Bears’ offense that looked so good against Colts stalls against Packers
BY SEAN JENSEN firstname.lastname@example.org September 13, 2012 11:06PM
Green Bay Packers' Tom Crabtree (83) celebrates as he scores a touchdown on a pass from punter Tim Masthay during the first half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
Updated: October 15, 2012 10:07AM
GREEN BAY, Wis. — Whether it was legitimate bulletin-board material or not, Bears quarterback Jay Cutler turned heads when asked Tuesday about the Green Bay Packers’ previous philosophy of challenging his receivers.
Asked if that same approach would work now — after the Bears added towering receivers Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery — Cutler said, “Good luck.
“We’ve got some dudes who will get up in their face. We invite press coverage. We invite man. If we get in that type of game, our guys outside have to make some plays.”
The Bears’ receivers didn’t Thursday night in a 23-10 loss. The more telling comment was far less publicized, when Cutler tempered expectations during the same news conference Tuesday.
Cutler acknowledged that there’s a “different energy” with the offense, but he added a warning.
“We have to be careful,” he said. “We’ve only played one game.”
And the opener, against an Indianapolis team that went 2-14 last season, was misleading as Cutler started slow then shredded the Colts for 333 passing yards and two touchdowns.
Although the Packers disappointed — after a 15-1 regular season — they continued their recent domination of the rivalry against the Bears, winning a fifth in a row and seven of the last eight.
The Bears’ revamped offense stalled, with new Pro Bowl receiver Brandon Marshall not catching his first pass until the fourth quarter. In the third, Marshall and Cutler couldn’t connect in the end zone, when the receiver was wide open.
Cutler completed 11 of 27 passes for 126 yards with one touchdown and four interceptions.
The Bears’ leading receiver for most of the game was a familiar face, running back Matt Forte. But Forte left in the third quarter with an ankle injury and was ruled out. He had four catches for 49 yards.
Backup running back Michael Bush did a solid job stepping up, rushing for 54 yards in 14 carries. But the Packers’ offense — after a slow start — gained steam.
And they can credit former Bears running back Cedric Benson. While he didn’t dominate, like he did when he faced the Bears while with the Cincinnati Bengals, Benson rushed for 81 yards in 20 carries. That allowed Rodgers, who was sacked four times in the first half, to find a rhythm in the second half. Rodgers completed 22 of 32 passes for 219 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
Benson, meanwhile, added four catches for 35 yards.
The key play for the Packers was a fake field goal, when holder Tim Masthay perfectly executed a shovel pass to Tom Crabtree, who easily scored from 27 yards out with 1:50 left in the first half for a 10-0 lead.