The Green Bay Packers defense dominated the Chicago Bears on Thursday Night Football as the Pack cruised to a 23-10 win. Clay Matthews had the most dominant performance of his career while Tramon Williams made two interceptions. The Packers also scored a touchdown on a trick play that was years in the making.

Packers LB Clay Matthews Most Dominant Game, the Leadup

The Packers entered the game 0-1 after losing their season opener at Lambeau Field to 49ers, 30-22. The Bears had won their season opener and were hoping to increase their record to 2-0 and end their five-game losing streak against the Packers.

For the Pack, another conference loss at home, this time to a division rival, would put the team in an early hole one season after their dominating 15-1 record of 2011.

The Packers also knew they would be without wide receiver Greg Jennings who was unavailable due to an injury.

It was still early in the season, but this was almost a must-win for the Packers.

The Packers Defense Sets the Tone in the First Half

The Green Bay defense dominated this game and set the tone on Chicago’s first drive of the game. On the first play from scrimmage for the Bears, Green Bay’s D.J. Smith sacked Jay Cutler for a 13-yard loss.

The Green Bay defense would finish the game with seven sacks and four interceptions while holding the Bears to 168 net yards for the game.

The Pack took the lead early in the second quarter on a 48-yard field goal by Mason Crosby. Ex-Bears running back Cedric Benson ran for 12 yards and caught two passes for 25 yards to account for 37 yards on the 50-yard drive.

A Trick Play by the Packers Years in the Making

On their next drive, the Packers went 80 yards on 12 plays to take a 10-0 lead. Key plays included a 20-yard pass from Aaron Rodgers to Randall Cobb and then a 28-yard end around by Cobb that got the Packers into the red zone.

Two sacks forced the Packers to a 4th-and-26 at the Chicago 27. Crosby came in to try a 45-yard field goal. Instead, holder Tim Masthay flipped the ball to backup tight end Tom Crabtree who ran into the end zone for a touchdown.

“I saw Crabby running out the back side, I couldn’t believe it,” Rodgers said. “That’s a gutsy call. A gutsy call. You’ve got to score on that.”

Packers head coach Mike McCarthy wasn’t sure the play would score. “I was trying to send our team a message when I did call it,” he explained. “We’ve been working on that for two or three seasons. We were looking for a certain look, and the Bears gave it. And, frankly, I would have been fine with the field position.”

“We were trying to block it,” Chicago’s Charles Tillman said. “I think that would have been a good game-changer on our part if we could have blocked it. … It was a good call for that particular style of block that we had set up.”

Tramon Willimas intercepted Cutler on the Bears next drive and set up a 35-yard field goal on the final play of the half that gave the Pack a 13-0 lead at the break.

Packers LB Clay Matthews Most Dominant Game, the Second Half

The Bears got on the board in the second half on a 45-yard field goal by Robbie Gould. That was the only scoring in the third quarter thanks in part to a Charles Woodson interception.

The Packers got the three points back early in the fourth quarter on a 54-yard field goal by Crosby to increase the lead to 16-3.

Then, Williams picked off Cutler for the second time and returned it 38 yards to the Chicago 26. On the next play, Rodgers found Donald Driver deep down the middle for a 26-yard touchdown pass. That clinched the win.

Packers LB Clay Matthews Most Dominant Game, the Numbers

Matthews kept the heat on, recording two more sacks in the fourth quarter to keep the Bears in check. He finished the game with a career-high 3.5 sacks. He also made four quarterback hits, seven total tackles and broke up a pass. Matthews also made three tackles for loss. That gave him six sacks in the season’s first two games.

“I thought Clay was off the charts, just with the energy and production that he brought,” McCarthy said. “He’s had an excellent start. I think he did a really good job on their tackles.”

McCarthy was also pleased with the team’s overall performance. “We got kicked in the (rear end) four days ago and we were motivated.”

Matthews would finish the season with 13 sacks in 12 games and earned Pro Bowl honors for the fourth straight season. This was the most dominant game of his 11-year NFL career.




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