Making the grade

Defensive Line: Despite playing against an offensive line decimated by injuries, the Bears' defensive line didn't do quite enough to dominate the game, as they should have. Phillip Daniels (5 tackles) was a non-factor for most of the day against Dotson, and Alex Brown (7 tackles, PD, FR) was held without a sack in spite of working against Mike Flanigan, who had moved over to tackle from center. The Packers continually worked screens and plays off tackle against the Bears, eventually wearing down a line that had its ears pinned back far too often. This lack of discipline led to missed tackles from playing without control, as well as being flat out beaten as the game progressed. Alex Brown recovered a Brett Favre (24-42-221 2 TDs, 1 INT, and fumble) fumble in the early going, and batted down a short pass later on. He also found himself hooked on a number of the off tackle plays to Fisher as the game wore on. Bryan Robinson pulled down Ahman Green (12-78, 5/45) on a shotgun draw on 3rd and 7, but did little else, especially in passing situations. Brian Knight played some end, but did not provide any pressure. He did show up in the run game. Keith Traylor made a tackle on Green for a 4-yard loss on a 1st and goal play. Traylor left the game early with a calf injury. Ahman Green left the game and then returned late. In between, Tony Fisher (17-91, Td, 2/15) gouged the Bear defense for 8 to 12 yards on numerous carries. Christian Peter, Alfonso Boone, and Ernest Grant played some in the tackle rotation. Favre had way too much time to survey the Bear defense, and Packer running backs found the going too easy on the run, especially off tackle. The Packers piled up over 180 yards rushing, and were only sacked once in 42 passing attempts.

Linebackers: Rosey Colvin (2 tackles, PD, FF) came from linebacker in a 3-man front on a blitz over left end for an early sack to force a fumble on Favre. However, he was late in recognizing tight end Bubba Franks (6/34, Td) on a touchdown reception in the end zone. Brian Urlacher (7 tackles) had a tough game. Packer offensive linemen on the off tackle play (especially on Ahman Green's 30-yard run) consumed him. Additionally, as he was pursuing plays laterally, he kept getting the backs of his legs jumped on. Mike Caldwell (3 tackles) had one of his better games of the season. Caldwell stopped Franks short of the first down on several big 3rd down plays in the early going. Bobbie Howard (5 tackles) played a good deal as well, and had some blitz pressure and was decent in coverage. This group missed some tackles as well, and missed some opportunities to make plays in the second half.

Defensive Backs: In the early going, plays by McQuarters (8 tackles) and Azumah (7 tackles, 2 PD) were keys to stopping the Packers. Azumah was especially good coming up tough against the run, and had a couple of passes defended. McQuarters combined with Caldwell on one of his stops of Franks on 3rd down. But he also committed a pass interference penalty, and failed to make a key block on a fumble recovery and runback by Rosevelt Williams at the end of the first half. The play got set up thanks to an interception from Damon Moore, who also defended a pass in the end zone on a key 3rd down. Moore fumbled the ball, the Packers tried to recover it, and Williams wound up with it and nothing in front of him but a green field. Unfortunately, Rosevelt Williams ran more like James "Big Cat" Williams. Javon Walker brought him down well short of the end zone as the half ended. This was another squandered scoring opportunity. Mike Green (10 tackles) failed to get a sack again on a clean shot at the quarterback. What's worse, his attempt at tackling Donald Driver (5/65) by the head led to a missed tackle and a 44-yard reception. Mike Brown (5 tackles, 1 PD) put his head down to miss a tackle, and also hit someone out of bounds for an unnecessary roughness penalty to tack on more yardage to what was already a first down play. Damon Moore also missed tackle on one of Fisher's many strong runs. Favre and the Packers didn't attack the Bears deep very often. Instead, they ran the ball and hit the short routes. The Bears defended well early, but once the offense turned the ball over on what looked like a sure touchdown, it appeared as if the defense stopped showing proper technique, especially the defensive backs. They were fortunate the Green Bay receivers were dropping passes like crazy.

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