Studs and Duds: Packers' Week 15 Win vs. Bears
The Green Bay Packers took another step in the right direction on their quest to run the table, defeating the division rival Chicago Bears in a tight 30-27 win.
The game really should not have come down to a game winning field goal as time expired, but a fourth quarter collapse by both the offense and defense allowed the Bears to claw their way back and nearly pull off the upset.
That being said, a win is a win, especially this late in the season. Green Bay able to pull ahead of the Vikings into second place in the NFC North, and victories over Minnesota and Detroit in the final two weeks of the season would secure yet another division title for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. Who played well and who struggled in the team’s Week 15 win?
RB Ty Montgomery
It’s no surprise that Montgomery earns the title of this week’s biggest stud. He solidified his role as a true running back for the Packers, and did it in a big way. Any way you try to slice it, Montgomery had an incredible game. He tallied 162 yards and two touchdowns on just 16 carries—yes, he averaged over 10 yards per touch. What’s even more astounding is that 156 of those yards came after contact, and he forced seven missed tackles according to Pro Football Focus. For the first time this season, someone other than Eddie Lacy is the team’s leading rusher, and it looks like it is going to stay that way. Montgomery has earned an even bigger role as the season winds to a close.
S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
The defense’s late collapse could be attributed to many different things, but Clinton-Dix’s play was not one of them. He was overall solid in coverage, and recorded two of the Packers’ three interceptions in the game. Both came on throws that were ill-advised by Matt Barkley, but the first did come on an impressive jumping pick. They set up the Packers’ offense in excellent field position both times thanks to a combined 43 return yards, and helped the team build a big lead in the third quarter.
TE Jared Cook
Cook’s stat line was not necessarily eye popping, but it was undeniably solid. He finished the game with six catches for 85 yards, but what’s more important is when his impact was most felt. He converted two important third downs on the opening drive (which would ultimately result in a touchdown) and had a few more crucial catches down the line that moved the chains when the Packers were trying to establish momentum.
Honorable Mentions: Christine Michael made his biggest contributions as a Packer, ripping off a 42-yard touchdown run thanks to a punishing stiff arm. Jordy Nelson had two deep ball drops, but finished with 124 yards, including the 60-yard bomb that set up the game winning field goal. Julius Peppers’ strip sack to open the second half set the tone for the third quarter in which the Packers built a 17-point lead.
WR Davante Adams
Adams has had an incredible bounce back season from his struggles a year ago, but Sunday’s came had more negatives than positives. He was directly responsible for taking eight points off the board for Green Bay after dropping two should-have-been touchdowns in the end zone. Both passes came on near-perfect throws from Aaron Rodgers, and even in the cold weather there is no excuse for the drops. The Packers were forced to settle for field goals on both of those drives. If the Bears had been successful in their late upset bid, a lot of fingers would have been pointed at Adams for his inability to secure the two touchdowns.
CB Damarious Randall
Randall had a great game last week against the Seahawks as he recorded two interceptions. The same could not be said for his performance against the Bears. He struggled in coverage for large portions of the game, and missed a couple tackles that could have ended a couple Chicago drives. He was ultimately benched in the fourth quarter after giving up a touchdown to Alshon Jeffery and would not return to the game. For the Packers’ young secondary to continue to be successful, they’ll need Randall to get back to playing like the first round pick that he is.