CHICAGO—Brian Urlacher expressed the belief in the offseason that the Bears are a better team than the Packers, which is what a team-leader type of player should do. It would be a difficult opinion to support, however, following the Packers’ 27-17 win at Soldier Field on Sunday.
“That probably lingers a little bit, but they would never say we’re the better team. We know we’re the better team and it really doesn’t matter what anybody outside this locker room thinks,” Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings said.
The Packers are the better team for several reasons. Here are two: The Packers have Aaron Rodgers throwing the ball and Greg Jennings catching it.
It was that pitch-and-catch combination that dominated the early action and left the Bears trailing the Packers 7-0, before four minutes of the game had been played.
“They jumped into ‘Cover Three’ and my eyes lit up. OK, let’s go get them right now,’” Jennings said of his reaction to the defensive scheme with which the Bears began the game.
The Bears’ base defense, their favorite defensive scheme is “Cover Two,” a two-deep safety look. For Sunday’s game, they opened in “Cover Three,” which is a three-across look that is meant to deny anything deep. It’s a scheme, however, that allows a lot of room underneath the coverage.
So this is how the game started for the Packers: Rodgers to Jennings for 12 yards, Rodgers to Jennings for 19, Rodgers to Jennings for 11, and Rodgers to Jennings for 19, again. Suffice to say, the Bears no doubt regret their decision to play “Cover Three.”
Was there a better choice? Would it have mattered had they played anything from “Cover One” to “Cover 100?”
Simply put, the Packers won a football game on Sunday that wasn’t nearly as close as its final score would suggest. The Packers doubled up the Bears in first downs, 24-12. They gained more yards; outrushed the Bears 100-13, and nothing digs deeper at the Bears than being outrushed. Ask Offensive Coordinator Mike Martz about how that’ll sit with Bears fans.
Here’s the stat of all stats: The Packers held the ball 15 minutes longer than the Bears did. That’s dominance.
So, three games into a season in which the Packers are attempting to defend their Super Bowl championship, they are playing at a level higher than at which they were playing at this time a year ago, and they are showing signs of heading to an elite level to which only a handful of teams in the league can aspire.
Let’s take stock:
Rodgers continues to have a hot hand. He hasn’t had a bad game since he got knocked out of the game in Detroit in Week 14 last season.
An already explosive receiving corps has been re-joined by Jermichael Finley, possibly the most explosive of all the Packers’ receivers, and has welcomed a budding star, rookie Randall Cobb.
The defensive line, an area of intense concern since losing Cullen Jenkins in free agency, has been immovable against the run.
Rodgers’ offensive line is giving him time to throw and against the Bears that line opened holes for running back Ryan Grant that were wide enough to have rolled Grant through sideways.
Special teams, a trouble spot last year, was nothing short of sensational against Devin Hester and the Bears, if you’ll excuse a fluke play at the end of the game that Rodgers referred to as “the most incredible play I have ever seen.”
The only area of concern on the Packers is a secondary that allowed 851 yards passing in the first two weeks of the season, but that group turned in its best effort of the season in Chicago, despite having lost one of its stars, Nick Collins, for the season a week ago.
With the Broncos coming to town for a Week 4 clash in Lambeau, what’s not to like about the Packers?
Don’t expect Brian Urlacher to admit as much, but the better team won Sunday’s game and here’s the really bad news for the Bears and the rest of the NFC North, heck, the NFC: The Packers’ arrow is pointing even higher. Additional game coverage - Packers vs. Bears