“They basically weren’t doing anything (special), it was us,” Hester said, referring to the offense’s slow start. “We didn’t start off fast. We picked it up in the second half, but we didn’t start off fast.”
The Bears came out unprepared for what they saw from the Packers in the first half. But even more than that, they were mentally unprepared to play with the speed necessary to win a playoff game.
You could sense it even before the game started. The Bears were dancing at midfield during warmups. Linebacker Brian Urlacher smiled and gave sideline reporter Pam Oliver some nice comments seconds before kickoff. Meanwhile linebacker Clay Matthews was interviewed just before Urlacher. The question seemed to barely get through. He gave a vague answer and couldn’t wait to get away. He was already playing the game in his head.
This was a major difference between the teams. The Packers effectively played three playoff games in a row at the necessary intensity to win. The Bears let down.