Death, taxes, the Green Bay Packers defeat the Chicago Bears. Oh, you don’t believe me? The Packers and their 100 victories over the Bears would like to have a word with you. Once again the Packers defeat a sub .500 (now) team. Once again Green Bay dominates Chicago. There was much to like about the 41-25 win Green Bay secured on Sunday night.
Offensively Aaron Rodgers was his efficient self. Rodgers went 21-of-29 passing, for 211 yards and 4 touchdowns. He orchestrated this offense near flawlessly, on route to his 20th victory over the Bears. (19-5 regular season and 1-0 postseason. You know, the one where B.J Raji was dancing and they went to the Super Bowl? Good times.)
Welcome back running game! Green Bay ran the ball 39 times for 182 yards and 1 touchdown. Aaron Jones accounted for 17 rushes and 90 yards, while Jamaal Williams rushed 17 times for 73 yards and 1 touchdown. The balance was a welcome sight, as was head coach Matt LaFleur’s plan to exploit the absence of defensive tackle Akiem Hicks for the Bears. (Run it where he ain’t.)
The defense was their typical bend but don’t break, selves. They allowed yet another 100 yard rusher in David Montgomery, but most of his 103 rushing yards, came on a 57-yard run on Chicago’s first offensive possession. The Packers “bottled” him up the rest of the way to the tune of 10 rushes for 46 yards. (It should be noted that game script was not in favor of running the football. Bears were down big!)
A pleasant sight was the pressure and turnovers created by the Packers defense. Darnell Savage picked off Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, twice. Preston Smith (yes, Preston Smith) scooped up a forced fumble created by Za’Darius Smith, and returned it for a touchdown. Yes, a scoring play for a defense that hasn’t had many this season.
For all of the good that was on full display by the Packers, it still leaves me with a bit of concern. Yes it was wonderful to see Green Bay pick themselves up of the mat after a tough overtime loss to the Colts last week. Yes it was great to see them defeat their oldest rival for a 100th time. But they dominated another team hovering or (now) under the .500 mark.
At some point, dominance against sub .500 teams, must translate to dominance against winning teams. A win is a win, we all know this and accept it. Not every game is going to be pretty like this, but to prove to themselves they can do this come January, the Packers have to put together performances against top-level competition.
Green Bay doesn’t have many opportunities to do so. In their 5 remaining games, only one is against a team firmly over .500: the Tennessee Titans (8-3). A favorable schedule will afford Green Bay the opportunity to stack wins and get the 1-seed in the NFC, but will it truly get them ready for what’s to come in the postseason?
The Packers face off against the 3-6-1 (entering Monday) Philadelphia Eagles, next Sunday at Lambeau.