Report card vs. Bears

Coaching, special teams get failing grades in debacle against Bears

PASSING OFFENSE: D -- Old Man Winter was graybeard quarterback Brett Favre's big enemy Sunday. Favre has a reputation for braving wicked elements and persevering, but the ever-brightening redness in his face was indicative of someone who wasn't thrilled to be laboring in the harsh conditions.

Favre had only 9 passing yards at halftime and finished with a season-low 153 (not counting his injury-induced exit from the loss at Dallas). He completed just 17 of 32 passes, with the high winds leaving the receivers in no-man's land as they tried to get to the spot where the ball would wind up.

The Bears defense exacerbated matters with a zone blitz that has been a longtime nemesis for Favre, whose two interceptions wound up in the hands of defensive end Alex Brown and linebacker Brian Urlacher as they dropped into coverage. Center Scott Wells mishandled two snaps. Left tackle Chad Clifton struggled in protection with Brown, and blitzing linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer broke through untouched for a few hits on Favre.

RUSHING OFFENSE: B-minus -- Ryan Grant wasn't helped any when the Packers got behind by three scores at the midway point of the third quarter, which put them in a throwing mode. Grant still managed a 100-yard day on the ground, in just 14 carries, highlighted by his 66-yard dash to the end zone late in the first half. Left guard Daryn Colledge, alternating at the position with starter Junius Coston, had a key cut block at the line of scrimmage, allowing Grant to peel back inside from the right and into the clear the last 60 yards.

Grant's knack for making a hard cut and accelerating through the hole also was good for 24-yard gain on his first carry. Subtract the two big runs, however, and he had all of 10 yards in the other 12 rushes -- less than a yard a carry. The Bears dominated the Packers' offensive line in those situations, spearheaded by linebacker Jamar Williams.

PASS DEFENSE: C-minus -- Kyle Orton dropped back to pass only 14 times and amassed but 101 passing yards, but he was incredibly opportunistic with his eight completions. He converted a pair of third-and-long plays and turned a second-and-long into a manageable third-down play in the 18-play, game-opening drive that consumed nearly 11 minutes.

The Green Bay linebackers and safeties were caught out of position on many of what few pass catches there were, including a touchdown thrown to wide-open tight end Desmond Clark in the end zone. Nickel back Will Blackmon missed badly on a diving tackle of diminutive back Garrett Wolfe on a screen pass that turned into a 33-yard gain, which put the Bears in position a few plays later to strike for a go-ahead touchdown before halftime.

Pro Bowl cornerback Al Harris would have given up a touchdown, if not for a drop by Muhsin Muhammad on fourth-and-goal earlier in the game.

The pass rush was handled by Chicago's previously maligned O-line, which didn't allow a sack.

RUSH DEFENSE: D -- The Packers' struggles in stopping the run started before nose tackle Ryan Pickett suffered a groin injury that kept him out Sunday. Still, Pickett's absence was conspicuous when the combination of Adrian Peterson and Wolfe bulled inside and darted outside, respectively, for a total of 14 runs that enabled the Bears to play keep-away in the first series. That set the tone for Chicago to stick with the run 45 times and churn out 139 yards.

Peterson won't be confused for his namesake in Minnesota, but he made an impact just the same with a workmanlike 102 yards in 30 carries, including an 8-yard touchdown right up the gut in which he pulled safety Atari Bigby with him across the goal line to end the first half.

SPECIAL TEAMS: F -- Devin Hester's return yardage on punts and kickoffs amounted to minus-1. For all the attention the Packers placed on not letting Hester beat them, they were careless in every other phase of special teams.

Canadian Jon Ryan's cold-weather background did him no favors in dealing with gusts that escalated to more than 40 mph. He mishandled the snap on his would-be first punt, had two kicks blocked (one for a touchdown return) and shanked another out of bounds for a measly 9 yards.

Ryan's adventures in trying to grab the fluttering football first and foremost pre-empted his get-off, and lax protection enabled the Bears' gunners off the edge to get through for the blocks. Green Bay had no return game to speak of.

COACHING: F -- A game the Packers needed to win to stay in the hunt for home-field advantage in the NFC playoffs went by the wayside in an unbelievably bad way because the players clearly weren't prepared and equipped to play in wicked, wintry conditions.

Chicago's Lovie Smith and his staff managed to get their non-playoff-bound team motivated to not only play but dictate the action in every aspect.

The play of Green Bay's special-teams units was a farce.


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