Seeing Aaron Rodgers on the field, playing well and healthy, automatically makes the Chicago Bears worse. On defense, on offense. Maybe it has some psychological effect on Jay Cutler, who knows. What is clear is that some things don’t change, as the Green Bay Packers shake off the criticism and beat their biggest rivals 38-17.
Last season the Bears managed to beat the Packers for the first time since 2010, but Rodgers broke his collarbone in that game. Six weeks later, back in action, Rodgers was good enough to lead the Packers to a win in Chicago over the Bears. Since the beginning of the 2009 season, including the postseason, Green Bay have a 10-2 lead in the series, and a more impressive 10-1 when Rodgers is healthy enough to finish the game. New head coach, offensive system and philosophy doesn’t change that.
Rodgers and the Packers looked awful in their loss to the Detroit Lions. Repairs were made in the offensive line and Rodgers never flinched in front of the meager pressure he saw. He completed 22-of-28 throws for 302 yards and four touchdowns, as the back and forth game of the first half (ending in a four point lead for the Packers) turned into a blow out, nothing new in this clash, with Jay Cutler throwing interceptions and the Bears’ game going completely off the rails.
The Packers didn’t need to do a lot of running against one of the worst run defenses in the league, rushing for 56 yards on 18 carries with Eddie Lacy scoring a couple of touchdowns. The secondary, with injuries and declining quality, is a mess for the Bears, which made it very easy for both Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb to combine for the four touchdowns with 17 receptions and 221 yards. Out of Rodgers’ 28 pass attempts, 21 were targeted at the duo.
All the criticism on the running game of the Bears might be over, as Matt Forte ran for 122 yards and rookie Ka’Deem Carey added 72 yards on 14 carries. But Cutler threw two interceptions, making it four for him this season, in another bad game for him against a team that does something to his decision-making ability. He struggled finding Brandon Marshall (only two receptions for 19 yards) and relied solely on Martellus Bennett, who caught 9 passes for 134 yards.
Both teams didn’t punt even once, only the second time it has happened in a regular season game. The Packers scored on every drive but one, when Mason Crosby missed a field goal. The Bears, despite having possession 60% of the time, simply made too many mistakes and didn’t score after taking a 17-14 lead in the second quarter with 3:50 left in the half. Offensive genius on Trestman’s side might still be there, but it doesn’t translate into results too many times.
The Packers and the Bears are both 2-2, but there’s a big difference at how they look at what’s left for them this season. The Green Bay Packers are far from perfect, but if the protection around Rodgers doesn’t fall apart, it’s going to be another season on top of the NFC North.