By Marcela Vargas// @Marce_Vargas88
Green Bay Packers 24 – Chicago Bears 23
An injured Aaron Rodgers pulled Green Bay out from under a 20 point difference against Chicago.
This amount of emotion should not be knocking at Green Bay’s door this early in the season. The Packers narrowly escaped a loss on Sunday night at Lambeau, after the Chicago Bears led the game 20-0 up until the 3rd quarter.
The Packers had a rough start to the game. The defense failed to perform at top level and allowed Chicago to score early in the 1st quarter. The offensive line had trouble protecting quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who in turn took a while to warm up to his new offense, one that doesn’t include longtime Packers wide receiver, Jordy Nelson. There were a few passes Rodgers threw to former Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham that had Nelson’s name all over them.
Morale sunk further when Rodgers had to leave the field in the 2nd quarter. He had a collision that seemed to damage his left knee. However, he was cleared by the medics returned to the game in the 3rd quarter.
Down 17 points, the Packers proved once again that the team tends to fall apart without Rodgers. Backup QB DeShone Kizer unsuccessfully tried to do some damage to the Bears, and the defense seemed to lose power while number 12 was out. It is worrying that Mike McCarthy hasn’t found a way for the team to work well without their leader on the field.
It isn’t impossible to win with a backup quarterback as the Eagles proved last year. Of course, Philadelphia had QB Nick Foles, while Green Bay burns backup after backup every season. I still think they should have kept back up Brett Hundley instead of Kizer, mostly because the former had already built a connection with the current receivers.
This was an amazing football. A team heroically came back from a 17 point deficit and had some amazing plays to win 23-24 over their oldest rival. It was good for Sunday night television. However, it is too early in the season to worry about losing the starting QB. Bringing Rodgers back into the game was irresponsible: McCarthy risked a more severe injury on his star player to boost morale on the 1st game of the season — even if it is a divisional game.
Rodgers remains a hero to the people of Wisconsin and anywhere green and gold hearts beat, but he shouldn’t have to go through this anymore. After all these years, why hasn’t McCarthy found a team structure that doesn’t rely almost completely on Aaron being 100% healthy?
The team has gone through an overhaul for its 100th season: new GM, new coaches, young blood on the field. If these changes don’t work out, it might be time to reconsider McCarthy’s contract.
Finally, giving credit where it’s due, the Bears have made really thoughtful investments this year. Linebacker Khalil Mack is a beast and he’s built to take offenses down on his own. The Raiders must be kicking themselves to have let him go. Also, while not new to the team, QB Mitchell Trubisky has shown strength, agility, and might. I am sure he will have an interesting career ahead. If the Bears weren’t the Packers’ nemesis, I’d be very happy for them.
Green Bay’s second game this season is against another divisional team, the Minnesota Vikings. Let’s hope that Rodgers’ knee will be fine by then and that the Packers will win and take the first steps toward a divisional championship… and maybe even toward Super Bowl LIII.
Wouldn’t that be amazing?
Talk Packers with Marcela on Twitter @Marce_Vargas