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Packers handle Bears, move to 3-0: Studs and duds

Jermichael Finley caught three Aaron Rodgers' touchdown passes on Sunday. The Packers beat the Bears 27-17.
Jermichael Finley caught three Aaron Rodgers' touchdown passes on Sunday. The Packers beat the Bears 27-17.
(Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)

The Green Bay Packers picked up their second road win of the season in a 27-17 win over the Chicago Bears. The win moved Mike McCarthy's squad to a perfect 3-0, tied atop the NFC North with the Detroit Lions. It was the first time this season the Packers have looked dominant on both sides of the ball, putting together a complete game on both sides of the ball and taking down a division opponent and hated rival in the process. Here's a breakdown of the studs and duds from Week 3 in Chicago:


Right tackle Marshall Newhouse: When starter Bryan Bulaga suffered a knee bruise in the first half, Newhouse was inserted into the starting lineup and played well. He lined up over Israel Idonije most of the afternoon but also saw action against Julius Peppers, holding his ground and not allowing much pressure, if any. If Bulaga misses an extended period of time, Newhouse, who was great in training camp, will do just fine in his place.

Tight end Jermichael Finley: After two weeks of coming so close to big afternoons, Finley had the biggest of his career yesterday. He caught seven passes for 85 yards and found the end zone three times, taking advantage of Chicago's injury-depleted secondary. It's apparent Finley is fully healthy and will continue to be Aaron Rodger's favorite target in the red zone.

Running back Ryan Grant: Well hello there, Ryan. After two silent weeks, Grant was a workhorse in the backfield Sunday, rushing for 92 yards on 17 carries (5.4 ypc). James Starks threw up a clunker, rushing 11 times for 5 yards and a fumble as the Packers were preparing to put the game away up 27-17. It was a reminder that A) Grant still has something left in the tank and B) the Packers are going to use the hot hand each week.

Safety Morgan Burnett: It seems Ted Thompson has found yet another gem in the middle rounds of the draft, as the former third round pick Burnett has taken off in 2011. He was superb Sunday, intercepting two Jay Cutler passes and picking up the slack for a struggling Charlie Peprah. With Nick Collins' absence, Burnett will need to step up. Early returns look good.

Defensive end Jarius Wynn: Many were concerned with the defensive line after Cullen Jenkins' departure and Mike Neal's injury, but Wynn has filled in admirably and produced on Sunday. He finished with two sacks against Chicago left tackle J'Marcus Webb, taking advantage of a rather weak offensive line. Wynn currently leads the Packers with 3.0 sacks.

Aaron Rodgers: There's not a whole lot else to say about Rodgers. He finished Sunday's game 28-for-38 with 298 yards and three touchdowns. His one interception was a miscommunication between him and Jermichael Finley, and Brian Urlacher also made a phenomenal play on the ball. But Rodgers made every throw he needed to make, threading the needle and making smart checkdowns when pressure came. Let's be real, he's a stud every week.

Greg Jennings: He wasn't able to score because Finley decided to make the end zone his residence for three hours, but Jennings was huge on Sunday. He set a career-high with nine catches (10 targets) for 119 yards and made play after play for the Green Bay offense. He also took pressure off Finley in the red zone, and we all saw how that turned out.


Safety Charlie Peprah: So maybe the Packers are going to miss Nick Collins even more than they thought (and they thought they'd miss him a lot). Peprah was awful on Sunday, giving up huge plays and missing tackles. He was credited with four tackles and a pass defended, but he was a major liability that the Bears targeted most of the afternoon. He's going to need to play better, because the Packers don't have many other options.

James Starks: So much for taking the running load from Grant. Starks was an absolute no-show on Sunday, rushing for just 11 yards on five carries and losing a costly fumble. He caught three passes but didn't do much after the catch, gaining just nine yards. If Grant can run like he did, Starks' play won't matter as much, but Starks needs to show some consistency. Yesterday was one to forget for Starks.

Outside linebacker Eric Walden: When the Bears ran, they ran left (away from Walden), but overall he fared well against the run. However, he hasn't gotten any pressure and isn't a positive when he drops back. He had three tackles, including one for a loss, but the pass rush still needs more production or the passing totals from opposing quarterbacks will remain high. If Vic So'oto returns next week, he could see reps with Walden.

Donald Driver: It's hard to consider him a "true" dud since he was only targeted twice, but it seems as though the days of Driver seeing significant playing time are over. He did not have a catch after grabbing just one ball last week. The Packers seem much more comfortable using rookie Randall Cobb in the slot.


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