Banged-up Packers rout Bears 35-14
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- For the first time since 1932, the Green Bay Packers lead their rivalry against the Chicago Bears.
Aaron Rodgers threw four touchdown passes, and the Green Bay defense forced four turnovers in a 35-14 victory over Chicago on Thursday night.
The Packers lead the all-time series 95-94-6. Rodgers owns a 16-4 record against the Bears.
“This game’s always a tough game. History obviously tells you that with the numbers (and) the records,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “That says the whole story there. We knew we were get in a grind of a game. The turnovers were huge for us, especially the points off of turnovers. I thought Aaron was exceptional.”
It was a costly victory for the beat-up Packers, though. Running back Ty Montgomery sustained broken ribs on the first series, and receiver Davante Adams was taken to a hospital after a wicked helmet-to-helmet hit late in the third quarter.
With starting offensive tackles David Bakhtiari (hamstring) and Bryan Bulaga (ankle) inactive, and backup tackles Jason Spriggs, Kyle Murphy and Don Barclay on injured reserve, the Packers got by with a makeshift offensive line that didn’t include any career tackles.
Left guard Lane Taylor started at left tackle, with Lucas Patrick stepping in at left guard. Justin McCray, who competed at guard and center during training camp, started at right tackle. The only starters in their usual spots were center Corey Linsley and right guard Jahri Evans.
Nonetheless, the Packers opened the game in explosive fashion, producing a 10-play, 75-yard scoring drive. A 26-yard catch-and-run by tight end Martellus Bennett on a third-and-1 bootleg set up a first-and-goal at the 5. One play later, Rodgers threw a quick pass to Adams, who powered through cornerback Marcus Cooper for a 5-yard touchdown.
“The first drive, we came out, ran the ball effectively, got a nice first down there on the third play, and then the protection was really good,” Rodgers said. “We got two sacks, both probably coverage sacks. That was pretty impressive. Those guys did a fantastic job. Lane, the versatility there, never really having played left tackle before, to come out and play so well. Just really proud of those guys.”
On Chicago’s first offensive play, Packers linebacker Clay Matthews drilled quarterback Mike Glennon from the blind side. The ball popped loose and was recovered by linebacker Jake Ryan at the Bears 3-yard line.
“I just have to get the ball out of my hands quicker,” Glennon said. “I didn’t quite like what I saw, but I have to move on in the possession and get the ball out of my hands quicker.”
On third-and-goal from the 2, the Packers spread the field with four receivers and a tight end. Rodgers hit receiver Randall Cobb, who was in the left slot, for an easy touchdown. That made it 14-0 barely six minutes into the game.
The Packers (3-1) tacked on a second-quarter touchdown after Glennon badly overthrew his receiver and was intercepted by safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. On the next play, Rodgers went deep to receiver Jordy Nelson, who caught the underthrown pass in front of cornerbacks Cooper and Kendall Fuller. The defenders collided, which allowed Nelson to get to the 2 for a gain of 58.
Rookie running back Aaron Jones, who was getting his first snaps from scrimmage after Montgomery and primary backup Jamaal Williams were hurt, easily scored on the next play.
Chicago (1-3) scored just before halftime. Glennon completed passes of 29 and 16 yards to tight end Zach Miller before connecting with receiver Kendall Wright on a corner route for an easy 5-yard touchdown.
Glennon connected on 21 of 33 passes for 216 yards but had three turnovers. Bears coach John Fox wouldn’t rule out replacing Glennon with first-round pick Mitchell Trubisky.
“We need to make a lot of changes,” Fox said. “We will evaluate everything, and we’ve got a lot of work to do here before we line up against Minnesota on Monday night (Oct. 9). We are going to look at everything.”
With Green Bay leading 21-7 and in scoring position late in the third quarter, Rodgers completed a pass to Adams. As Adams fought for extra yardage, linebacker Danny Trevathan drilled Adams in the head with the crown of his helmet. Adams’ mouthpiece flew out of his mouth as he fell to the ground. Nelson and Cobb immediately waved the training staff onto the field.
Adams, who gave a thumbs-up to fans as he approached the tunnel leading to the locker room, was being evaluated for a concussion and neck injury, according to the team. He was conscious with movement in all his extremities and was taken to a hospital for further testing.
Trevathan was penalized but not ejected. On the next play, Rodgers found Nelson all alone in the flat for a 4-yard touchdown to make it 28-7 with 4:09 left in the third quarter. Rodgers fired another touchdown pass to Nelson to start the fourth quarter, and he finished the night 18 of 26 passing for 179 yards.
Even with all the injuries up front, Rodgers was sacked only two times. He had been the most-sacked quarterback in the NFL entering Week 4.
NOTES: There was a 46-minute lightning delay between the first and second quarters. ... The Packers’ inactives list included DT Mike Daniels (hip) and CB Davon House (quad). The Bears were without S Quintin Demps (arm). ... Packers OLB Clay Matthews broke the team sack record with his sack-strip of QB Mike Glennon on Chicago’s opening play. That gave Matthews his 75th career sack, breaking Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila’s mark of 74.5. ... Bears G Josh Sitton, who missed last week’s game with injured ribs, started against his former team. ... TE Zach Miller’s 29-yard gain late in the first half was the Bears’ longest passing play of the season. ... Packers CB Damarious Randall was benched at halftime and wasn’t on the sideline at the end of the game. Coach Mike McCarthy called it an “internal” matter. ... The national anthem was marked by a “USA! USA!” chant, and players from both teams stood with their arms interlocked.