The Chicago Bears and the Green Bay Packers played on Sunday, September 9th, 2018 at Lambeau Field. Both teams had their work cut out for them to fight for the win. From the debut of newly acquired Bears linebacker Khalil Mack to Aaron Rodgers returning from a knee injury and willing his team to victory, this Week 1 matchup was definitely one that won’t be forgotten for awhile.
The Bears dominated the first 40 minutes on both sides of the ball. During the first half, Green Bay wasn’t looking too hot. The defense appeared lost with the Bears quarterback, Mitchell Trubisky, making plays. Chicago is a young team, which made this game unpredictable. Khalil Mack proved himself Sunday night with his sack, interception, forced fumble, fumble recovery, and defensive TD. The former linebacker is worth every penny for the Bears. But although Mack made some key plays, he didn’t take part in training camp, which limited him to only 20-30 snaps.
The Bears offense made some drastic changes for this new season. A big part of the game was the return of Aaron Rodgers from his collarbone injury last season. The Packers did not make it into the playoffs last year for the first time in nine years. A lot was on the line in this game.
During the first half, Chicago had their way with the Packers. With Rodgers out of the game and DeShone Kizer subbed in, it could not have been better for the Bears. Without Rodgers, the Packers were not able to make any movement. One notable play that Kizer made was on his third play. He passed to Randall Cobb for a 29-yard gain. Then an 11-yard throw to wide receiver Davante Adams moved Green Bay into the red zone. But they couldn’t handle the Bears defense. Mack stripped him of the ball and took the recovered ball to the 21- yard line.
Aaron Rodgers made his way back on the field reportedly running out of the tunnel with 9 minutes remaining in the 3rd quarter with the Packers trailing 20-0. After seeing him limping off the field a half hour earlier and being transported to the locker room on a cart with a questionable knee injury, many fans were surprised to see him warming up and getting loose to go back in the game, especially after what the Bears defense did. Rodgers is currently day-to-day with what is being categorized as a knee sprain. Nevertheless, this was a risky move not only by Aaron Rodgers, but also Mike McCarthy to re-insert Rodgers into the Packers lineup on Sunday. Keeping him out would have secured his injury from escalating into something worse and prevented them from risking their franchise quarterback for the season.
Rodgers thought differently. After discussion, he pushed to play. The Packers offense finally found its rhythm. With three and a half minutes left in the 3rd quarter, Green Bay finally got on the board with a field goal by Mason Crosby, cutting the deficit to 20-3.
The fourth quarter is when Rodgers really turned it on. He tossed a 39-yard pass making the score 20-10. With yet another touchdown later to Devante Adams, suddenly it was a game with both team’s fans sitting on the edge of their seats. The Packers had scored 17 unanswered points to make it 20-17.
After all this, Bears gets the ball back with 9 minutes left in the 4th. If there was a time to make a play, now is that time. With Trubisky on the field, there needed to be some play for them. With the Packers defense putting up a fight, Bears running back Jordan Howard, on 2nd and 13, rushed for 11 yards, taking them to Packers’ 14 yard line. With an incomplete pass, the Bears kicked a field goal, making the score 23-17 with 2:39 to go.
Should Chicago have gone for the first down to seal the win? If they couldn’t get the first down or scored a touchdown, the Packers would have to play on their own 17-yard line. Keeping in mind the way Rodgers was playing, Green Bay wouldn’t have settled for a field goal. Kicking the way they did only gave the Bears a 6 point lead, which would almost guarantee a 1-point loss after a Rodgers touchdown drive.
One of most crucial turning points in the game followed. On first down, Rodgers’ pass hit Bears cornerback Kyle Fuller right in his hands. The ball fell on the ground. Had he caught it, the outcome of the game would have been dramatically different. Two plays later Randall Cobb took a pass 75 yards to the house. With the extra point the Packers led 24-23, which would be the final score.
Next Sunday the Packers play the Vikings, a big threat for them in the NFC North.