Packers 35, Bears 14: Resounding victory is one for the history books

Ryan Wood
Packers News
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Green Bay Packers outside linebacker Clay Matthews (52) celebrates after his sack of Chicago Bears quarterback Mike Glennon (8) which led to a fumble recovery for the Green Bay Packers Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. The sack marked a franchise record for Matthews.

GREEN BAY – In the 195th game of a series that dates back to 1921, the Green Bay Packers won the rubber match.

The Packers trounced the Chicago Bears early and didn’t look back, winning 35-14 on Thursday night at Lambeau Field. Before the Bears had their second offensive snap, the Packers led, 14-0. The first half ended with the Packers scoring three touchdowns, and the Bears providing three turnovers.

Not even a 46-minute weather delay between the first and second quarters slowed them down.

The win improved the Packers to 3-1 this season, but there was even more historical significance. For the first time since 1933, the Packers lead the all-time series against their longest rival 95-94-6.

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Earlier this week, Packers coach Mike McCarthy emphasized the rivalry’s history.

“We understand what the records are, 94-94-6,” McCarthy said, “and that’s important for our fan base. It’s important to your tradition and history of the National Football League, being the longest rivalry that stands, and it factors. It factors in your preparation. We make that loud and clear each and every year.”

The 195th edition of Packers vs. Bears was a surprise drubbing given the Packers’ depleted offensive line. With starters David Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga inactive because of injuries, the Packers were forced to start backups in three positions: Lane Taylor at left tackle, Justin McCray at right tackle, and left guard Lucas Patrick.

McCarthy altered his offense to mitigate the lacking pass protection, frequently rolling Aaron Rodgers away from pressure out of the pocket. When he stayed in the pocket, most of Rodgers’ passes were quick releases underneath.

From there, Rodgers was his usual self. He finished 18-of-26 for 179 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions with a 128 rating. Most important, he was only sacked twice before backup Brett Hundley replaced him in the fourth quarter.

After marching down the field on a 10-play, 75-yard opening touchdown drive ending with a 5-yard pass from Rodgers to receiver Davante Adams, the Bears trailed 7-0 before touching the football.

Adams was knocked out of the game in the third quarter after taking a head-hunting hit from Bears linebacker Danny Trevathan. With Adams held up in a pile, Trevathan lowered his head and smashed the crown of his helmet into Adams’ facemask. Adams was knocked out cold and stayed on the field several minutes before being carted away.

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams (17) reacts after scoring a touchdown on a five-yard reception during the first quarter of their game against the Chicago Bears Thursday, September 28, 2017 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis.

Before entering the locker room, Adams flashed a thumbs up to the Lambeau Field crowd. Adams was conscious and had movement with feeling in all extremities. He was taken to the hospital, where he was evaluated for head and neck injuries as well as a possible concussion.

Trevathan’s cheap shot might have revealed an underlying frustration. On Thursday, the Packers played a Bears team that at times struggled just lining up correctly.

On Chicago’s first snap from its own 25-yard, outside linebacker Clay Matthews crashed the left side and sacked Bears quarterback Mike Glennon 14 yards behind the line of scrimmage. Matthews’ sack, which pushed him to first in franchise history with 75 in his career, jarred the football loose from Glennon.

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The Packers recovered at the Bears’ 3-yard line and took a 14-0 lead three plays later with a 2-yard pass from Rodgers to receiver Randall Cobb on third-and-goal.

The Bears were an enigmatic team through their first three weeks. After a narrow home loss to the Atlanta Falcons in their opener, they were blown out in Week 2 at Tampa Bay before beating the Pittsburgh Steelers last weekend.

Earlier this week, Glennon said his team’s most important barometer was turnovers, and it certainly was Thursday night. In building their 21-7 halftime lead, the Packers forced three turnovers. They scored touchdowns after two of the turnovers.

The Bears finished with four turnovers, while the Packers didn’t have one.

“When things have gone right,” Glennon said, “we’ve run the ball efficiently, we’ve taken care of the football and just executed on offense, whether that’s running the ball or throwing the ball. When things haven’t gone well, obviously it’s kind of the opposite. We’ve turned the ball over.

“That’s really been the key.”

The Packers, loading up against Bears running back Jordan Howard, used more base defense than their first three weeks combined. They held Howard to 53 yards on 18 carries. Taking Howard out of the game, the Packers were able to remove the Bears strength.

Glennon was not enough to beat them, finishing 21-of-33 for 218 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions and a 67.5 rating.

The Bears scored their first touchdown seconds before halftime. They got possession to start the second half, but stalled at the Packers’ 29-yard line. Kicker Connor Barth’s 47-yard field goal sailed wide right.

That was Chicago’s last chance to make Thursday night competitive. Rodgers connected with receiver Jordy Nelson for a pair of second-half touchdowns, and the Packers pulled away.

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With that, the edge in the NFL’s longest series resides in Green Bay. And maybe a renewed animosity sprung from Trevathan’s hit. Earlier this week, Rodgers seemed to foreshadow Thursday’s roughness.

“At times, in the early years,” Rodgers said, “there was a lot more animosity, I felt, on the field. Then we kind of went through a stretch where both teams kind of liked each other. I’m not sure what side we’re going back to.

“We’ll see Thursday night if there’s more animosity or more friendship.”


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