I hate to say this because just a few weeks ago I said that the Packers had a great chance to turn things around for the rest of the season. Alas, they haven’t. And from the looks of it, they won’t.
So, what went wrong? It’s hard to tell, but besides quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ broken collarbone, things never quite picked up on the turf for the Green Bay Packers. Heck, they even lost tight end Martellus Bennett back to the New England Patriots. He started seven games and then the team played a very odd game of injury-waive-goodbye with him.
It’s odd to me that the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers have almost an even record against each other. Going into Sunday’s game, the Packers were just one game ahead in one of the oldest rivalries in the NFL. Thankfully, that number went up one with the Packers now winning 14 of their past 16 games against Chicago.
This was the first time I’ve ever been nervous when facing the Bears. The Packers have been on a three-game losing streak since quarterback Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone, and the way Green Bay had been playing, it seemed like the Bears (favored to win this game) would get the win.
I never cared about football until January 9th, 2011. Growing up in a country with its heart set on soccer, and born within a family of soccer enthusiasts, football was always the odd sport for me.
Even when I went to study at a football-crazed high school and college (Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education), I never attended a game. I went out of my way to avoid interacting with players, coaches, and matches. Why, then, am I now writing an article about my love for the Green Bay Packers?
It was supposed to be the perfect Packers watching day. I was at one of my favorite client’s sports bars and was going to watch the Packers vs Vikings game with my favorite Vikings fan. Before he even arrived, he was smack talking my team, and I was pretty smug, *knowing* I would easily win the day.
Within only seven minutes my perfect day was shattered along with quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ collarbone. At first, when Rodgers went down after being tackled by Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr, it looked to me like perhaps he had hit him hard in the stomach, and maybe he got the wind knocked out of him. Then the replays began and I saw just how hard Rodgers landed on his right shoulder. His right shoulder. His throwing side.
I woke up this morning with a gut feeling that if the Packers beat Minnesota today, the road to claiming the NFC North would be a walk in the park. A few hours later, the game began and it didn’t look too bad for the Packers. True, the team’s injury roster has gotten longer with each passing week, but the presence of amazing rookie players and the optimism that invaded the fans after that Dallas game seemed enough to get us through.
And then quarterback Aaron Rodgers got sacked and injured on Green Bay’s second drive in the first quarter. The shoulder injury turned out to be a collarbone fracture that could keep him off the field anytime from four weeks to the rest of the year. Worst news of the 2017 season.
While watching the Green Bay Packers and the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, I was already thinking about writing my weekly article, and the title for this piece that kept coming back to me was “We’re Better Than This.” It was frustrating to watch the Packers and Cowboys trade the lead over and over, knowing that the Packers should have a larger lead.
It seemed like kicker Mason Crosby’s two missed field goals would make the difference between a win and a loss and it hurt thinking that this game might come down to two simple points. In all the years in the league, Crosby has never missed two extra points in a row. At the same time, this might be the first game in years where I wasn’t nervous during the times Green Bay was down.
On the last Thursday Night Football Game in September, we saw a dominant game by quarterback Aaron Rodgers and all the crew.
Rodgers has said that he’s very proud of the team during an interview and he should be. The offensive production has increased which means that Rodgers is accurate and his receivers are confident on the field. In other words, the offense is ready, willing and able to make it happen. Of course Rodgers and company work very hard on during the off and regular season, week in and week out. Since they work so hard, they’re a well oiled machine. It’s hard to fail when you are a well oiled machine.
From 2004-2012, Lovie Smith was the head coach of the Chicago Bears. His first three goals were to beat the Green Bay Packers, win the NFC North, and win a Super Bowl. He achieved two of the three goals.
During his first season with the Bears, he installed a new offense and defense but had bouts of injuries and a season-ending injury to quarterback Rex Grossman. His first season record was 5-11. However, since he was a defensive-minded coach, the defense improved from 22nd overall in 2003 to 13th in 2004. By 2005 the Bears started then back-up QB Kyle Orton with a dominant defense and ended with an 11-5 record, despite starting the season with a 1-3 record. Look familiar?
Enter the John Fox era. Fox accepted a four-year deal as head coach of the Bears in 2015. It was predicted that the Bears would have a 3-13 record, but in his first season they ended with a 6-10 record. So instead, the Bears used the predicted previous record for the 2016 season, finishing 3-13. A regression that many hung on the excuse of a team rebuilding.
It is now 2017, and the Bears have started the season at 1-3, losing in epic fashion to the Packers once again, in the prime light of Thursday Night Football. The coaching was geared to quarterback Mike Glennon’s strengths, which is the opposite of his scouting report. According to general manager Ryan Pace: “He has the height, arm strength, the ability to quickly process.” Yes, he has height, but it gives no advantage to his field of view when he sees only what plays are given to him for the short routes. Time and time again, film shows Glennon waiting for a particular player and not the open receiver.
This game wasn’t going to be easy from the start. Green Bay was playing without several key starters: wide receiver Randall Cobb, defensive end Mike Daniels, left tackle David Bakhtiari, defensive back Kentrell Brice, cornerback Davon House, and linebackers Jake Ryan and Nick Perry. Adding to the stress of injured players, the temperature made this game the warmest in team history.
If you haven’t been following Cincinnati’s season, you wouldn’t know they came into this game at 0-2. They were aggressive from the start and had a 21-7 lead come halftime. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers was sacked five times and hit more than 10 times, and most shockingly, the Bengals forced a pick-six when cornerback William Jackson intercepted a pass from Rodgers to wide receiver Jordy Nelson, leading to a 75-yard touchdown. It’s pretty impressive when you think about it. Rodgers has been in the league for 10 years, and this only the second time he’s thrown an interception that’s turned into a touchdown. Another impressive stat? With this win, Aaron Rodgers has now beaten every NFL team. Except, of course, the Packers.
What a game ladies and gentlemen! I suppose the Packers like to have some emotion and it doesn’t matter what time of the season it is. All us Packer Fans clearly remember the last two seasons. The Packers tend to not have good starts to the regular season. The season really gets started for the Packers after the fourth week. It’s almost like the first games are an extended preseason.
After those first four games, something happens and the team gets stronger and more confident on the field. All the players showed a sort of excitement, confidence and a different spirit during the game, training and the whole league. I know that nobody in Lambeau stops believing in a victory before the game has finished. And I believe that is what happened yesterday.