Thoughts From the Green Bay Packers Versus the Chicago Bears (01/07/2024)
My thoughts from today's 17-9 Green Bay Packers' win over the Chicago Bears.
Playoffs, baby! Let's just take a moment to reflect on what this team has accomplished, regardless of what happens in the post season. This was supposed to be a transition year with a first-year starter at quarterback and the youngest roster in the league. Plus, the guy they were counting on to help with that transition, veteran running back Aaron Jones, missed seven games. A six-or-seven-win season would have been a reasonable expectation. 9-8 and the playoffs is bonus and there's no reason to believe they don't have a chance of pulling an upset next weekend.
The most amazing part of their accomplishment is the offense still isn't at full power. I've seen the difference Jones can make when he's healthy. I've also seen how wide receiver Christian Watson forces defenses to play the offense differently because of his speed and playmaking potential. We have yet to see both on the field at the same time this year. It's very possible that will happen next weekend and with Jordan Love playing as well as any other quarterback in the league right now, that could make the offense unstoppable.
In fact, I'll say it now. Barring injury, I think Jordan Love wins league MVP next year. Frankly, I still think he should be in the conversation this season but will give the snub a pass because of the mid-season struggles. He got screwed over with the Pro Bowl voting though. How the heck is he not at least an alternate?
The offense does need to stop leaving points off the board. The Packers did not punt a single time, but the offense missed out on at least nine more points. A missed Anders Carlson field goal, a snafu that kept the clock running at the end of the half and Love's misfortunate fumble while trying to save a busted play kept Chicago in the game.
I don't know if Joe Barry saved his job the past couple of weeks, but had the defense played this well all season, it wouldn't even be a conversation. It does make me question how much of the mid-season issues were because of Barry and how much of it was a simple lack of execution. At minimum, I think the defense has pushed the decision back a bit longer, giving him plenty of time to justify staying around.
I'm a big fan of the refs letting the players play but do draw the line when it comes to safety. As much as I hate to say it, that hit on the Justin Fields slide should have been a penalty. Plus, I'm pretty sure there were some punches being thrown in those early scuffles that should have resulted in both flags and ejections.
Speaking of the Fields' hit, I think someone should take a look at how the concussion protocol was followed. His head clearly bounced off the field, but it took 2-3 plays before someone pulled him off of it? Then he was back on the field after what, one play? It seems a bit iffy to me.