It wasn’t a perfect game for the Packers, but Sunday night’s primetime matchup against the Bears was a big improvement for Green Bay from Week 1. Not only was Aaron Rodgers more effective in spreading the ball to his makeshift corps, but Matt Lafleur’s dynamic back-row opened up the two effectively, with Aaron Jones in particular emerging as the focal point of the green and yellow attack. Despite a few hiccups, the Packers came out strong in Week 2 with a win, sweeping Justin Fields and the Bears with a 27-10 decision to put them at .500 in the NFC North.

Here are some highlights from “Sunday Night Football”:

Why did the Packers win?

Unable to consistently push the ball downfield due to a lack of notable weapons, Green Bay instead wisely moved Jones as the focal point of a balanced attack. A dual threat that passed, he averaged nearly 170 scrimmage yards per drive. Rodgers played the quiet position well, mostly shooting quick short shots, especially when Randall Cobb stepped up on key downs. Sammy Watkins came up short in the fourth quarter, including a deep kick. The offense had some sloppy stuff, inviting the Bears’ momentum with a couple of fumbles/handouts, but always felt in control after the first touchdown drive.

On defense, the Packers didn’t lie with impressive plays early on, and struggled to contain David Montgomery as the game wore on. They also never let Justin Fields sit as a passer, the conservative Bears dared their young QB to loose. Preston Smith headlined that group. Zaire Alexander, on the other hand, sprinted down the field to pick up the field in the last minute and made an arrow in the game.

Why did the bears disappear?

They used all their juice on the first vehicle. Matt Eberfels’ defense put enough pressure on Rodgers to give Chicago a chance. Even a 24-7 deficit didn’t seal their fall thanks to a forced fumble at the end of the season, as well as three early sacks on A-Road. But Fields’ unit stagnated after a confident start, averaging 4 yards per pass attempt through the fourth quarter. The Bears’ heavy reliance on the ground game was also bittersweet, as Fields, Khalil Herbert and an ever-greater Montgomery (130+ total yards) all ripped important runs, but didn’t produce a corresponding aerial attack. Fields, of course, didn’t hit double-digit passing attempts until the final two minutes, which may or may not be an indictment of the Bears’ trust (or lack thereof) in him. Their decision-making is also a bit off. The show failed to do so on a fourth-and-goal shotgun QB with a chance to make it a one-point game in the fourth.

turning point

You might point to Rodgers’ pin point third-down dart to Cobb or Jones’ second TD of the night that put Green Bay up 10 in the first half. But the threat sealed the deal for Green Bay when the Packers’ goal line went on a fourth-down shotgun draw with eight minutes left and the Bears were about to make it a one-point game. Fields gave it his all on the play, and the former, who stretched to the pylon, nearly scrambled for a TD. And the replay indicated that Fields had crossed the goal line. Alas, the stuff kept the ball — and the game — in the Packers’ hands.

The game of the game

This wasn’t a big game a la Dolphins-Ravens, rather it wasn’t a miracle-work special, which is why Rodgers’ late second-quarter touchdown to beat Cobb for the first time was so impressive. Not only did it show Rodgers had enough in his legs to get out of the pocket, but it helped extend Green Bay’s drive before halftime and take a 24-7 lead into the break.

What’s next?

The Packers (1-1), who defeated the Saints on Sunday and previously Green Bay, will hit the road to compete against Tom Brady and the Buccaneers (2-0) in the 2020 NFC Championship. The Bears (1-1), meanwhile, return home to host the Texans (0-1-1), who were swept by the Broncos in Week 2.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.