Here’s a look at a key matchup heading into the Packers' battle against the archrival Bears in the NFC championship game Sunday at Soldier Field.
Packers C Scott Wells and OGs Josh Sitton and Daryn Colledge vs. Bears DTs Anthony Adams, Tommie Harris and Matt Toeaina
A key for the Bears on Sunday will be the need to generate at least enough of a pass rush to keep red-hot Packers QB Aaron Rodgers from establishing the kind of high-octane rhythm he was in from beginning to end in his stellar performance against the Falcons last Saturday night. While Julius Peppers is the first Bears player who comes to mind in terms of a pass rush, right behind him entering this game is Harris, who has played extremely well as of late and is coming off his best game of the season.
While he is far from the player who was once a Sports Illustrated cover boy predicted by many to become the league’s next great three-technique tackle, Harris has recently been showing flashes of the ability that triggered that prediction. He registered both of the Bears’ sacks in the victory last Sunday over Seattle, delivering a nasty spin move on Seahawks OG Mike Gibson on one of those sacks, and also had one of the Bears’ two sacks in Green Bay’s Week 17 win over the Bears. Operating next to him is the steady Adams (three tackles and a pass breakup in Week 17), who Wells said Monday was one of the more underrated interior defenders in the league.
As if a rejuvenated Harris and Adams aren’t enough of a load for Green Bay’s interior line, the feisty Toeaina, who is very active against the run, must not be forgotten, either.
It’s unlikely either Sitton or Wells, both of whom have played at a Pro Bowl level in the eyes of daily team observers, will forget about anything this Sunday. You can count their blown assignments this season on one hand, and they are both nonstop maulers who just keep grinding away. Colledge breaks down a bit more often than the other two starters inside, but on balance, his pluses have outweighed his minuses this season.