Green Bay Packers overcome slow start to defeat Chicago Bears, improve to 10-3
GREEN BAY, Wis. — Robert Quinn stood over Aaron Rodgers and wrapped both hands around his oversized waist, mimicking the Green Bay Packers quarterback’s touchdown dance. He bobbed his head up and down. He stared a hole in the Lambeau Field crowd.
If there was any question whether a franchise potentially on the last legs with head coach Matt Nagy had any juice left in this dismal 2021 season, those questions were answered swiftly. From the second snap of Sunday night’s rivalry showdown, the Chicago Bears weren’t backing down to their big brother up north. Ultimately, it didn’t matter.
Rodgers still owns the Bears.
Rodgers threw four touchdown passes and the Packers (10-3) stayed within striking distance for home-field advantage in the NFC playoffs, beating the Bears 45-30.
They gave Matt LaFleur his first victory following a bye week in three seasons. The Packers lost 37-8 at the San Francisco 49ers after their bye in 2019. They lost 38-10 at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after their bye last season.
They beat their rival handily at home with two weeks to prepare Sunday night, cruising to a big lead in the second half.
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The NFL’s oldest rivalry started slow enough. The Packers led 3-0 after the first quarter. The second quarter opened with a Corey Bojorquez punt.
All hell broke loose shortly after.
The Packers and Bears (4-9) combined for six touchdowns in the second quarter, alternating three apiece. It was haymaker after wild haymaker, the scores coming in all directions.
After Bears speedster Jakeem Grant took a jet pass 46 yards for a touchdown, Packers cornerback Rasul Douglas responded by jumping a route against receiver Darnell Mooney. Douglas didn’t stop until he’d returned a Justin Fields interception 55 yards for a touchdown, his second in as many games.
On the next drive, Bears receiver Damire Byrd stretched a short pass from Fields into a 54-yard touchdown.
Just when things appeared to be calming down, Grant fielded a Bojorquez punt at the 3-yard line and raced 97 yards for a touchdown inside the two-minute warning.
Inside the final minute of the first half, Rodgers hit Davante Adams down the left sideline for a 38-yard score.
In all, the six touchdowns averaged 48.6 yards. Five were longer than 35 yards. Only Rodgers’ 2-yard touchdown to Allen Lazard on fourth-and-goal – the Packers’ first touchdown of the night early in the second quarter – was short yardage. That one came on fourth-and-goal.
The quarter didn’t lack for entertainment. It did shine a critical spotlight on a Packers defense that mostly limited explosive plays this season, but now has allowed big plays to become a problem after struggling two weeks earlier against Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford.
With the fireworks of the opening half, the Packers entered intermission with 21 pass plays and only seven runs. They reestablished balance in their offense to start the third quarter, marching 75 yards on nine plays. Six were on the ground, including a 3-yard touchdown run from Aaron Jones that gave the Packers a 28-27 lead.
They never trailed again, turning a six-point halftime deficit into a lopsided victory in the second half.
If this was Rodgers’ final game against the rival Chicago Bears, a distinct possibility with next year far from certain, he went out with a bang. Rodgers finished 29-for-37 for 341 yards and four TDs with no interceptions.
He threw his 61st career touchdown pass against the Bears, one more than Brett Favre threw against the Packers' rival. He won his 23rd game against Chicago against only five losses, the most ever.
In doing so, Rodgers showed once again why he owns the Bears, no matter how many championship-belt celebrations their defensive linemen pull out of their pockets.
This article originally appeared on Packers News: Green Bay Packers overcome slow start to beat Chicago Bears