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Packers out to backup victory late last year

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by Heatherthepackgirl, Oct 4, 2007.

  1. Heatherthepackgirl

    Heatherthepackgirl Cheesehead

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    By GREG A. BEDARD
    gbedard@journalsentinel.com
    Posted: Oct. 3, 2007

    Green Bay - The last time the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears met, the Packers left Soldier Field with a 26-7 victory.

    Our team of Packers beat reporters brings fans the latest news, inside dope and links from around the Web.

    By the time the finale was played last season, the Packers had been eliminated from post-season contention and the Bears had long since clinched home-field advantage as the NFC's top-seeded team. Plus, Bears quarterback Rex Grossman said he was distracted because it was New Year's Eve.

    So after the Packers had finished off the Bears, not even Packers general manager Ted Thompson knew what to make of his team's victory.

    "They know this didn't mean anything," Thompson said of the Bears at the time. "So I don't know if it's a true test."

    When the Bears come to Lambeau Field on Sunday night, there will be no ambivalence about the meaning of this game.

    Chicago, off to a 1-3 start, is already three games behind the 4-0 Packers in the NFC North. And Green Bay still has its critics since the combined record of its opponents is 5-11.

    A victory in front of a national television audience would be a boost to both teams. The Bears can show they're not done yet. And the Packers can officially announce their arrival as a contender.

    "It's going to be proven Sunday night," Green Bay defensive tackle Corey Williams said. "Everybody that's got doubts about the Green Bay Packers, it will be proven Sunday night."

    In a season that eventually ended with a loss in the Super Bowl to the Indianapolis Colts, the Bears opened with a 26-0 thrashing of the Packers at Lambeau Field. It was the first shutout of Brett Favre's career and Chicago's third-straight victory against Green Bay.

    In the Week 17 matchup, the Bears had three starters inactive before the game and pulled most of the rest by the end of the third quarter. But the Packers led, 23-0, at halftime, which was when Grossman's night was mercifully ended after he completed two of 12 passes for 33 yards and both of his interceptions were returned for touchdowns.

    Grossman might have been more focused on his party plans, but Bears coach Lovie Smith didn't view the Packers' victory any differently.

    "I mean, we had our football team on the field, we were trying to win, and we didn't win the football game," Smith said Wednesday. "There are always built-in reasons for certain things that happen but you can't rely on that. We played the Packers the last time out, at our place, and they beat us. That's what we're going on."

    Packers coach Mike McCarthy shared Smith's view.

    "There's been some things made about, well, they didn't need to win and so forth," McCarthy said Wednesday. "My recollection was how important it was for them to play well in that game and carry momentum into the playoffs, and they played their starters into the third quarter. If memory serves me correct, we were in control of that football game at halftime.

    "But also, I've been in this business long enough to know that Week 16 of one season is different than Week 5 of the next."

    One needs only to look at the Bears to realize that.

    Chicago already has as many losses as it had all of last season. Brian Griese has replaced Grossman as the quarterback for the NFL's 30th-ranked offense. And the Bears' defense, which finished fifth in total yards last season, is 15th at this juncture.

    If Green Bay, 8-0 since starting 4-8 last season, entertained any thoughts of resting on its recent success or taking Chicago lightly, McCarthy is doing his best to keep it from happening. Loudly.

    On two occasions early in practice Wednesday, McCarthy chewed out some of his players. Running back DeShawn Wynn was removed from a drill for not playing with enough tempo. And the entire offensive line was scolded at one point.

    "Are we going to block anybody today?" McCarthy screamed in language that wasn't exactly family-friendly.

    "Wednesday is an important practice," McCarthy said afterward. "It didn't look the way it needed to look."

    McCarthy's message got across loud and clear.

    "We started out practice kind of sluggish and Coach stepped in," Williams said. "I think that was the best thing for us. Bad practices lead to bad games. We can't have that."

    Certainly not with the Bears, a team that might not have a lot of respect for the Packers, coming to town.

    "I'm going to say we gained respect from them or whatever," Williams said. "But they know they ain't going to come in here and just walk over us like they think they're going to.

    "They know we're not pushovers and I'm going to leave it at that."
     

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