Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears: NFC Championship Post-Game Analysis

This was one of the oldest rivalries sorting itself out on Soldier Field, with Aaron Rodgers and his explosive wide receivers against the stalwart defense of the Chicago Bears, led by Brian Urlacher.  This was the ultimate rubber-band match for these two rivals this season — whoever wins goes to the Super Bowl.  The Chicago Bears won in week 3 of the regular season with a 20-17 score and lost in week 17 against the Green Bay Packers 10-3.  The Bears intended on shutting out the Packers from arriving into the playoffs by using their starters in that last game, but they couldn’t stop the fourth quarter drive against Aaron Rodgers.  It’s Lovie Smith vs. Mike McCarthy, Julius Peppers and Brian Urlacher vs. Aaron Rodgers and Greg Jennings and Jay Cutler vs. Clay Matthews…

Now here comes the NFC Conference playoffs and its analysis:

  • Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers started off early in the first quarter with passes to Jordy Nelson, Greg Jennings and James Starks. And an amazing Rodgers’ 1-yard rush for a touchdown as a first strike against the Chicago Bears.
  • Bears running back Matt Forte‘s early first quarter 24-yard reception from quarterback Jay Cutler was stunning.
  • The almost-close safety late first quarter to Jay Cutler was avoided barely with a jump pass to Matt Forte (that was dropped).  That was too close for comfort for the Bears and their fans.
  • James Starks got his first NFL career touchdown from 4-yards out, and it extended the lead to 14-0 for the Packers.
  • Bad Jay Cutler finally showed up in this critical game with a quarterback rating of 34.1 with only 80 yards passing and an interception into the half.  Unfortunately, Bad Jay Cutler additionally was replaced with backup Todd Collins after the half. The game for the Bears started to spiral downwards afterwards.
  • Green Bay Packers had 103 total yards rushing between Aaron Rodgers, James Starks and Brandon Jackson into the half.  The Packers established a running threat albeit a bit unconventionally with Rodgers in the equation, but it was first assisted by the receiving duo of Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson with 115 yards combined into the half.
  • Near the end of the fourth quarter, the interception from Lance Briggs of the Chicago Bears from a pass intended for Packers wide receiver Donald Driver was answered with an interception from Sam Shields with a pass intended to Johnny Knox.
  • Brian Urlacher’s 39-yard  interception return of Aaron Rodgers could not swing the momentum into the Bears favor as the offense sputtered under Todd Collins.
  • Then in came Caleb Hanie, the third option at quarterback for the Bears late third quarter with both an injured Jay Cutler and an anemic Todd Collins on the sidelines.
  • Caleb Hanie’s drive ended with Chester Taylor’s 1-yard touchdown to close the lead within a touchdown at 14-7.
  • BJ Raji’s late fourth quarter 18-yard interception on Caleb Hanie brought the score of 21-7.
  • Earl Bennett’s 35-yard pass for a touchdown kept the game interesting again at 21-14.
  • Sam Shields last interception of Caleb Hanie sealed the game.

The explosive Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers offense fought the Chicago Bears at Soldiers Field and came out with a 21-7 win. The arrival of Bad (and Injured) Jay Cutler and Bad Todd Collins did not go so well for the Chicago Bears, despite the Bears defense stepping up at times. Good Caleb Hanie brought life to this Bears team, although the last two minutes closed the game for the Bears.  Surprisingly, Good Caleb Hanie had a better quarterback rating at 88.1 compared to Aaron Rodgers 55.4.

Now the Green Bay Packers are off to the Super Bowl against their opponent to be determined later tonight, and the Chicago Bears may have found a starting quarterback for their next season over Jay Cutler. Coach Lovie Smith and the Bears are now regretting not stopping the Green Bay Packers in their last game of the regular season, as the Packers ended theirs in the post-season.

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Seattle Seahawks vs. Chicago Bears: NFC Divisional Post-Game Analysis

This was a cold and snowy one in January at Soldier Field between two inconsistent teams during the regular season.  It was ultimately the battle of two erratic quarterbacks during the regular season — Seattle Seahawks Matt Hasselbeck and the Chicago Bears Jay Cutler.  However, they both have weapons the offensive side, and whether either team, more specifically their quarterbacks, could deliver the ball to them.

Now to the post-game analysis:

  • Blown coverage by Seattle’s secondary led the 58 yard pass from the Chicago Bears Jay Cutler to his tight end Greg Olsen for the first score early first quarter. Greg Olsen tore up this offense with 113 yards and a touchdown by the end of the game, and his receptions helped set up the rushing game for the Bears offense.
  • The loss of John Carlson due to a head injury early first quarter impacted the Seattle’s offense tremendously.
  • This was a slower and more methodical paced game than the two previous divisional games on Saturday.  Even the dominating Chicago Bears moved the ball slowly against the Seahawks defense.
  • Matt Hasselbeck could not establish any rhythm against the stiff Chicago Bears defense led by Brian Urlacher until the fourth quarter.  The entire defense was rattling the offensive line and the wide receivers.  The Seattle Seahawk offense was anemic in this game, aside from the receivers.
  • Lightning did not strike twice for Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch.  He ran for 2 yards the entire game.
  • The Wildcat offense performed by the Chicago Bears with running back Matt Forte attempting to pass the ball was too cute for its own good.  It led to an interception by Packers linebacker Aaron Curry.  Unfortunately, it led to a 2-yard touchdown reception by Mike Williams from Matt Hasselbeck to close the lead in the fourth quarter 28-10.
  • Bears Jay Cutler quarterback rush into the endzone from 6 yards out was great and brought in another score for the Bears to 21-0 in the second quarter.  Another rushing touchdown by Cutler late third quarter sealed the game for the Seattle Seahawks.
  • The Good Jay Cutler showed up.  Cutler ended the day with a 111.3 quarterback rating on 2 touchdowns and 274 yards passing.
  • The Good Matt Hasselbeck showed up the fourth quarter, albeit a bit too late. He made passes to Mike Williams and Bradon Stokley, and he ended the game with a 94.3 quarterback rating on 3 touchdowns and 258 yards passing.

In the end, the Chicago Bears trumped the Seattle Seahawks with a score of 35-24 at Soldier Field. However, this game has shown the Bears strengths and weaknesses, and it may not be able to contain the potency of Aaron Rodgers another time, considering his performance yesterday against the Atlanta Falcons.  The is the NFC Championship game between two long-time rivals (hopefully) in the cold (and snow), and this next game will be their second Championship game between these two teams in the post-season in NFL history.  It has the makings of a physical, in-the-trenches classic as Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs will have their skills tested against hot-handed Aaron Rodgers and their offense.