Packers vs. Bears: Grades are in

See what our experts have to say about what went wrong and what went right in Monday's loss to the Chicago Bears.

Ten players caught a pass from Aaron Rodgers, but not tight end Donald Lee. The throw Rodgers didn't make — to a wide-open Lee in a corner of the end zone — on first-and-goal from the Bears' 5-yard line kept the Packers from scoring a touchdown early in the fourth quarter that would have put Green Bay ahead 21-10 and probably sealed a victory that never came to pass. Head coach/play-caller Mike McCarthy opened the playbook with several shots downfield, but few succeeded. Donald Driver (six catches, 63 yards) had a couple of key drops. Greg Jennings also had six receptions, including a 7-yard touchdown, but was held to 38 yards. Rodgers had little difficulty making precise throws with a slick football, completing 24-of-39 passes for 260 yards and two touchdowns. Rookie TE Jermichael Finley caught a pass for a change, beating S Kevin Payne on a sideline go route for 35 yards, the longest pass play of the game. HB Ryan Grant was relentless in eluding and fighting off defenders on a 17-yard screen pass for a touchdown. Rodgers' lone miscue came on a quick throw to the outside that was tipped at the line by blitzing S Danieal Manning and grabbed by DE Alex Brown for a first-quarter interception. Otherwise, the blockers handled a considerable amount of pressure that the Bears tried to apply and didn't allow a sack.

Grant had no shortage of carries (25), but he mustered only 61 yards (2.4 average). His struggles came to a head in the closing moments of the fourth quarter when three straight runs amounted to 1, 4 and minus-1 yards when the Packers were trying to exhaust the clock and get Mason Crosby closer for his ill-fated attempt at a game-winning field goal. Although Grant had some success in the second quarter, gaining 38 yards in six carries in back-to-back touchdown drives, he totaled seven runs with no gain with six in the negative as the Bears constantly won battles in the trenches. DeShawn Wynn, filling in for an injured Brandon Jackson as the No. 2 back, had a powerful 4-yard run off left tackle to convert a fourth-and-1 play from the Bears' 9 in the final quarter. RT Tony Moll was mistake-prone for the second straight game as injured Mark Tauscher's replacement, committing three penalties (two false starts) and giving DT Tommie Harris a free shot at Rodgers on a designed quarterback draw to the right side on second-and-goal at the Bears 5 for a 5-yard loss in the early fourth-quarter series that didn't end with a touchdown.

Bears QB Kyle Orton's ugly stat line of 14-for-27 passing for 142 yards, two interceptions and three sacks was overshadowed by the familiar sight of second-half breakdowns by the Green Bay defense. Nickel back Tramon Williams and S Nick Collins had miscommunication on picking up TE Greg Olsen on an underneath throw for a 3-yard touchdown in the third quarter. Olsen (five catches, 49 yards) and fellow TE Desmond Clark (four receptions, 37 yards) were essentially the extent of Chicago's passing game, which had only three receptions by wide receivers. Second-half picks by the Pro Bowl tandem of CB Charles Woodson and Collins were forgotten by the lone possession of overtime. Aaron Rouse, back in the starting lineup at safety, was beaten by Olsen on the first play for a 17-yard completion and tacked on 15 yards to it by drawing a horse-collar penalty as he rode Olsen out of bounds. That put the Bears in Packers territory. Three plays later, the stage was set for Chicago's game-winning field goal when LB A.J. Hawk was disrupted in coverage by a pick play on a pass in the flat to RB Matt Forte, who churned out 14 yards on third-and-9 to the 20. DEs Michael Montgomery (1 1/2) and Jason Hunter combined for 2 1/2 sacks in providing some overdue pressure up front.

The Packers' much-maligned run defense rose to the occasion in holding Forte to only 25 yards on 16 carries. Well, that was the bang-up job the unit did outside of Chicago's score-tying touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter. Forte single-handedly resuscitated a lifeless Bears offense by carrying the ball seven times for 48 yards in the eight-play, 51-yard march to the end zone. The tone was set at the start of the series when the Packers were burned on a blitz. LB Brandon Chillar was blasting into an inside gap when Forte peeled to the outside and broke free for 28 yards. Forte later converted a fourth-and-1 from the Packers 4 by merely a link of the chain when NT Ryan Pickett had good penetration and stood up the rookie on a run to the right. Forte then barreled in from 3 yards for the critical touchdown. Chillar and Rouse, who shared the team lead with seven tackles, were assertive early in the game with making stops at the line.

Brown's block of a 38-yard field-goal attempt by Crosby for the go-ahead points with 25 seconds left in regulation was the perfect capper to an incredibly imperfect performance by Green Bay's special teams units. Crosby was guilty of a low kick as Brown put a raised hand on the ball. Crosby also was short on a 46-yard try and drove a kickoff out of bounds. Jarrett Bush was a goat, too. He was dragged along for about 20 yards at the end of a 70-yard kickoff return by Manning to the Packers 29, which led to a Bears field goal in the second quarter. Then, after a three-and-out by Chicago to start the second half, a blocking Bush downfield had the punt hit him in the back of the right leg for a turnover deep in Packers territory, setting up a Bears touchdown. Jeremy Kapinos did a sufficient job on the cold night with his first three punts, including a 44-yarder, but he bombed on his last punt. Instead of angling it out of bounds, Kapinos' kick was flat and short down the middle, enabling Devin Hester to run up under it for a 24-yard return to midfield. That sparked the Bears' score-tying touchdown drive in the fourth quarter. The lone positives: Backup QB Matt Flynn executed a fake punt on fourth-and-2 at the Chicago 37 with a 6-yard run, keeping alive a 14-play, 91-yard touchdown drive in the second quarter, and Will Blackmon had a 32-yard kickoff return and accompanying 15-yard penalty by Adrian Peterson on a hit out of bounds preceding the doomed final series of the game for the offense.

McCarthy rolled out an aggressive game plan on offense, but he curiously turned conservative after the two-minute warning in the fourth quarter. Faced with first down from the Bears ‘24 and knowing Chicago had only one timeout in its pocket, McCarthy went with the three straight runs by Grant that yielded little, left time on the game clock and didn't necessarily give Crosby a chip shot for the game-winning attempt. The reluctance to go for the jugular late in the game has typified the Packers' inability to win close games this season. Defensive coordinator Bob Sanders incorporated some blitzes but not enough when havoc in the face of Orton would have helped in the Bears' pivotal late scoring drives. Moving Woodson back to cornerback after a lackluster three-game experiment at safety worked. The outlook isn't promising for special teams coordinator Mike Stock to hang onto his job after the season finale.

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