Wolfe Rookie Diary: 22nd Entry

In this installment of his Rookie Diary, running back Garrett Wolfe writes about growing up with the Chicago Bears-Green Bay Packers rivalry, the brutal playing conditions for the game at Soldier Field, and finishing up the 2007 season on a high note.

Sunday's game was total excitement for me. I mean, think about it. I'm a Chicago guy and have grown up on the Bears-Packers rivalry. I couldn't imagine a more satisfying situation than to beat the Packers not once but twice during a season. That's a sweep, and it surely doesn't get any better than that.

The conditions out there Sunday were incredible. Again, I'm a Midwestern kid who went to college here as well. I've played in plenty of cold-weather games, but there has never been, and I hope that there never again will be, anything like the temperature out there during this game.

We had it all. The wind, the snow, the frozen turf. It was awful. I heard some of the Packers say during the game that they'd never experienced anything like that either. And they play in Green Bay outdoors a lot of the time. Really, I don't think even somebody from Alaska could have stood being outside very long. I was amazed that the fans stayed through most of the game.

The worst time for us was during those long TV timeouts. There isn't enough time to get warm on the benches or by standing near the sideline heater. You just stand out there and maybe jump up and down some hoping to stay warm. The big fear, of course, is having muscles cool down so you get an injury, which thankfully never happened.

The winds shifted so often that the passing game was extremely difficult. Just ask Brett Favre about that. The fact that Kyle Orton was able to accomplish as much as he did was amazing.

The turf was somewhat difficult as far as getting a firm footing was concerned. I saw that they kept the tarp on just as long as they possibly could, but once it did come off, conditions deteriorated significantly. That wasn't a particular advantage or disadvantage for either side as all the players were dealing with it, but it was a concern as far as avoiding injuries.

We put a lot more emphasis on the running game, and for the most part it worked out well. I can't say enough about the skill and determination of Adrian Peterson. He just wouldn't be stopped.

I also felt that the combination of running and passing during that long series of drives in the first quarter was very important. That kept the defense off the field and gave us the chance to put some points up on the board early. The Packers aren't a team that you want to be playing catch-up with.

RB Garrett Wolfe
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The offensive line played very well. They opened up a lot of holes for me that I was able to slip through for some good yardage. Our defense was incredible. They really shut Favre down right from the beginning, and it put much more pressure on Green Bay to use some riskier plays that ended up to our advantage. I doubt that some of these schemes would have used if the Packers had gone out in front from the beginning.

The turnovers and interceptions that our special teams and defense made ended up as a real positive difference for us on offense. It gave us the opportunity to have a balanced attack and not keep one unit out there too long.

Corey Graham got his first TD. I'm sure he'll have that ball under his Christmas tree. Brian Urlacher's runback for the score was fun to watch, though it sure seemed as if he was gassed by the time he reached the end zone. A great play, but he'll be hearing about that from all of us for quite a while to come.

Three blocked punts in one game. How can it get better than that? It's textbook defense. We were in their faces from the beginning of the first quarter all the way through the end of the game.

It was a very emotional and intense game. I'm sure that anybody who watched it could see that right away just from the number of confrontations among players today. This season has been a difficult one for all of us here in Chicago, and winning this particular contest means a lot. It takes a lot of the bad taste out of our mouths and gives us some positive momentum going into the final game this weekend against New Orleans.

I also think it's important that even in a difficult season you finish strongly. Nobody wants to spend the offseason wondering why things went wrong. It's much better to have memories like the ones we will have from Sunday.

Garrett Wolfe writes his Rookie Diary with longtime correspondent Beth Gorr every week exclusively for BearReport.com.

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