Insider: Thumbs up to Cobb, down to defense
The Big Picture
Anytime you beat a division rival at their place, it's a big step toward a division title. When it's against the team expected to be your biggest challenger, it's even bigger. At least for one day, the offensive ship was righted and things look a lot less gloomy heading into Thursday night's third straight NFC North Division game against Minnesota.
Receiver Randall Cobb entered Sunday's game with three touchdown catches in three games but still appeared out of sync with quarterback Aaron Rodgers. At Chicago on Sunday, the two were in harmony. Cobb finished with seven catches (on nine targets) for 113 yards and two more touchdowns, even after not making his first reception until 3 minutes into the second quarter. His first touchdown came on a nice leaping catch in the end zone over cornerback Isaiah Frey. His final reception was the most impressive. After making the catch in Chicago territory, Cobb made a move that left cornerback Kyle Fuller reaching for air before finally being pushed out of bounds at the Chicago 2.
The Packers' defense not only gave up 496 total yards, but also continued its poor third- and fourth-down performance. Green Bay allowed Chicago to convert nine of 14 times (64 percent) on those downs as it had trouble getting off the field. For the season, the Packers have allowed teams to convert 55 percent of the time (35 of 64).
Call it clock mismanagement, call it poor officiating or call it fortunate that a clear camera angle was nowhere to be found. Whatever you call it, the final play of the first half was the game's turning point. When Ha Ha Clinton-Dix held on long enough to keep Martellus Bennett from reaching the end zone as time expired, it not only prevented the Bears from taking a potential 24-21 lead, but also was the first time either team failed to score on a drive. It "broke serve" and gave the Packers momentum as they also got the ball to start the second half. The replay official did not have clear evidence to overturn the call that Bennett didn't stretch far enough with the ball to break the plane of the goal line.
Did You Notice?
• The Bears averaged 12.6 yards on their eight first-down plays to start drives, including 10.5 yards per play on their six runs.
• The Packers had 102 yards on their two interception returns: Sam Shields went 62 yards on his, and Clay Matthews ran 40 yards before going out of bounds, likely to reduce the risk of reinjuring his groin.
• The Packers became only the second team in NFL history (the Bears are the other) to reach 700 wins. Green Bay's all-time record stands at 700-539-37.
Rants and Raves
• RAVE: The Packers' offensive line kept quarterback Aaron Rodgers clean all day. Not only did Rodgers compile a 151.2 quarterback rating with four touchdown passes and 302 yards, but he also wasn't hit all day. Chicago's Ego Ferguson was credited with a sack, but it was a cheap one: he chased Rodgers out of bounds on a scramble for no gain.
• RANT: Players had trouble staying on their feet all day on the ragged Soldier Field playing surface, but nobody's slips had a bigger impact than two by Davon House. His first slip came when guarding Brandon Marshall and left the big receiver wide open on Chicago's first touchdown. His second slip came when guarding Josh Morgan and resulted in a 9-yard reception to the Green Bay 1-yard line.
• RAVE: Green Bay scored 38 points but held the ball for only 23 minutes, 38 seconds of the 60-minute game. Their quick-strike offense scored touchdowns on drives that took up 2:22, 3:47, 2:47, 3:01 and 1:41.