Aaron Rodgers turning on god-mode for the second half was great, but it’s important to savor every part of a Packers victory over the Bears as much as possible.
We asked our writers to come up with their favorite non-Rodgers moments of the game. Here’s what they had to say.
Shawn Wagner: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix’s third-down tackle
I wrote about it earlier this week in my top five non-Rodgers moments of the game, but Clinton-Dix’s 3rd-and-1 tackle was an enormous moment for the team and the defense specifically. It created a momentum-keeping, three-and-out drive that later led to a second Packers touchdown to close the gap. In years past, this was the type of play in which a Packer defender would have overrun the ballcarrier, missed a tackle, or gotten dragged for a first down. I was ready to feel that sense of dread once again with nothing but open field ahead of Dion Sims on a throw-back pass.
But Sunday night was a different moment. It was one in which the defense finally stepped up, not just on that one series but later in the game on another 3rd-and-one and, really, twice on the final Bears drive of the game. Six points allowed in the second half was a monumental confidence-builder for the defense, as three-and-outs were imperative in giving the offense time to catch up. Clinton-Dix, under pressure to have a bounce-back year, made a tackle that was among the most important plays of the ballgame.
Paul Noonan: Jaire Alexander and the secondary on 4th downs
Under Dom Capers we all got used to opponents picking up soul-crushing first downs on 3rd and long or 4th and long. The Packers would frequently leave receivers wide open at the sticks, staying in their uber-deep “no big plays” defense while allowing the biggest play of the game to succeed uncontested. That was not that case on Sunday as the secondary stuck to their men like glue. On this 4th and 9 play that was ruined by Clay Matthews’ cherry on top of the poop sundae he’d already left on the field, Jaire Alexander stays with his man even though Trubisky buys himself plenty of time by scrambling, and Brice is over the top to help out deep.
Bob Fitch: Bears using Leno as a Lame-o Distraction
I love the oddities in football; unique players, unique plays, unique formations. This was a bit of all three combined into one. For those who missed it: Chicago lined up left tackle Charles Leno split out wide on the LOS with one receivers behind him and another to his right, also on the LOS. The intention, and actuality, was to spread Green Bay out and cause confusion about a potential screen. It ‘worked’, in that Chicago managed to pick up a few yards on the ground, and it also ‘worked’ in that it made me chuckle. I’m sure that pee-wee coaches everywhere picked up a pen and plotted a new play for their playbook. I mean, look at this - is this not fun?
Evan “Tex” Western: Jamaal Williams’ blitz pickup on the big play to Davante Adams
As many nave noted here, Aaron Rodgers led the Packers’ comeback, but it was the culmination of many individuals’ efforts that allowed him to execute it. One of the reasons for his ability to lead the comeback was the Packers’ pass protection keeping him clean. Perhaps the most dangerous play that Rodgers faced was on the 51-yard catch-and-run by Davante Adams.
With Jamaal Williams split to the right of Rodgers in the shotgun, the Bears blitzed inside linebacker Danny Trevathan up the middle, shooting a huge gap between Corey Linsley and Justin McCray. Williams, however, had his eyes on Trevathan at the snap and stepped up into the hole, anchoring his feet just enough and stopping Trevathan dead in his tracks. Yes, it bought Rodgers just enough time to find Adams up the left sideline, allowing the receiver to rack up big yards-after-the-catch, but it was second-and-10 and not an absolute must-convert situation on that particular play.
Perhaps most importantly, Williams stymied the best chance that the Bears had for a big hit on Rodgers after halftime, keeping his quarterback from being beaten up any further and ensuring that both the drive and the comeback attempt stayed alive.
Jon Meerdink: Instant karmic retribution
Facing a 4th and 4 from the Green Bay 37 in the second quarter, the Bears were late getting the play call in and had to burn their final timeout as a result. Mitchell Trubisky took it upon himself to quiet the Lambeau Field crowd on his way to the sideline.
Though Trubisky and the Bears had played well to that point, Cris Collinsworth was quick to remark that perhaps Trubisky’s confidence was a bit outsized.
It was. Here’s what happened the very next play.
Maybe not quite Butt Fumble 2.0, but close enough for me.
Prior to his gesture to the crowd, Trubisky was 10 of 11 passing for 111 yards. Over the rest of the game he went 13 of 24 for 60 yards amid what will be remembered as one of the truly epic collapses of the 2018 season.