GREEN BAY — The Green Bay Packers scored their most points since 2014 and dispatched the rival Chicago Bears 45-30 on Sunday night at Lambeau Field.
Offense: Aaron Rodgers
Green Bay’s quarterback continued his late-season tear, tossing four touchdowns and no interceptions against Chicago. Rodgers led an offense that after a slow start scored on six of its final eight possessions, including five touchdowns. Six different receivers had at least three catches, as Rodgers threw for 341 yards and completed 78.4% of his passes.
The three-time MVP was especially sharp late in the first half when he found Davante Adams for a 38-yard touchdown to cut Chicago’s lead to 24-21. The wide receiver said it was a play they had not run in four years, though coach Matt LaFleur later clarified that they had run it but not with Adams lined up where he was. Rodgers finished the scoring with another touchdown to Adams in the fourth quarter on a play that was taken from the offense the Packers used to run before LaFleur arrived.
“That last touchdown is something I’ve never seen before,” LaFleur said. “We were talking about what we wanted to do (on the sideline), whether we wanted to run potentially a slant, potentially a fade and they pulled one out of the archives. They were talking to me about it and I was like, ‘oh, can’t wait to see this.'”
After an off game against Seattle in his return from a 10-day quarantine following a positive COVID-19 test, Rodgers has thrown 10 touchdowns and zero interceptions in the last three games and the offense is averaging 37 points in those contests.
The potentially bad news, though, came afterwards from Rodgers himself. He said he had a setback with his fractured pinky toe on his left foot. He was not sure how serious it was but he was in a lot of pain walking into the tunnel at the end of the game. The 38-year-old said they will take a closer look Monday at the damage, though surgery remains a last resort. Rodgers has told reporters in the past that even if surgery is required, it is not something that would cause him to miss any game action.
Defense: LB Preston Smith
The veteran linebacker has taken his game up a notch in recent weeks and that continued against the Bears. Smith finished with two sacks, one forced fumble, one tackle for loss and three quarterback hits. If the guy taking the snaps for the Bears was anyone but the hard-to-take-down Justin Fields, the numbers could have been even bigger.
Smith helped the Packers hold Chicago to just three points in the second and now has five sacks in his last four games. He was also credited for being a motivating voice in the locker room during halftime following a largely ugly first 30 minutes of football.
— Green Bay lost several players to injury in the game, most notably right tackle Billy Turner. He suffered what appeared to be a serious injury to his left knee. Veteran Dennis Kelly replaced him.
Others injured included:
WR Equanimeous St. Brown (concussion)
WR Malik Taylor (abdominal)
TE Dominque Dafney (ankle)
— The Packers special teams were anything but throughout the game. They gave up the first punt return for a touchdown in the NFL this year (97 yards!), allowed multiple kick returns of 40 or more yards, muffed a kickoff that went out of bounds that forced the offense to start at the 5-yard line, had a kickoff that went out of bounds and allowed Chicago to recover an onside kick late in the game.
It was a continuation of struggles throughout the season for first-year special teams coach Maurice Drayton’s unit, but head coach Matt LaFleur said afterwards he is not looking to make a coordinator change at this point.
— The season of Rasual Douglas continues. For a second straight game, the cornerback the Packers plucked from Arizona’s practice squad had an interception that he returned for a touchdown. This one went 55 yards and gave Green Bay a 14-13 lead in the second quarter. It is the first time the Packers have had multiple pick-6s in a season since 2015 and he’s the first player in team history to return an interception for a touchdown in back-to-back weeks since 1965.
Inside the Numbers
5 – That is how many touchdowns of 35 or more yards were scored in the second quarter. That is the most in NFL history for a single quarter.
5 – That is how many touchdowns the Packers scored in a 12:32 span in the second and third quarters. It is the most in that amount of time by Green Bay since 1967, according to Elias Sports.
16 — That is how many tackles linebacker De’Vondre Campbell had. It is tied for the most for a Packers defender since 2000. He did it after spending much of the last two weeks away from the team due to a positive COVID-19 test.
2 – That is how many sacks linebacker Preston Smith had. It included a strip sack that set up the Packers second touchdown of the third quarter. Smith now has five sacks in his last four games.
2 – That is how many touchdowns Adams had in the game. He and Rodgers have now hooked up for 64 scores in their careers, one shy of the record for a QB-WR combo in team history. That record is currently held by Rodgers and Jordy Nelson.
119 — That is how many yards rushing the Packers had. It’s the sixth straight game they have had at least 92 yards on the ground and the third time they have averaged better than 4.9 yards per carry.
0 — That is how many losses LaFleur has against the Bears in his tenure. He’s just the second coach in league history to win his first six games against Chicago.
45 – That is how many points the Packers scored. It is the most in a game since they dropped 53 on the Philadelphia Eagles on Nov. 16, 2014.
1 – That is the Packers magic number to clinch the NFC North as they improved to 10-3 on the year. They currently lead the Minnesota Vikings by four games with four games to play. The two teams play in Week 18.
Green Bay will travel to face Baltimore (8-5) on Sunday.