Sunday, May 22, 2022

15 Thoughts On Yet Another Wild, Woeful Bears Loss To The Packers

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Dhruv Koul shares his in-game reactions, thoughts and observations from the Bears-Packers prime time game at Lambeau Field.  Follow him on Twitter @DhruvKoul to continue the conversation.



GREEN BAY, Wis. — The annual Bears-Packers prime time game at Lambeau Field is back.  The annual showcase demolition of the Bears in front of a national audience at the hands of their owner, Aaron Rodgers, is here.

The last time these two teams played, the Packers won at Soldier Field, 24-14.  But the story out of that game was Rodgers infamously yelling, “I’ve owned you all my fucking life!  I own you!  I still own you!” at the Soldier Field crowd.

He ain’t wrong.

Since that game pitted the 3-2 Bears (coming off an impressive road win in Las Vegas) against the 4-1 Packers for early control of the NFC North, the two teams have gone in totally different directions — to the point where it was fair to wonder why this game was still in prime time.

The Packers have continued to do Packers things.  The Bears… woof.  They’re now contemplating their offseason plans.  They had a circus the week of Thanksgiving.  Matt Nagy is almost guaranteed to be out after the season.  And they’re currently evaluating if Ryan Pace deserves the same fate.

In other words, things are status quo.

This game was meant to underline again for the McCaskeys the chasm between the two franchises.  To show just how far the Bears are from the Packers, even after drafting their supposed franchise QB in Justin Fields.

In the end, things stayed true to form as the Packers notched another head-to-head prime time domination of the Bears — especially in the second half.  To the Bears’ credit, they took a lead into halftime (!!!) but fell apart, as was predictable.  The death march continues.

I shared my in-game reactions, thoughts and observations from the game below.  Follow me on Twitter @DhruvKoul to continue the conversation.

Thoughts and Observations

1.  (PREGAME) — The Bears at least got somewhat healthy this week.  Allen Robinson returned for the Bears.  So did Mario Edwards Jr.  Akiem Hicks, unfortunately, was downgraded to Out on Saturday after being Questionable on Friday.  He pushes himself to get back for rivalry games, so if he couldn’t go, his ankle must’ve gotten much worse over the weekend.  Tough for him.

2.  Pretty solid start for the Bears, honestly.  They got the ball first and drove to the Packers’ 40-yard line before punting.  They then forced a Packers three-and-out, highlighted by a Robert Quinn sack of Aaron Rodgers.  (The championship belt celebration followed, hilarious.)

The Bears then got a nice return by Jakeem Grant into plus territory — defense and special teams working together!

Unfortunately, the Bears stalled after getting 1st and Goal at the 5-yard line and had to kick the FG.  But Jason Peters got injured on the drive and rookie Teven Jenkins came in at LT.  He had a false start on the drive, too.  Tough entrance for the rookie.  If Peters is out for a big portion of the game, the Bears better give Jenkins some help on the left side.  I didn’t see a lot of it on that drive.

3.  I’m not sure what’s happening here at Lambeau Field, but it’s been enjoyable so far.

After giving up a 3rd and 18 conversion to Allen Lazard (which should’ve been picked by Artie Burns), the Bears forced another Packers punt.

And on offense, the Bears have dominated up front for the most part.  And an incredible play design near mid field found Jakeem Grant sprinting down the left sideline with a ton of lead blockers in front for a touchdown.  The Bears are up 10-0 in the second quarter.  This is stunning, so far.

4.  The Packers just exploited the flat all the way down the field for a touchdown.  The Bears held up well for three downs from inside the 5-yard line, but a nice play-fake slant to Allen Lazard on Xavier Crawford made it 10-7 Bears.  It’s about time the Green Bay offense woke up, easing the uneasy murmurs from the Lambeau stands.

The Bears would do really well to put together another drive here before halftime, even if it’s just to keep the ball away from Green Bay, who gets the ball to start the second half.  If they can get at least three points out of it, even better…

… And Fields just got pick-sixed by Rasul Douglas.  An awful throw that Douglas read all the way in his zone defense.  And just like that the Packers lead 14-10.

Goodness…

…BUT NOT SO FAST!

Damiere Byrd took a third-down Texas route 54 yards to the house for a Bears touchdown.  They’re now up 17-14.  Awesome design, excellent placement, and Byrd’s awesome speed did the rest.

5a.  What is happening in Green Bay?  The Packers’ Davante Adams actually got called for OPI on third down against Jaylon Johnson (!).  And then the Packers opted to punt.

And Jakeem Grant pulled off a Tarik Cohen en route to a 97-yard punt return touchdown.  The Bears are up 24-14 with 1:32 left in the first half.

Win or lose, it’s just remarkable the Bears have done this much, honestly.

5b.  And back to regularly scheduled programming.  The Packers marched down the field in lightning quick succession to put up a touchdown (deep throw to Davante Adams).  It’s 24-21 Bears with 44 seconds left in the first half.  It’s honestly remarkable.

6.  The Bears’ special teams have been incredible today.  Another great kickoff return by Khalil Herbert put the Bears at their own 40-yard line to start the drive with ~33 seconds left.  The Bears drove to the Packers’ 26 and got a Cairo Santos FG before halftime to put themselves up 27-21 at halftime.

I mean, beggars can’t be choosers.  This has been an incredible first half, all things considered, for the Bears.  But you can’t help but think they could be dominating this even more than they are.

Alas, Lambeau Field is a tough place to play.  This is impressive, nonetheless.

7.  A hot knife through warm butter for the Packers on their opening drive of the second half.  They didn’t face a single third down on that drive.  The way they’re able to design ways to get Davante Adams the ball is so impressive.  A machine of an offense.

Nathaniel Hackett, the OC for Green Bay, always has this team ready to play and execute.  He’s looking very interesting as a possible HC candidate for the Bears.

8.  And Justin Fields gets sack/stripped on the second play of the ensuing drive.  Teven Jenkins, who gave up the sack, also got called for a hold on the same play… not good.

The Packers scored one play later and it’s 35-27, Green Bay.  My word.  This game has turned on a dime twice already in Green Bay’s favor.  Something tells me this one will be more permanent.

9.  Justin Fields has been hit a lot tonight.  He’s also missed a lot (LOT) of throws he needs to make if he wants to be a successful NFL QB.  All of the built in excuses (injured ribs, first game back, etc.) are great, but it appears Bears fans are simply willing to wipe out the *entire* slate and that’s irresponsible.  He has to be better.

10.  It’s 38-27 Packers in the fourth quarter.  The Bears are a half-yard short on third down in their own territory.  They choose to punt (dumb).  The punt is fumbled and recovered for a touchdown by Damien Williams (wild).  But Kindle Vildor is (wrongly) called to have gone OOB on his own.  Football “karma”, so to speak.

11.  The Packers went 8:38 right down the field, running the same plays over and over, for a touchdown.  Just absolutely brilliant.

12.  Per the tweet above, if I’m the McCaskeys, I fire Matt Nagy tonight.  They not only absorbed his best shot, but turned it around on him two-fold, and made his QB look mostly terrible.  There’s nothing left to evaluate.

Nothing at all.

13.  Aaron Rodgers is 23-5 in his career against the Bears.  Incredible.

When will he sell his ownership of the Bears?

At this rate, why should he?

14.  Four games left for Fields to make a more positive impression in his rookie season.  So far, not enough impressive stuff.  The special teams tonight, though, were sensational.  Just sensational.

15.  Maybe the Bears can bring more of that first half stuff to the next game, because they are back in prime time next Monday night when they welcome the Minnesota Vikings to Soldier Field.

Wonder if the Bears will make a move on Monday — they really should.  They probably won’t, though.

The Vikings visited for a MNF game last year, and stole a 19-13 win to keep the Bears spiraling into their bye week.  The death march continues.

Early prediction: Vikings 27, Bears 17.

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