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Film Study: Bears CB Tracy Porter playing like Pro Bowler

A memorable Thanksgiving night in Green Bay for the Bears featured plenty of standout individual performances. This week’s “Film Study” looks at cornerback Tracy Porter’s shutdown night and tight end Zach Miller’s touchdown.

Don’t test Tracy

Veteran cornerback Tracy Porter’s continued his remarkable season with a superb performance. He led a lockdown effort by the Bears’ secondary that often shut down quarterback Aaron Rodgers’s first read.

Porter, who had an interception and four pass breakups, is considered a diligent student of film, and his anticipation and recognition of the Packers’ routes and tendencies was evident.

His fourth pass breakup, which came in the end zone with 36 seconds remaining, stands out because it came on the fly from the Bears’ 8.

Rodgers had to escape pressure after safety Chris Prosinski helped eliminate a slant by Jones and as the Bears’ linebackers monitored crossing routes. Rodgers said it was a “scramble alert” and he looked back toward Jones, who tried to turn Porter in the end zone. It didn’t work.

“I had some leverage and I was able to make play on the ball,” Porter said.

Porter made an interception a series earlier in the fourth quarter. It came a play after the Packers ran the same exact one – a quick slant and out route combo — for a 12-yard gain by tight end Richard Rodgers.

The Bears altered their coverage. Prosinski handled the short out route and not linebacker Christian Jones. When Prosinki broke in his coverage, he bumped into receiver Davante Adams, who was running the slant. By that time, Porter had jumped the route, and Rodgers’ throw went right to him.

Rodgers tried to characterize it as a “gift interception,” but Porter said he recognized the play.

One more example

Porter also made an interception in the first quarter when he successfully impeded Jones’ out-and-up route. Porter’s positioning was excellent throughout Jones’ route and he was able to jump an under-thrown pass for a diving interception inside the five-yard line.

It came back after Porter was called for illegal contact. Porter briefly touched Jones on his second cut toward the end zone. NBC analyst Cris Collinsworth criticized the call, referring to Porter’s contact as “mild” and a “good break for the Packers.”

Miller still matters

Miller’s three-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter was a great play call and the result of quarterback Jay Cutler’s ability to buy time.

It was a long developing play. Miller was the outside receiver in a bunch set on the right side and ran across the defense.

Cutler’s elusiveness was needed as he stepped away from linebacker Jayrone Elliott’s pressure. Linebacker Clay Matthews keyed on Cutler, while Miller ran past linebacker Nate Palmer.

“I had an easy job,” Miller said. “ I was wide open. I just had to catch it.”

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Email: ajahns@suntimes.com