GB-CHI grades: Montgomery, Rodgers excel in Packers' victory
Green Bay Packers 30, Chicago Bears 27
Here are the top-graded players and biggest takeaways from Green Bay’s 30-27 win over Chicago in Week 15:
Quarterback grade: Aaron Rodgers, 84.5
Rodgers’ fantastic play continues in win
After an up-and-down first half of the season, Aaron Rodgers has been on fire in the second half of the year, and that continued in the win over the Bears. He was at his best for much of the game on shorter throws, with just two incompletions on throws either behind, or within 19 yards, of the line of scrimmage. However, with the Packers facing a 3rd-and-11 late in the game, Rodgers made his most important throw of the game on an attempt of 20-plus yards. He patiently drifted to his left before hitting wide receiver Jordy Nelson for a 60-yard gain that set up the game-winning field goal. The Packers are now on a collision course with the Detroit Lions for the NFC North title, and the way Rodgers is playing right now, it’s hard to bet against the Packers.
Top offensive grades:
OT David Bakhtiari, 87.8
C Corey Linsley, 83.5
TE Jared Cook, 83.3
WR Jordy Nelson, 82.5
RB Ty Montgomery, 80.0
Montgomery blossoming into a star as a running back
When the Packers first used Ty Montgomery more at running back this season, it was more through necessity, with the Packers thin at running back through injury. Since the position switch, however, his impact has grown and grown, leading to a huge day today. He had three big plays on the day, and finished the game with 162 yards on just 16 carries. He forced seven missed tackles, and 156 of his yards came after contact. That gave him an absurdly high elusive rating of 379.2, highlight just what a huge impact he had this week.
Top defensive grades:
S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, 87.6
CB Micah Hyde, 79.8
LB Joe Thomas Jr., 76.2
ED Julius Peppers, 72.9
S Morgan Burnett, 71.5
Packers defense’s timely turnovers change game
Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix had a nice game against the run (86.0 run-defense grade) and didn’t give up anything in the passing game while coming up with two interceptions to lead Green Bay’s defense on a freezing day in Chicago. Julius Peppers cracked Green Bay’s top-five solely on the back of his strip-sack to start the second half, on which he also recovered the fumble — outside of that one play he recorded no other pressures (on 32 pass rush snaps) and had just one additional stop. Micah Hyde had a nice game in coverage, allowing just two of five targets to be caught for a total of 12 yards and intercepting Bears QB Matt Barkley’s Hail-Mary attempt at the end of the first half. He also made a very nice play to break up a key third-down pass on the Bears’ final drive, leading them to settle for a field goal.
Quarterback grade: Matt Barkley, 75.3
Strong play continues for Barkley
For the most part, Matt Barkley had a nice game throwing the football against Green Bay. He hit his target on 74.4 percent of his throws – which ranks ninth among the 20 qualified QBs to have played already in Week 15 – and he really looked to be comfortable in control of this Bears offense. Barkley did most of his work short, completing 19 of 21 throws for 159 yards and both of his touchdowns on throws that traveled fewer than 10 yards in the air. He had a large role in Chicago committing some costly turnovers that were likely the difference-maker in this game, but overall it looks like Barkley’s stock is trending upwards in Chicago.
Top offensive grades:
G Josh Sitton, 81.7
WR Deonte Thompson, 81.6
OT Bobby Massie, 80.8
WR Alshon Jeffery, 77.1
OT Charles Reno Jr., 77.0
Offensive line keeps Barkley clean
Julius Peppers started off the second half with a decisive strip-sack against Matt Barkley to drastically swing momentum into Green Bay’s favor to begin the final 30 minutes. That play, however, was really the only major blemish against the Bears’ offensive line for the entire game. It was the only sack they gave up all afternoon, and in fact they didn’t even give up an additional hit on the day, allowing just five hurries to go with that one sack. In the passing game, Deonte Thompson and Alshon Jeffery combined to haul in 14 of 19 targets for 199 yards and a touchdown, Matt Barkley had a 102.7 QB Rating when targeting either of those two receivers.
Top defensive grades:
DI C.J. Wilson, 79.2
DI Mitch Unrein, 78.6
S Deon Bush, 77.8
ED Pernell McPhee, 75.2
LB John Timu, 75.2
LeBlanc bumps back to earth
Undrafted free-agent defensive back Cra’von LeBlanc was outstanding last week against the Detroit Lions, but he had his worst game of the season against the Packers. Targeted eight times in coverage, he gave up 106 yards on four catches, and was beaten on more passes than that but benefited from a dropped pass by Davante Adams and an overthrow by Aaron Rodgers. It was LeBlanc who was beaten for the big catch to set up the game-winner, which summed up his day pretty well. As an undrafted free agent, LeBlanc’s rookie season has already been a huge success, but the game against the Packers was definitely his roughest as a pro so far.
PFF Game-Ball Winner: Packers QB Aaron Rodgers
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