Packers Eliminated from Playoff Contention with 24-17 Loss to the Bears

For the first time since 1991, the Green Bay Packers (5-8-1, 1-3-1 NFC North) will have back-to-back losing seasons after falling to the Chicago Bears (10-4, 4-1 NFC North) 24-17 Sunday. With the win, the Bears clinch the NFC North Division for the first time since 2010 and officially eliminated the Packers from playoff contention.  

For the first time since 1991, the Green Bay Packers (5-8-1, 1-3-1 NFC North) will have back-to-back losing seasons after falling to the Chicago Bears (10-4, 4-1 NFC North) 24-17 Sunday. With the win, the Bears clinch the NFC North Division for the first time since 2010 and officially eliminated the Packers from playoff contention.

With the Packers’ playoff hopes officially out of the picture, it was not anything new that slowed down them down Sunday. The offense continued to struggle with quarterback Aaron Rodgers at the center of some of the problems. Rodgers, for yet another week, missed open receivers and made uncharacteristic mistakes as the NFL’s highest paid player. According to ESPN stats, he finished the day 25/42 with 274 yards, 0 TDs, and an interception. His interception came off a tipped pass to Jimmy Graham and snapped an NFL record of 402 passing attempts without an interception. Both of Rodgers two interceptions this season have come off the hands of Graham.

With running back Aaron Jones leaving the game with a knee injury, the Packers lost one of their biggest weapons on offense, but Jamaal Williams as able to come in and put six on the board at a critical moment in the third quarter. Despite this brief resurgence in the third quarter to tie the game, the Packers were unable to finish the rest of their opportunities and in the end failed to keep their post- season hopes alive.

 

What we learned: It’s officially over.

It’s a tough pill to swallow, but it’s officially, officially over. Getting eliminated from playoff contention is never a good feeling but getting eliminated by one of your biggest rivals is just the salt in the wound for Green Bay. To make matters worse, on the other side of the division, the Vikings crushed the Dolphins 41-17.

This season was one to forget for the Packers. It was a season of struggles and season ending injuries for Green Bay and it marked the end of the Mike McCarthy era. It will be interesting to see what personnel changes, both on the field and on the sideline, will be made in the offseason. With a healthy team and the right staff in 2019, the Packers have potential to make things happen... We can only hope.

 

What went right: Jamaal Williams stepping in

Aaron Jones getting hurt was surely not ideal, but Williams was able to hang in there for Green Bay when his number was called. Although he was just the starter last week, Williams has struggled to find the right gaps ad blocks throughout the season, but he did a decent job of that when he really needed to Sunday.

According to ESPN stats, he had 12 carries for 55 yards and a touchdown. In addition to his work in the backfield, he had 4 receptions for 42 yards and finished second to Davante Adams in receiving for Green Bay.

 

What went wrong:  Too many missed opportunities

For a moment in seemed like déjà vu from week one against the Bears. Rodgers was clearly in pain, he was limping and skipping down the field, and the Packers were slowly finding offensive rhythm and creeping back into the game. Could they really do it again?

No.

Despite eventually tying the game at 14, the Packers missed their remaining opportunities Sunday. They had their chances to take control of the game and they failed to do so. The biggest chance for Green Bay came just one drive later when the defense made a huge play, forcing the ball out of the hands of Bears’ quarterback Mitch Trubisky in the red zone, and recovering the fumble.

But, a sack followed by two missed throws from Rodgers was how the Packers responded to what could have been a huge momentum shift.

“It’s disappointing for sure. The expectation is to compete for championships, and it’s a good football team. Like I told some of the guys, I look forward to some of the battles over the years,” Rodgers said.  “I like our chances in this division going forward. Obviously, there’ll be some changes over the offseason. We’ll finish this year out the right way and look forward to the future which I still think is really bright in Green Bay.”

Offensive Player of the Game: Davante Adams

For yet another week this season wide receiver Davante Adams was the star of Green Bay’s offense. For the sixth week in a row Adams led Green Bay in receiving with 8 receptions for 119 yards according to ESPN stats. In the 4th quarter Adams had his 100th catch of the year, which marks the first 100-reception year for a Packers’ receiver since Robert Brooks in 1995 according to Packers writer Wes Hodkiewicz and Hansen Hillmer.  

A picture of his insane fourth quarter catch is below: 

 

Defensive Player of the Game: Dean Lowry

Overall the defense held their own Sunday, but it was defensive end Dean Lowry who was able to come up and make a play when the Packers needed it. Lowry recovered Trubisky’s fourth quarter fumble, but unfortunately Green Bay couldn’t make anything of it.

It was the only turnover of the game for Green Bay.

 

Up next, the Packers hit the road to face off with the New York Jets. Kickoff is set for 1 PM EST.

 

Sarah Kelliher is a contributor for CheeseheadTV and a podcaster with Pack-A-Day Podcast. She can be found via Twitter @sarahkelliher4

 

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Comments (21)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
GBPDAN1's picture

December 16, 2018 at 04:45 pm

These last 2 seasons haven't been fun. We are headed for an interesting off season. We have needs on D that need to be filled , but beefing up the O-line to protect Rodgers is Paramount. We need Rodgers to play like old Rodgers and getting him an elite O-line will help a lot. Also, need some red zone threats. Another stud outside WR playing on the otherside of Adam's would go a long way, and of course, a better TE

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Lare's picture

December 16, 2018 at 04:53 pm

I agree, Gutekunst has to improve the OL before all else.

Kind of interesting to see all the negativity and angst of Packers fans online. With all the injuries this team is just a shell of itself, its amazing that they can even stay in games with 2/3 of their starters out.

Anyway, on to next year with lots of new coaches, schemes, players and hope for the future.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

December 17, 2018 at 07:53 am

A lot of injuries have been on defense: I haven't seen much abuse of Pettine. Now offense is a completely different matter. The loss of Allison hurt more than I expected, and probably Cobb as well. Bulaga is still playing around 70% of available snaps, a very foreseeable circumstance. Bahk, Linsley and Taylor are all over 90%. Very reasonable. The loss of Bell (61% of snaps) hardly matters since there is little to choose between Bell and McCray, or Patrick for that matter.

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carlos's picture

December 16, 2018 at 05:45 pm

Agree GDan. And we haven’t even touched on the defensive needs.

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Lphill's picture

December 16, 2018 at 04:47 pm

No Aaron Jones, Trevor Davis,Brian Bulaga , Allison, Kevin King , M Wilkerson ,Mike Daniels ,Kenny Clark etc ..., but some want to blame Rodgers for a poor season not to mention missed field goals , bad roughing the passer calls , but no Its all Aaron Rodgers fault. He can only do so much ,the Pack will be back better and stronger next year.

9 points
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jeepingmakooi's picture

December 16, 2018 at 04:50 pm

Finally someone who understands it's not just on Rodgers or even mm. Yes Mike needed to see the door but it wasn't all his fault either... I think only two players from the original starters on d are left playing.. Martinez and Matthews.... I guess that's Rodgers fault too right guy?

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Tundraboy's picture

December 16, 2018 at 09:10 pm

That's exactly what I'm thinking, but also like GPDan, it has to start with a rebuilt Oline, or nothing else will matter.

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John Galt's picture

December 16, 2018 at 04:52 pm

Cool - draft position keeps improving.

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ollie418's picture

December 16, 2018 at 04:55 pm

Anyone notice how bad punter Scott is? I have. He stinks!

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Lare's picture

December 16, 2018 at 05:15 pm

Zook took another really good player and helped him get to below average. Now there's a surprise.

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Kb999's picture

December 16, 2018 at 05:09 pm

P U

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AgrippaLII's picture

December 16, 2018 at 05:21 pm

Draft position keeps getting better...let's spend at least three more picks on WR's again...AR can block for himself!

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HankScorpio's picture

December 16, 2018 at 06:00 pm

Gute has positioned things in such way that he has lots of cap space, 3 picks in the top 45 (now) and an extra pick in the middle of the 4th. He's got to make some hay with those resources.

The good news is that whatever they pay to a head shrinker to get Rodgers squared away does not count against any of that. But that will be the most important task of the off season. If that fails, nothing else that happens will be able to change the outcome of 2019 to substantially better than 2018.

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Packer_Fan's picture

December 16, 2018 at 06:10 pm

A season to forget. An ascending team beating a descending team. Their QB outplaying the top paid QB. The whole team plus the coaches needs to be reset. The plays need to be redone. That interception looked like the Bears knew exactly what the routes would be. So no clear separation and a throw behind the receiver. And BG needs to look closely at a few players. Morrison and Jackson continued to have penalties. I think one could go on and on regarding poor discipline, non-creative offense and a lack of talent on both sides of the ball. So sad.

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Packer_Fan's picture

December 16, 2018 at 06:10 pm

A season to forget. An ascending team beating a descending team. Their QB outplaying the top paid QB. The whole team plus the coaches needs to be reset. The plays need to be redone. That interception looked like the Bears knew exactly what the routes would be. So no clear separation and a throw behind the receiver. And BG needs to look closely at a few players. Morrison and Jackson continued to have penalties. I think one could go on and on regarding poor discipline, non-creative offense and a lack of talent on both sides of the ball. So sad.

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pooch's picture

December 16, 2018 at 07:03 pm

Williams slower than molasses

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Tom Legener's picture

December 16, 2018 at 07:14 pm

It's regrettable that I find myself living in the universe created when they flagged Clay for his first big hit on a QB. Instead of witnessing Jaire Alexander's Pro-Bow Rookie year, I am stuck in this greeny-goldish hell, with the Bears becoming division champs while we pout and shake our heads.

Next year. Cut all the past tense players like Clay and Beluga and Perry and Graham and Cobb. Take a good hard look at Mason.

Draft like you did when you picked Jaire.

Hire a GREAT coach. This last part is the hardest.

Go Pack Go.

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Point-Packer's picture

December 16, 2018 at 07:40 pm

This game spotlighted how bad our Special Teams is and how much impact it can have on a game. JK Scott was his usual over-rated self. Meanwhile, the Chicago punter (i'm not even going to bother to look up his name) was doing what he has done all season - down teams inside the 10 - JK Scott can't do that to save his life. You know, what a punter who was drafted way to high is supposed to do. And then the punt returns by Chicago. The amazing strings of penalties on special teams by GB. I'm surprised when GB doesn't get a penalty on a return. Fumbles on punts. The fact that Zook is still coaching in GB should be the lead indicator as to why GB now looks and sounds like the Browns - writ large. Mike McCarthy turned the Pack into the Browns. Congrats Fatso.

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Since'61's picture

December 16, 2018 at 10:37 pm

We need better players. Hopefully Gute starts with the OL. Then we need an NFL pass rusher. Another WR and a real NFL TE are needed as well. An RB who can carry the load and take some of the load off of AR is crucial as well.

Defense needs to focus on OLBs and Safeties.
Special Teams need a complete rebuild.

BTW we also need an HC and staff.

Chuck Brice, Graham, Perry, CM3, everyone who plays ILB besides Martinez, Bell, and Zook.

Underwhelming effort and season. Thanks, Since ‘61

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dobber's picture

December 17, 2018 at 08:18 am

I will be curious to see if the new HC decides to shift from predominantly odd fronts to even fronts on defense. Given the Packers lack of 3-4 edge types, it might be easier to go that route and find a playable DE or two rather than looking for two (assuming Perry and CMIII are out) 3-4 edge players.

My non-expert opinion is that they could easily bring back CMIII to be a SAM in the 4-3 and that Burks is the WILL. Fackrell is your top backup at both spots. Martinez becomes your guy in the middle, and maybe they find a more traditional beefy MLB to back him up. This defense has plenty of interior guys and run-down DL for the 4-3. I think this might actually be the path of least resistance.

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blacke00's picture

December 17, 2018 at 08:01 am

Again, there are those that are finally acknowledging that the OL is a huge problem and it has been that way for years.
Now that we know that, Rodgers now has to acknowledge he can't do everything he used to do (i.e. scrambling) and play within which defense gives him. He's talented enough to get an other MVP if he does that.
Gute heeds to draft a "quality" EDGE RUSHER numero uno! Next OL! best RT or Guard in the draft if possible.
Or sign best OL/SS in FA. Solidify the OL and DL before any and I mean any "skill" players are considered.

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