Green Bay @ Chicago - As I sat and watched this game, I thought that maybe I should become the next Ms.(Mr.) Cleo. I said that the Bears would have to limit the bad decisions and turnovers by Cutler and play well on defense. I also said that Johnny Knox would have a big game. I said this about the Packers 'On defense, I'm looking for a big game from BJ Raji and Cullen Jenkins. If the two of them cause problems up front, not only will they be able to get hits on Cutler, but they may force him into some bad throws and that's all Woodson and Williams are waiting on'. Let's get to the tale of the tape.
1. Cutler missed on a few passes early, but his worst decision was quitting on his team. Ask any athlete that's been hurt and had a significant injury, they can tell you when it happened. I can't by Cutler's excuse that he hurt his knee sometime in the 2nd quarter. This is the NFC Championship game, and by all accounts the Bears played terrible, but they were still in this game until the last INT by Hanie. This is Cutler's first foire into the playoffs with a chance to go to the Superbowl, and this is what you do? Number 2, you go in early at halftime and you come back out without a knee brace on? I mean if your knee is hurt that bad, they have knee braces (and probably a shot or two) that will help you get through the next 30 minutes and try and win this game. We can assume that Cutler chose neither. Number 3, Unless this MRI comes back with 3 torn ligaments, I expect that Cutler will be vilified in a city where toughness is an expectation. Number 4, if the training staff/doctor told you that you shouldn't play, a competitor would have been seen on the sideline in Lovie's ear trying to get him to reconsider or something. There should have been a screaming match with a helmet thrown or something. This just doesn't look good for Cutler, even with Urlacher doing what he was supposed to do by standing up for his teammate.
2. Johnny Knox (targeted 6 times) must not trust Cutler because he doesn't seem to go all out when Cutler is throwing him the ball. Enter Hanie and Knox becomes a different man. Knox ended the game with 2 receptions for 56 yards (1 pass interference call that turned into an additional play for 20+ yards for the Bears) which isn't alot but when your QBs throw for a total of 218 yard, it's pretty good.
3. BJ Raji and Cullen Jenkins must have heard me talking about them because they started the game of disrupting things and continued for the majority of the game. Jenkins ended the game with 1/2 a sack, 2 tackles for loss, 2 QB hits (maybe one on Cutler's knee), and several more disruptions. BJ Raji ended the game with 2 QB hits, and an 18 yard interception return for a TD.
4. Woodson and Williams played well covering the Bears receivers, but it was Sam Shields who had 2 INTs (1 sealed the game) and a sack to go along with 4 tackles, that paced the Packers in the defensive secondary.
All in all, it was a sad day for the Bears. Their defense played well, but their offense wasn't on the right track. I've said all year long that Hanie is a better QB for the Bears (Martz) system and someone should think about that going forward. Cutler has more tools than Hanie, but sometimes have a utility knife that can do 20 things really isn't worth having when you trying to open a can and you have a handy dandy can opener ready and available. The Bears as an organization will have to stand by Cutler or his career here is done, so I expect that his MRI results will be substantially worse than they really are.
Actually this was quite prophetic too -
'In the end, the Bears are playing at home (even though the field is TERRIBLE) and I think that their special teams will need to be special for them to win this game. I expect the Packers to get to Cutler, and I even expect the Bears to get to Rodgers. I don't trust Cutler in this big of a game. So, to both Mike's (at the barbershop and at Union Station), Kevin (my Ray Lewis hater, he thinks Urlacher is better than Ray Lewis), and anyone else that I run across before the game here's what I got. Winner - Packers'.
The Packers are on their way to the Superbowl and they really proved that they were the better team yesterday. Congrats and good luck in Dallas. Inquisitive Mind 1 - 0 for the week.