By ADAM KARNIK
The more the Bears change, the more things remain the same when they visit Green Bay.
Despite coming into Sunday night’s matchup with a new general manager, a new head coach, a drastically overhauled roster, and a surprising 1-0 record, Lambeau Field proved to yet again be a house of horrors for the Chicago Bears. Three Green Bay touchdowns in the second quarter proved to be too much for Chicago to overcome as the Bears lost 27 – 10.
Green Bay used both of their Aarons, Jones, and Rodgers, to pick apart the Bears’ defense. Aaron Rodgers showed yet again why he is always in the conversation for league MVP, completing his final 14 passes en route to a 19-for-25 night with 234 yards and two touchdowns for a quarterback rating of 131.1. Aaron Jones, meanwhile, shredded the Bears’ defense for 132 yards on 15 carries and a touchdown, good for an average of 8.8 yards per carry.
On the other side, Justin Fields didn’t do much to ease concerns about being the Bears’ future at quarterback. The second-year quarterback was just 7-for-11 for 70 yards, with no touchdowns, one interception, and a quarterback rating of 43.8. Fields did have 20 yards rushing and a touchdown on eight carries. He appeared to score a second rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter but was ruled just short of the goal line and a video review was determined to be inconclusive.
This was the first road game of the Matt Eberflus era, and the growing pains were evident throughout the game. Communication issues forced Chicago to take a timeout in the first half. First-time offensive coordinator Luke Getsy abandoned the running game for much of the first half after getting 41 yards on the ground on the opening drive. And, most damaging of all, the Bears were called for seven penalties in the game.
This isn’t to say that nothing worked on Sunday. Trevis Gipson recorded two sacks, two tackles for loss, and three quarterback hits. David Montgomery had an excellent game, gaining 122 yards on 15 carries for an average of 8.1 yards per carry. But overall, the lack of talent and depth on the team was on display in a nationally televised game.
Much was made in the week leading up to the game about how the Packers could be ripe for an upset, with a battered offensive line and an unproven wide receiver corp. But, once again, Rodgers proved that having an MVP at quarterback can cover up for all kinds of roster deficiencies. Time and again, when the Packers appeared to be in trouble, Rodgers would put a ball where only his man could make the play and the drive would go on.
It’s a sight that Bears fans are all too familiar with as Rodgers has a career record of 23-5 in the regular season against Chicago and it’s been four years since the quarterback has thrown an interception against the Bears. Some may have been hoping to see a turning point in this 100-year-old rivalry, but there was little evidence of that in this game.
Rookies Jaquan Brisker and Kyler Gordon certainly belong in the NFL and games like this one will only help them in the long run, but it was obvious that the Packers’ game plan was to attack the rookies when they could. Veteran wide receiver Sammy Watkins took advantage of Gordon’s over-anticipation on several routes and Brisker appeared to get caught in-between receivers on a couple of occasions. Hopefully, this game can be a building block for both of them.
Are Bears’ Fans Overreacting
Just like it’s wrong to overreact after a surprise win in Week 1, it’s too soon to declare the sky to be falling at Hallas Hall. The Bears were competitive throughout the game and were still alive in the fourth quarter until Fields was ruled short of the goal line on a fourth down carry. The winless Texans come to Chicago next, which provides a great rebound opportunity for Eberflus and company.
The foundation is still being made but if things trend in the right direction, maybe next year’s trip to Lambeau won’t be quite so terrifying.