What a wild ride we had in this one. Entering tonight’s showdown between the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears, everyone in the world had the Packers in a walk. But the NFL is a strange beast, and every single week we learn that you can never fully count anyone out.
The game started off slowly with an exchange of punts, but as it turns out, an exchange of punts, or kicks, or really any special teams play is not something you want to be a part of if you’re the Packers. Corey Bojorquez’s first punt of 57 yards was returned 34 yards by Jakeem Grant, setting up a short field for Chicago, resulting in a field goal for Cairo Santos. The first quarter would come to an end with the Bears holding a sleepy 3-0 lead and Robert Quinn having mocked Aaron Rodgers' belt celebration. The 2nd quarter, on the other hand, would not disappoint.
The Second Quarter
Chicago would force another punt and then push the lead out to 10-0 on a nice drive capped by a 46-yard catch-and-run touchdown from Justin Fields to Grant over the middle. Everything went wrong for Green Bay to this point, but they did settle themselves and got on the board with a methodical 13-play, 75-yard drive highlighted by a 25-yard pass to Josiah Deguara. Allen Lazard would punch it in from two yards out on an outstanding play call from Matt LaFleur.
After a nice kickoff return by running back Khalil Herbert, the Packers would seize the lead, Justin Fields was late delivering an out to Darnell Mooney, and for the second game in a row, Rasul Douglas would pick off a pass and take it all the way back for a pick six. Douglas played the ball perfectly, and he should be a good candidate to win another Defensive Player of the Week award.
Unfortunately, when you score a touchdown you have to kick off, and Mason Crosby would commit yet another special teams boner, kicking the ball out of bounds. It wouldn’t take Fields and company long to capitalize as the young quarterback found Damiere Byrd for a 54-yard score on a very similar play to their earlier touchdown.
On the next series, Rodgers was unable to answer, as Davante Adams was called for offensive pass interference on 3rd and 4, forcing Green Bay to punt. Corey Bojorquez boomed a 47-yarder that fell to Jakeem Grant at the Bears’ three yard line. While it’s almost always a mistake to field a punt at the 3, it’s never a bad idea to field a punt against the Packers’ coverage unit, and Grant found a lane to his left, taking it all the way for a 97-yard touchdown and extending the Chicago lead.
Fortunately for the Packers, things started to settle down on the next drive as the Packers raced down the field in just 48 seconds, ending with a 38 yard touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers to Davante Adams. This was one of those throws only Rodgers can really make, and he makes them so casually that you can easily forget his brilliance. Adams did an outstanding job springing open and winding his way into the end zone, as Green Bay closed the gap. Unfortunately, once again, special teams would bite the Packers as Herbert returned the subsequent kickoff out to the 42-yard line, and a 20-yard scramble from Justin Fields would net the Bears a field goal as the half expired.
And that was the second quarter. It was really something.
The Second Half
Green Bay received the 2nd half kickoff, and whatever adjustments they made at halftime worked. They would march 75-yards on 11 plays behind Davante Adams and a few strong runs from AJ Dillon. Aaron Jones would net the touchdown on a nice 3-yard run. On the next Bears possession, Preston Smith forced a Justin Fields fumble (recovered by Rashan Gary), and Aaron Jones made them pay on the very next play on a beautiful 23-yard touchdown catch. The Packers would add a short field goal later in the quarter to extend the lead to 11 points, 38-27.
In the 4th, disaster almost struck as Amari Rodgers muffed a punt near the Packer goal line, but a penalty on gunner Kindle Vildor bailed the Packers out. Vildor was ruled to have run out of bounds of his own accord and never reestablished himself, and as a result, the Packers would take over.
And take over they did, with a clock-destroying, methodical 8-minute, 38-second drive resulting in another touchdown to Davante Adams, getting some revenge on corner Jaylon Johnson. That gave Green Bay an 18-point lead and put the game on ice.
The Bears would add a late field goal, and just to drive home the point of how awful the Packers are on special teams, recover an onside kick, but it was too little, too late. Chandon Sullivan picked off Fields’ final pass, and that was all she wrote.
Unfortunately, the Packers did suffer quite a few injuries, including Equanimeous St. Brown (concussion), Malik Taylor (abdominal), Dominique Dafney (ankle), and most importantly, Billy Turner, who left with an ugly-looking knee injury. Turner’s injury follows the loss of Elgton Jenkins and Josh Myers, and leaves the Packers dangerously thin on the offensive line, though Dennis Kelly did a nice job filling in. With David Bakhtiari still not participating at practice, the Packers will be going with a patchwork squad for the foreseeable future.