Packers maul Bears ground game, win 27-17 : Packers Insider

Packers maul Bears ground game, win 27-17

September 26, 2011 by  
Filed under News

By Bob McGinn, Journal-Sentinel

~Chicago – Stout doesn’t even begin to describe what the Green Bay Packers’ front seven did to the running game of the Chicago Bears on Sunday at Soldier Field.

Utter domination would be the best way to put it.

Matt Forte, one of the outstanding running backs in the National Football League, carried nine times for 2 yards.

Clay Matthews and A.J. Hawk tackle Matt Forte for a 2-yard loss. Forte was held to two yards rushing on the day as Dom Capers had the defense focused on stopping #22.

Coupled with Jay Cutler’s three scrambles for 11 yards, the Bears finished 12 for 13 on the ground.

“Seriously?” defensive end Jarius Wynn asked when told of Forte’s statistics. “Wow.”

The Packers’ run defense had been solid against New Orleans and Carolina, but not like this. An 11-year veteran, defensive end Ryan Pickett said he had never been a part of a more overwhelming performance against the run.

“In my 11 years it’s the best,” said Pickett. “I played (five years) for the Rams. C’mon. Back in the day it was like a track meet.”

There was little indication something like this was coming.

In seven appearances against the Packers, Forte’s average game had been 17 carries for 63 yards. Last season, the Bears averaged 20.7 carries for 90 yards and a 4.4 average in three meetings with the Green Bay.

“Let me tell you something,” said Reggie McKenzie, the Packers’ director of football operations. “That Forte is a good player. Is he great? Well, he’s got to stack seasons back-to-back like some of the great ones do. But he’s got all the tools to be that.”

Ripped all week for giving Forte just 10 attempts in the drubbing at New Orleans, offensive coordinator Mike Martz opened with a counter play off the right side. Forte was tackled by Clay Matthews for minus-1.

“I think Clay knew it was coming and he just made a play,” linebacker Desmond Bishop said. “Clay is just one of those players you get every couple years. He’s just that guy. He can do anything.”

Four plays later, Martz tried a draw up the middle on second and 15 but Bishop read it, came clean and stopped him for another minus-1.

“Bishop just has really good instincts, he really does,” McKenzie said.

Martz opened up another possession late in the first quarter with Forte and he pounded off the right side for 5. When he tried Forte again on that same game-opening counter play, pulling guard Chris Williams couldn’t get there and Matthews sliced in to tackle him for minus-4.

“I still think he’s a good back,” said Bishop. “We just did a stellar job against the run today. No running back, as soon as he gets the ball he’s hit twice by Clay and twice by me, will get many yards.”

In the second quarter, Forte powered off right guard for 4. A few plays later, Bishop ran through and stopped him for minus-1.

“I think our D-line did such a fantastic job up front of stopping the run,” linebacker A.J. Hawk said. “The only thing up to us linebackers was to make sure that he didn’t get anything after the catch.”

With the Bears behind the entire game, Forte had three rushes in the third quarter and none in the fourth.

Outside linebacker Erik Walden played through a block by tight end Matt Spaeth and piled up Forte for minus-1. Then Pickett destroyed the attempt by center Roberto Garza to reach-block him and engulfed Forte for minus-2.

So the final accounting showed Forte with negative yardage on six of his nine rushes. Four of those six carries came against the nickel defense and just two against the base 3-4.

With Pickett and B.J. Raji anchoring inside and Matthews and Walden playing physically on the outside, the Packers have been more than willing to take on opponents’ ground games regardless of formation in their nickel defense.

Because they’ve had success doing it, defensive coordinator Dom Capers has the tremendous advantage of being able to have an extra defensive back on the field.

The Packers ranked 18th against the run a year ago, allowing 114.9 yards per game and 4.7 yards per carry. In the playoffs, their yields were down to 83.8 and 4.1.

With Mike Martz unwisely getting rid of former Packer-killer, tight end Greg Olsen this offseason, Capers realized Forte was the only offensive player who could beat the Packers Sunday. As a result, the Packers made sure that didn't happen.

“That’s one thing we’re trying to focus on from last year is tightening up on the run,” safety Charlie Peprah said. “For whatever reason, that was the stigma, that you could run on the Packers. And I think we’ve done a good job of that so far.”

The Packers could not have been more impressive Sunday.

Full story from McGinn found HERE

Help Us! Comment about this Packer Article

This is a community of fanatical Packer fans. Please tell us what you think about this post....