The Green Bay Packers finally started fast and finished strong in a must-win game at Chicago winning 38-17. Aaron Rodgers blew out the Bears in the “Windy City” throwing for 302 yards and four touchdowns.
His career record versus the Bears is now (12-1). Rodgers did “Relax” all the critics and all of Green Bay Wisconsin keeping the Packers alive in the NFC North.
Not to mention an impressive milestone A-Rod reached Sunday; he surpassed 25,000 career passing yards. But bringing the Pack even at (2-2) makes it even sweeter.
Rodgers came out on fire hitting four-for-five, including a 43-yard bomb to tight end Richard Rodgers. Eddie Lacy finished the rest with a goal line dive to tie the game 7-7.
Lacy is still running hard despite not even reaching 50 yards in a game this season. He did look to have more room Sunday as the offensive line is getting more in sync. It’s still good to see him falling forward after contact and he’s still an effective closer.Jordy Nelson catches his third touchdown of the year over rookie cornerback Kyle Fuller.
Nevertheless, it was A-Rod’s show.
After an embarrassing loss in Detroit last week, the receiving corps had a statement game. Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb both caught two touchdowns and hit 100 yards each. Together, they racked up 17 catches for 221 yards. The receivers have been decimated over the years in Green Bay. Nelson and Cobb are the top targets left and played like Pro Bowlers Sunday.
It’s funny, if not for a questionable holding call, Rodgers could’ve had five touchdowns. Aaron juked defenders in his own backfield, dodging Bears left and right, he tossed up a rainbow 50 yards into the endzone and caught by rookie Davante Adams. All for not, the highlight of the day didn’t count.
On the other side of the ball, it was a tall task for a secondary battling the new “Monsters of the Midway”: Martellus Bennett (6’6), Brandon Marshall (6’4), and Alshon Jeffery (6’3). The tallest cornerback in Green Bay is 5’11. But Sam Shields and Tramon Williams bring Super Bowl experience. They made Cutler force tight throws and ultimately make a mistake; or two. The Packers picked off Cutler twice on route to the blowout.Clay Matthews runs with blockers after the easy interception.
Tramon Williams read Cutler’s eyes pre-snap. His inside technique gave him the edge to jump a slant. Williams stuck his body in the way. The ball popped up in the air and fell into Clay Matthews’ arms. If not for a nagging groin injury, Clay would’ve ran it back for six.
With the game getting out of reach for the Bears, I’m sure Dom Capers told his defense to be ready for anything. Jay Cutler typically loses patience when he’s down. On a miscommunication between Cutler and Marshall, Sam Shields took advantage and jumped the route for a second interception and nearly scored.
The secondary stepped up for sure. Tramon Williams was a booth review away from his own interception almost making it three picks by the Packers. It may not be a coincidence; Jay Cutler struggles against Green Bay. In 10 games vs. the Packers, Cutler is (1-9).Randall Cobb is hoisted up like a trophy by his teammate David Bakhtiari after another touchdown.
Rodgers on the other hand cashes in on the turnovers. A-Rod’s fourth touchdown opened the fourth quarter on a pretty combo route leaving Randall Cobb wide open in the corner of the endzone to make it 38-17 and a dagger.
Ironically, it looked like a shootout early on. The Bears scored on their first three drives.
But the game changer was the goal line stand at the end of the half.
The Bears drove down the field on a two-minute drill. With no more timeouts, Martellus Bennet caught a pass at the one yard line. He reached the ball toward the goal line but was pulled back by Packers’ rookie safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and company. The refs reviewed the play and the call stood. Time ran out and the Packers took a 21-17 halftime lead and never looked back. The Bears didn’t score again.
That tackle by the first round pick might prove to be a season saver.
The Packers look to be back in business. A-Rod brought his A-game. The defense forced a few turnovers. But there’s still work to do. There isn’t much going on in the trenches on either side of the ball.
Julius Peppers was due for at least a sack in his return to Chicago. He only made two tackles all game. Clay Matthews is playing hurt but isn’t even coming close to the qb.
The Packers came into the game ranked 30th against the run. Meanwhile, Eddie Lacy has to dodge his own lineman. This is a recipe for disaster. Talent is on the field but they can’t afford to play soft. Maybe this is the big win that kick-starts the Pack.
On a short week, the Packers have another pivotal divisional game. They host the Minnesota Vikings under the bright lights at Lambeau Field Thursday night. Rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is nursing an injured ankle and will play without MVP Adrian Peterson. Expect the Packers to bring the blitz, and show the rookie’s true colors.