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Butler: Packers Must Put Sunday Behind Them


Coming into the game, the only way I thought the Bears had a shot to win was to win the turnover battle. Also, I thought if the Packers made mistakes in the red zone, the Bears would have a shot to steal a victory.

I didn't think Rex Grossman was the kind of quarterback who could put up the kind of numbers to beat the Packers, and I also didn't think Thomas Jones was the kind of running back that could beat us.

I was basing all of this off of what the Packers did at Carolina last Monday night, and what the Bears had shown against the Detroit Lions in week one.

The Chicago Bears came in right away and had a great game plan. Essentially, their game plan was to run the ball, throw short, controlled passes. At the beginning of the game, the Bears used a lot of different formations. They shifted both tight ends a lot, had a lot of empty backfield or one-back sets, all of which the Packers are accustomed to seeing.

The difference was the Bears' blocking scheme. Their blocking scheme involved both tight ends and the fullback, in what is called a misdirection. On Jones' long run, the Packers had a very aggressive defense called, and Jones made a very impressive cut to break away. I was very encouraged to see Al Harris save the touchdown by running him down.

I think the thing about Chicago was that they were very fired up for this game. If you look back, the first thing Lovie Smith said after being hired there was that his No. 1 goal was to beat Green Bay. I think that might have been a factor in why they didn't look very good against Detroit last week, they were looking ahead to playing the Packers.

I know we're all disappointed in the game. The Bears made all the plays they needed to make to win the game, and the Packers didn't.

Wide receiver Bobby Wade, who turned out to be one of the stars of the game as far as I'm concerned, stepped up and became Grossman's go-to guy.

The Bears ran more reverses than I've ever seen one team run in my career. That almost gave the Packers a chance to get back in the game at the end, though, when Michael Hawthorne stripped the ball from David Terrell and Nick Barnett picked it up and almost scored.

The disappointing thing in the game for me was that the Packers defense didn't tackle well in the secondary. Also, the Bears were able to control the line of scrimmage when they were on offense. Their offensive line really doesn't have anyone I would fear, but for some reason, they made some great blocks, and without Grady Jackson, the Packers defense was soft in the middle.

I think on a few occasions, the defenders were caught reaching instead of being in the right place, or played too high and were able to be driven back off the point of attack.

Defensively, the Packers really started the game off well. Na'il Diggs had a great sack in the first quarter. He had another tackle for a loss, and I thought he played with reckless abandon.

The key to the game was Green Bay didn't force enough turnovers. One thing about a great defense is that if your offense turns the ball over, you have to go out there and get the ball back.

The Bears wound up 38 percent on third down, and you would like to hold teams to under 30 percent when you're at home. I think the defense missed a few opportunities that could have swung the game in the Packers' favor.

Offensively, Green Bay did almost everything they wanted to do on Sunday. The offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage. Ahman Green ran for over 100 yards for the second straight week.

But the crucial play of the game was Green's fumble in the second quarter. Their best player, Brian Urlacher broke through the line and made a great play to strip the ball from Ahman's hands. He was going for the ball all the way there - he wasn't really even trying to make the tackle.

That play was a 14-point swing. The Packers figured they were going in for a touchdown, but then Mike Brown picked up the ball and ran 95 yards the other way for a touchdown. That play was demoralizing, but there were still opportunities to come back and win the game.

Robert Ferguson's dropped pass in the fourth quarter could have gone for a long touchdown. The throw from Brett Favre was a little bit behind him, but it was a very catchable pass.

Later in the fourth, when the Packers were trying to get the momentum back with a late drive, Favre overthrew Bubba Franks down the middle of the field, and Bobby Gray intercepted the ball, which kind of sealed the game.

All in all, I never expected the Bears to be able to get 182 rushing yards with Thomas Jones against the Packers defense, but they did and there's nothing that can be done about that game now.

The Packers just have to put this game behind them and prepare to play the Indianapolis Colts, who will definitely be ready to go since this will be their home opener.

The season goes on. I've gotten a lot of e-mails asking how the Packers could lose at home to the Bears. Any game where you lose the turnover ratio, there's always the potential to get beat, and that's what happened Sunday.

*LeRoy Butler played 12 seasons for the Green Bay Packers, helping them to two Super Bowls and earning NFL All-Decade Honors for the 1990s, before retiring in July 2002. This season Butler is again providing exclusive analysis to beginning with training camp and later with a breakdown of the upcoming game on Saturdays, followed by a column and Q&A session on Tuesdays during the preseason and regular season.

Butler's autobiography, 'The LeRoy Butler Story ... From Wheelchair to the Lambeau Leap,' is available on his website,*

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