James Jones (5 receptions, 1 TD) both caught TDs. Rodgers could be dealing with a change in his protection on Monday, as Green Bay is expected to start first-round rookie Bryan Bulaga (Iowa) at left tackle in place of the injured and struggling Chad Clifton (knees).
The biggest problem for both Rodgers and his possibly altered offensive line on Monday night will wear number 90, and go by the name of Julius Peppers. One week after posting his first sack as a Bear against the Lions, Peppers knocked down two passes to add value versus the Cowboys. His presence also seems to be having a positive effect on the secondary, which got two interceptions from safety D.J. Moore (3 tackles) last week and a forced fumble for No. 1 corner Charles Tillman (12 tackles, 1 INT). Chicago should not have much trouble in continuing its exploits against the run on Monday, against a limited Packers running game. Brian Urlacher (16 tackles, 1 sack), who had eight tackles and a fumble recovery in the Dallas win, appears to be rounding back into form alongside Lance Briggs (16 tackles). Briggs has been bothered by an ankle problem and his status is in question for Monday. Israel Idonije (4 tackles), who is dealing with a foot problem, has been among the team's most active interior linemen through two weeks.
WHEN THE BEARS HAVE THE BALL
Cutler may be off to a blazing start in 2010, but he'll still have to get past a dubious history against the Packers. Including a loss while he was at the controls of the Broncos, Cutler is 0-3 with four touchdown passes and six interceptions in his career against the Packers. Complicating matters for the former first-rounder on Monday could be the makeup of the offensive line, as Frank Omiyale might be forced to start in place of ailing left tackle Chris Williams (hamstring). If the line can give Cutler some time to look downfield, he'll be targeting the likes of Johnny Knox (7 receptions, 138 yards), Devin Hester (5 receptions, 1 TD) and tight end Greg Olsen (5 receptions, 1 TD), among others. Hester caught an acrobatic TD in the win over the Cowboys, and Olsen made his only grab of the day stand up for a 39-yard touchdown. Though Forte' (27 carries, 79 yards) has been a big part of the offense, the running game has yet to get going in the traditional sense. Forte' is averaging just 2.9 yards per rush, and Chester Taylor (13 carries, 35 yards) a mere 2.7. The inconsistent offensive line has allowed five sacks of Cutler thus far.
The main concern for Cutler and the Bears offense will necessarily be Matthews (12 tackles) and the pass rush, both because of the injury issues on the line and Green Bay's furious play in that realm over the past two weeks. If the Packers can apply pressure to Cutler, a secondary led by cornerback Charles Woodson (10 tackles) and safety Nick Collins (10 tackles) will have things easier against the Bears' fleet of receivers. Collins ranked among team leaders with seven tackles against the Bills. A run defense that was listed just No. 20 in the league as Week 3 began will also have to be on its game, an effort that will start in the trenches with nose tackle B.J. Raji (4 tackles, 1 sack) and ends Cullen Jenkins (4 tackles, 2 sacks) and Ryan Pickett (5 tackles), and extend to inside linebacker Nick Barnett (13 tackles) and A.J. Hawk (9 tackles). Hawk posted nine tackles against the Bills after not playing a single snap on defense versus the Eagles in Week 1.
This game will settle a lot of Week 3 contests around fantasy nation, with the work of Green Bay's passing game principles taking up a large part of that spotlight. Owners of Rodgers, Jennings, Driver and Finley should not hesitate to use them against a Bears defense that has given up its share of aerial yards through the first two weeks. Jackson is a possibility due to his probable use near the goal line, but it will be surprising if he approaches 20 carries. The Packers defense and kicker Mason Crosby are must-plays.
On the Chicago side, Cutler has moved into many starting lineups thanks to his efforts of the past couple of weeks, but owners should take note of his dubious numbers against Green Bay before locking him into this week's lineup. Knox and Forte' have been Cutler's most consistent targets and are worthy of starting assignments. Even with a bunch of turnovers forced and good numbers versus the run, the Bears defense is not an attractive play on Monday. Kicker Robbie Gould should contribute something, though.
Though the Bears are a surprise 2-0 and come off a very nice win on the road against a talented Cowboys team, this could be a week where they look more like that out-of-sync group we saw in the preseason. The Packers pass rush will have a good opportunity to punish Cutler on Monday, or at least force him into the kind of mistakes he's managed to stay out of over the first two weeks. On the other side, as long as Rodgers can mostly steer clear of Peppers, he should find lots of open receivers against a Bears secondary that has shown some holes thus far. The Soldier Field crowd will be boisterous, but this game will find these two teams drifting toward their natural poles in the NFC North.
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