There wasn't much hope for a banged up Chicago Bears team tonight in a road contest against the best team in football. The Green Bay Packers proved far too much to handle in a convincing 35-21 victory. The Bears lost their fifth straight game of the year and fall to 7-8 on the season.
Chicago came out of the game relatively unscathed, with only Lance Louis missing time due to illness.
-With Josh McCown under center, Chicago's offense had a very productive evening. McCown completed 19 of 28 passes for 242 yards and 1 TD. He helped the team move the ball consistently through air and did a good job taking what the Packers defense was giving him. He looked calm under pressure and showed good accuracy. He did throw two interceptions, both of which severely hurt the team, but in his first start since 2007, McCown was light-years better than Caleb Hanie has been the past month.
-The rushing game was outstanding. Kahlil Bell carried the ball 23 times for 121 yards, while also chipping in four catches for 38 yards. He showed great field vision and cutback ability. He showed patience, hit holes with speed and was tough to tackle. In pass protection, he displayed great recognition and had a number of nice blitz pickups. If he follows up tonight's performance with a solid outing next week, he'll be in line to compete for primary backup duties next season.
-Armando Allen, who was activated off the practice squad this week, played in his first NFL game tonight. He carried the ball 11 times for 40 yards. He is a quick, shifty player who did a very good job finding and bursting through holes.
-The offensive line absolutely dominated for the majority of the contest. The Bears as a team rushed for 199 yards. The front five was able to get consistent push up front and opened up a number of gaping holes. Coordinator Mike Martz leaned heavily on the line's run blocking, calling a season-high 42 rushes, and the group came through in a big way. Edwin Williams was especially dominant as a run blocker, after having struggled the past few months. The unit was just as solid in pass protection, not allowing any sacks and giving up just two quarterback hits.
-Roy Williams was targeted a team-high nine times, pulling in six catches for 81 yards to lead all Bears receivers.
-Zack Bowman was inserted as the starting cornerback this week in place of Tim Jennings. The Bears wanted to give Bowman a long look to see if he is worth keeping next year. After tonight's performance, he'll be lucky to find work anywhere in the league. He was repeatedly picked on by Aaron Rodgers and could do nothing to stop it. He gave up two touchdown passes and also earned two pass interference calls. He's one of the nicest players in Chicago's locker room, so it was rough to watch him get eaten up, but it's safe to say he won't be on the team next year.
-Major Wright's sophomore season has been brutal. He's dealt with numerous injuries and poor play for much of the campaign. Tonight was just one more difficult outing. He didn't tackle well again and gave up a game-changing 55-yard TD to Jordy Nelson that sapped all of Chicago's momentum. The team could never recover. Wright just cannot be counted on as a two-deep player and may have to earn a roster spot next year.
-The Packers came into this game with a patchwork offensive line, after losing both of their starting tackles last week. Yet the Bears' defensive front could not take advantage of an opposing line that had never before started together. Rodgers had plenty of time to throw all day, resulting in five touchdown passes, the most in a single game in his career. Chicago picked up just one sack and two quarterback hits. Julius Peppers and Isreal Idonije combined for just one total tackle. While the secondary played poorly, it was impossible for them to stop the Packers' vaunted passing attack without any pressure up front.
-The Bears were strong against the run tonight, as they have been for most of the season. They allowed just 81 rushing yards on 21 attempts. Criag Steltz was again stout in run support.
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Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.