The Green Bay Packers knew they would be in deep shit if they lost to the Bears last night. I’m not going to go over the odds of making the playoffs after a 0-2 start, you’ve heard them already. This was indeed a must win game and the Packers did just that. There was some good, and some bad, but a win is a win in the NFL.
Now the Packers head to Tampa Bay, where they got shellacked two years ago in the regular season. But we’ll worry about that later. Against the Bears it was a 21-point second quarter that did the fatal damage. After being the forgotten man against the Vikings last week running back Aaron Jones almost single-handedly beat the Bears. His 170 total yards and two touchdowns were the difference.
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By his own admission, quarterback Aaron Rodgers didn’t have one of his best games. He missed a couple of throws he normally makes in his sleep and he botched a handoff to AJ Dillon. But after the Packers’ defense came up with a huge goal line stand Rodgers was at his best. He even called his own number and ran around the corner for a key third-down pickup that got the Packers out of a hole. Two plays later he hit Sammy Watkins for 55 yards and it was game over.
If this is what the Packers’ offense is going to look like this year I’m good with that. I certainly hope they can get the running game going next week in Tampa. I have serious doubts about the Packers ability to protect Rodgers against that Buccaneers’ defense.
Pass defense was awesome
The Packers defense did a helluva job defending Justin Fields in this game. They essentially took away the pass from the Bears, holding them to 48 net passing yards. After a 71-yard drive by the Bears gave them a 7-3 lead, the Packers’ defense shut down the Bears the rest of the half.
If there was a concern it was the defense’s inability to stop the run again. The Bears literally quit trying to pass the ball in the fourth quarter. They didn’t need to. They marched 89-yards with ease to the Packers’ 1-yard line. Somehow the Packers’ defense held on fourth down and Rodgers then put the game away.
It’s concerning that the Packers couldn’t stop the run, but the Bears weren’t going to come back strictly running the ball. It took them over half a quarter to go that 89 yards and that included runs of 28 and 27 yards back-to-back. So in some ways you just say let them run it, eventually they will have to pass and that will present opportunities for big plays. And it did when Jaire Alexander got his first interception of the year on the Bears last drive. So we’ll see if they can get that corrected going forward.
Beating the Bears is always a joy. Now it’s on to Tampa Bay and Tom Brady.