Dominant defense with a steady dose of running plays. It's been a very long time since the Green Bay Packers have won with that formula.
In what might have been one of the most satisfying regular-season wins in the Mike McCarthy era, the Packers steamrolled the NFC North rival Chicago Bears 23-10 on Thursday night. The Packers showed they don't need a great passing attack to beat a quality opponent.
We're not sure what was better Thursday night: Green Bay's pass rush or its secondary.
Green Bay's seven sacks and 12 quarterback hits weren't all because of Chicago's offensive line. The Packers' entire maligned secondary played outstanding. Charles Woodson made his presence felt in prime time as usual. The Packers played two safeties deep but held up against the run. They picked off Jay Cutler four times. It was the type of performance we never saw when the Packers' defense was among the NFL's worst.
"The defense took a lot of trash in the media this week. They played incredible," Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers told NFL Network after the game. "I gave them a short field there in the fourth quarter. ... 168 yards. Clay was incredible. Causing turnovers. If they play like that, we're going to be tough to beat."
Jay Cutler might want to blame his offensive line, but we'll give credit to the entire Packers defense. B.J. Raji had a strong night, a great sign since he's coming off a poor season. Defensive coordinator Dom Capers came up with a great plan.
On a night when Rodgers' receivers kept making mistakes, Cedric Benson helped keep the clock moving. He rushed for 81 yards and added 35 yards through the air. The Packers emphasized the run early and it paid off.
Rodgers carried the entire team on his back last season. He didn't have to Thursday.
Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.