Offense in rare form vs. Bears
The Packers cut in, out and around the Bears' defense so easily and often Sunday at Soldier Field that they might have been mistaken for an Illinoisan weaving through traffic on a holiday weekend in Wisconsin.
Asleep at the wheel for much of the season's first three weeks, Green Bay's offense — primarily its passing game — took to the field as never before against its longtime rival. The Packers scored on each of their first six possessions in a 38-17 joy ride that got them out of the ditch and back on the road to contending.
Sputtering, blundering, struggling — these adjectives and more had been used to describe Green Bay's offense. Through the season's first three weeks, it ranked 28th in yards (868) produced and 27th in points (54) scored.
Those numbers improved, and quickly, in Chicago. Green Bay never punted and came within a Bears' paw (the left hand of defensive end Willie Young) of scoring every time it got the ball.
Historically, the Packers have not fared well scoring early on Chicago. In 186 meetings from 1921 through 2013, the team had scored on just 32 of its opening drives (25 touchdowns; 7 field goals).
Following up that initial score with another had proven darn-near impossible. Only five times had Green Bay done so and, not surprisingly, it won all five games.
Its best effort: scoring on its first four possessions in toppling Chicago 40-28 on Dec. 17, 1989. In order, the Packers went TD (Keith Woodside), TD (Perry Kemp), FG (Chris Jacke) and TD (Don Majkowski) in mounting a 24-14 first-half lead.
Aaron Rodgers and Co. bettered that and then some. In scoring on six straight possessions, Rodgers fired four touchdown passes, Eddie Lacy plowed into the end zone from 2 yards out and Mason Crosby blasted a 53-yard field goal to tally 38 points, the last 24 without an answer from the Bears.
Rodgers and his receivers enjoyed a huge outing. No. 12 completed 22 of 28 passes for 302 yards. He compiled a 151.2 passer rating to break Brett Favre's record by a Packers quarterback (147.2) against Chicago.
Randall Cobb (113 yards receiving) and Jordy Nelson (108) became the first Packers duo to have 100 yards receiving in the same game against the Bears since Terry Glenn (154) and Donald Driver (120) in 2002.
Green Bay averaged 7.6 yards per play. It reached third down just eight times (converting four).
The Packers were denied for the only time on their final advance. Rodgers moved the team to the Chicago 20-yard line late in the fourth quarter only to have a leaping Young get enough of Crosby's 38-yard field goal attempt to keep it from reaching the uprights.
Despite gaining 368 yards, these Packers of 2014 are the least productive (from a yardage standpoint) during the nine years Mike McCarthy has been coach. They have 1,226 yards, 53 fewer than the club of 2008 amassed.
That was Rodgers first year as a starter. The team finished 6-10.
For 20 consecutive years (1994-2013), Green Bay has gained at least 5,000 yards on offense. It's the longest active streak in the league.
The 49ers (1979-2003; 25 years) and Cowboys (1966-1988; 23) hold the all-time top spots for consecutive seasons averaging at least 312.5 yards per game (5,000 yards in a 16-game season). If the Packers hope to catch and surpass those two, they'll need more offensive explosions similar to the one they dropped on the Bears.
Most consecutive possessions on which the Packers scored to open a game against the Bears.
Sept. 28, 2014
Dec. 17, 1989
Nov. 12, 1972
Dec. 13, 2009
Nov. 15, 1970
Nov. 12, 1995
Sunday was only the fourth time in the Packers-Bears rivalry in which both teams scored touchdowns on their opening possessions. It happened previously on Nov. 10, 1957, Dec. 17, 1989, and Nov. 12, 1995.