In what’s become a highlight of the Matt LaFleur era, the Green Bay Packers rebounded once again – both from a bad loss and a Week 1 loss – by beating the Chicago Bears for the seventh straight time on Sunday night at Lambeau Field.
The Packers, now 1-1 after two weeks, still haven’t lost two straight games in the same regular season since hiring LaFleur in 2019. And LaFleur is unbeaten against the Bears.
Next up is a trip to Tampa Bay to face the unbeaten Buccaneers next Sunday.
First, here’s the good, the bad and the ugly from the Packers’ Week 2 win:
(AP Photo/Morry Gash)
The plan: LaFleur and Aaron Rodgers got the ball to Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon 37 times, and the dynamic running back responded to the improved workload by producing 237 total yards and scoring a pair of touchdowns. Overall, the Packers rushed for 203 yards and averaged 5.3 yards per rush. Feeding the running backs is a priority for this Packers offense.
Passing defense: The Packers gave up 48 net passing yards – 22 yards lost on three sacks and 70 total passing yards – and delivered the game-sealing interception late in the fourth quarter. Justin Fields completed just seven passes, and 30 of his passing yards came on a flea flicker on the Bears’ first drive. The run defense was another issue, but the Packers shut down the Bears in the air and allowed just 10 points total. The lesson here: It’s hard to score without a passing game in today’s NFL.
The special teams: Mason Crosby made both field goals and all three extra points, Pat O’Donnell boomed two punts (including a 72-yarder), Jack Coco snapped well, Amari Rodgers had a 20-yard punt return and the Bears didn’t have a game-changing special teams play. Dallin Leavitt had two tackles covering kickoffs, and Rudy Ford forced a fair catch as a gunner on punt coverage. The arrow on special teams is pointed in the right direction.
Preston Smith: The veteran edge rusher produced two sacks and three quarterback hits. He was active setting the edge and disruptive as a rusher, and the Bears couldn’t fool him on run-action fakes. He led the team in tackles (seven), sacks (2.0) and quarterback hits (three). This was a high-quality performance in primetime from Smth.
Return of Elgton Jenkins: The Pro Bowler gave up a couple of sacks, but both Aaron Rodgers and Matt LaFleur specifically pointed to Jenkins’ return as a major spark for the Packers in Week 2. Just 10 months removed from tearing his ACL, Jenkins started at right tackle and got through the contest unscathed. He’ll only get better as he keeps knocking the rust off.
Big plays from veteran receivers: Allen Lazard caught a touchdown in his return, Sammy Watkins produced 93 yards on three catches (including a 55-yarder late), and Randall Cobb created a big third-down conversion and a 20-yard catch on an off-schedule play.
(AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Opening series defense: For the second straight week, the Packers defense gave up a game-opening touchdown drive. The Bears quickly traveled 71 yards in seven plays to respond to the Packers’ field goal and take a 7-3 lead. David Montgomery had runs of 12 yards, 13 yards and nine yards, and Justin Fields hit Equanimeous St. Brown for 30 yards against the coverage of Jaire Alexander. Overall, the Packers have given up 14 points on opening drives and just 19 points on the other 17 drives. To the defense’s credit, the Packers forced four straight three-and-outs after the opening touchdown drive.
Sloppy in the second half: Aaron Rodgers was disappointed in the second half, and he pointed to two big mistakes. He botched a handoff to A.J. Dillon, leading to a fumble recovered by the Bears. Later, Josh Myers mistimed the shotgun snap and it ricocheted off Christian Watson, creating a 13-yard loss. The two plays ruined two likely scoring chances and were a big reason why – after a 24-point first half – the Packers finished with only 27 points.
Chicago Bears running back David Montgomery (32)
The run defense: The Bears rushed 27 times for 180 yards, and both David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert had runs of 20 or more yards. Montgomery averaged 8.1 yards per rush and finished with 122 yards. The Packers struggled to fit runs at the line of scrimmage and didn’t tackle well for the second straight week. The run defense has to get better in both nickel (five defensive backs) and base (3-4). There’s too much talent in the front seven for a team like the Bears to consistently gash open holes, and players like De’Vondre Campbell and Adrian Amos need to start tackling better at the second level. The Packers are allowing 5.6 yards per carry through two games in 2022.