The Green Bay Packers defeated the Chicago Bears 35-14 on Thursday night in a rainy game filled with injuries to both teams and turnovers by the Bears offense. The Packers took advantage of four takeaways, two fumbles and two interceptions, scoring 21 points off of them.
The big game ball goes as usual to Aaron Rodgers, who is the driver for the Packers’ offense. However, in this week’s game, we will acknowledge an underappreciated player on each of the offensive and defensive lines for their excellent play.
Here are our picks for the players of the game.
Aaron was on from the jump on Thursday night, spreading the ball around to all of his receivers early and often and overall having an efficient night throwing the football. He finished the game 16 of 24 for 179 yards and four touchdowns, numbers that do not fully illustrate how well he commanded the offense and handled the Bears’ pressure, especially given the shuffling of the players on the offensive line.
The surprise starter at left tackle, Taylor apparently hadn’t played on the outside before at all, even going back to his high school days. Taylor was a rock throughout the game, helping to keep Aaron Rodgers clean and making some excellent blocks in the running game as well.
Pro Football Focus’ initial assessment of Taylor charged him with just a single hurry allowed in 31 pass-blocking snaps. That’s a phenomenal performance for a player at a new position against a talented set of pass-rushers on the other side of the ball.
Nelson had one drop in the game, but had four receptions for 75 yards and two touchdowns. The two receptions that were not touchdowns moved the chains - one was a conversion on fourth-and-one, and the other was a 58-yard bomb from Rodgers in the second quarter to set up the Packers’ third touchdown of the game.
The Packers got a very good performance out of Hawkins in relief of Damarious Randall, who was benched at halftime after getting torched on a touchdown. Hawkins responded admirably at the left boundary corner spot, making five tackles and breaking up three passes in the second half.
Although Clay Matthews got the Packers’ only sack of the night, forcing a fumble on Mike Glennon, we’re giving the other game ball on defense to Kenny Clark for being an immovable object on the defensive line all game long. Clark had just a single assisted tackle on the night, but he made life a living hell for Chicago’s interior linemen. Clark’s performance helped keep the Bears under 3.5 yards per carry on the day, with a long run of just 16 yards. Making this performance all the more impressive is the fact that he again played great and held the point of attack without Mike Daniels next to him.
So far, Clark has definitely made a big jump as a second-year player, and is justifying the Packers’ investment in him as a first-round draft pick in 2016.