Packers Win Over Chicago Bears Once AgainPosted:Oct 18th, 2021 1:10 pm
For me, nothing is sweeter than beating the Bears. Even when the rivalry has been as one-sided as it's been since 2010, with the Pack going 20-3, to silence that obnoxious fan base puts me in my happy place.
Just like Soldier Field is Aaron Rodgers' happy place. The viral "I still own you!" clip from Rodgers' six yard touchdown scamper is the kind of meme that will live inside Bears' fans heads for quite a while, just as he and the old gunslinger have since around 1992, when the league's oldest rivalry turned into three decades of Packers domination.
And the win over the Bears was Matt LaFleur's seventh straight divisional win on the road to start his career--he's the first coach to accomplish that since 1970.
In meeting number 203, the Pack got off to a slow start, which is becoming a bit of a trend this season. But after falling behind 7-0, they settled in on both sides of the ball and slowly took over. The biggest takeaway for me is the running game, finally rounding into form these past two weeks. With Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon combing for 135 yards and 5 and a half yards per carry, the Packers were able to engineer long drives and take what the defense gave them, which was daring them to run against a light box.
It meant Rodgers only needed to drop back to pass 23 times and he spread the wealth, targeting Davante Adams a season-low five times and connecting with seven teammates in the game. Nice to Allen Lazard more involved and rookie Amari Rodgers had a nice play, but I still would like to see more snaps for Randall Cobb. The Pack used Adams quite a bit in the slot in this one and maybe Cobb's time will come later in the season when (and if) the line is healthy and they don't need to worry as much about extra protection for Rodgers.
Speaking if health, this team continues to be ravaged by the injury bug. Josh Myers left early with a knee injury which did not look good and in the second half the defense was down five preferred starters: the Smiths, JaireAlexander, Kevin King and Darnell Savage. We'll wait to see if Preston's oblique injury will keep him from facing his former team on Sunday, and Savage is in the concussion protocol.
The guys that stepped in did a nice job, fortunate to be facing an offense that is a work in progress. Noticeable were pass rusher Jonathan Garvin, new corner Rasul Douglas (who replaced the torched Isaac Yiadom) and Henry Black. Early in the season the defensive line was the weak link on that side of the ball. The last couple weeks it's been a strength, with Dean Lowry suddenly ascending and Kenny Clark supplying Sunday's dagger with a pair of sacks on the Bears' final drive.
Sounding like a broken record here, but the special teams continues to be a big problem. They nearly gave up a few big kickoff returns and committed a couple of dumb penalties. The exception was Corey Bojorquez' 82 yard punt, somehow just the second longest in team history.
With five straight wins, the Pack return home to face the Washington football team, with brutal road games looming at Arizona (on a short week) and Kansas City. Those two high flying quarterbacks will be the ultimate challenge for the defense and it would be nice to get a few of those five injured starters back.
But for a day or two, I'll think about that exasperated Bears fan base that is praying that that was the last time they'd have to face Rodgers in his home away from home. Interesting that he made it clear he didn't think it would be the last time he'd play there. Count me on the side that would be happy to see him torture them again in 2022.
Someone needs to run Buddy Guy's rendition of "Sweet Home Chicago" under the highlights of this game; maybe Rodgers could provide the lead vocals.