“I STILL OWN YOU” reverberated through our television screens with an almost deafening roar as Aaron Rodgers put the Chicago Bears away with his late game touchdown run. It’s less clear if the fans heard it, but it was heard loud and clear as the Green Bay Packers improved to 22-5 against Chicago when Rodgers is the starting quarterback, and more importantly, 5-1 in 2021 with a 24-14 win.
BAD MAN. @AaronRodgers12— NFL (@NFL) October 17, 2021
: #GBvsCHI on FOX
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His full quote: “I’ve owned you all my f-ing life! I own you, I still own you!” His response was to a fan who apparently flipped him two middle fingers. “I definitely blacked out,” he said in his post game press conference. “Sometimes you black out on the field, in a good way.” His comments capped off a 7-play, 75-yard scoring drive where he ran the ball in for a touchdown from six yards out.
On the day, he was 17/23 for 195 yards and two touchdowns. Davante Adams caught four passes for 89 yards and Aaron Jones had another 100+ all-purpose yards kind of day (76 rushing yards, 34 receiving yards) and one receiving touchdown.
The defense intercepted rookie quarterback Justin Fields once and nearly came down with another as the rookie looked to be throwing the ball away on both plays but couldn’t get far enough out of bounds. On the first interception, the officials missed Kenny Clark jumping offsides and presumably Fields thought he had a free play.
Later in the game, the officials hit Equanimeous St. Brown with a soft offensive pass interference that took away a touchdown, which the officials ruled after initially calling the play incomplete. Nonetheless, the Packers scored three touchdowns and won by 10 but the game never felt close. Here are the key plays.
First scoring drive - Getting warmed up
The Packers did not get on the board until the second quarter after the interception by Fields. They moved the ball a few yards at a time and came up to a critical 3rd-and-7. They did not immediately convert for a first down but did so on 4th-and-inches.
First play, 2Q 15:00, 3rd-and-7 at GB-38
The Packers lined up in a 3x2 in 11 personnel (one running back, one tight end) with a quick slants play call on called “arches” or “F post” depending on who’s terminology one is familiar with. Arches/cougar is the Shanahan tree nomenclature with arches being the route by the #2 receiver (Allen Lazard) and “cougar” being the concept itself.
The route progression goes inside out from Tonyan as the #3 receiver in trips, to Lazard on the arches route, to Randall Cobb on the under sluggo route. The Bears are playing cover-5 (cover-2 man) and the coaching point on the play is to read the MIKE linebacker and see if the crossing route by #3 takes him with it or not.
In man coverage, Tonyan takes a defender with him. Rodgers hits the top of his drop and fires it to Tonyan who’s tackled immediately just short of the line to gain. Rodgers could’ve hit Lazard for a first down but the play sets them up to convert on fourth down anyways, despite the risk of not converting against a very stout Bears defense.
Second play, 2Q 13:34, 2nd-and-10 at GB-46
After a run for no gain, the Packers come out on 2nd-and-10 in a 12 personnel (one running back, two tight ends) YY formation. The “YY” is two in-line tight ends on the same side and on this play they are over to the left with Adams and Lazard as the receivers on the two receiver side.
The play call is “Lookie Squirrel” and the Packers have run this a number of ways. It’s a great way to isolate Adams on slower interior defenders. The play was a big one a few weeks ago versus the Steelers as Cobb had two big receptions on it.
The “lookie” slant coaching point is to get across the defender’s face at all costs, “slant ‘til you can’t,” and if not, break outside quickly. There is a high degree of attention to detail that the quarterback and receiver cannot miss and must be on the same page.
The Bears stay in nickel on 2nd-and-10 and look like they are playing cover-5 again. Cornerback Jaylon Johnson (No. 33) is covering Adams man-to-man in the slot. Adams hits him with a “walk-it-out” release, a slower 3-step release where Adams changes his speed and cuts inside on the slant route. This quick change of speed gets Johnson on his heels and helps create separation for Adams over the middle. Rodgers hits him in stride for a 32-yard gain.
On the next four plays, the Packers relied on Aaron Jones to get them to the goal line. Jones, once again, displays a combination of speed and power as he barrels down to the one yard line setting up the third down touchdown play.
Jones gained 21 yards on these four plays and delivered some crushing hits before going down.
Third play, 2Q 10:02, 3rd-and-1 at the CHI-1
The touchdown play was a misdirection shovel pass to Lazard for the Packers’ first touchdown. Lazard is in a wing position at the end of the offensive line with Rodgers in shotgun. The shovel pass is just an underhand toss to the receiver who catches it on the run behind the pulling blockers.
It looks like the play was a designed run-pass option where Rodgers had the option of handing off to Jones on a wide zone path to the edge if defensive end Robert Quinn (No. 94) does not aggressively push up field to play the mesh between the quarterback and running back. Rodgers reads Quinn’s aggressive pursuit and underhand tosses it to Lazard who strides in for the touchdown.
Second scoring drive - The Aaron Jones drive
After an 11 yard pass on first down to Adams, the offense ran through Jones on this drive, literally.
First play, 3Q 12:16, 1st-and-10 at the GB-21
Aaron Jones is a skilled runner who makes defenders wrong consistently when pressing the line of scrimmage and this 28-yard run was no exception. The play call is an inside zone run, something LaFleur’s offense runs more than any other Shanahan tree coach. And why wouldn’t they? Jones and Dillon are bruising runners up the middle.
The Packers are in 11 personnel shotgun running inside zone to the weak side and it looks like they have a run-pass option tagged to the two receiver side with Adams running a bubble. The Packers will generally tag this weak side run with the RPO to attack defenses who send the extra run fitter to the weak side in two-high coverage.
The Bears are in single high defense with box numbers favoring the strong side under a single high safety. Rodgers makes the decision pre-snap since his back is turned to the bubble route post-snap so there is no way of seeing it. Jones takes the handoff and presses the backside B-gap as the linebackers commit. As he does this, he bounces to the front side A-gap and hits the crease for a 28 yard gain.
Second play, 3Q 6:55, 3rd-and-1 at the CHI-22
After catches by Mercedes Lewis and Josiah Deguara and runs by Jones and Dillon, the offense found themselves just outside the red zone at the Chicago 21 yard line on third down. The Packers line up in 13 personnel I-formation with tight ends on the edges and Deguara as the fullback in the backfield.
The play call is essentially a play action mesh crosser concept with a down flat by the tight end and a short flat route by Jones out of the backfield.
Rodgers executes the play fake and flips his hips around quickly and fires a pass to Jones out in the flat in stride. Jones gains 10 yards on the pass, getting down to the 12 yard line and setting up his touchdown catch.
Third play, 3Q 6:09, 1st-and-10 at GB-12
The offense is back in 11 personnel with Rodgers staying under center. The play call is another play action pass. Lazard and Cobb shift inside to wing positions on the line of scrimmage at the ends of the offensive line.
Rodgers fakes to Jones who goes to chip the end and presents as the checkdown. Lazard and Adams run deep into the end zone, almost like decoys to clear out the coverage as Rodgers checks it down to Jones in the left flat. Now it’s just a race to the goal line to see who can get there first: Jones or the Bears defense. Jones wins.
Third drive, the “I STILL OWN YOU” drive
The drive starts with a run for no gain with Jones. The next play, a 13-yard gain on a play action concept I’ve detailed here recently, drift, is a simple day-1 install play in the offense.
First play, 4Q 8:05, 2nd-and-10 at the GB-25
On “drift,” the receiver runs an in-breaking route at about 10-12 yards that is more rounded off than squared-in on a traditional dig route. The play is designed to hit quickly so that the quarterback is throwing the ball as that receiver breaks over the middle of the field where the linebackers vacated to fit the run.
The play is designed to be run versus single high safety coverage like the Bears are showing. You can see the route hit behind the linebackers for a quick 13 yard gain. The run fake and movement of the offensive line clears out the underneath coverage whereas on a traditional drop back pass play, there would be a defender robbing under the drift route. Rodgers hits the window to Lazard for a 13 yard gain.
Second play, 4Q 7:15, 2nd-and-10 at the GB-38
This next play is staple shot play in LaFleur’s offense and it’s similar to a concept they ran against the 49ers in week three and one which I detailed at length here: the double-go, middle read concept. Rodgers connected with Adams for what apparently was a touchdown but was brought back to where Adams barely stepped out of bounds. The result was a 41 yard gain.
Running this play out of a 3x2 versus a single-high safety in middle of the field closed puts the deep safety in a bind as he has to keep over the top of two verticals. The quarterback reads the routes and throws opposite of the way the safety turns.
Here, the Bears are playing cover-3 “match” and sending the overhang defender to the two receiver side as the fourth rusher. The safety opens with the deep crosser by the #3 receiver and Adams as the #2 ends up running a corner route away from the safety and is wide open.
The corner should make an “under” call to the curl/flat defender, pass off the under route to him, and zone off and sink under the corner route by Adams but he stays with the under route as the receiver climbs outside the numbers downfield. Rodgers initially looked the safety off, moved right in the pocket and fired the pass to Adams just outside the numbers.
The next two plays from the Chicago 21 yard line gained 15 yards on a play action keeper pass to Mercedes Lewis for eight yards followed up with a seven yard run on second down by Jones, setting up the climactic event of the afternoon.
Third play, 4Q 4:38, 1st-and-6 from the CHI-6
The Packers are trying to run mesh versus zone coverage in compressed space, to give Rodgers an easy throw to the sit route over the middle of the field. However, the Bears’ Khalil Mack (No. 52) was able to flush Rodgers from the pocket, forcing him to escape to his right side.
With nowhere to throw, Rodgers takes off for the front corner pylon of the end zone and gets across while taking a hit that sends him sliding a few yards out of bounds. He does the signature “discount double check” on his knees before the celebration ensues and the middle fingers erupt from the fans.
It turns out it wasn’t just one fan — it was multiple, probably dozens giving him the finger. The touchdown put the game officially out of reach as the Bears were unable to get the ball past the Green Bay 48-yard line on their final drive.
Although we did not mention much of the defense, it should be noted that they pressured Fields 23 times on his drop backs (four sacks, one hit, 18 hurries) and kept him on the move for much of the game. Although he did hit some incredibly nice throws that show why he was a first round quarterback, being under pressure that often is not good for any rookie.
Kenny Clark added two sacks and Rashan Gary had seven total pressures. Not a bad day for a defensive unit that continues to make strides each week.
The Packers are currently 9.5-point favorites this coming weekend versus the Washington Football Team struggling in all phases of the game. The WFT are 2-4 with a minus-50 point differential. This could get ugly quick.
Outside of the defensive line, which boasts a number of first round picks including Chase Young, Jonathan Allen, and Montez Sweat, there isn’t much else for WFT fans to be positive about with their club, especially in light of the recent events surrounding Daniel Snyder and the debacle over the Sean Taylor number retirement.