packer partisan

By Mark Metzler

 

Sunday’s 24-14 Green Bay Packers victory over the Chicago Bears was another example of experience triumphing over youth. It was the Packers fifth win in a row. And, as Aaron Rodgers now famously told a Bears fan who flipped him a double bird after a touchdown run, “I still own you.”

Rodgers kept his cool and methodically took apart the Bears defense, while rookie Justin Fields didn’t quite have what it took to lead the Bears to a win. But that’s not how it started. For the first few plays, Rodgers had his way with the Bears, but that ended quickly, and Fields took over. On his first drive, Fields looked like a lock for rookie of the year as shredded the Packers defense.

But then he made a key mistake, a rookie mistake, heaving a ball into the end zone that Darnell Savage turned into an acrobatic interception. Rodgers then took the Packers down the field.

Savage was hurt later in the game, and Henry Black did a nice job filling in for him at safety. Newly signed Rasul Douglas did a really nice job in the secondary, as the team adequately filled the hole left by Jaire Alexander and Kevin King. New linebacker Jaylon Smith was also on the field, though he didn’t do a lot other than to whiff on an open field tackle.

Elgton Jenkins was back on the offensive line and did good work. Lucas Patrick again filled in for Josh Myers at center after Myers went down with a knee injury during the first series. The offensive line had all it could handle with the Bears defensive front. Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon keep looking good as a 1-2 punch in the backfield. Myers should be back next week. All-pro David Bakhtiari is eligible to return next week, but I don’t know if he is ready.

The Bears couldn’t quite get over the hump offensively, but they will. I think. Defensively, they are strong. They will win their share of games during the season. It’s always good to beat the Bears.

I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s worth mentioning it again. As a kid growing up in southern Wisconsin, the biggest rivalry for Packers fans was the Bears. They were always competitive, and they had two of the best players in the league with Dick Butkus and Gale Sayers. Mike Ditka was probably the top tight end in the league, too.

Old Papa Bear George Halas would pace the sideline, and Vince Lombardi would pace the Packers side. The rivalry was fierce, and the Packers dominated most of the 1960s, though the Bears did win the NFL championship in 1963.

Then came the dark days for the Packers. It lasted about two decades, and in the middle of it the best team to step on the field was the 1985 Bears, with Ditka now as head coach. They beat the crap out of the Packers back then, and seemed to enjoy doing it. It wasn’t fun being a Packers fan then.

Now, for the past three decades, or thereabouts, the Packers have dominated the rivalry, with Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers working primarily as the Packers quarterbacks. The Bears have probably had two dozen quarterbacks over that time. But, I think, barring injury or a serious Bears screw-up (which is likely), Justin Fields is going to be the Bears quarterback for a long time. Given the impending end of the Rodgers and Packers relationship (which I think means the end of the Davante Adams and Packers relationship, as well), the next decade may very well belong to the Bears.

Anyhow, the Packers are 5-1, and they play a decent, but beatable Washington Football Team next week. After that, it’s the very good Arizona Cardinals on Thursday night football. We’ll have some of our injured players back, but I don’t think Alexander will be back, and that will hurt. The winner of that game will have the inside track on the number one seed in the NFC. Plus, we’ll have a better idea about the potential of this Packers team.