CHICAGO – It didn’t need saying, but Aaron Rodgers said it anyway.
“I still own you,” Rodgers yelled after his game-clinching touchdown in the fourth quarter of a Packers win, 24-14, on Sunday.
Television cameras and microphones caught Rodgers yelling in the direction of Bears fans during his touchdown celebration. Rodgers scored on a 6-yard scramble to the right corner of the end zone. A defender had shoved him out of bounds and he crashed right up next to the front row at Soldier Field, where Bears fans were distraught watching Rodgers pick apart their team yet again.
If this was, indeed, Rodgers’ final game at Soldier Field as a member of the Green Bay Packers, there was no better exclamation point than that.
Some might have felt his celebratory words went a step too far. The fact is, Rodgers has earned every right to say those things. Rodgers improved to 21-5 lifetime against the Bears.
“Sometimes you black out on the field,” Rodgers said. “In a good way. … I looked up in the stands and all I saw was a woman giving me the double bird. I’m not sure exactly what came out of my mouth next.”
Bears fans shouldn’t be mad at Rodgers’ celebration. That would be misdirected anger.
If anything, they should look inward at their own team. The Bears haven’t been in the same league as the Packers in years. They are 3-20 in their last 23 contests against the Packers. They’ve lost 10 of the last 11. Head coach Matt Nagy is 1-6 against his chief rival.
“He’s won a lot of games,” Nagy said of Rodgers. “He’s done a lot of good things. He dictates how things go at the line of scrimmage. He puts his guys in good situations. We know that. We’ve obviously faced him a lot. We see where he’s at. You have to give him credit for that. He’s a hell of a quarterback.”
Rodgers’ fourth-quarter touchdown extended the lead to two possessions with 4:38 remaining in the game. The game wasn’t over, but it might as well have been.
When the clock finally hit zero, Rodgers had thrown for 195 yards and two touchdowns on 17-of-23 passing, to go along with 19 rushing yards and a touchdown on seven carries. He found star receiver Davante Adams at key moments, resulting in four catches for 89 yards.
With Rodgers’ future in Green Bay up in the air, it’s within the realm of possibility that Sunday’s game might have been his last at Soldier Field as a member of the Packers. Rodgers’ screaming certainly felt like parting words for the fans whose hearts he has broken so many times.
“I love playing at Soldier Field,” Rodgers said. “I said this week, I have a lot of respect for the fans. I’m sure there’s a little bit of respect coming back my way, not a lot of love, I’m sure. But I’ve had a lot of great moments on this field, a lot of great battles, and today was much like those other ones.”
Nagy brushed off Rodgers’ yelling, but Bears fans will certainly remember it.
“I just think for us we worry about what we do,” Nagy said. “I didn’t see any of that.”
Bears tight end Cole Kmet was aware of what Rodgers had said. He said the Bears will remember that when they face the Packers again in December. Kmet said it’s “pretty frustrating” watching Rodgers do his thing with the Packers offense, while Justin Fields, Kmet and the Bears offense has to just sit and watch.
“He’s a really good player, and just the way that they’re able to handle themselves on that side of the ball, they showed a lot of discipline out there,” Kmet said. “They don’t really make a lot of mistakes, and if you’re going to beat a team like that you’re going to have to be perfect.”
The Bears weren’t perfect Sunday and they’ve been far from perfect over the past 14 years against Rodgers.