What a win. There is a lot to be thankful for in this game, and boy does it feel good to get such a big win. For me, this was near the perfect sports week. The Cubs got swept, Illinois upset Wisconsin (check that they were 3 point favorites), and the Bears beat the Freakin' Packers.
Lets look at the defense, as I see it, the reason we won the game.
They played great, and we especially benefited from the play of Charles Tillman and Lance Briggs. Without Tillman's strips in the first half we don't have a prayer in the game. Green Bay was marching on our defense and surely would have scored the first time Peanut stripped the ball. Obviously, having Tillman back is a huge advantage for us, and again, without him we don't have a prayer in this game.
Farve was killing us in the beginning and taking advantage of our secondary until Tillman brought us back into the game.
Briggs appeared to be everywhere in this game and finished with a staggering 16 tackles. I would have liked to see more sacks, but as Urlacher said before the game "Brett Farve is an old Tony Romo" (I just about died when I heard that). Farve is good at eluding, but in spite of that it was good to see the pressure that led to a blocked pass by Adewale Ogunleye and Harris's run down of Farve that led to a turnover. Where would we be without Harris? He really has raise his game, and has come back early from his knee sprain and hasn't appeared to lose a step recording our only sack and running down Farve leading to Urlachers interception. He really has helped us stay in games and will get many more sacks as the season wears on. Speaking of Urlacher, I was disappointed with his play in the first half. He wasn't shooting the gaps and using his speed to get to plays. He was overrunning plays and letting himself get taken out of plays by running into offensive linemen. Thankfully, he raised his game and intercepted Farve for what I believe was the turning point in the game.
I know our defensive is about speed and making plays, and Adam Archuleta and Brandon McGowan certainly make plays. However, they seem to miss tackles, and I don't like that. I am thrilled with McGowan for filling in and getting up for that interception at the end of the game, and I like having him at safety, but he is still a weak spot. I like Arch and I am thankful that he is here in lieu of Brown, but he really tries to lay hits on guys, and sometimes he does, but he gets run over a lot and doesn't wrap his guys. I really want to see him starting to wrap guys when he tackles.
It was hard to see Farve and Co. carve us up for over 300 yards in the first half, but Lovie apparently went nuts at halftime and lit a fire under the team and they responded big time. Give them credit for raising their game.
Special teams was business as usual. Brendon Ayanbadejo made a huge play forcing the fumble in the second half, and even though we didn't block a kick this week, our guys were getting penetration and I foresee many more blocked kicks to come. Hester didn't get much action, but what do you expect when they won't kick to him? I love the fact that we are getting the ball with such good field position because they are petrified of him. Despite their fear he did still break off a 20 yard return, which isn't great, but is good in spite of the circumstances.
Now for the offense, which showed life in the second half and capitalized on turnovers, but isn't free of criticism.
Greg Olson and Desmond Clark were HUGE for us this week. Everybody from Mike North to Mac, Jurko, and Harry were whining that Olson wasn't getting the ball. Well this week it came his way and he responded with two big plays. The touchdown catch was phenomenal and Olson's Red Zone presence and athleticism is an aspect that we have been sorely missing from this offense. I love the fact that he is being used in the slot and along the sideline to take advantage of obvious mis matches with shorter defensive backs. I realize that our Wide outs didn't have many catches at all, but today we didn't need it with the way Olson and Clark were playing. Facing two underrated corners that all but shut down our receivers we fed the Tight Ends and they responded. Brian Griese raised his level of play from "putrid rot" to "acceptable, if not great" throwing 15 for 25 for 214 yards and two touchdowns and only one interception. I hate turnovers, but this one wasn't as shocking as last week's goal line disasters and was the result of fantastic defensive play. Furthermore, we didn't throw the ball 52 times and that really helped out our offensive in all aspets. He came through with big plays in the end of the game and really has connected well with our game plan. He minimized errors and capitalized on turnovers. His success was also due to Ron Turner's resurrection of intelligence, but it sure did feel good to rally from behind. It gives me a lot more confidence about the season.
Say what you will about Benson, but I believe he did a good job. He had a couple of good runs, and while he does appear to lose interest at times, he has come through. Furthermore, what do you expect him to do when he is hit in the backfield? He is getting nailed on draws before he hits the line of scrimmage, and our line has to cover for him. Griese was only sacked once, but I attribute that to the amount of times we ran the ball and not to our line. They still are not doing what they need to do in order for our run game to succeed. Therefore, I attribute a lot of our running games failure to the line and not as much to Benson. However, in coming weeks both groups need to raise their game. We are going to face up against a Vikings team that has absolutely been emasculating teams running games. We have to stay committed to the run and running power I formations and plays where McKie is blocking and not any of this singleback crud, which is obviously not working for us. I hope we stay committed.
Our Offensive ultimately benefited from Defensive turnovers and good if not great play calling. Turner went back to the run, and made some gutsy calls. Devin Hester was in a bunch of plays and ran a reverse, and laid down a great hit. He need to get as much time as he can out there and they are giving it to him and actually running the reverse instead of this fake crap. Our last two touchdowns were gutsy calls that turned out great and won us the game.
It feels great to take a game away form the pack and climb up closer to the top of the division, but we can't be satisfied with this game. We gave up too many yards in the first half and have to fix our running game somehow. I want our team to continue to develop this offensive and here's hoping that we will have Nathan Vasher and Darwin Walker back next week. There is no reason we shouldn't beat up on Minnesota next week, and I especially love it when Minnesota loses because I love seeing people cry about how bad Minnesota is. Things are looking good, and this was the perfect end to a great sports weekend.