Sunday night’s contest between the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears was heated and full of controversy. Let’s highlight the main events that led to the Packers’ first victory of the season.
The Green Bay Packers entered their home opener against the Chicago Bears as 10.5-point favorites. They managed to not only come away with a victory but also cover the spread.
The offense managed three second-quarter TDs, while the Bears only crossed the 50-yard line three times in the entire contest. In reality, the game was in-hand before the first half ended, though it never really felt that way.
The energy from the stands felt up-and-down, largely due to Lambeau’s natural inability to create a high-volume environment. On more than one occasion. we saw Matt LaFleur and the coaching staff begging for more crowd noise.
It took some fourth-quarter heroics but the Green Bay Packers were able to secure a 17-point win.
These were the three turning points of Sunday night’s victory.
Turning Point #1: Aaron Jones’ First TD
Aaron Jones was playing with his hair on fire. He recorded 2 TDs and 170 yards on just 18 touches. He added a ridiculous 13 forced missed tackles on those touches.
Sunday night’s victory was in fact a celebration of Aaron Jones’ greatness. He put the team on his back on multiple occasions and produced big plays when the Green Bay Packers needed them.
His most impactful play of the game came on the Packers’ second possession. They had just fallen behind 3-7 after the Bears’ first and only touchdown drive.
The Packers come out in ’11’ personnel with both Allen Lazard and Tyler Davis detached from the formation – playside. Following the snap, the Packers pull both RG Royce Newman and C Josh Meyers.
It’s a backward lateral to Aaron Jones that would later go down as a ‘carry’ rather than the original ‘reception’ designation.
The play is blocked to perfection and it’s helped by an untimely stunt from the Bears’ front-7. Jones is left with a pair arm-tackles to shake as he dances into the endzone.
“Aaron Jones. El Paso, TX.” pic.twitter.com/gxZn9seMf4
— Colin Deaver (@ColinDeaverTV) September 19, 2022
This play was far from the most impressive that Jones had on the night, but it was the Packers’ first explosive play of the season, and gave them a lead that they never relinquished.
Packers: 10 Bears: 7
Turning Point #2: The Goalline ‘Stand’
Bears fans may call it the goalline debacle or even travesty, but that’s their problem.
Go have another Malort about it.
The Bears were down two scores and coming off their second successful possession. A score here could have potentially changed the game.
Following a close call on a Justin Fields scramble, the Bears were facing a ‘4th and inches’ situation. They had already eaten up over 6 minutes of game clock on this drive with 8 minutes of play remaining.
Time favored the Green Bay Packers but momentum was with the Bears. Still, given the pace of the game, it was essentially now or never.
Fields takes the snap from the gun. QB draw is the call with ’11’ personnel on the field. RG pulls around a TJ Slaton/Kenny Clark scrum, picking up a block in what we’ll call the B-gap. Contact is made near the 2-yardline.
Then madness ensues.
Bears QB Justin Fields runs it up the middle on 4th & goal, and the Green Bay Packers defenses stops him! Was Fields across the line!? Play reviewed and it stands! No touchdown! #CHIvsGB #DaBears #GoPackGo pic.twitter.com/A1d77slyET
— Swapty Sports (@SwaptySports) September 19, 2022
Stopped short of the goalline is the initial call from the officials. They go under the hood following a challenge from new Bears’ HC Matt Eberflus.
The call on the field is upheld due to a lack of irrefutable evidence. That’s the end of the drive but ‘Bears Twitter’ is prepared to pool their money together to hire a lawyer to overrule the call on the field.
Not really, but even if they did, the game would end soon after.
Packers: 24 Bears:10
Turning Point #3: The Sammy Watkins Completion
Following the turnover on downs, the Packers are thriving in the run game, slowly getting out of the shadow of their own backline.
The offense had just recorded their first negative play of the drive and were facing 2nd & 11. It was the perfect time for playaction and that was the call on the field.
Sammy Watkins had been fairly quiet up to this point with just two receptions for 38 yards. But he put his stamp on the game on this play.
He put a ‘hesi’ on rookie Kyler Gordon, immediately earning a free inside release and winning the one-on-one. Though in Gordon’s defense, he’s expecting help over the top.
“All-Pro” Eddie Jackson bites on some underneath. Watkins takes full advantage and Rodgers hits him in-stride for a 55-yard completion.
Rodgers to Sammy for 55 yards!
— NFL (@NFL) September 19, 2022
Out of context, this is merely a big-gainer. But the Packers’ offense had been fairly stagnant in the 2nd half. They were searching for a game-sealing play. This was it.
This drive started at the Green Bay Packers’ own half-yard line with over 8 minutes left on the game clock. It would ultimately end with a successful Mason Crosby field goal from the 11 yard line, having eaten up almost 7 minutes of play. It’s a three-score game with a little over 2 minutes remaining.
Packers: 27 Bears: 10
That was the score as the clocks ran out.
Under Matt LaFleur, the Green Bay Packers have had success against their division rivals. But they’ve struggled to actually put them away. It was encouraging to see the Packers earn a decisive victory against a hated rival.