The Green Bay Packers beat the Chicago Bears, 21-13, on a cold December afternoon at Lambeau Field. (Stop me if you’ve heard that 200 times or so.) Green Bay did so, using a formula that’s become all too familiar and some people STILL can’t get past the optics of it.
If you’ve watched this space (and I thank you) you’ll know I’ve written about the 2019 Packers formula; Get out to a lead and let the defense bring it home. The Packers got out to a quick 7-0 lead over the Bears, via a 4th down touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers to Davante Adams. (Granted, this drive was made possible by a horrid kick catch interference call against the Bears, but it was a lead nonetheless.)
That 7-0 lead was one the Packers would not only build upon, but they would not relinquish it. This was thanks to a defense that was in Mitch Trubisky’s face, all afternoon. (To the tune of 3 sacks and 2 interceptions.) Despite results, it wasn’t as pretty as many felt it should have been.
Did the defense give up yardage? Yes. Bears wide receivers Allen Robinson and Anthony Miller, both went over 100 yards receiving in the game. Trubisky passed for 334 yards. The Bears were able to produce three scoring drives against the Packers defense, with a ton of yardage given up. Thing is, for all the yardage given up, the Packers only allowed 13 points. 13! It is the fourth time in their last five games they have given up 16 points or less. The unwritten rule for a defense in the NFL is to give up 17 or less per game. Damn the yardage and look at the results.
The offense continues to struggle outside of the first quarter scripted plays, this much is true. The offense gave just enough for the offense to finish it. This shouldn’t be a shock to anyone anymore. This is who the 2019 Packers are. You’re not going to get the offense from a few years back that averaged over 30 a game, to lead the NFL. You’re getting a run oriented team, who’s pass game is based on tempo and rhythm. Oh, and it’s STILL the first year in this offense, with receivers that have to be taught, and a Hall of Fame QB that also has to be taught. There’s growing pains associated with this.
Even with the growing pains, there has been success. Bad teams don’t win 11 games in the NFL. You also don’t just back in to those victories, either. Green Bay put the work in and won those games, no matter how it looked.
Get past the optics and look at the results. The Packers have and they are playoff bound because of it. Win pretty or win ugly, doesn’t matter in the tournament, you just need to win.