4 downs: Dougherty on Packers' win
Every week I’ll share four thoughts from the Green Bay Packers’ game the previous day. Here are some quick takes on their 31-23 win over the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on Sunday:
First down: Quarterback Aaron Rodgers had two improvisational plays that hearkened back to Brett Favre. On one, late in the first quarter, he was scrambling and threw a dangerous back-handed flip over outside linebacker Jared Allen to halfback Eddie Lacy that went for nine yards.
“How many times have you seen me throw a ball like that?” Rodgers said. “Not often. I don’t think that’s one thing we’re going to look back on and say it’s a real positive. It was just kind of playing the game there. Luckily it was just far enough out there for Eddie to make a play. I was just talking to him actually in the locker room about that. Eddie’s a character, he was taking me through his thought process on that play. One of those, ‘no, no, no, he’s throwing it. What is this? Oh, I caught it. Oh, I’m Randy Moss.’”
The other was a scramble on the first play of the second half. Rodgers looked like he was going to run but then pitched the ball to tight end Richard Rodgers, who finished the play for an 11-yard gain.
“I’m not exactly sure what happened,” Rodgers said. “It was kind of a reactionary play.”
Second down: The Packers used safety Sean Richardson as their dime slot cover man. They showed that look occasionally in training camp, but it’s still a little unorthodox because they usually play a cornerback there, not a safety. Defensive coordinator Dom Capers goes to dime personnel on the most obvious passing downs or when the offense puts four receivers on the field, so cornerbacks are preferred for both slot positions. But Capers might have wanted the bigger player (Richardson is 216 pounds) there in case the Bears ran the ball with halfback Matt Forte, who’s their best offensive weapon.
Third down: The Packers’ two young receivers, Ty Montgomery and Jeff Janis, basically didn’t play on offense with the arrival of James Jones this week. The NFL’s official snap counts don’t come out until later today, but it appeared Janis played only one snap of offense, and that was in the victory formation on the game’s final play. From what I could tell Montgomery also played only one snap, when the Packers one play went with four receivers. Jones played almost the entire game as the No. 3 receiver.
Fourth down: The Packers’ win was their first in a regular-season opener since 2011. The Packers have started 1-2 each of the last three seasons but made the playoffs each time.
“It's been a while,” Rodgers said of winning an opener. “We've got to start fast, as Mike's been talking about all spring and summer. I guess we got our first one. He'll be happy for a week.”