When Lovie Smith took over the reins of the Chicago Bears nine seasons ago, one of his first comments was his main goal was to beat the Packers. After Thursday night's 23-10 loss to Green Bay, Smith's record dropped to 8-10 against the Pack.
The loss is the fifth straight in the series, and it's safe to say Smith was out-coached in this one.
In a game that featured multiple choices for both HERO and ZERO of the game, here are my two choices:
Packers coaching staff: HERO of game
You are probably thinking how can Clay Matthew's not be the HERO of the game. Yes, the man was an absolute BEAST, but arguably the biggest play of the game was the fake field goal. Tom Crabtree was the benefactor on the play, but you have to give a tip of the cap to Mike McCarthy and the Packers coaching staff for making the call.
The Bears defense seemed to garner some momentum by forcing the Packers into a 45-yard field goal, after the Packers, just three plays prior, faced a first down from the Bears 11-yard line. Then Crabtree waltzed through a surprised Bears defense for a touchdown to give the Packers a 10-0 lead with 1:50 to play in the first half. The play was proceeded by back-to-back sacks by the Bears defense which backed the Packers back to the 28-yard line.
In a game that featured tons of missed opportunities, by both teams, this play may have been the biggest impact.
Bears offensive line: ZERO of game
Going 11-for-27 with four interceptions should SCREAM zero of the game, but I am not placing all the blame on Jay Cutler in this one. With as big of strides the offensive line made on Sunday, they fell just as far on Thursday night.
Just as big as the fake field goal was for the Packers, a personal foul penalty on offensive tackle Gabe Carimi could have been just as big of a dagger for the Bears offense.
Trailing 3-0, the Bears offense finally crossed into the plus side of the 50-yard line on its fourth possession. Then came the 15-yard penalty on Carimi. Then came Matthew's second sack of the game and...well the rest is as they say...history. Yes, Carimi was retaliating after being pushed by Packers defensive back Charles Woodson, but in that situation a player needs to have more self composure.
And then there were the SEVEN sacks the line allowed. Enough said.
Bottom line is anytime you commit silly penalties and allow your quarterback to get hit more than a punching bag, you are asking for trouble.
The good news for the Bears is they have 10 days to get things corrected before they are tested again. The bad news is, they also have 10 days to be reminded of just how awful they played in arguably one of the biggest games of the season.
TRAVIS DAVID is a contributor for Football Nation and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter @Tdavid_21.