The Sunday night affair between the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears went about how we expected, but with significantly more scoring.
The Packers crushed the 43 point Over – all by themselves – and covered the 11.5 spread with a 45-30 victory. The offense was dominant for three quarters. The defense played well, aside from two long scores that accounted for almost 1/3 of the Bears’ offensive output.
It was a different story for the special teams. It seems like every week we’re discussing another gaffe by the Packers’ not-so-special units. Oftentimes this year, it’s been the field goal team but Sunday night it was kick and punt coverage. The Packers coverage team allowed two massive plays – one of which we’ll get into soon.
There were plenty of big plays and 4 lead changes in this game. Let’s dive into the meat of the matchup and look at three turning points from Packers-Bears.
Turning Point #1
Another week, another Rasul Douglas pick-6. It’s his third INT on a really productive season for Douglas. This one came at just the right time. The Packers were down 10-7 and looking for a big play to get them over the hump.
No surprise that Rasul took it upon himself to make a game-changing play.
RASUL DOUGLAS PICKS OFF JUSTIN FIELDS FOR SIX 🙌
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) December 13, 2021
Rasul was playing off Darnell Mooney a few yards, clearly baiting the young Justin Fields. Mooney didn’t cut his ‘out’ very sharp and Douglas had a solid break on the route. If Fields had located the ball properly, it’s likely just a play on the ball between Mooney and Douglas.
But Fields mis-located the ball and put it on Mooney’s inside shoulder – right in harm’s way. Douglas re-directed his break and took the errant throw out of the air.
The only thing preventing him from taking it the distance was Fields but he was an easy speed-bump to get around. Douglas took it for 55-yards for his second pick-6 in as many games. It gave the Packers their first lead of the game.
Pack: 14 Bears: 10
Turning Point #2
We’re nearing the end of what wound up being an exciting 45-point 2nd quarter. The Packers stalled out just following the 2-minute warning and were looking to pin the Bears back inside of their own 10-yardline with Corey Bojorquez’s third punt of the game.
He pushes Jakeem Grant – the Bear’s diminutive yet electrifying return specialist – back to the 3 yardline. Grant fields the punt, which I called a mistake in the moment – and works his way to his right looking for a hole. Oren Burks and Isaac Yiadom immediately turn him back to his left.
It’s in this moment where Grant turns on his sub-4.4 jets and scoots past Equanemious St. Brown. EQ is responsible for containing Grant’s left side but he pushes too far inside and is subsequently consumed by two blockers and unable to turn Grant’s return back to the field.
Grant has a host of blockers and not enough Green n’ Gold guys recovered from the cutback in time. It’s a footrace – and Grant will win that everytime.
97 YARD PUNT RETURN FOR JAKEEM GRANT SR 😳
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 13, 2021
Grant’s impressive 97-yard return was the first punt return TD of the entire 2021 season. It set the Bears up with a 10-point lead – their second of the game.
Surprisingly enough, in the minute and a half remaining in the second quarter, the two teams managed to put a collective 10 more points on the scoreboard, and the Bears went into the locker room with a 27-21 lead.
Turning Point #3
With the initial 3rd quarter drive, the Green Bay Packers stole the lead from the Bears for the first time in this matchup. Now it’s Bears’ ball – 2nd & 5 on their own 30 – a big drive for the Bears.
They did not respond.
— NFL Australia (@NFLAustralia) December 13, 2021
The Bears come out in a 2×1 with David Montgomery in the backfield and Jimmy Graham on the right side of the formation. Preston Smith aligns in a 2-point wide-9 and approaches Graham’s outside shoulder. Graham focuses more on his release than his chip and barely makes an impact on Preston’s pass-rush.
Next in line is rookie 2nd-rounder Tevin Jenkins – who had a rough outing even without this play. Preston is already progressing perpendicularly to Jenkins’ pass set. Jenkins fails to adjust to the rush-path and leaves the front door wide open. Preston chop-rips the outside punch and it’s game over.
Preston reaches Justin Fields as he’s releasing the ball and finds his throwing arm. It’s a strip-sack recovered by Rashan Gary. It’s the opposite result of a huge play by the Packers’ defense from two weeks ago.
It doesn’t take long for the Packers to take advantage of the stellar field position. Rodgers and Aaron Jones connect on a 23-yard pass for a touchdown on the following play, extending the Packers’ lead to 8, approaching the halfway point of the 3rd quarter.
The Packers never relinquished the lead and closed out the game with a strong 4th-quarter drive. It ended Packers 45, Bears 30.