Game Notes: Swain Snuffs Out Fake Punt

Leading 12-10 early in the fourth quarter on Sunday night and facing fourth-and-11 at their own 26-yard line, the Bears lined up in punt formation but tried a direct snap to running back Garrett Wolfe for a fake. It didn’t fool the Packers, or Brett Swain, though. - More Packers-Bears Game Center

It seemed like an awfully odd time for the Chicago Bears to try a fake punt, but the Packers will take it.

Leading 12-10 early in the fourth quarter on Sunday night and facing fourth-and-11 at their own 26-yard line, the Bears lined up in punt formation but tried a direct snap to running back Garrett Wolfe for a fake.

It didn't fool the Packers, though, and reserve receiver and special teamer Brett Swain tackled Wolfe after only a 4-yard gain, giving Green Bay the ball on the Chicago 30. The Packers didn't even gain a first down, mostly due to a holding penalty, but still kicked a field goal for a 13-12 lead. The play proved critical in Green Bay's 21-15 win.

"It was a mistake on our part," Chicago head coach Lovie Smith said. "We thought they had 12 guys on the field. We shouldn't have done it. Our team didn't execute it the way it should have been done."

Indeed, Smith threw the challenge flag after the play to see if the Packers had 12 men on the field. They did, but the 12th player was able to run off to the sideline before the snap, and the turnover on downs stood.

"We know Chicago runs a lot of fakes, so we were practicing for that all week," Swain said. "My job was to check the fake, and I was able to do that and step up and make the play."

Swain, kept on the roster at the final cutdown over fellow receiver Ruvell Martin primarily because of his special-teams ability, made the decision pay off right away. The former high school cornerback, who had to play some defense in the preseason finale at Tennessee because of injuries in the secondary, showed solid, fundamental form in bringing down Wolfe as he tried to run up the middle.

"I don't think it was so hard to see it, it just kind of opened up and I was able to fill it up like a linebacker would on an offensive play," Swain said. "I was able to see him run right up the hole and I was able to get a good angle on him and make the tackle."

Head Coach Mike McCarthy talked earlier in the week about needing to win the battle on special teams against the Bears, and snuffing out the fake punt was key in that effort.

"That could have been a big play either way," McCarthy said. "That's a gutsy call, an adjustment of however they lined it up from a game plan situation. But you talk about technique, and fundamentals, and trusting your eyes, ... unscouted looks in the first couple weeks of the season and that's a great example of it right there."

Driver moves up

With his 14-yard reception in the first quarter, receiver Donald Driver surpassed Don Hutson and moved into third place on the Packers' all-time list for receiving yardage.

Coming into the season trailing Hutson (7,991 yards) by just 2 yards, Driver finished with four catches for 39 yards and now has 8,028 yards in his career. He's within striking distance of No. 2 Sterling Sharpe (8,134), but still has a ways to go to catch No. 1 James Lofton (9,656).

Driver also moved closer to Sharpe's franchise record for receptions (595). In second place since midway through last season, he now has 581.

Linebackers rotate

With Nick Barnett coming back from knee surgery, the defense used a steady rotation of Barnett, A.J. Hawk and Brandon Chillar as the two inside linebackers in both the base and nickel defenses.

{sportsad300}The Packers started with Barnett and Hawk in the base defense, but Chillar also took several snaps in base with Hawk. Both combinations were also used in the nickel, when cornerback Tramon Williams comes onto the field as a fifth defensive back.

McCarthy has spoken before about how he looks at his defense as having more than 11 starters, because of the roles players like Chillar and Williams play. In a nod to that line of thinking, when the defense was introduced coming out of the tunnel at the start of the game, 13 Packers were introduced, including Chillar and Williams.

Injury update

Nose tackle B.J. Raji (ankle) and cornerback/returner Will Blackmon (quad) were among the Packers' eight inactives, and the team appeared to emerge from the game relatively healthy with the possible exception of safety Atari Bigby.

Bigby went down with a knee injury in the second half when he collided in mid-air with cornerback Al Harris on a high pass. Bigby was replaced by Aaron Rouse.

Safety Nick Collins also left the game with cramps, and defensive end Johnny Jolly was helped off after he got the wind knocked out of him, but both returned to the game.

The Bears definitely got the worst of it on the injury front. Starting linebackers Brian Urlacher (wrist) and Pisa Tinoisamoa (knee) both left the game, as did tight end Desmond Clark (back) and cornerback Trumaine McBride (knee).

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