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Bears Vs Packers: Notes, Scribbles, and Things Jotted Down

We're going over our notes from yesterday's loss to the Packers that ended the Bears' season.

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Spor

  • There's so much to get into about this game that you just kind of stare at the entirety of it all and wonder where to begin, but I'll just come out and say this - in the end, the Packers made the most of their opportunities in the entirety of the game to win the game, and the Bears did not. Even when it comes to the Packers converting three fourth-downs on the final drive. Even when it comes to the "fumble touchdown" in the second quarter. The Packers converted fourth and eight by scoring a fifty-yard touchdown to win the game. Growing up as a chess player, one of my teachers gave me the old adage of "The player who makes the second-to-last mistake wins." That works out well when you don't make the last mistake as well. The Packers made the second-to-last mistake of going for the extra point instead of the two-point conversion, in my mind. The Bears made the last mistake in allowing the Packers' final drive to happen.
  • When it mattered, the Bears made too many unforgivable mistakes. Not realizing no whistle was blown in not picking up the fumble was a bad mistake. Not keeping someone deeper on fourth and eight was a bad mistake.
  • It's a shame, because outside of the fumble play for the touchdown, I thought James Anderson played a really solid game.
  • I saw a lot of Twitter and comments bemoaning the missed opportunity on the fumble touchdown even after the game, as that was a possible fourteen-point swing should the Bears have recovered it themselves. I'd just like to point out that for a long, long portion of the second half, the Bears were actually leading the game. That doesn't make it okay that the Bears fell asleep on that play, but it does mean the Bears had managed to overcome their mistake for the time being.
  • And actually, that third quarter was just what the Bears needed coming out - having given up thirteen straight points including the fumble touchdown and another immediate fumble by Alshon Jeffery (when did you think you'd ever say that?), the Bears needed to regroup quickly, and did so coming out of the half. They came out and ran the ball to regain a little bit of offensive stability, the Packers did the same on their next drive, and then Jay Cutler threw a beautiful deep ball to Jeffery that Jeffery powered through to the one yard line. Jeffery made it a point not to give that ball away.
  • I think Jordy Nelson just caught another ball with a Bear holding up three yards away from him, and Nelson just juked Lance Briggs again.
  • Chris Conte showed some pretty good closing speed to break on the interception in the end zone. And then he squandered some of that goodwill by missing tackles and taking bad angles, including allowing Cobb behind him on fourth and eight.
  • Zack Bowman said the 4th and 8 play was a blown coverage, supposed to be in zone as opposed to the man they were playing. Without knowing the exact play call, I think we have to take him at his word on this one. (Edit: Apparently it's been said that a bunch of players are saying a bunch of different things. If so... That's a problem, folks.)
  • If you would have told me coming into the game that Aaron Rodgers was going to throw two interceptions in the first half, I would have told you the Bears were going to take the game handily. Rodgers didn't look as sharp as we've seen him, but especially in the second half he picked it up a bit.
  • The final drive with six minutes left was an interesting conundrum. I don't think with six minutes the Packers were really thinking initially they had to grind out a final drive to get into field goal range with Mason Crosby, who despite being Mason Crosby has had a pretty decent year, but after the first fourth-down conversion, they would have been more than happy to grind their way inside the Bears' 40 for a field goal to win the game. Then Randall Cobb breaks free, and all hell breaks loose. The thing is, at no point did I feel comfortable the Bears were going to get stops, since the Packers felt they were in four-down territory.
  • Randall Cobb had two catches in his first game back. Both of them were touchdown catches.
  • Regarding the Shea McClellin "roughing the passer/late hit" penalty - McClellin basically did the same thing Lance Briggs did, except McClellin was in motion already, going after a player that was going to the ground. Ticky-tack/bad call, sure, but McClellin didn't do himself any favors by making the play, making contact with a grounded player.
  • If the Bears and tackling were on Facebook, their relationship status would be "It's Complicated." Pretty sure the next one-on-one open-field tackle I see that stops a receiver or running back without allowing another additional yard will be their first on the season. Oh wait. And everybody was a culprit yesterday.
  • Jay Cutler had a strong game, but it wasn't really an outstanding performance. The Bears' offense was cold through most of the first half aside from the touchdown drive, but in the second half, the Bears picked it up overall, including Cutler sharpening his game.
  • For all the early offensive struggles, to still be down a score at the half was some solid work by the defense. Then there were the two additional blown leads in the second half and the following numbers that showed how much of the game was lost by the defense:
    - Three-for-three allowed on fourth down
    - 76 total plays
    - Time of Possession of 35:09
    - 9-18 on third down (12-18 conversions total)
    The Packers basically ground the Bears away.
  • Normally I don't like to complain about bad calls, but I'd like to know what the ref saw or didn't saw about Eric Weems' foot that caused the Bears' challenge of a touchback to remain a touchback. I saw green between Weems' foot and the goal line, I'm pretty sure.
  • Marquess Wilson made a catch. Let's all glorify Marquess Wilson and make a case for Marquess Wilson to be the number three receiver next year based on it. Or not. Preferably not.
  • The Packers passed up an opportunity to run on third and one in the third quarter, and the Bears got a stop on that drive. The next run play by the Packers went for 17 yards.
  • Regarding the fumble touchdown again, I was curious about why it could have been advanced forward. According to Mike Pereira on Twitter, the ball can be advanced because it was not in the last two minutes nor fourth down.
  • Raise your hand if you knew Kahlil Bell was a Packer. Hands down, folks.
  • The Packers seemed to go to the Aaron Rodgers well a little early in the game; then you have to remember that even though Eddie Lacy and James Starks mean the Packers can run the ball on teams now, it's still an Aaron Rodgers offense, and Rodgers is quite a good passer of the football, in case you hadn't heard.
  • Speaking of "hadn't heard," I had no idea the Bears and Packers were playing for the division yesterday, nor did I know that Eddie Lacy was playing on a sprained ankle, nor did I realize the Bears' run defense was bad.
  • Adam Podlesh's longest punt yesterday was 39 yards. Tim Masthay averaged 40 on his two, including one of 50.
  • Devin Hester was strong yesterday. Wouldn't have minded seeing that Hester a little more frequently earlier in the year.
  • The Bears seemed to be a lot more aggressive and precise in their run fits, more than we've seen in prior weeks anyway. Mel Tucker and the defense didn't have a strong 2013 campaign. To put it mildly.
  • It was nice to see Julius Peppers register a sack on the day, then lose contain like a cheap cardboard box.
  • There's more the offense could have done in this game, sure - they could have held onto the ball a little more themselves, and at least run 50 plays.

So with that, the 2013 Bears' season has drawn to a close, and once again a Bears season ends without the playoffs. Maybe next year they'll have this whole "defense" thing figured out and get back there.