At Green Bay
8:25 p.m. ET
62 degrees, clear
Key Decision #1: (GB ball, trailing 10-0/just before end of 1st half)
• Packers head coach Mike McCarthy will want this one back. With QB Aaron Rodgers hurt and backup DeShone Kizer in cold off the bench, the Packers had the ball in their territory with less a minute remaining in the half, and the Bears having no timeouts left.
• The Packers faced a third-and-long; instead of simply running the ball, burning the clock and going into halftime down 10-0 (we know, not ideal, but playing at home with an improved defense … certainly not out of the game), the Packers chose to throw the ball.
• Kizer was hit, the ball was scooped up by Bears DL Khalil Mack and returned for a TD and a 17-0 Bears lead.
Key Decision #2: (Bears ball, leading 20-17/fourth-and-2 at GB 14/2:42 4Q)
• At this juncture in the game, GB had all the momentum, but a Bears TD would close out the game. Bears QB Mitch Trubisky had just led a nice drive to get the Bears into this position.
• The decision confronting Bears head coach Matt Nagy: kick the FG … or try to get the first down and wind down more clock (GB was out of timeouts), and ultimately score a game-clinching TD, especially knowing that Packers QB Aaron Rodgers was on fire at that point? Nagy opts for the FG to go up, 23-17.
• This is obviously a close call. The Bears defense had played well in this game — but that was in the first half, and their personnel is young on the back end. However, if the Bears don’t get the first down, a FG ties the game, although Rodgers would be facing a long field.
• Each decision is supportable – but ultimately, how many chances do you get to win at GB if you are the Bears, with a rookie head coach and second-year QB? Especially since Nagy went for a fourth-and-4 at the Packers 37 at 6:49 in Q2? Nagy shows great promise as a HC, and he’ll get more cracks at situations like these.
• Even with a loss, this was a good first game for rookie head coach Matt Nagy. He put his team in a position to win. However, on the final drive of the game, one could see where the Bears are green – that two-minute offense needs some work, and it appeared to us Nagy had difficulty getting the play calls in to QB Trubisky. We could be wrong about this – after all, we are just watching on television along with everyone else – but the last drive appeared too helter-skelter for our liking.
• While Packers head coach Mike McCarthy botched the end-of-first-half scenario with the clock, he did a good job at the end of the game preserving time on the clock for the Packers’ comeback. The scenario at the end of the half, however, is preventable and almost cost them a game.
• McCarthy did a good job of making an in-game adjustment and going up-tempo once the Packers fell behind. Generally speaking, under McCarthy the Packers are a front-running team, and actually have not had much success coming from behind in two-score deficits. McCarthy went up-tempo early in the second half, and it paid off.
• Once the Bears got away from the running game, we also thought the Packers did a good job utilizing their personnel as they often went with six DBs in the game.
• On the final drive of the game, with the Bears attempting to get into FG range, it appeared to us that the Packers decided to rush only three, thereby leaving the running game open to the Bears. Since the Bears had two timeouts left, we felt they could have gained more yardage utilizing Tarik Cohen and Jordan Howard perhaps, as both played well.