GREEN BAY – Adrian Amos didn’t walk into Soldier Field Thursday night looking to exact any type of revenge against his former team, the Chicago Bears.
All the Packers’ safety cared about was making a difference at a key point in the game.
It just so happened the opponent on the other sideline is the same team that drafted him back in 2015 and for whom he started 56 games for over the past four seasons.
Whatever his source of motivation, Amos made the impact he wanted in his first Packers appearance, helping seal a 10-3 victory with his interception in the end zone of former teammate Mitchell Trubisky with 1 minute, 58 seconds remaining.
“That was my plan coming in,” Amos said. “I wanted to make a big play to help us win.”
Amos doesn’t have a boisterous persona but he did tell several teammates this week about his desire to give the Packers an early return on the investment they made in the fifth-year safety this past March.
Whether it was his familiarity with the Bears’ offense or just natural instinct, Amos had a feeling Trubisky would be looking to receiver Allen Robinson after Chicago drove into Green Bay’s red zone late in the fourth quarter.
Amos tipped off cornerback Tramon Williams on a potential route combination before the defense took the field for the series. When that concept presented itself, Amos and Williams worked together to plaster Robinson in the end zone.
Trubisky overthrew the ball to avoid Williams underneath, but that allowed Amos to make the over-the-shoulder INT, his first with the Packers and the fourth of his NFL career.
“He called it,” cornerback Tramon Williams said. “He came to the sideline and said, ‘T, they’re going to come back to the 7 route. I said, ‘I’ll be there.’ I was there but he was back there and he came up with the play to win the game. Big play by Amos, especially here in Chicago.”
Amos was repeatedly asked about returning to play the Bears both during the week and again Thursday night. His answers, more or less, remained the same throughout.
Now that it’s over, however, the 6-foot, 214-pound safety said he’s looking forward to putting that narrative in the past and focusing on his future with the Packers.
“I’m happy to stop being asked questions about Chicago and coming back to Chicago, and comparisons to different things,” said Amos with a slight smile. “I’m just ready to get after it with my team. We have to build on this win because it’s really only Week 1. … We have to get after it and get after Week 2.”
Punting duel: JK Scott and Pat O’Connell earned their paychecks Thursday night. The two punters combined for 17 attempts, putting eight inside the red zone, during a seesaw battle for field position.
Scott, a fifth-round pick a year ago, had arguably his finest showing in a Packers uniform. He booted a pair of 63-yard punts, including one with the game on the line late in the fourth quarter.
Chicago appeared to sell out for a block, causing Green Bay’s gunners to move inside. Scott said he considered punting the ball out of bounds but instead uncorked a booming punt to back the Bears up to their own 14 after a holding call on the return.
Working in tandem with his gunners, Scott was able to hold dangerous returner Tarik Cohen to a manageable 36 yards on four returns.
“I thought I did well and executed on my punts,” said Scott, who had a 47.6-yard average and 43.6 net on his nine punts. “I definitely liked the field position. It’s definitely a factor in the game, so we just try to do our part to help out the rest of the team.”
Marquez’s big moment: The Packers’ offense was looking for a spark after three consecutive three-and-outs to start Thursday’s game against the Bears.
Enter Marquez Valdes-Scantling.
The speedy second-year receiver got inside Chicago cornerback Prince Amukamara on a deep route, enabling quarterback Aaron Rodgers to find him for a leaping 47-yard completion in the middle of the field.
It jump-started the only touchdown-producing drive of the night for either team, concluding with an 8-yard touchdown pass from Rodgers to tight end Jimmy Graham on a free play.
“My number was called to go out and catch the deep one, and that’s just what I did,” said Valdes-Scantling, who finished with four catches for 52 yards. “It wasn’t going out and saying I’m going to change this team with this play. I’m just going to go out and do my job.”
King’s plan: The Packers had a strategy for how they wanted to handle returning cornerback Kevin King’s snaps during his first game back from a hamstring injury that sidelined him during the preseason.
By all accounts, everything went according to plan.
Rotating with Tony Brown and Raven Greene in the defensive sub-packages, King racked up five tackles, a sack and a near-interception on the first play of the second quarter.
“I felt great,” King said. “We had a plan on how much I was supposed to play. I haven’t seen how many plays I played, so I don’t know if we went over or under that plan. I was ready to play every play. I was ready to play one play. ‘Kev, get out there.’ Then, I’m out there.”
No linebacker, no problem: With Oren Burks still on the mend and B.J. Goodson having just arrived in Green Bay, the Packers played strictly with one inside linebacker, Blake Martinez.
Hybrid safety Greene played extensively in the box, finishing with six tackles and a deflection, but the onus was largely on a defensive front consisting of three linemen and two outside linebackers to keep Chicago in check.
The Bears had a few productive runs early, but never gained more than eight yards on any attempt.
“We have some great D-tackles in our room, a lot of guys can do different things,” defensive lineman Kenny Clark said. “I have all the confidence in our room (when) the defense asked us to play with one inside linebacker and for us to stop the run.”