Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Packers outlast Bears, Vikings next up

That was quite a game in Chicago wasn't it, Packers fans? Turned out not to be the coldest game in Packers-Bears history after all. Only about the fourth coldest. But it was certainly a hot time on the field from start to finish.

The Packers were able to jump out to what seemed like a "There's...your...dagger!" lead before the end of the third quarter. Behind a 160+ - yard running game by Ty Montgomery, and a solid offensive performance overall (despite two endzone drops by WR Davante Adams which could have really put the game out of reach early on), the Pack built what seemed like a comfortable lead. The defense, to that point, had held Chicago to just 10 points and generated several turnovers.

A 17-point lead should do the trick going into the 4th quarter if Packer squads on both sides of the ball and special teams continue to play for 15 more minutes the way they did for the prior 45. Especially against Da Bearz. But, that Packers' defense which was giving up tons of yardage (isn't that a mixed-measurement metaphor?) and loads of points during the team's four-game losing streak...well, it returned. And in the process, let the Chicago offense, behind QB Matt Barkley, wrack up 17 unanswered points to tie the game 27-27 with only about a minute left in the game. It was maddening.

With no timeouts remaining, what's a team to do? Particularly a team like the Packers? Put the ball in the capable hands and right arm of QB Aaron Rodgers, of course. Just watch.

Yes, Rodgers threw a 60-yard bomb to WR Jordy Nelson who got behind Da Bearz' secondary. In the blink of an eye and now at about the 20-yard line, the Packers had to rush to get all their players to the line of scrimmage. With three seconds remaining, Rodgers spiked the ball. Kicker Mason Crosby came on for the game-winning field goal, which he had to make twice because Chicago head coach John Fox called timeout just as Crosby was kicking the first one. Still, no problem. Final score: Packers 30, Da Bearz 27. It almost made you feel sorry for Bears' fans. Almost. And after 83 years, the total number of wins for both teams in this series is once again tied up, at 94 each. Yowza.

This was also the fourth win in a row for the Packers, to put them at 8-6. With Minnesota at home in Lambeau Field this Saturday and then the final game at Detroit on New Year's Day, the Packers control their own destiny in the NFC North. Win out and they win the NFC North at 10-6 and will host a playoff game. Who would have thought that even possible when the team was mired in the midst of its four-game losing streak? But Rodgers said he thought they could "run the table" and it looks as if he might be right. They are two-thirds of the way there.

We'll be back with our ViQueens preview and prediction closer to game time. So please check back. Or follow us on Twitter (@packfansunited) for any timely updates and witty commentary (on a good day for the latter).

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