Packers 'in the driver's seat' after dominating Bears

Green Bay on verge of second straight NFC North title

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers throws a pass in the first quarter of Sunday's 41-25 victory over the Chicago Bears.

GREEN BAY – The Packers did exactly what they needed to Sunday night, and did it impressively.

Rebounding from a tough overtime loss last week, Green Bay buried the archrival Chicago Bears under an onslaught of crisp offense and big-play defense at Lambeau Field.

The 41-25 triumph, which marked the Packers' 100th win in the all-time series, wasn't nearly as close as the final score. Most important, it put the Packers in complete control of the NFC North race with an 8-3 record, three games up on both the Bears and Vikings with just five games left.

"I like where we're at," said quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who threw four TD passes to four different teammates in posting a 132.3 passer rating. "To bounce back against a division rival in a game that could really put us in the driver's seat, we played the way we need to play.

"I said before the game, and I believe it, if you want to be a great team, these are the games you've got to win."

The efficiency from Head Coach Matt LaFleur's offense was evident from the start, as the mix of run and pass kept the Bears on their heels. The Packers scored touchdowns the first three times they had the ball and never really looked back.

As running backs Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams combined for 163 rushing yards, Rodgers was 21-of-29 for 211 yards in surpassing 50,000 passing yards for his career.

Chicago's defense, which sorely missed lineman Akiem Hicks (hamstring injury), came into the game ranked first in the league both on third downs and in the red zone, but the Packers dominated those areas.

Green Bay converted 6-of-11 on third down (55%) and scored TDs on 4-of-5 red-zone trips (80%), with the only failure coming on the game-ending kneel-downs.

"I thought it was a really good game plan executed to near perfection in the first half, which is what we needed to get off to a fast start," Rodgers said. "I think it was an expert-level way Matt called it tonight and then obviously we executed the way we needed to. Really proud of the guys up front."

LaFleur echoed the sentiment for the offensive line, which once again adjusted as center Corey Linsley left early with a knee injury and right guard Lucas Patrick departed later with a toe injury.

Initially, Elgton Jenkins moved to center with Linsley out and Jon Runyan came off the bench to play left guard. Then Billy Turner moved from right tackle to right guard for Patrick with Rick Wagner subbing on the edge.

Whatever the combination, there was "no drop-off," according to Jones, and everything kept running smoothly. Jones and Williams finished with 17 carries apiece, while receiver Davante Adams (six catches, 61 yards, TD) and tight end Robert Tonyan (5-67, TD) led the diverse group of pass-catchers.

"Our O-line just did everything we needed them to do," LaFleur said. "It makes it a lot easier, no doubt about it, when you have your whole playbook open and you can call plays that are complementary."

The defense did its part, too, forcing three turnovers from reinstalled Bears QB Mitch Trubisky. Twice on deep shots, Trubisky was picked off by safety Darnell Savage. Za'Darius Smith also got a strip-sack that Preston Smith scooped up for a 14-yard score that put the Packers up 27-3 late in the second quarter.

The picks were Savage's first two of the season, while Preston Smith added a sack in one of his most impactful games of 2020. For two players who were having quiet years, they'll look to use Sunday night as a springboard to bigger and better things.

Lambeau Field hosted a matchup between the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020.

"(Savage) had a great week of practice, got a pick or two in practice and it translated over to the game," LaFleur said. "Those are two of our better players and I think that in order for us to be the best version of ourselves, our best players have to be the best version of themselves."

Bears receiver Allen Robinson (8-74) caught the first of his two TDs before halftime to make it 27-10, but by the time Williams capped the ground game's strong night with a 13-yard TD run late in the third quarter, the Packers were up 41-10 and cruising.

Chicago scored late twice but it didn't matter as the Bears (5-6) lost their fifth straight game.

Trubisky (26-of-46, 242 yards, three TDs, two INTs, 74.7 rating) got little going until it was too late, and running back David Montgomery's early 57-yard run only led to a field goal and him barely surpassing 100 yards (11-103).

With the Packers (8-3) on the verge of their second straight division title, they also remained right on the heels of the Saints (9-2) for the best record in the NFC. The Seahawks (7-3) will look to make it three NFC teams with eight or more wins on Monday night.

"I'm really proud of our effort," LaFleur said. "That was a great team win."


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