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Packers blow out Bears 38-20 behind Aaron Jones’ big plays & relentless pass rush

Jones was the catalyst for two touchdown drives while Green Bay got after Justin Fields early and often.

Green Bay Packers v Chicago Bears Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Aaron Jones may have only had 11 total touches in the Green Bay Packers’ week one game against the Chicago Bears, but he made them count. The Packers got 127 total yards from Jones on nine carries and two pass receptions, and he scored two touchdowns in the third quarter to help the Packers pull away from the Bears for a 38-20 blowout victory.

The first game of the Jordan Love era started with an excellent performance by the Packers’ new starting quarterback. Although his completion percentage was modest — just 55.6% — he was excellent on third and fourth downs and was very efficient. Love finished the game with a 123.2 passer rating, throwing for three touchdowns and 245 yards on nearly ten yards per pass attempt.

Meanwhile, the Packers’ pass rush was relentless against the Bears and their athletic quarterback, Justin Fields. They hit Fields six times on record with four sacks, and had at least one more erased by a penalty. Fields was regularly running for his life, particularly in the second half after the Packers doubled up around halftime to open up a two-possession lead.

Green Bay’s defense also ensured that the Packers won the turnover battle, picking up two takeaways off Fields. One was a strip-sack by Kenny Clark, while the second was a hilarious pick-six from linebacker Quay Walker to put the game well and truly out of reach in the fourth quarter.

All told, it was more of the same for the Bears against the Packers, even with Love taking over the reins of the offense. Green Bay’s 38 points is a number that the team exceeded just once during each of the 2021 and 2022 seasons, and the win extends the Packers’ win streak over the Bears to nine consecutive games. The two teams will meet again in week 18 to wrap up the 2023 regular season.

The Packers won the opening coin toss and deferred, giving Chicago the football to start the game. The Bears picked up a nice chunk of yardage on a screen pass to Khalil Herbert, but the Green Bay defense stood tall on a short-yardage stand near midfield a few plays later. After Cole Kmet lined up under center and came up short on a 3rd-and-1 sneak, the Packers stopped Justin Fields on his own sneak attempt on 4th down to turn the ball over to Jordan Love for his first possession with great field position.

Green Bay converted on its first third down attempt of the season on that first series, thanks to Romeo Doubs. After an ugly option pitch from Love to Jayden Reed on 2nd and long, Doubs caught a slant and weaved just to the sticks to convert on 3rd-and-13. Three straight Aaron Jones runs picked up a first down and a total of 18 yards, and he moved the chains again with a 7-yard run on 3rd-and-2 to get the Packers to the Bears’ 5. Three plays later, Love hit Doubs crossing across the back of the end zone for a short touchdown to give the Packers an early 7-0 lead.

The Bears responded with a drive into Packers territory, picking up a big chunk of yardage on a throw to Darnell Mooney off a Fields scramble. However, their drive bogged down amid some scuffles on the sideline after a clean hit on Fields by Jaire Alexander, and a screen pass that JJ Enagbare broke up led to a 47-yard field goal by Cairo Santos to cut Green Bay’s lead to 7-3.

Green Bay went three-and-out on the next series, and Fields started moving the Bears down the field shortly thereafter. He avoided a sack by a blitzing Alexander on third down and picked up ten yards to move the chains, then the Bears got first-down gains of 10 from D’Onta Foreman on the ground and D.J. Moore through the air. Fields would then hit Moore on a slant for a big 14-yard gain to get the Bears inside the 10. Once again, however, the Packers’ defense got a stop to preserve their lead, holding the Bears to another field goal following a huge open-field sack on Fields by rookie Lukas Van Ness — his first sack as a pro — and a pass breakup in the end zone by Rasul Douglas in coverage on Cole Kmet.

After three-and-outs by both teams, the Packers managed to move the ball a bit with a third-down dart from Love to Samori Toure, but they couldn’t push into field goal range, instead pinning the Bears deep in their own territory after another Daniel Whelan punt. A run from Herbert to get out of the shadow of the goal line got Chicago a bit of breathing room, but another stop by the Packers — including a big pressure by Rashan Gary on third down — gave Love and company the ball back close to midfield with 1:12 left in the first half.

Two quick incompletions put the Packers under the gun on 3rd-and-10, particularly after Love and Luke Musgrave couldn’t connect on what could have been a touchdown. However, Love hit Jayden Reed in stride on third down, picking up 30 yards to get into field goal range. He took a sack on the next play, however, and the Packers ran the clock down to the end of the half for a 52-yard Anders Carlson field goal attempt. Carlson drilled it down the middle for a 10-6 lead at the half.

Aaron Jones reappeared at the start of the second half, slashing through the Bears defense on the ground early before delivering the biggest play of the day for the offense. Jordan Love bootlegged to the left then threw back to Jones on the right, and behind a convoy of blockers the running back scampered for 51 yards to the 7-yard line. Three plays later, Jones punched the ball into the end zone from a yard out to finish off the drive, extending the Packers’ lead to two possessions at 17-6.

Devonte Wyatt kicked off the second half with an explosive sack on Fields, which led to a three-and-out for the Bears. The Packers quickly extended their lead, getting great field position thanks to a big 35-yard punt return by Reed. It was Jones once again delivering the blow, as the offense stayed on the field for a 4th-and-3 from the Bears’ 35. Split to the left, Jones ran an angle route, breaking inside as Love hit him with the football in stride. He scampered untouched into the end zone to extend the Packers’ lead to 24-6.

That play was bittersweet for Green Bay, however, as Jones appeared to pull up just across the goal line while grabbing the back of his left leg. Jones will likely be evaluated more thoroughly this week, but he did not return to the game.

The Green Bay defense then delivered its first turnover of the day on the ensuing series, as Kenny Clark and Wyatt split a strip sack as Fields tried to scramble on third down. Clark was credited with the forced fumble, and Rasul Douglas fell on the ball to give it back to the offense.

But the Packers started to give the Bears some life with some mistakes. A trio of personal foul penalties on Green Bay sparked the Bears’ offense, which got chunks of yardage behind rookie running back Roschon Johnson. Fields would eventually hit Darnell Mooney for a 20-yard touchdown, the Bears’ first of the day, and Herbert punched in a two-point conversion to cut the Packers’ lead to 10.

Chicago delivered a personal foul of their own on the ensuing kickoff, giving Green Bay good field position at the 40. Love hit Reed for 18 yards on 3rd and 9 to move the chains, and then Love turned disaster into success. He managed to pick up a bad snap and wheel around to find a wide-open Musgrave up the left sideline, and the rookie tight end hauled in a 37-yard completion. Then on the next play, Love delivered a picture-perfect ball to Doubs for the pair’s second scoring connection on the day.

The next Bears series ended with another Packers score, a hilarious pick-six by second-year linebacker Quay Walker. Dropping into zone coverage on 3rd and long, Walker read Fields’ eyes and picked off his pass over the middle, then bounced off a would-be tackler on his way to the end zone. This play is absolutely worth watching again and again:

The two teams would trade unsuccessful drives for much of the rest of the game, with the Bears eventually getting a garbage-time touchdown from Roschon Johnson. The Packers even got to put rookie backup Sean Clifford in the game to finish off the game by handing off the football to Patrick Taylor for the final three minutes with the team still up by the final three-possession margin.

The Packers suffered one notable injury in the game. That came to running back Aaron Jones on his touchdown run. Jones was officially designated as questionable to return with a hamstring injury, but he did not come back on the field. His status will be worth close monitoring over the course of the coming week.