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Week 15 Game Recap: Green Bay Packers 17, Chicago Bears 24


What you need to know

Green Bay Packers

The Green Bay Packers lost to the Chicago Bears 24-17, to drop their record to 5-8-1 on the year. Aaron Rodgers completed 25 of 42 passes for 274 yards, with no touchdowns and one interception. Running back Aaron Jones rushed four times for eight yards before getting injured in the 1st quarter and missing the rest of the game. Jamaal Williams came on in relief and rushed 12 times for 55 yards and a touchdown, while also catching four passes for 42 yards. Davante Adams caught eight passes for 119 yards, while Randall Cobb caught three passes for 30 yards. Tight end Jimmy Graham caught three passes for 32 yards.

Chicago Bears

This was a very typical Bears win in December as it was a grind it out type performance from the Bears relying heavily on possession and their defense to win the game instead of big plays. In the passing game, the Bears took a different approach than they have the last few weeks in that they did not even try to throw the ball downfield instead relying on short high-completion passes from Trubisky to move the ball through the air. The Bears for the third week in a row remain committed to the run after Jordan Howard had struggled for much of this season. While Howard was not overly effective against the tough Packers' run defense, he did see 19 carries as the Bears tried to wear down the Packers defense and keep the Bears defense fresh on the sidelines.

Green Bay Packers

QB Aaron Rodgers, 68 offensive snaps, Pass: 25 - 42 - 274 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 3 - 25 - 0
Aaron Rodgers completed 25 of 42 passes for 274 yards, with no touchdowns and one interception. Rodgers also rushed three times for 25 yards. This marked the first game of the season that Rodgers failed to throw for a touchdown, which was extremely disappointing considering his 274 yards passing was his highest total in the last four weeks. Rodgers interception, which came on a third and goal—with 3:07 left in the game-- from the Bears nine yard line with the Packers down 24-14, ended his NFL record streak of 402 passes without an interception. The interception happened due to Rodgers throwing a frozen rope to Jimmy Graham in the middle of the end zone, and Graham was unable to corral the catch, which ricocheted off his hands and into the waiting grasp of the Bears Eddie Jackson. This game was a classic case of Rodgers being slightly off the mark, and his receivers—with the exception of Adams—being unable to help him or make plays on their own. When Rodgers is on, he can make his receivers look great, but when he is not, the Packers struggle to move the ball. It did not help Rodgers cause that Jones went down in the first quarter with an injury, taking the explosive ground element out of the Packers play book. Rodgers 42 attempts was his fifth highest total of the season, and his second highest since week nine. Rodgers day could have been a lot bigger day, but he missed for what is to him a routine throw to Marquez Valdes-Scalding deep down the field. If Rodgers was able to just get the ball to Valdes-Scalding it would have one for a 70+ yard touchdown. Jimmy Graham and Randall Cobb both committed some bad drops, with Cobb’s being especially brutal, but to his credit Rodgers also overthrew him on a deep ball where Cobb had burnt his man down the field. Rodgers was under intense pressure all day from the Bears defensive line and linebackers, who sacked Rodgers four times on the day, including 2.5 by Khalil Mack. The Bears secondary also did a good job, recording an interception and eight pass deflections.

RB Jamaal Williams, 59 offensive snaps, Rush: 12 - 55 - 1, Rec: 4 - 42 - 0 (5 targets)
Jamaal Williams rushed 12 times for 55 yards and a touchdown, while also catching four passes for 42 yards on five targets. Williams came into the game in relief of the injured Jones and was surprisingly effective against a fearsome Bears defensive front. Williams has not impressed this season, averaging 3.7 yards per carry, after averaging 3.6 yards per carry in 2017. Williams started the season atop the depth chart and looked slow and heavy-footed, struggling to get through the line and into the second level of the defense. As the season progressed though, Williams seemed to gain back some of his quickness, which could be a function of him receiving less volume. Williams touchdown came with the Packers facing a first and goal from the Bears 10 yard line. Rodgers took the snap under center and handed off to Williams running an off-tackle right. Williams got a good block on the edge, and then made on cut before accelerating to the goal line untouched. While it was encouraging to see Williams excel in Jones absence, the aforementioned play is jarring if you have been watching Jones play the last 12 weeks. It feels as though Williams is running in slow motion, and even his cut seems very deliberate compared to Jones’ smooth style. Williams can be very good in the passing game, so the fact that he will receive a heavy workload and be the preferred option on all three downs and in the red zone, gives him instant credibility as a flex option in week 16, against a Jets defense that has struggled to stop running backs.

RB Aaron Jones, 7 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 8 - 0
Aaron Jones rushed four times for eight yards in the Packers loss to the Bears on Sunday. Jones was injured on the Packers second possession and never returned to the game. Jones injury is believed to be a sprained MCL, but that has not been confirmed. He had the same injury last year against the Bears and it cost him a couple games but considering there is only two weeks left in the year, it makes little sense for the Packers to rush Jones back when they are out of the playoff hunt. It has been a breakout year for Jones, and he will most certainly head the Packers backfield next year and look to build on his impressive 2018 season.

WR Davante Adams, 64 offensive snaps, Rec: 8 - 119 - 0 (13 targets)
Davante Adams caught eight passes for 119 yards on 13 targets in the Packers loss to the Bears on Sunday. Once again, Adams led the Packers in receptions and yards, and his eighth catch in this game marked his 100th reception on the season, shattering his previous career high of 75 reception set in 2016. Adams currently has 100 catches for 1315 yards and 12 touchdowns, which are all career highs for the fifth year wideout. He has only four games this year without a touchdown catch, and in those four games, Adams has gone over 100 yards receiving in three of them, while catching eight passes for 81 yards in the other. While Adams failed to score a touchdown, he did get in the end zone on a two point conversion. Following Williams touchdown run, Adams lined up out wide on the left, with Equanimeous St. Brown lined up in the slot on the same side. St. Brown ran a quick route directly to the left sideline, which created a pick for Adams to sneak around. The play worked beautifully as the Bears completely lost track of Adams, however it took Rodgers more time than it should have to look for Adams, who was sitting wide open just over the goal line. Adams made several nice catches in this game, however none more impressive than the 28 yard gain that set up Williams touchdown run. With the Packers facing a third and eight from the Bears 48 yard line, Adams was lined up on the far left hash-mark. Rodgers took the snap in shotgun and did not even bother to look anywhere else but for Adams who was running a straight go-route down the field. Adams dusted Prince Amukamara off the line with his patented stutter step, out-in-out fake. Rodgers threw a dime but it was from a weird ¾ angle and the direction of the ball came forward and out in front of Adams, but also from a sideways angle which made it a much more difficult catch than it looked like initially. Adams was able to go up top and make the catch, although it moved in his hands as he was making the grab, but ultimately he secured the ball and set up Williams touchdown run, which came two plays later.

WR Randall Cobb, 47 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 30 - 0 (7 targets)
Randall Cobb caught three passes for 30 yards on seven targets in the Packers loss to the Bears on Sunday. Cobb continues to be the Packers second most targeted wide receiver, but Cobb has yet to really capitalize on those targets. This game was no different as Cobb had an especially bad drop that could have padded his stats a bit more, but he was also overthrown on a deep ball that would have completely changed his statistical outcome for the game. Cobb is a hard fantasy asset to peg after a game like this, as he could have easily had five catches for 100 yards and a touchdown. Cobb’s seven targets were second on the Packers and he played on the majority of the snaps before getting hit and sustaining a concussion in the fourth quarter. Cobb has entered the NFL’s concussion protocol and with the Packers having three rookie wide receivers pining to play, it will come as no surprise if they choose to shut him down for the rest of the season.

WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling, 21 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 12 - 0 (2 targets)
Marquez Valdes-Scantling caught one pass for 12 yards on two targets in Sunday’s loss to the Bears. Valdes-Scalding has become an afterthought in the Packers offense after putting together a nice string of games in the middle of the season. To Valdes-Scantling’s credit, he was wide open streaking down the field in the fourth quarter, and Rodgers just made a terrible throw that cost Valdes-Scantling a 76 yard touchdown. It was the type of play that the two had hooked up on several times this year, and it would have made both fantasy relevant players on a down Sunday. With the exception of that play though, Valdes-Scantling did not see another target besides his 12 yard catch, and has now started splitting the #3 job with St. Brown (three targets) and Jake Kumerow (two targets).

TE Jimmy Graham, 47 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 32 - 0 (5 targets)
Jimmy Graham caught three passes for 32 yards on five targets in the Packers loss to the Bears on Sunday. Graham’s five targets were tied for third on the team with Williams. Unlike Cobb or Valdes-Scalding, Graham’s routes were limited to the short area of the field. With the Bears bringing constant pressure on Rodgers, Graham had to do a bit more blocking than he is used to. Unfortunately for Graham, his most memorable play in this game (and one that will be used as a trivia question years from now) was his drop in the end zone that clanked off his hands and into the waiting grasp of the Bears Eddie Jackson. The interception was the first time in 402 attempts that Rodgers had been picked off, and it was Graham’s rock hands that will go down as the reason that Rodgers streak was snapped.


Chicago Bears

QB Mitchell Trubisky, 60 offensive snaps, Pass: 20 - 28 - 235 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 3 - 16 - 0
The game plan for the Bears for much of this game was to throw short passes and run the ball as Trubisky had thrown for five interceptions over his last two games. Trubisky played a game manager type role in this game and played it well as the Bears moved the ball efficiently through the air. By not taking as many deep throws as what we have seen in the past, Trubisky was able to find more open receivers downfield when they did throw vertically as he found Trey Burton wide open in the end zone for a 13-yard pass which was his only downfield completion longer than 10 yards. This could be a sign of things to come as Trubisky has simply been too inconsistent throwing longer than 10 yards and has struggled all year throwing more than 15 yards downfield.

RB Jordan Howard, 34 offensive snaps, Rush: 19 - 60 - 1, Rec: 1 - 15 - 0 (1 targets)
The Bears had very little success running the ball in this one, but the best sign for Jordan Howard was they remained committed to it. Howard saw 19 carries in this game and while he did not have a carry longer than 9 yards, he made his longest carry of the day count. Howard in the first quarter was able to get the Bears on the board with a nine-yard touchdown run in which they pulled Trey Burton from the right side of the line to the left side of the line which created a huge hole for Howard to run through.

RB Tarik Cohen, 38 offensive snaps, Rush: 5 - 21 - 0, Rec: 5 - 31 - 1 (6 targets)
While the amount of touches for Cohen has decreased since Mitchell Trubisky has taken back over for Chase Daniel, Cohen remains a big part of the Bears game plan on a week-to-week basis. Cohen was inconsistent on the ground as he had four carries for a loss of one yard, but was able to make up for that on a 22-yard carry in which he just used his speed and elusiveness to cut back and simply out-run linebackers who had an angle on him. The Bears did try to use Cohen out of the Wildcat formation in this game which ended up being a disaster between him and Jordan Howard on a read-option play in which Cohen tried to pull the ball way too late leading to a fumble. In the passing game, Cohen found the end zone late in the second quarter on a check down play in which he amazingly outran safety Kentrell Brice who had an angle on Cohen.

WR Taylor Gabriel, 46 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 33 - 0 (3 targets)
Taylor Gabriel has fallen on hard times recently as his role in this offense continues to diminish. With just three targets this week, Gabriel who had a defined role as a vertical speed player with Allen Robinson out is now being asked to run routes very similar to Tarik Cohen which are speed horizontal type routes. Gabriel is still a nice complimentary role player as defenses have to respect his speed every time he is on the field, but he has turned into a third or fourth option in the passing game for this Bears team.

WR Allen Robinson, 46 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 54 - 0 (7 targets)
Allen Robinson's size gave the Packers issues in this game as he was matched up against Jaire Alexander for most of the game. While the Bears were unable to connect with Robinson on any deep throws, Robinson made the most of it as he was able to turn a 5-yard hitch route into a 30-yard gain as Alexander was unable to tackle the much larger Robinson. Robinson only had one target longer than 10 yards in this game which ended up incomplete along the sideline, and this could be a sign of things to come as the Bears just do not have confidence in throwing the ball deep and are going with a horizontal passing attack instead of a vertical one.

TE Trey Burton, 46 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 36 - 1 (7 targets)
The Bears utilized the excellent matchup that Trey Burton had with a speed advantage over the Packers linebackers who are better run defenders than coverage linebackers. Burton saw seven targets in this game and for most of the game he was running slants and in-routes, but in the fourth quarter, the Bears called an excellent corner route to the outside which fooled the defense and left Burton wide open for his first touchdown since Week 9. Burton is going to continue to be utilized as a possession type player on a week-to-week basis so his upside remains limited, but it was good to see him get into the end-zone this past week.