The Bears trailed by only three in the fourth quarter, but Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers did enough down the stretch to defeat the Bears, 24-14, on Sunday. Here’s what you need to know:
Three moments that mattered
1. Still own you: Following Aaron Rodgers’ 6-yard touchdown scramble with 4:30 remaining to make it again a two-score game, Rodgers was caught by broadcast microphones appearing to say “I still own you” toward the stands. We cannot deny Rodgers’ usual brilliance against the Bears, and the five-play, 75-yard drive just joins a long list of examples. Justin Fields might emerge as the best quarterback in the NFC North eventually, but Rodgers is still King of the North as long as he says he is.
2. Not over yet: Entering the fourth quarter, the Bears offense was searching for answers. Fields arguably had his best drive since the opening possession, going 5-for-5 for 64 yards. Despite a phantom holding penalty on center Sam Mustipher that wiped out a Khalil Herbert touchdown run, the offense overcame it and was rewarded with a Darnell Mooney touchdown catch to make it 17-14 Packers with 8:44 left in the game.
3. Too easy: On the Packers’ second half opening possession, Rodgers drove his team 90 yards on 10 plays for a touchdown on a pass to running back Aaron Jones to make it 17-7 Packers with six minutes left in the third quarter. The drive was aided by a debatable defensive pass interference call on Jaylon Johnson, but the most glaring play that needed to be made ultimately wasn’t: Tashaun Gipson missing a tackle in the open field on the Jones score.
Three things that worked
1. Next man up: We addressed it last week, but the Bears have to again be pleased with Herbert. Down to their third option on the depth chart due to David Montgomery’s knee injury and Damien Williams on the COVID-19 list, Herbert was plenty reliable. The rookie finished with 97 yards and one touchdown.
2. Kmet re-emerging: We’ve harped on the tight ends not getting enough involvement in the passing game in the past. Kmet had a nice game: four catches for 49 yards. We still don’t understand Jimmy Graham’s role at this point, but getting production from Kmet is important.
3. All about the pressure: It’s becoming a weekly occurrence, but having an effective Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn off the edge is making a huge difference in the pass rush. Both picked up sacks, as they jockey for the team lead each week. Their collective presence was all the more important against Rodgers, who thrives with quick throws and entered with an offensive line juggling injuries.
Three things that didn’t
1. Eddie Jackson: Jackson offers plenty of talent, but his tackling efforts have long left a lot to be desired the past few seasons. There’s no question his missed tackle on Davante Adams preceding the Rodgers scramble score was because of his angle and poor pursuit. That’s a game-altering tackle he could’ve made and didn’t. Rodgers, well, took care of the rest.
2. What was that? The Bears had a golden opportunity to potentially tie the game 10-10 before the half, but an odd sequence squelched that. Fields nearly threw his second interception, which was ruled incomplete. The next play, Fields was tagged for delay of game, despite the broadcast cameras catching him calling a timeout, which he wasn’t granted. Then, Fields was sacked to take them out of field-goal range. Those mistakes can’t happen when Rodgers is across the opposite sideline.
3. Get it together: The Bears opened up the game with a 80-yard touchdown scoring drive after a Packers punt. The rest of the half, however, was anything but consistent: 55 net yards with two punts and an interception. Later on, following the Bears’ fourth quarter score, Fields and the offense couldn’t muster another score to respond. Fields took a critical sack to push them out of field-goal range and later had turnover on downs. There’s still not enough consistency yet.
The Bears travel to Tampa Bay for a rematch from last year’s surprising victory over the eventual Super Bowl champs. Kickoff is 3:25 p.m. Sunday.